A Sixties Rancher Transformed By Design Build

by Kevin Gilday & Tom Gilday

Re-imagining Home Design

Our custom design build practice thrives in the Washington DC metropolitan area because there are so many generations of older homes here.   As these homes change hands from one owner to the next, they inevitably reach a point where they must be re-imagined by our designers and architects to meet the expectations of new owners.

ranch home pop up addition mclean va

Room To Grow

Often, there is a need for additional room in the house.  That usually takes the form of a kitchen addition.  For growing families that want to stay in that modest starter home because they value the location, that need for room additions is doubled.  So we build a two story addition for a family room with a master bedroom suite on the floor above.  In either situation, we make significant structural changes to the existing house, upgrade internal systems and intensely remodel interiors to join old and new space gracefully together.  This type of program makes up the larger portion of the Gilday custom renovation practice.  But sometimes....  Sometimes we have the thrill of doing a huge, complex home makeover.

Buy the Location, Build the Dream

A client asked us to redesign a home she had purchased in McLean Virginia.  It was a typical 1960's ranch style home on a lovely cul de sac.  She bought for the location with the intention of building her dream home.  The renovation plan would also include additions for an indoor lap pool, sun room and a breakfast room addition at the kitchen.  That was the easy part.

Central to her plan was to completely change the style of the house. She disliked the low roof profile (typical of ranch houses) and wanted us to change that right away.   And.... she disliked the standard eight foot ceiling height.  She want nine foot ceilings throughout the interior.  That required us to tear off the existing roof, build up the exterior block walls and chimneys, then build a new roof.

Here's what the house looked like when we arrived:

Typical suburban rancher in McLean Virginia


Even though the interior was being gutted, we needed to protect it from the elements during this long (18 months) demolition and construction.  So we had to build temporary framing to support the roof while we cut it away from the exterior walls.  This allowed us to raise the walls to the correct height before setting plates for the new roof structure.  It looked like this inside:

The roof structure has been cut away from the exterior wall in preparation for raising the wall height. Note temporary supports left and right.

Here's what it looked like when we left 18 months later.

Rancher re-imagined


It was wonderful to have the opportunity to design for a client with so much drive and ambition.  It takes strength and focus to stay with a project of this scale.   This was a rare and welcome chance to do what we do best on a huge canvas.