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Landis Architects/Builders

7059 Blair Rd., NW Suite 300 - Washington, DC 20012

Phone 202-726-3777

Before: The room had a too small countertop and low ceilings.
Multi-Purpose Room is bigger and has higher ceilings that are better proportioned.
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British School - Northwest, DC

This private school in Washington D.C. needed to update two rooms—a multi-purpose room and a music room—to better suit the needs of the students, who range from kindergarten age through high school.

Multi-purpose room

The multi-purpose room's low 8-foot ceilings made it feel small. We removed the drop ceiling and cleaned up the mechanical and electrical systems, leaving them exposed. The renovation also incorporated an adjacent hallway and storage room. The new 10-foot ceiling height is more pleasing and proportional to the expanded room.

Though the food isn't prepared in the multi-purpose room, students eat lunch there and the school needed a more efficient place to distribute the catered meals. We replaced the original sink in a laminate countertop with a more efficient angled solid surface counter. One side of the counter has a clean-up/recycling station. White subway tile is a classic choice for the backsplash--one that works well with the modern white cabinets and bold red accents. The floor covering is 12x12 Marmoleum tiles, a green product that is resilient enough to hold up to traffic and fit the school's tight budget. Using Ikea cabinets, instead of custom cabinetry, helped us achieve additional budget and time savings.

A wood table fits onto the end of the kitchen countertop. It's installed at a lower height than the countertop, providing a place for seating and cooking lessons. Our carpenter built the table on-site using Ikea countertop pieces.

A red and white palette pays tribute to the British flag, which is appropriate for the Britain-based school, and that palette is also a more sophisticated than the primary color patchwork in the original room. The red soffit above the kitchen counter is a visual guide that leads students along the lunch line.

Music Room

The original room was too large for the 20-student classes and it didn't have natural light. We split the space into two rooms—a music classroom and a practice room. The classroom takes advantage of the two windows that were formerly in a hallway. To make the most of this natural light from the windows, we installed metal-framed glass partitions on the hall-facing walls of both rooms. Natural light from the classroom windows now flows across the hallway into the practice room.

Though glass doors would have admitted more light into the practice room, due to the schools' tight budget, we re-used the solid classroom doors, as well as the sidelights, hardware and lighting.

The original scope of work included both areas, but the administration cut the music room segment. Two weeks after we signed the contract, they added it back. To meet the six week deadline, we had to make adjustments, including replacing some selections with products that were more readily available.

The practice room has two private rooms and a recording studio. We soundproofed the rooms by building ceilings and walls with metal studs and 5/8-inch drywall, adding a sound barrier membrane, then installing another layer of drywall. We filled the walls with mineral fiber insulation. Carpet tiles on the floor contribute to additional sound deadening. The tiles are taped on four corners any stained pieces can easily be replaced.

We worked hard to complete the project so the school could open as scheduled. Students and faculty will be able to enjoy the larger, more efficient multi-purpose room and light-filled music and practice rooms.