When Your Flock Has Flown the Nest

Downsizing without downgrading and preparing a family home for market.

When the last college tuition payment was made and the last child has left the nest, family homes often seem large, quiet and empty. Such was the case for a Potomac couple who decided that it was time to downsize. “They purchased a property that was once used as a pool house but was sold as a separate single-family residence,” said Luke Olson, senior associate at GTM Architects. “The original pool house was designed as two structures … with a breezeway connecting them. Our goal was to make the addition connecting the two structures look as though it had always been there.”

The couple did not want the new design to result in significant changes to the original hardscape and landscape. “The existing pool house was clad in stone veneer with stained wood beams and trim, which the owners wanted to retain and incorporate into the design,” said Olson. “The idea was to infill the covered porch that connected the two distinct living areas and also expand the [home] to include a family room, dining room and guest suite with bedroom and bathroom.”

Collaborating with Sandy Spring Builders, Olson and the design team renovated the kitchen and converted one of the three existing garage bays into a mudroom. “The updates make the home now look and feel like a charming single-family home instead of two separate living quarters.”

Often the first step in downsizing is selling the family home. When their last child left the nest, a Potomac couple decided to embark on a new chapter in their lives by swapping the expansive Potomac home for a smaller living space. 

“Their children are now grown, and it was time to move out of the large family home,” said Anne Walker, Anne Walker Design. “They had lived there for most of their children’s lives. Their home was truly spectacular. It not only had a pool and tennis court, but also an indoor climbing wall and basketball hoop,” she said. “We had already renovated the lovely master bathroom. The star of the bathroom is the custom, free-standing tub, which is echoed beautifully in the metal vanity cabinet, luxurious shower featuring river rock, combined with the skylight and expansive view of the trees just beyond the enormous windows. It makes you feel like you’ve gone on a holiday to a fantastic resort.”