Visit a carefully restored round house that is an architectural gem

Although Chase Maggiano and Chris Cormier Maggiano owned a lovely bungalow in Washington, D.C., perfect for weathering the pandemic — lots of space, a dog-friendly backyard, you get the idea — Chase heard the siren’s call from Zillow during lockdown. “We didn’t want to move, but I didn’t want to think about [COVID] more,” he says, flipping through real estate listings for the sport. Today, the Chevy Chase, Maryland home that architect Pierre “Paul” Childs designed for himself and his wife, Evelyn, is better off for that quest for escape. Beginning in late 2020, the Maggianos purchased and updated the modernist marvel, which otherwise would likely have been demolished.

The hobby got serious when Chase came across the cylindrical building, which the April 1978 issue of Architectural Summary called “a graceful tower”. Yet he also noticed that the Childs residence was languishing in the market, especially by pandemic standards: “Except for a few appliances, everything in the house was original from 1975, and I think people were put off by these needs. A promoter concerned about the dismantling had indeed submitted an offer to purchase the place. But Evelyn Childs’ brother, who was overseeing the transaction and protecting his family’s legacy, chose the Maggianos for their commitment to stewardship.

The opening extended to the April 1978 feature film.

Photographed by Robert Lautman, Architectural SummaryApril 1978

Chris’ training as a professional architect (he now works as a political and philanthropic advisor), prepared the couple for the ongoing renovation. They were also armed with Childs’ hand-drawn construction documents, which revealed, for example, what a needed roof replacement could or could not structurally accommodate. The new owners paid greater attention to drawing annotations to discern the original architect’s desires from his budget compromises.

Because Childs devoted many of these comments to affordable surfaces, the Maggianos put a lot of thought into finishes. “Our goal was to stay as true to Paul’s intentions for each space as possible,” Chase explains, noting that he and Chris either honored Childs’ original sources or inferred materials he might have chosen today. They removed the acres of wall-to-wall carpeting, mostly installing oak in its place. As the couple reconfigured the compartmentalized bathrooms to feel more spacious, they ensured these spaces still had the curvaceous shapes and tile cladding of yesteryear. Exterior lights now run on a Philips Hue system, which recently bathed the curved facade in the colors of the Ukrainian flag.