The Mouse House Pergola Refurbishing

The Mouse House was originally built as a carriage house around 1900. Olga Hirshorn was the widow of Joesph Hirshorn, who accumulated one of the largest art collections of the 20th century and whose collection filled 197,000 sq. ft. in the Hirshorn Museum in Washington, DC. Olga used the Mouse House as her pied-a-terre and fit her personal art treasures into this 500 sq. ft. Beaux Arts Carriage house that was used to house the first electric cars. This architectural gem was designed  by Paul J Pelz, architect of the US Library of Commerce.

There was an original wooden arbor attached to the building that was damaged by severe storms and was quite dilapidated. Compass reviewed the architecture of the Mouse House and designed a very precise structure to be harmonious and to fit within the confines of the space.

An Aircraft Grade Aluminum was specified with the intent of having a verdigris copper look. All commercial paint or powder-coated finishes had too consistent a look. So the craftsmen utilized an outside-the-box approach with a 4-step process that was able to have more of a natural and weathered look that mimicked the aged copper roof on the Mouse House.

The Mouse House had some interesting architectural elements: the soldier limestone parapets at the eaves, a unique limestone frame window, and the vertical lines of limestone and brick masonry. These were all incorporated into the design.

The site challenges presented a radial dormer intersecting into the roof angle and the complexity of the various walls. The design was to have the pergola canopy disappear, so a commercial grade acrylic was utilized to provide years of coverage from the elements. Another ingenious attribute was to utilize the structural post as downspouts providing a very clean and uncluttered structure throughout.

“The lucid structure almost disappears in its environment and, unlike wood, it will withstand the passage of time,” says the client. “Compass did a flawless job in capturing surrounding décor, implementing a great design, and executing the entire structure with finesse and detail. Hats off to these passionate craftsmen.”

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