As one of the top players in the NBA, Caron Butler thrives on the male-dominated court. But at home it’s another story. The 33-year-old forward lives with four women—wife Andrea and three young daughters, ages one to nine—and “in the house,” says Andrea, “we rule.”
So it’s no surprise that when the couple decided to redecorate their Fairfax, Virginia, home, the goal was to trade its dark, heavy interiors for a lighter, more feminine touch. After friends introduced them to designer Dahlia Mahmood, the Butlers asked her to redo their family room. “It turned out wonderfully,” Andrea recalls. “Once Dahlia began giving me ideas, I got excited and it turned into a project for the entire house.”
That was in 2011—the year Butler began playing for the Los Angeles Clippers. Prior to heading West, he spent a year with the Dallas Mavericks, where he won an NBA championship, and five years with the Washington Wizards, where he became a two-time NBA All-Star. Though the family would now have to spend much of the year in California, they decided to keep their residence near DC and tasked Mahmood with re-designing it while they were away.
“Spending time with my family, both immediate and extended, is the most important aspect of my life,” says Caron Butler. “Having everyone feel welcome and comfortable when we are home and together is very important to me. That is what our Virginia house does.”
While the home’s exterior is traditional, Mahmood went for a glamorous and younger, more transitional look inside. She selected a light, buff palette dressed up with gold, bronze and silver accents. Metallic faux treatments, textured wall coverings and custom crystal applications add subtle sparkle and shine—effects that Andrea Butler adores.
When the Butlers returned to DC in summer 2011, Mahmood had everything in place down to the china, accessories and fresh flowers in every room. “I was in tears,” recalls Andrea of the first time she saw the finished rooms. “It looked like a completely different house.”
One challenge the designer faced was choosing furniture that would be comfortable for both six–foot, seven-inch Caron and five-foot-tall Andrea. In the living room, she found both proportion and style with Barbara Barry’s latest collection for Baker. Light plays off metallic striae on the walls, a silver leaf treatment on the ceiling and shimmery Donghia fabric on the sofas.
The dining room is equally opulent. An intricate crystal chandelier, walls stenciled to complement the Zimmer + Rohde drapery fabric and a Barbara Barry sideboard in a silver-leaf finish create an elegant look. Large Bill Sofield host chairs paired with Barbara Barry X-back chairs “play on the masculine and feminine,” Mahmood says.
Also on the main floor, Butler’s home office centers on a custom Baker desk. On display are prized photos, trophies and a framed copy of Theodore F. MacManus’s “The Penalty of Leadership,” which means a lot to Butler. “The text describes how you can’t let the negativity of a jealous individual affect your path to greatness,” he explains.
Born in Racine, Wisconsin, Caron Butler faced his share of challenges during a childhood troubled by drugs and arrests. While at a juvenile detention center, he discovered his love of basketball and worked hard to perfect his game. He later landed a scholarship to play for UConn—where he met Andrea—before entering the NBA draft.
Today while off the court, Butler leads the 3-D Foundation, which runs a basketball camp and league for students in his hometown. He has also partnered with the Salvation Army and Walmart to sponsor the Bike Brigade, a program that distributes new bikes and helmets to students in Racine and DC.
“Having been through a lot in my life, I feel blessed to be in the position I am in today where I can use my success as a platform to help people,” says the NBA All-Star. “As long as I am doing right by my family, my team and myself, I know that I will be able to lead by example.”
The Clippers have topped their division and are headed to the 2013 playoffs. After the season, Butler looks forward to relaxing in his Virginia home. The lower level was designed just for him with masculine pieces from Fendi Casa, including a bar, a massaging spa chair and a dazzling chandelier of Swarovski crystals above the pool table. Here Butler and his friends can watch sports on big-screen TVs, catch a movie in the theater appointed with motion seating and, of course, work out in the gym.
A restful vibe prevails in the master bedroom. Dahlia Design created a new headboard covered in iridescent faux leather from Hines. The walls feature a metallic glaze with a glass-beaded stencil. “It looks like wallpaper,” says Mahmood, “but it’s all done by hand.”
The designer found the project both challenging and rewarding. “The Butlers are not your typical basketball family,” she says. “There’s love in this house. Their giving me freedom and trust meant a lot. I wanted to exceed their expectations.”
Photographer Bob Narod is based in Herndon, Virginia.
INTERIOR DESIGN: DAHLIA MAHMOOD, Dahlia Design, Ashburn, Virginia.