Home & Design

Living in Harmony

Designers at Studio Nuovo help their client take an elegant new direction in her family's McLean home

Living in Harmony

Interior designers Ricardo Ramos and Sheree Friedman. 

When Stacy Mendler and her family moved to their new home in McLean, she turned to Studio Nuovo partners Sheree Friedman and Ricardo Ramos to help her make the transition from a country look with an emphasis on heirloom antiques to a more eclectic traditional style. The designers had worked with Mendler for seven years on two previous residences, accommodating lifestyle changes and a growing family. Stacy and her husband, Michael Mendler, who now have three young sons, want this to be their home of a lifetime, one where the chosen furnishings and accessories would reflect the timeless style and clean lines while withstanding years of wear and tear.

This new 8,000-square-foot, three-level, seven-bedroom home is double the size of the family's previous living space. Friedman and Ramos faced the challenge of introducing pieces from the owners' former residences while taking the interiors in a decidedly more elegant direction. Mendler wanted a look that would complement the grand scale of the home while reflecting her personal, comfort-driven style.

"When we're developing a whole-home project," says Friedman, "we select colors, fabrics, and furnishings that provide strong visual flow."

The family entertains frequently, and Mendler wanted the foyer to set a welcoming tone. Since it opens to the living, dining and family rooms, Ramos and Friedman designed the foyer to unify these spaces without overpowering them. The strong patterns in the carpets they selected for the living room and dining room drove the choice of a subdued rug in the foyer. The custom-designed, hand-tufted all-wool rug provided necessary durability and was chosen in colors to work with the existing runner on the grand staircase. Oversized Oscar de La Renta pedestals display vases filled with arrangements fashioned from twigs and other natural elements, providing an initial moment of drama at the entry.

A harmonious palette of warm earthy neutrals in greens, golds, and yellows on the walls further emphasizes the openness and flow of the rooms on the main floor. In the owners' former home, lavender and purple had provided interest; here tones of cranberry red prevail. "When we're developing a whole-home project," says Friedman, "we select colors, fabrics, and furnishings that provide strong visual flow."

In the living room, the darkest room in the house, Friedman, and Ramos chose a palette of warm tones to subtly introduce brightness. All four corners were illuminated with the introduction of table and console lamps. A sophisticated combination of fabrics on the upholstery and window treatments makes an elegant statement.

For Mendler, who frequently entertains extended family, the dining room took on particular importance. She wanted a roundtable to facilitate family gatherings and to provide a centerpiece for the room. Cherry and mahogany inlay defines the distinctive Henredon dining table. Scale and comfort were important; oversized chairs were chosen to provide additional presence. A Tibetan wool rug in green and gold complements window panels in burnt orange. A Holly Hunt chandelier with teardrop-cut crystals reflects the owner's desire for understatement while adding subtle drama.

With windows soaring to the ceiling throughout the home, the design partners made interiors feel more intimate by using substantial window treatments. "When you work with homes of this size," says Ramos, "they can become museum-like, even monumental if window treatments aren't an integral part of the design program. We used a mix of textures here to create a sense of embrace and warmth." The client loved the openness of the huge bay window in the family room but also wanted to be able to enjoy privacy. Hartman and Forbes motorized woven shades and panels provided the solution for the six windows.

The designers hung luxurious window treatments at one level
in the adjacent sunroom to make the vaulted space feel intimate

Motorized shades were also installed in the two-story sunroom off the living room. Here the windows presented a particular challenge with one wall's double-height windows introducing a new scale to the room. Ramos and Friedman created a balloon window treatment installed at the same level on both the single- and double-height windows, uniting them visually and creating a comfortable scale in the space. A darker shade of paint on the ceiling also makes the room feel more intimate.

n the family room, where the owners would spend a great deal of time, the designer's selected furnishings that could be easily rearranged for entertaining. Distinct areas within the room accommodate a variety of family activities. Comfortable overstuffed chairs in a chenille pattern provide a corner for reading by the windows. A game table and chairs host board games. A separate TV area with a wedge-shaped sofa in mohair makes an inviting place for the family to congregate. Chairs in soft crimson leather and a bench in chenille provide contrast and added seating.

The family room is the ideal informal gathering spot with plenty
of comfortable seating, a game table, and a fireplace. Rich window
treatments and a variety of fabrics and textures warm the room.

In the study tucked off the family room, the couple can work at the Portuguese carved writing desk from Ebanista while keeping an eye on the children. Family antiques like the Singer sewing machine add a touch of warmth to the room.

A Beacon Hill settee and a tapestry hung with custom
designed hardware fit perfectly along the foyer's curved
wall.to the room.

Once they had finished installing the furniture, Studio Nuovo's ongoing relationship with the client made it easy to provide help with accessorizing the home. Stacy Mendler's brother is an artist and his work is displayed throughout the house; she finds art an important and personal addition. "The vibrant painting we found for the living room mantel might otherwise be a bit of a dare," says Ramos. "But we all felt it was essential for that room with its rich yellow tones. For us, it's about listening to our clients' passions to help define our direction."

A Portuguese writing desk in the study faces out toward the
family room, so the Mendlers can work on their laptops while
keeping an eye on the kids.

In the living room, located directly off the foyer, painting by
Jaline Pol accentuates the warm color palette.

In the dining room, a Holly Hunt chandelier with teardrop-cut
crystals reflect the owner's desire for understatement while
adding subtle drama.

The family room is the ideal informal gathering spot
with plenty of comfortable seating, a game table, and
a fireplace. Rich window treatments and a variety of
fabrics and textures warm the room.


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