Suite Serenity

Annette Hannon creates a calm sanctuary for a busy couple--and their kids like it too


In the revamped master bathroom, a new tub surround in a multi-hued
mosaic by Bisazza creates a spa effect.

Seven years ago, a family with three children moved into their dream home in McLean, and life immediately took over. With work, children’s activities and community involvement, they had little time to decorate. But when her eldest went off to college, the wife and mother finally found some spare time to focus on the house.

She and her husband have always wanted a special, elegant master bedroom suite appointed with custom furnishings. So they turned to interior designer Annette Hannon to make their vision a reality. “We want to be able to close the doors and have a place of our own,” Hannon recalls her clients saying at their initial meeting. So far, that hasn’t happened in the sanctuary Hannon created for them.

Her clients are delighted with the results—and so are the children who love to lounge, watch television and talk, all in their parents’ bedroom.

“I imagined a lovely, roped-off room,” says the wife with a laugh, obviously pleased with her children’s approval of the project.

In creating a stylish retreat for the couple, Hannon honed in on shades of blue—the color they defined as making them feel the most relaxed. She focused on keeping the room light, airy and simple, yet rich and elegant.

The first thing to go was the wall-to-wall carpeting, which was replaced by hardwood floors. As this disruptive installation took place, the couple escaped to Tuscany for their 25th anniversary, arriving home with new floors extending into the hall, down the staircase and into the family room—an option Hannon had proposed to create continuity.

Hannon designed the bed and had it built by Keith Fritz, an accomplished furniture craftsman. As the family learned about him, they posted an article about him on the door to the garage and began to call him “Uncle Keith.” The couple treasures the experience of having a bed designed and crafted just for them. “It feels special,” the wife says. This also holds true for the painting over the bed, a commissioned work by artist Caroline Adams.

The designer chose to treat three windows on a wall as one, feeling that draperies at each window would add too much weight and overpower the room. Roman shades trimmed with crystals to catch the light during the day can be lowered for privacy or to darken the room for sleeping.

Measuring approximately 24 by 18 feet, the bedroom is well proportioned, permitting

two seating areas, one with an armoire housing a television (not shown), and another for reading, notes the designer. Keeping the spirit of the room light, Hannon chose straight and angular wingback chairs to flank the charming and curvaceous John Widdicomb table. A restrained floral print on the backs of the chairs achieves that delicate balance between simplicity and ornamentation.

“The writing desk is a little spot for her to write notes; she can take care of personal correspondence and business. It is all about her,” says Hannon.

Her client laughs. “We did the room to take us into the future.” There is little time in her day for writing notes over a cup of tea. For now, it is a delicious pleasure just to enjoy the beauty of the room’s appointments.

As Hannon moved into the bathroom, function became paramount. Increasing storage space was a priority. “We ripped up the tiles around the tub and shaved the tub surround down just enough so we could get a 60-inch cabinet on one side and a full 48-inch cabinet on the other,” says Hannon. These replaced original cabinets that were 48 and 36 inches wide, respectively.

The tub surround is clad in multi-hued mosaic tile: two tones of blue, taupe and creamy white. “When you walk in the room you think, ‘Wow, this is a spa.’ This is the feeling of relaxing, of drifting away, of serenity,” Hannon says.

The end result is an elegant master bedroom suite for a couple that, for now, the whole family can enjoy.

Contributing editor Barbara Karth resides in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Angie Seckinger is a Potomac, Maryland-based photographer.


Crystal trim catches the light on the Roman shades.
Carpet Impressions, McLean, VA.


A delicate writing desk creates an elegant spot for correspondence.