Home & Design

Chic Transition

Margery Wedderburn creates a sophisticated yet family-friendly home

Chic Transition

In the living room, a pair of Old Hickory armchairs upholstered in a white Brunschwig & Fils fabric provides a crisp contrast to walls painted a serene shade of blue. Photo by Gwin Hunt

As any working mother will tell you, creating a serene sanctuary at home to buffer life’s hectic pace is an important element to family life. Fortunately, designer Margery Wedderburn knew just how to achieve that sensibility in the Vienna home she shares with her husband, two sons and new infant daughter. “Almost everything I do has a sense of calm and serenity,” Wedderburn says. “I am attracted to more of the pale colors and lighter woods, and I always like to have a feeling of warmth. It’s nice to come home to.”

Creating that calm and warmth took some work. Eight years ago when Wedderburn happened upon the center-hall colonial, she could see immediately that the house had good bones but they were hidden under a strong Southwestern aesthetic. “The whole house was totally Santa Fe, which is not my style,” she says. “My husband and I had a good laugh because when we purchased the house there was a line in the [documents] that said the antler towel rack in the master bath did not convey.”

Antler rack and clay-colored walls made way for a mix of cool shades of green and blue on both walls and ceilings, playful patterned fabrics and a clean mix of light wood pieces grounded by darker contrasting elements.  

“My style is mostly transitional,” says Wedderburn, who grew up surrounded by timeworn pieces courtesy of her mother’s work as an antiques dealer. “For my home I like to have some antiques in the mix, but with some more modern elements.”

Wedderburn also makes a point to meld outdoor and indoor elements, as evidenced by the large Albert Hadley sunburst mirror that hangs above the sofa in the living room. A pair of armchairs upholstered in a white Brunschwig & Fils fabric surrounds a sofa. A glass table illuminates a blue-toned Oriental rug. The harp Wedderburn played back in high school rests in one corner of the room. “It’s a great instrument because from the second you play it, it sounds great so it’s immediately gratifying,” she says. “Maybe one of the kids will play some day, but

Other objects of interest find a home in the large built-ins that flank the fireplace in the family room, where Wedderburn added crown molding to give a lift to the eight-foot ceilings. A pair of playful blue and cream zebra-patterned chairs invites casual conversation.

“We thought the chairs would be fun for the boys, and they don’t show dirt,” she says. Ditto the Oriental rugs; the one in the family room has been in Wedderburn’s family for years. “Oriental rugs hide everything,” she says. “Sometimes the boys would be playing with Legos and we couldn’t even find the pieces.” The family room opens to a large kitchen Wedderburn just finished completely remodeling with the addition of hardwood floors, a peninsula counter with bar stools and a backsplash comprising natural pebbles in another nod to the outdoors. “A lot of people are using these kinds of stones in bathrooms but I thought they would be fun to have in the kitchen,” she says.

An eye-catching lantern from Visual Comfort presides over the kitchen table, which hosts a trio of dark wood chairs and a white French-style bench that’s everyone’s favorite seat, Wedderburn says. 

Though she admits it doesn’t get much use these days, the dining room is one of Wedderburn’s favorite spots in the house. “It’s nice to walk through a room that’s always clean and fresh,” she says. To help achieve a welcoming, sophisticated look, she adorned the space with a Niermann Weeks sideboard, an Italian chandelier and pin lights that create the effect of surrounding diners in dancing light.

Wedderburn also got creative with the lighting in other rooms, adding recessed lights in the family room that flood down across the built-ins to give them a clean, spacious aura. “There’s just so much you can do with lighting,” she says.

Not surprisingly, Wedderburn also plays with different types of lighting to help set a calm tone throughout her home and those of her clients. Noting that many of her family members are in the medical profession, she concludes, “If I can create a situation where my clients can feel relaxed in their own home, then I think I am doing something really good for people, too.”

Catherine Applefeld Olson is based in Alexandria, Virginia.

The kitchen faces the family room, where a pair of zebra-patterned chairs invites conversation.

Bruce, Lily, Austin, Liam and Margery Wedderburn. Photo by Bob Narod


The new kitchen features new hardwood floors, a peninsula counter with bar stools and a backsplash of natural pebbles.

In the dining room, Wedderburn combines a Fortuny chandelier with a console and jardinière by Niermann Weeks. Photo by Bob Narod

The harp Wedderburn played in high school rests in one corner of the living room. The aboriginal artwork is from her husband’s native Australia. Photography by Gwin Hunt

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