Washington Redskins left tackle Chris Samuels, one of the team’s most recognizable players, is known for his tenacity and force on the field. But at home in Vienna, Virginia, the six-foot-five, 310-pound Samuels is sweet as pie as he relaxes on the patio with his girlfriend, Monique Cox, and their two mastiffs, Coach and Blue, after a tough day of training at Redskins Park.
Samuels bought the 9,000-square-foot house for its generous size and large lot surrounded by woods. However, he and Cox were not fond of the home’s existing interiors, where a dull beige palette and pickled-white wooden floors prevailed. When the couple attended a birthday party for Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell at the home of a mutual friend, they were so impressed with the design of the home that they contacted their host’s interior designer, Chad Alan of Chad Alan Designs in Washington, DC, for help.
Cox and Samuels explained to Alan that they wanted to infuse their home with color and create a comfortable environment for both time alone and entertaining. They spent a day touring The Washington Design Center with Alan, who got a feel for their likes and dislikes. Two weeks later, Alan presented them with a book of room drawings, furniture selections and fabric, wallpaper and paint swatches—some 400 options in all. “I said, ‘Sleep on this and call me next week,’” Alan recalls. “They said, ‘No, there’s really nothing that we don’t like.’ On the next Monday, my crews were here starting to prime and paint.”
The designer embarked on a “dramatic transformation” of the entire home, replacing the beige with a vibrant palette of persimmon, gold and earth tones. “They were very adventurous,” says Alan. He hired decorative painter Maggie O’Neill of O’Neill Studios in Kensington, Maryland, to create custom treatments throughout the home, commissioned original artwork and selected furnishings to suit Samuels’s style—and his physical stature.
“Chad made it easy for someone like me. I’m just a guy,” says Samuels. “I’m not good at stuff like this at all. If he was telling us something, I couldn’t visualize it. I was totally lost. Once he brought in the drawings and the fabric, I could see it a whole lot better.”
Alan infused the home with color and a sense of drama—especially in the dining room, where a hanging chandelier of glass spheres, a mirrored ceiling and walls upholstered in nutmeg-colored velvet envelop guests In style. In the nearby living room, the walls are finished in a brown high-gloss paint by Dutchlac while the ceilings are covered in an aged golf-leaf wallpaper by Schumacher. A bold portrait of Samuels, Cox and their dogs is a personalized piece of pop art on the wall. Alan commissioned the piece by Bel Air, Maryland, artist Melissa K. Shatto, who also painted several other works in the home.
Her underwater scenes in the foyer reflect Samuels’s passion for sea life and fishing. “I just love being on the water,” says Samuels, who also owns a waterfront vacation home in southern Maryland. “Any time I’m out there, I’m really relaxed.” Two large aquariums—one built into the wall between the family room and kitchen and the other installed in the master bedroom—display an array of tropical fish.
“We both have pretty decent-sized families,” adds Samuels. “We also have a lot of friends, especially with my teammates. We want to throw cookouts, barbecues and have little family get-togethers here. It’s a house that we can live in and be comfortable but on the flip side we can entertain here too.”
Since joining the Redskins in 2000, Samuels has been active in the local community, counseling inner-city youth. “I go down to DC and talk to the kids at Anacostia and Ballou high schools in Southeast. It’s a rough area. I just feel like I can make a positive impact on their lives.”
In 2006, he launched the Chris Samuels Foundation, which this year sponsored a 16-year-old Suitland High School student to attend the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s official school in New York. The Foundation also recently donated a house to a family in need in Samuels’s home state of Alabama, where he is building a development of 70 homes.
Samuels is upbeat about the 2008-2009 Redskins season. “I am excited about the new head coach,” he says. “Our team has been making the playoffs, but we get knocked out around the first round. Hopefully, we can get in there and make something happen and win a Super Bowl like the Giants did.
“We’ve got the greatest fans, no doubt about it.”
Photographer Bob Narod is based in Sterling, Virginia.
INTERIOR DESIGN: Chad Alan, Chad Alan Designs, Washington, DC.
A Warholesque portrait of the couple by Melissa K. Shatto
dominates the living room. The artist incorporated Samuels’s
number 60 and the couple’s mastiffs in her work.
Alan achieved a sense of drama in the dining room with a
glamorous chandelier by Eurofase, a mirrored ceiling and
glass drapes by Global Views. He upholstered the walls in
nutmeg-colored velvet by Robert Allen. “Dining rooms are
about presentation and theatre,” says Alan. “It’s all about the
The kitchen features plenty of seating along two breakfast
bars, while an aquarium by The Marine Scene in Herndon,
Virginia, displays an array of colorful tropical fish.
The master suite incorporates a Beacon Hill bed with a
leather headboard, a chaise by Henredon and Mokum
drapery through Hines.