When Tony and Annette Nader moved into their Colonial-style Clifton home in 2001, they knew they had work to do. The house was built in 1999 and the nearly three-acre lot was still bereft of landscaping. And while the interiors were functional, they were not exactly what the couple wanted. With their three small kids in tow, they settled in to catch their breath.
In 2004, the couple began what became a more or less ongoing renovation process, beginning with landscaping and a pool installation. They also enlarged, covered and screened the existing deck.
Next, they decided to add a main-floor guest suite to the house. However, as often happens, the project grew exponentially. Their neighbor and architect Todd Timm drew up plans that ultimately would expand the home by more than 3,000 square feet. The three-story addition encompassed a new living room and bedroom suite on the main floor; two new en suite bedrooms and a laundry room on the second floor; and on the basement level, a wine cellar and exercise room that opens out to a poolside, portico-covered patio.
Realizing early that she was going to need help with the interior design—including the original rooms, which would be getting a substantial facelift—Annette Nader soon began looking for the right designer. “I had seen Annette Hannon’s work in an article on up-and-coming designers,” she remembers. “I got on her Web site and liked what I saw. It clicked—I felt she was definitely the one.”
Nader hired Hannon before construction had begun, which allowed the designer to collaborate with contractor Scott Hubbard of Eagle Engineering & Construction on wainscoting, crown and tracery ceilings, flooring and tile, plumbing and cabinetry. “It was an ideal situation,” Hannon says. “We worked with Scott to make sure what we were dreaming up was within the parameters for construction, budget and timeline. It was critical to create a home, not a home with an addition.”
Hannon also established a comfort level with her client. “I couldn’t tell her what I liked,” observes Nader, “but I could tell her what I didn’t like. And if I didn’t like what she showed me, I had to be able to say so.”
Hannon agrees. “At the end of the day,” she says, “we walk out those doors and our clients remain. So it has to be about them, about how they live and how they want to live.”
The designer honed in on a sophisticated, elegant style and a look that is classic, yet fresh. She identified a color scheme using hints of cream and sage as a common thread to unify the rooms. In the front entry, a custom carpet and decorative mirror by Salvations set an inviting tone. The adjacent home office boasts built-in custom cabinetry by McLean Artisans in mahogany and Bubinga.
A major concern for Nader was how to make the now-7,500-square-foot house feel cozy. This was particularly challenging in the spacious new living room. Hannon made it intimate by decorating in layers: millwork and a custom ceiling by Ornamental Plaster Works; then draperies and a plush carpet with accents of red and green; then an inviting sofa and plenty of chairs. Charma Le Edmonds of Shelter Studios, Inc., glazed the walls a warm apricot shade and created a striking set of wall panels depicting a lush landscape for the space. “The panels changed the room’s color and depth,” Hannon says.
The previous living room is now a sitting area adjoining the dining room. Wide, arched doorways—formerly windows—connect the old and new spaces. The dining room houses a custom French walnut table, sideboard and armoire; another ornamental plaster ceiling offers visual continuity between the living and dining rooms. Hannon selected a delicate piece of hand-painted, hand-embroidered silk wallpaper by Fromental that she framed and hung above the sideboard.
Adjacent to the new living room, the elegant guest suite beckons. Here, Hannon relied on soothing neutrals and lush textiles to create a sense of tranquility and restfulness. The walls are papered in a Farrow & Ball vine pattern, with crisp white millwork and decorative draperies. The adjoining bath boasts onyx counters and limestone tile floors.
The dark-wood kitchen was lightened with glazed, off-white cabinets by Rojahn Custom Cabinetry. The island was enlarged and topped with Costa Esmeralda granite. The peripheral countertops are leatherized Antico Namibia White granite, and a sculptural ceramic backsplash finishes the look.
Originally, a railing separated the kitchen from the family room, a couple of steps down. Hannon replaced it with columns and widened the stairway. A grasscloth wall covering adds texture. Matching sofas are covered in durable Ultrasuede, while the TV above the fireplace is concealed behind a custom, antiqued mirror by Avery Studios.
Nader initially found the room too monochromatic, so she suggested a piece of art that would “wake the space up.” She and Hannon found a large-scale abstract painting online and Hannon visited Cheryl Hazan Contemporary Art in New York to take a look. She advised the Naders to go for it. “It was a gamble,” Nader admits now, standing before the canvas by Russell Sharon in luminous greens and purples that gives the room the jolt it needed. “I couldn’t have done it if we didn’t have such a good working relationship with Annette.”
In the upstairs addition, the couple’s daughter landed one of the new bedrooms, complete with its own sitting room, while their older son got views of the backyard fringed by woods. The new laundry room is embellished with attractive white cabinetry and a backsplash tile by Ann Sacks.
Next up: a redo of the master bath and an overhaul of the youngest child’s bedroom and bath. “We’re ready to start,” says Annette Nader. So is Annette Hannon—who, of course, will be doing the work.
Photographer Angie Seckinger splits her time between Potomac, Maryland, and Spain.
INTERIOR DESIGN: ANNETTE HANNON, principal; SUZANNE SANZONE, project manager, Annette Hannon Interior Design, Ltd., Burke, Virginia. RENOVATION ARCHITECTURE: TODD TIMM, P.E., Timm Engineering, Clifton, Virginia. CONTRACTOR: SCOTT A. HUBBARD, Eagle Engineering & Construction, LLC, Berryville, Virginia.