Over the years, homeowner Ruth Suttle has repeatedly lent her classic English sensibility to her two-and-a-half-acre property in Potomac, creating lush gardens, family play areas and more. When a tree fell, leaving space for something new, she contacted Rill Architects.
Suttle and her husband “wanted a place to sit in the garden and be part of it,” says Jim Rill. “We took this beautiful garden and created ways to experience it.”
He and his team designed a striking pavilion with classic columns, an exposed pergola and a skylight. It’s centered on an existing swimming pool with a stone surround and trickling waterfall.
“You often see these pavilions in England, where they are called ‘temples,’” explains Suttle, who is British. “It gives us a covered spot by the pool where you can be in the sun or shade.” A fireplace with a freestanding stone chimney extends the seasons.
Rill’s team enhanced the view of the garden from the kitchen with French doors that open to a covered porch and large, stone terrace. A latticed breezeway provides covered access from the garage to the house. “There’s a really strong flow between landscape and building,” Rill says.
With help from Richard Grisius of Potomac Horticulture & Landcare, Suttle has filled her yard with roses, boxwood, hydrangea and ferns. A stream, covered by a stone bridge, leads to a pond teeming with iris and water lilies. Sculptures, some made from molds of Victorian-era statuary, peek out from between the plants.
Karen Watkins is a Bethesda, Maryland, freelance writer. Photographer Lydia Cutter is based in Las Vegas.
ARCHITECTURE: JAMES F. RILL, AIA, principal, and JAMES MURRAY, project architect, Rill Architects, Bethesda, Maryland. CONTRACTOR: CONRAD ZINK, Zink Construction, Bethesda, Maryland.