Photography: Angie Seckinger

Fine Furnishings + Art: Case Study

Simple + Serene: Urban Country's design team combines neutral hues and comfortable, stylish furniture in a restful retreat

After downsizing to a 3,500-square-foot brownstone in the development of Symphony Park at Strathmore, a couple hired designer Linda Mann to decorate the interiors of their new four-bedroom, four-bath home. Mann—who frequently sources goods through Urban Country—worked with store owner Rachelle Roth and in-house designer Terri Johnson to select furnishings from the Bethesda showroom’s collections and create a sophisticated refuge for their clients.

The couple, who had raised kids in a busy house for many years, wanted their new home to communicate a restful, calming vibe. “They’re empty nesters,” explains Roth. “They were ready for a change in lifestyle, with a soothing, more serene space to live in.”

Against a backdrop of neutral colors and soft textures, the design team chose transitional pieces that are both comfortable and elegant. A Steinway baby grand piano anchors one end of the open-plan living/dining room, which also houses sofas and armchairs by Lee Industries and an over-sized custom Bolier dining table paired with chairs by Lillian August. A modern bronze-and-glass coffee table “introduces a little bit of glam to the room,” says Roth.

The owners’ contemporary artwork— including large paintings in the dining area and behind the piano—creates visual interest by adding splashes of color in the monochromatic space. A series of architectural prints complements an antique, custom-framed mirror above a sideboard by CR Currin in the dining area, while a custom sisal carpet unifies the room.

INTERIOR DESIGN: Rachelle Roth, owner; Terri Johnson, visual director, Urban Country, Bethesda, Maryland. PHOTOGRAPHY: Angie Seckinger.


  • Hire a professional to help. You’ll need a floor plan for furniture placement and a pro will know how to do it right.
  • Consider whether each piece makes sense in your space. How will you use the room? Will people be watching TV or is easy conversation important? For example, if a lot of people will be using the room, you’ll need a big sofa. Plan your space for optimal use.
  • The scale of the furniture is important. Don’t go with too many little pieces. But don’t depend on one over-sized piece either—less is sometimes better, but it has to have the proper scale. Again, consulting a professional will make all the difference.
  • Make sure your designer understands your taste and that he or she is really listening to you.