On the lookout for a site on which to build their home, a couple chose a wooded Bethesda property with the goal of tearing down the small existing house and starting afresh. To find the right architect, they looked at homes with Sandy Spring Builders principal Phil Leibovitz, a close friend who would be building the house. “We kept saying ‘Who’s the architect?’ whenever we saw one we liked, and it was always Geri Yantis,” the wife recalls. They hired Yantis and also tapped interior designer Jodi Macklin, who helped furnish their previous house in Potomac. “I knew we could work well together,” the wife says. “Jodi is very decisive and that is incredibly important when you’re building a house.”
The couple requested a classic, Shingle-style home that would fit comfortably into its neighborhood of traditional residences. Though the lot—measuring a little over a half acre—is narrow and deep, Yantis positioned a three-car garage around the side of the house—a layout that his clients preferred. “They wanted to lessen the presence and impact of the garage on the street,” the architect explains. As a result, the shingle-and-stone house boasts more front-facing rooms than it would otherwise have had and a wide, welcoming front porch. The backyard features a screened porch, a large terrace, a pool and a pool house.
Inside, formal living and dining rooms flank the spacious foyer, which opens to the large family room and kitchen at the back. From the family room, the pool is visible through three sets of French doors. Off the kitchen, a back foyer leads to the garage, mudroom and rear staircase, as well as a home office for the husband, who runs an investment partnership. “It’s a working study,” Yantis says. “He wanted it to be tucked away in the less formal side of the house.”
At the top of the clients’ list of requirements was a music room for the wife, who is a pianist. Yantis designed the space as a cozy alcove and lined it with bookshelves and window seats. The adjoining living room houses a graceful grand piano. “My little music room is one of my favorite places in the house,” says the wife. “I can sit and read in here and when I have rehearsals, the musicians are able to spread out into the living room.”
Yantis imparted character to the interiors with abundant millwork—from wall panels and ceiling coffers to built-in shelving and cabinets. “We brought the Shingle style indoors with unique trim details like wide window and door casings,” he says.
Macklin selected distinctive finishes throughout, including pale cerused oak built-ins in the music room and a quiet, serene palette of Farrow & Ball colors chosen for “their intensity, depth, and richness,” she says. Wide-plank oak floors are formal yet inviting.
The designer struck a note of uncluttered warmth by combining clean-lined, traditional furniture and elegant, understated lighting with rugs and draperies in soft neutrals. She and the wife worked to incorporate existing furnishings with new pieces for the nearly 9,000-square-foot abode, which reflects the same aesthetic as their previous house. “She came into the project with a lot of furniture,” Macklin says, “but you wouldn’t be able to tell what came before and what was after because we had chosen it together to begin with.” In the dining room, a new custom table from Dessin Fournir and host chairs by A. Rudin complement Victoria Hagan side chairs Macklin selected for the last house. “And the light fixture is one I saw at Jodi’s house and copied,” adds the wife, laughing.
Macklin designed the tastefully classic kitchen with a two-island layout that provides plenty of space for prep work and dining. Extensive Shaker-style custom Wood-Mode cabinetry encompasses a desk area and a wall of glass-fronted cabinets showcasing pretty cream-and-white dishware. White peripheral cabinets and dark-stained furniture-like islands are topped with marble counters. A backsplash of oversized Waterworks ceramic subway tiles adorns the wall above the range. A breakfast nook at the far end of the room overlooks the backyard.
Upstairs, the master suite is spacious, with a wide hallway leading from the bedroom to the marble-clad bath, his-and-her closets and a comfortable sitting room with furniture repurposed from the previous house. Bedrooms have been preserved for the couple’s grown son and daughter, and a comfortable guest room beckons.
Throughout the house, the owners have showcased a striking collection of artwork that runs the gamut from abstract to representational. “We like to go to local DC art galleries and I’ve found one or two artists I like,” says the wife. When she buys anything, she generally runs it by Macklin first. “Jodi is my guru,” she says. “Her taste is aligned with who I am.”
Photographer Geoffrey Hodgdon is based in Deale, Maryland.
ARCHITECTURE: GERI YANTIS, Sutton Yantis Associates Architects, Vienna, Virginia. INTERIOR DESIGN: JODI MACKLIN and LAUREN SPARBER, Jodi Macklin Interior Design, Chevy Chase, Maryland. BUILDER: PHIL LEIBOVITZ, Sandy Spring Builders, Bethesda, Maryland. LANDSCAPE MAINTENANCE: McHale Landscape Design, Upper Marlboro, Maryland.
Upholstery & Drapery Fabrication: gretcheneverett.com.
Sofa & Sofa Fabric: georgesmith.com. Armchair facing Fireplace: leeindustries.com. Armchair Fabric: twilltextiles.com. Wood-Framed Chair with Vertical Slats: dessinfournir.com. Chair Fabric: hollandandsherry.com. Round Occasional Table: Owners’ collection. Coffee Table: salvationsaf.com. Mirror over Mantel: davidiatesta.com. Sconces over Mantel: clsterling.com. Drapery Fabric: Great Plains by Holly Hunt; hollyhunt.com. Rug: starkcarpet.com. Painting over Sofa: Shahrzad Heyat Jalinous; shahrzadheyatjalinous.com.
Armchairs: dessinfournir.com. Armchair Fabric: nancycorzine.com. Ottoman: leeindustries.com. Rug: amcollections.com. Shades: twilltextiles.com/the-q-collection. Shade Trim: Larsen through cowtan.com. Light Fixture: remains.com.
Table: dessinfournir.com. Side Chairs: victoriahaganhome.com. Side Chair Fabric: rubelli.com. Host Chairs: arudin.com. Host Chair Fabric: nobilis.fr. Rug: starkcarpet.com. Painting: chrischernow.com. Chandelier: davidiatesta.com.
Table: victoriahaganhome.com. Chairs: janusetcie.com. Light Fixture: romanthomas.com. Sofa: edelmanleather.com. Fabric: pollackassociates.com. Abstract Painting over Sofa: Amy Barker-Wilson (amberblue.org) through studiogallery.com.
Bedstead: maxinesniderinc.com. Bedstead Fabric: hollyhunt.com. Bedding: sferra.com. Sofa: ef-lm.com. Sofa Fabric: placetextiles.com. Coffee Table: salvationsaf.com. Nightstands: davidiatesta.com. Bedside Lamps: altmanltg.com. Draperies: Ralph Lauren Home through kravet.com. Carpet: coecarpetandrug.com
Shower & Floor Tile: waterworks.com.