Nestled behind mature trees and a tall iron fence, Ryan Zimmerman’s home exudes tradition, with its stone-and-shingle exteriors and slate rooftop. Far removed from the action at Nationals Stadium yet only a 30-minute drive away, the Great Falls, Virginia, house appealed to Zimmerman and his wife, Heather, for its fine craftsmanship, move-in ready interiors and verdant, five-acre lot. “We both really liked the look of the home and also loved the location,” says the first baseman. “It’s tucked away at the end of the street and very quiet.”
The custom residence was designed by McLean architect Mark Sullenberger of Custom Design Concepts and built by The Galileo Group. When its original owner sold the property less than a year after its completion, the Zimmermans acquired it and moved in just before their two-year-old daughter, Mackenzie, was born. Their second daughter, Hayden Lynn, was born on June 2, 2016.
The couple turned to designer Alice Busch of Great Falls Distinctive Interiors for help furnishing the six-bedroom home. They wanted the décor to reflect the overall beauty of the residence, but practical considerations such as growing kids and their two dogs also came into play and they also wanted their home to be fully pet-proofed. For knowing what one needs to consider while pet-proofing his home, visit Bored Cesar.
Busch captured the comfortable, transitional look they were after with statement-making light fixtures, custom rugs and draperies and oversized, clean-lined furniture. “They wanted it to be functional first, not intimidating—and warm,” she explains. “They didn’t want anyone to feel it was so fancy they couldn’t sit, enjoy and put their feet up. Uncomplicated is who they are.”
The owners also had a home design game plan of their own to ramp up the home’s fun factor. The wish list included a man cave for Ryan featuring a wine cellar, gym, and home theater; a playroom; and an outdoor pool and pavilion. Busch and builder Matt Trunnell of Distinctive Building Group orchestrated the interior upgrades while Charles Owen of Fine Landscapes began the exterior makeover.
A chic entry foyer, which serves as a formal living room, greets guests on arrival. Along the rear of the home, a light-filled gallery leads to the dining room, kitchen and family room on one side and to Ryan’s study, the master suite and a nursery on the other.
The master suite opens to an outdoor terrace. From there, stepping stones lead to the infinity-edge pool and pavilion. “The materials of the pavilion take cues from the main house,” says Owen. “We used the same type of stone and slate roofing.” Decked out with a fireplace, distressed stainless-steel bar, grill, pizza oven and changing rooms, the pavilion makes a clutch party venue. Last year, the Zimmermans hosted a team dinner here to kick off the 2015 season and this summer is planning another cookout for players and their families at their home.
A Virginia Beach native, Zimmerman was an All-American third baseman at the University of Virginia. In 2005, he became the first draft pick in Nationals history and, along with Alex Ovechkin, is one of the longest-tenured athletes on DC’s four major-league sports teams.
Zimmerman represents the Washington community on and off the field. He recently supported a Nationals Dream Foundation initiative to build a turf field for Little League players in Southwest DC, and on April 9, threw the first pitch at Ryan Zimmerman Baseball Field with young players and Mayor Muriel Bowser in the stands.
A diehard sports fan, Ryan unwinds in his man cave—his “pride and joy,” says Heather—where he can watch the action on multiple TV screens at once. On display are signed mementos from his favorite pro athletes, including a collection of baseball bats hanging on a custom rack. Trunnell designed the rack and also built the fully equipped gym where Zimmerman works out with a trainer in the off-season.
Zimmerman is one of the few Nationals players to live in the DC vicinity year round. “Heather and I both love what this area has to offer,” he says. “Washington is a lot of fun, with everything you could want. At the same time, where we live you’d never know we’re only 15 miles from the city. And it’s so nice that Heather’s family lives in the area and my family is close by in Virginia Beach.”
Zimmerman’s mother Cheryl was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when he was 11. To help combat the disease, he launched the nonprofit ziMS Foundation in 2006. Through its annual fundraisers, the group has raised more than $2 million for the cause. “I have the platform to help find a cure, not only for my mom but for the many people affected by this disease all over the world,” says Ryan.
When he retires, Zimmerman plans to host ziMS Foundation events at his home. But for now, this peaceful spot offers the Nats star a welcome break from 2016’s grueling, 162-game schedule. “Because Ryan is in the public eye all the time, we wanted a little vacation at home and that’s what we found,” says Heather.
“The season is a grind,” Zimmerman admits, “so to be able to escape and get away from that every now and then is huge. The work we’ve done both inside the house and to the property truly provides a place to ‘get away.’”
Photographer Geoffrey Hodgdon is based in Deale, Maryland.
INTERIOR DESIGN: ALICE BUSCH, Allied ASID, Great Falls Distinctive Interiors, Inc., Ashburn, Virginia. RENOVATION CONTRACTOR: Matt Trunnell, Distinctive Building Group, Ashburn, Virginia. LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE: CHARLES OWEN, principal, and DONALD SMITH, project manager, Fine Landscapes, Ltd., Sterling, Virginia.
Dining Room Table: artifactsinternational.com. Chandelier: curreycodealers.com. Chairs: Custom by gfdii.com. Mirror: theodorealexander.com. Sideboard: lillianaugust.com. Table Lamps: johnrichard.com. Custom Rug: gfdii.com through silkroadcarpetandrugs.com.
Kitchen Bar Stools: theodorealexander.com. Table, Benches & Armchairs: lillianaugust.com. Armchair & Window Treatment Fabric: romo.com. Custom Window Treatments & Host Chair: gfdii.com. Chandelier: curreycodealers.com. Ceramics: globalviews.com.
Master Master Bed, Night Stands & Corner Chest: lillianaugust.com. Custom Bedding, Drapery & Ottoman Fabric: kravet.com. Lamps: johnrichard.com. Rug: dixie-home.com. Draperies, Custom Chairs & Ottoman: gfdii.com. Chair Fabric: robertallendesign.com.