The home should be the treasure chest of living,” the modernist Le Corbusier once wrote.
This insightful nugget would likely have resonated with one couple preparing to design and build a new home in Bethesda. Both CEOs who frequently travel for work, they envisioned a holistic refuge for their family of four that would cosset their way of life.
“We wanted it to feel like a resort so we wouldn’t have to leave to get that feeling of a vacation,” says the wife. They also wanted space for entertaining large groups and, she adds, “enough storage to keep everything behind closed doors—clean lines and no clutter.”
The team assembled to design and build this Shangri La embraced their clients’ requests wholeheartedly. Architects George T. Myers and Mark Kaufman, designer Sophie Prévost, landscape designer Joel Hafner and builder Phil Leibovitz collaborated from start to finish, delivering such five-star amenities as a gym concealed behind frosted glass and a pool with a swim-up bar.
After the couple purchased a compact lot in a stately Bethesda neighborhood, they started by reviewing several of GTM’s existing floor plans. “We combined different elements from each into a new custom plan that met the clients’ goals,” says Kaufman.
Avowed modernists, the owners made modifications to the classic design for a more streamlined, pared-down whole. Instead of a stone exterior, they opted for gray stucco. Window mullions and a custom door with bands of mahogany and glass emphasize horizontal lines. “We removed some of the traditional visual cues and went with less decorative trim on the interior,” Kaufman notes.
The “distilled center-hall colonial,” as he calls it, ushers guests into a foyer flanked by living and dining rooms. It leads to an open kitchen and family room rimmed on the back by walls of glass. The lower level features a great room, an arts-and-crafts room, a gym and a bunkroom that sleeps the owners’ two young daughters plus four friends for overnights. Meanwhile, both executives can tend to business in his-and-her offices without leaving the house.
Prévost, who designed two previous homes for the couple, considered furniture plans and color schemes early on. “They wanted something bright, fresh and elegant—but not ostentatious,” she says. “They want to come home to a very Zen space, but one that doesn’t take itself too seriously.”
As the wife recalls, the palette arose during a discussion about the “beachy” resort concept. “One of my favorite colors is aqua,” she reflects. This sparked an overall scheme of tranquil blues, crisp white and subtle silver—along with glass accents—a palette that evokes glints of sunlight sparkling on azure shores. (One exception is the husband’s top-floor study—decked out in dark woods and clubby leather.)
Prévost blended streamlined, modern furniture with unique lighting and bold art in every space. “It’s important to mix materials and textures, especially when we stick to a theme of color,” she explains. In the dining room, a custom walnut table is an organic oasis in a sea of blue. The living room’s pale yellow palette offers the perfect counterweight. Christian Liaigre sofas upholstered in leather and linen speak more to comfort than a formality. Translucent sheers, she adds, “have a nice little shimmer.”
A playful, casual attitude prevails in the kitchen and family room. A Patricia Urquiola sofa upholstered in cozy wool, says Prévost, “is like an island” that harbors the entire family for TV viewing. Folding doors lead to a porch with retractable screens. When everything is open, guests can meander out to the pool as though they were at a resort in Bimini—not Bethesda. Designed by Kaufman and Hafner for carefree living, the entire space is paved in cast-stone pavers, with swaths of faux turf to add color and tickle bare feet.
No resort is complete without a spa—and this property’s awaits in the master bath, which features a double shower and cocoon-like tub. Simplicity also reigns in the owners’ bedroom, where oversized pendants and a Gene Davis painting enliven the tranquil mood.
No doubt, a holistic approach contributed to the project’s success. “We all started as a team from day one,” Prévost says. “It’s important for things to connect so that all the pieces are part of the same whole. There should be an aesthetic and a language that flow, inside and out.”
The ultimate test came when the family moved in, just one year after they signed the builder contract. “Every day when I walk through the door, there’s a beautiful sense of peace and joy,” says the wife. “It’s like a big sigh of relief. The home really is our refuge.”
ARCHITECTURE: George T. Myers, AIA, principal; Mark Kaufman, AIA, LEED AP, associate, GTM Architects, Bethesda, Maryland. INTERIOR DESIGN: Sophie Prévost, ASID, ColePrévost, Washington, DC. LANDSCAPE DESIGN: Joel Hafner, Fine Earth Landscape, Inc., Poolesville, Maryland. BUILDER: Sandy Spring Builders, LLC, Bethesda, Maryland.
DINING ROOM Dining Chairs & Chair Fabric: bebitalia.com. Table: Custom through bddw.com. Light Fixture: lindseyadelman.com. Carpet: starkcarpet.com. Sideboard: poltronafrau.com. Vase: georgjensen.com. Artwork Behind Host Chair: by Willem de Looper through hemphillfinearts.com. Paint Color: benjaminmoore.com.
LIVING ROOM Sofas: christian-liaigre.us. Sofa Fabric: christian-liaigre.us. Pillow Fabric: christian-liaigre.us. Glass Bowl: annatorfs.com through hollyhunt.com. Side Tables: mgbwhome.com. Table Lamps: Clara and Esha Bassa through donghia.com. Wooden Chairs: Hans Wegner through furniturefromscandinavia.com. Side Table by Window: hollyhunt.com. Rug: starkcarpet.com. Drapery Fabric: starkcarpet.com. Drapery Workroom: JK Drapery Inc via 703-941-3788. The artwork in Corner (right): by Thomas Hempel. The artwork in Corner (left): marenkloppmann.com. Paint Color: Falling Star through benjaminmoore.com.
KITCHEN Cabinetry: wood-mode.com. Countertop& Supplier: Island: rbratti.com. Perimeter: glbtileandmarble.com. Stools: hermanmiller.com through dwr.com. Chandelier: moooi.com through illuminationslightingonline.com. Kitchen Table: by Arne Jacobson through furniturefromscandinavia.com. Kitchen Chairs: hermanmiller.com through dwr.com. Drapery Fabric: chellatextiles.com. Backsplash Tile & Supplier: stonesource.com. Drapery Workroom: JK Drapery Inc via 703-941-3788. Paint Color: Horizon and Madison Avenue through benjaminmoore.com.
FAMILY ROOM Sectional: bebitalia.com. Sectional Fabric: bebitalia.com. Chair & Ottoman: bebitalia.com. Chair & Ottoman Fabric: bebitalia.com. Side Table: mgbwhome.com. Rug: pattersonflynnmartin.com. Poufs: arper.com through suiteny.com. Sideboards: Custom by coleprevost.net. Artwork: colbycaldwell.com through hemphillfinearts.com. Paint Color: Horizon and Madison Avenue through benjaminmoore.com. Fireplace: stonesource.com.
POOLSIDE Stonework: cstpavers.com. Chaise Lounges: by Richard Schultz through knoll.com. Side Tables: by Richard Schultz through knoll.com. Day Bed: bebitalia.com. Blue Pillows On Day Bed: chellatextiles.com. Umbrella: tuuci.com. Planters: oreintl.com. Grey Lounge Seating: bebitalia.com. Round Table: knoll.com. Patio Chairs: knoll.com.
MASTER BEDROOM Bed: hollyhunt.com. Headboard Upholstery: mooreandgiles.com. Bedding: matouk.com. Coverlet: matouk.com. Rug: pattersonflynnmartin.com. Hanging Pendants: nessenlighting.com. Nightstand: Custom by coleprevost.net. Chair & Ottoman: hayonstudio.com through furniturefromscandinavia.com. Cushions and Ottoman Fabric: kvadrat.dk. Side Table: mgbwhome.com. Bench: chrisian-liaigre.us. Art: by Gene Davis through hemphillfinearts.com. Paint Color: Timid Blue through sherwin-williams.com.
MASTER BATHROOM Floor Tiles & Source: jeffreycourt.com through architecturalceramics.com. Cabinetry: wood-mode.com and custom front panels through ivancdutterer.com. Countertop & Source: glbtileandmarble.com. Stool: rejuvenation.com. Bathtub & Source: mtibaths.com through ackerandsonsinc.com. Mirrors and Sconces: robern.com. Bath Fixture & Source: dxv.com through ackerandsonsinc.com.
WIFE’S OFFICE Wraparound Desk: wood-mode.com. Hanging Cabinets: wood-mode.com. Desk: by Carlo Mollino through zanotta.it. Desk Chair: hermanmiller.com. Rug: starkcarpet.com. Paint Color: Baby’s Breath through benjaminmoore.com. Sofa: vitra.com through contemporaria.com. Sofa Fabric: vitra.com. Side Table: mgbwhome.com. Chair: by Poul Kjaerholm through furniturefromscandinavia.com. Coffee Table: hermanmiller.com through dwr.com. Art: fineartmenorca.com.
HUSBAND’S STUDY Millwork: Custom by coleprevost.net. Cabinetry: ivancdutterer.com. Sofas: dellarobbiausa.com. Pillows: colefax.com, rogersandgoffigon.com, janechurchill.com, and zoffany.com. Side Table: Custom by coleprevost.net.