It played like a scene from a home-makeover TV show. As the renovation dust settled in their Bethesda abode last July, Scott and Jennifer Frederick left for a short vacation while a deft crew (and a warehouse full of furnishings) waited in the wings. The house was move-in ready by the time the owners returned—and the unveiling brought Jennifer to tears. “I was overwhelmed,” she admits. “Everything looked so beautiful and pristine. I thought to myself, ‘Is this our house?’”
The couple had purchased the home the summer before. The Champagne-popping reveal was the culmination of an 11-month collaboration between builder Jim Kennerknecht of Monarch Homes and his wife, interior designer Charlene Kennerknecht of Monarch Design DC. Charlene’s partner, West Coast-based designer Arch Williams, weighed in too.
A rare, double lot in the Edgemoor neighborhood—and numerous nearby restaurants—prompted the Fredericks’ move from DC. They also liked the home’s L-shape, with an enclosed yard where their two daughters, ages 12 and 14, could kick a soccer ball. However, the house needed an intervention. “It had good bones, but there was way too much going on,” recalls Scott, a venture capitalist. “We wanted to open it up and de-quirk it. We wanted Zen livability.”
Built in 1995, the structure boasted elaborate details-—most noticeably a web of ribs and beams that covered the family-room ceiling. Simplifying the aesthetics was a given. Beyond that, the owners were open to ideas for improving function and flow and soon embarked on a top-to-bottom renovation (a lower-level remodel is in progress). “They allowed us to take them on a journey and use our collective talents to design a sophisticated, livable home,” says Jim.
Under the new plan, the living and dining rooms retained their positions to the right of the entrance hall, along the L’s horizontal axis. All similarities end there. The previously compartmentalized spaces now connect to one another through oversized twin openings—one set between the hall and dining room and one between the dining and living rooms. “That region just didn’t feel good before,” explains Jim, who passed his conceptual plans to an architect on staff to execute the final drawings. “Now it’s a very visible, approachable zone.”
The house was already blessed with an open-concept great room along the L’s vertical axis, but Jim’s plan maximized functionality. He borrowed a few feet from the kitchen for a mudroom and removed an obtrusive fireplace to create an expanse of wall along the back for a big-screen television.
As Scott explains it, the couple envisioned “a parallel family room outside that flows seamlessly” from the indoor living quarters. The inviting new outdoor space features various zones for dining, entertaining and relaxing.
Cedar lap siding and a natural-stone veneer along the sightline perimeter elevate the exterior’s look. “Now the home feels appropriate for Edgemoor and like it was part of the original neighborhood [which dates to the early 1900s],” says Jim. “We tried to bring a level of sophistication throughout.”
Upstairs, the revamped master-bedroom suite certainly hits the mark. It’s a far cry from the original narrow bedroom that Scott Frederick likened to “a bowling alley.” Removing a back deck freed up space for a 280-square-foot addition. The three other second-level bedrooms only needed fresh paint, while on the top floor another deck area was enclosed to create space for a gym and a hangout room.
With the renovation underway, Charlene Kennerknecht and Arch Williams selected details, finishes and materials in keeping with the clean aesthetic. “With the architectural changes, the house looks like one you might find in the Hamptons,” notes Charlene. “We respected that direction.”
Limestone replaced black marble on the living-room fireplace surround. A custom gray-brown stain now covers the red-oak floors. “My background is in architectural history, so I work a lot on fireplaces, trims and those elements,” reveals Williams.
The house-in-the-Hamptons movie set for Something’s Gotta Give provided inspiration for the airy palette. “We knew the colors had to be quiet,” says Charlene. The living-room rug, in shades of blue, served as the scheme’s springboard. “That rug became the foundation for the whole plan,” the designer adds. “There are threads of blue going all through the house.”
The Hamptons influence aside, most of the new furnishings—from the family-room sofa to the bed in the master suite—hail from California. The designers visited showrooms in Los Angeles and San Francisco with their clients, selecting pieces that balance comfort, durability and casual elegance. “We put together spaces that fit their vision and made the house livable for a young, active family,” explains Williams.
Stain-resistant, indoor-outdoor fabric covers both main-floor sofas. The designers “were very cognizant of the kids and dog,” says Jennifer. “We didn’t want to be walking on eggshells in our own home.”
Indeed, the team honored the owners’ request for a relaxing home environment. “They pulled it off,” Scott confirms. “And it takes a fair amount to get me to relax.”
Architecture & Renovation Contractor: Jim Kennerknecht and Mark Jurgielewicz, AIA, Monarch Homes, Vienna, Virginia. Interior Design: Charlene Kennerknecht and Arch Williams, Monarch Design DC, Vienna, Virginia. Landscape Design: Jim Kennerknecht, Monarch Homes; and Howard Robinson, Forever Green Plantscapes, Manassas, Virginia.
Table & Chairs: formationsusa.com. Chair Fabric: rosemaryhallgarten.com. Chandelier: studiobelvetro.com. Console: gregoriuspineo.com.
Armchairs, Skirted Stools under Console, Ottomans & Round Side Table: formationsusa.com. Stool Fabric: sandrajordan.com. Drapery Fabric: rosemaryhallgarten.com. Drapery Fabrication: monarchdesigndc.com. Ottoman Fabric: mimilondon.com. Sofa & Fabric: arudin.com. Side Chair garrettleather.com. Rug: jhminassian.com. Console: ironies.com. Lamps: tuellreynolds.com.
Painting: kevinbarryfineart.com. Stair Runner: starkcarpet.com.
Countertop: marblesystems.com. Styling: Charlotte Safavi. Mirror: avrett.com. Light Fixture: objetinsolite.com. Washstand: waterworks.com.
Sectional, Armchairs & Fabric: arudin.com. Coffee Table: paulferrante.com. Rug: houseoftaiping.com. Desk: formationsusa.com. Desk Chairs: ef-lm.com. Lamps: circalighting.com.
Quartzite Countertops: marblesystems.com. Sink: kohler.com.
Styling: Charlotte Safavi. Table: marcalidesigns.com. Chairs: ef-lm.com through hinesandcompany.com. Chair Fabric: romo.com. Chair Leather: arudin.com. Bench & Fabric: heleneaumont.com.
Bed & Nightstands: marcalidesigns.com. Drapery Fabrication, Custom Chairs & Ottoman: monarchdesigndc.com. Chair Fabric: rosemaryhallgarten.com. Lamps: allan-knight.com. Armchair by Fireplace: formationsusa.com. Painting: kevinbarryfineart.com. Rug: jhminassian.com. Shades & Fabric: hartmannforbes.com. Drapery Fabric: decordeparis.com.
Marble Floor & Countertop: marblesystems.com. Vanity: thomasville.com. Ottoman Design: monarchdesigndc.com. Ottoman Fabric: chrisbarrettdesign.com.
OUTDOOR LIVING AREAS
Styling: Charlotte Safavi. Custom Firepit: monarchhomesinc.com. Firepit Chairs: davidsutherlandshowroom.com. Firepit Chair Fabric: dedon.de. Other Chairs & Fabric: formationsusa.com.