Kids will be kids, as the saying goes. A couple with three young children and another on the way took that truism to heart in planning, building and outfitting their custom home in McLean. They pragmatically sought “a house where the kids could jump on the furniture and ride their bikes inside,” reveals designer Kristin Peake, who steered the interiors in a family-first-and-foremost direction.
The pair secured a one-and-a-half-acre lot in a tree-lined neighborhood, intending to replace the existing house with a 10,000-square-foot abode that puts a premium on function. Architects Richard Foster and Patrick Zimmerman provided the expertise to execute their vision. The owners “had given a fair amount of thought to how they would live in the space,” recalls Foster. “The idea was not to segregate but to encompass family life. What they were really looking for was a home they could live in, as opposed to one with all these formal areas that are meant to impress.”
The living-room-free plan reflects those goals. Workhorse spaces flow easily from one to another across the back of the house. Down the entrance hall, the family room links to the kitchen and everyday-dining area, which segues to an office/homework station and a playroom. The children can take their hijinks outside, thanks to a series of French doors connecting the rooms to the backyard. Over-scaled windows provide “good visuals,” says Foster, for parental monitoring. The playroom—or keeping room, as the owners call it—also opens to a screened side porch. A dining room, the main floor’s one grown-up concession, sits to the left of the entryway.
Among the couple’s must-haves for the upper level: en suite bedrooms for each child, as well as a comfortable master retreat. They also requested a central spot where the brood could gather and read. “We implemented that by doing a two-story volume over the family dining area,” explains Foster, adding that the upstairs hangout overlooks the eat-in space below. “That area becomes the hub around which the house revolves—the family’s life as well as the rooms themselves.”
Guests enjoy well-appointed quarters in the attic and on the lower level, where a recreation zone boasts a golf simulator, basketball half-court and bespoke playhouse. “On snow days, everybody’s at their house,” laughs Peake.
White clapboard, black-painted window frames and a metal roof lend the exterior a modern-farmhouse look. The interiors echo the agrarian spirit through nostalgic details such as hand-hewn ceiling beams, reclaimed-wood floors, shiplap paneling and stone fireplaces. “We brought the elements you’d find on a farm or in an old farmhouse into a new home with an open floor plan,” explains Peake. “The architectural details really enhance the house and make it feel like an authentic farmhouse—but in today’s world.”
The kitchen—a collaboration between Peake and Lobkovich Kitchens—balances modern convenience with old-soul charm. “We wanted to create a very relaxed, family-centric kitchen with a farmhouse look,” says principal J. Paul Lobkovich. The wife’s wish list included a generous island with enough elbow room—and bar stools—for all four children to (eventually) perch. Different finishes—white paint on the cabinets and rustic, peppercorn-finished hickory on the island—create an evolved-over-time aesthetic.
As Lobkovich reveals, establishing an “elegant but low-key focal point” behind the range also topped the list. Hand-painted Duquesa tile from Walker Zanger hits the right note. Juxtaposed against a subway-tile backsplash, the feature material—with its Old World motif and deep-blue color—draws the eye.
In fact, a blue current meanders throughout the home’s simple color scheme. “With all the white shiplap and black elements, we wanted to accent with blue,” says Peake. “When you walk around a corner, you have a pop of color and an element of surprise.” Doses and hues vary from room to room. Watery walls grace the dining room; a navy slipcover cloaks the family room’s sectional sofa.
Washable slipcovers are among a handful of childproofing tools the designer employed. Windsor chairs with bare, wipeable seats encircle a Hickory White table with a custom-colored, distressed finish in the family-dining area. Peake specified many durable fabrics, either of indoor-outdoor stock or with a vinyl topcoat.
The home’s functional, unfussy design sustains the lifestyle of the young clan, who moved into the house just months after their newest member arrived. “It’s practical for the way they live, for a family with four children all under the age of 10,” says Peake. As for riding bikes inside? The designer reports: “I’ve actually seen that happen.”
Architecture: Richard Foster, principal, and Patrick Zimmerman, NCARB, Richard Foster Architects, Rockville, Maryland. Interior Design: Kristin Peake, Kristin Peake Interiors, Rockville, Maryland. Kitchen Design: J. Paul Lobkovich, Lisa Antonelli, Lobkovich Kitchen Designs, Tysons Corner, Virginia. Builder: J.L. Albrittain, Inc., Arlington, Virginia.
Host Chair Slipcover Fabric: Custom by galbraithandpaul.com. Hutch: One-of-a-kind, whitewashed oak.
Sectional Sofa & Slipcovered Chair: vanguardfurniture.com.
UPSTAIRS SITTING AREA
Mounted Reading Lamps: visualcomfortlightinglights.com
Headboard: Custom. Headboard Fabric: kravet.com.