After purchasing a condo in Arlington’s Rosslyn neighborhood, the owner contacted architect James Rill and interior designer Nancy Harper to improve its bland main level, which encompassed a combination kitchen/living area and foyer. At the top of her wish list was “a sense of personality,” says Harper. “She wanted to reflect the look of a Wisconsin cabin she’d loved growing up. We tried to thread the needle between rustic and a chic sophistication that would acknowledge the city location.” The owner also requested changes to the kitchen layout to make it function better for entertaining.
Rill began by replacing a peninsula that blocked the kitchen’s flow with a mahogany-topped island that creates space for gathering. Millwork throughout adds character and detail, from ceiling treatments that define the spaces to built-ins and V-groove panels in the living room. “We left the spaces open but still provided a sense of scale,“ he notes.
Custom, ceiling-height cabinetry in white and navy by Danish Builders; a subway-tile backsplash with contrasting grout; and open, mahogany shelving all convey a rustic-chic sensibility in the kitchen, while in the living area, a mid-century vibe channels casual elegance. “This was really a vanilla space,” observes Rill. “But with articulation and detailing, we were able to turn it into a little jewel.”
Renovation Architecture: James F. Rill, AIA, Rill Architects, Bethesda, Maryland. Interior Design: Nancy Harper, Studio Miel, Washington, DC. Contractor: Danish Builders, Rockville, Maryland.