Sometimes hitting refresh is the best way to go. This Wesley Heights house had the right Northwest DC address as well as a surprising pedigree: George and Barbara Bush called it home during the early 1980s. However, it desperately needed an overhaul. After living in the home for nearly 20 years, owners Kelly and John Formant, principals of a real-estate brokerage and investment firm, were ready to embark on an extensive, yet respectful, renovation. “We raised our children here and have many memories,” says Kelly, “so it was very important to us to retain as much of the original house as possible.”
The couple enlisted a team that included GTM Architects, Pamela Harvey Interiors and Sandy Spring Builders to transform the 2,500-square-foot, three-bedroom abode into a fresh-faced, 5,000-square-foot jewel complete with five bedrooms and a finished attic and basement—all while keeping its 1924 roots intact.
“The Formants tasked us with improving and opening up the center-hall house without tearing it down,” says GTM project architect Tamara Gorodetzky. “Our philosophy is to design additions that make for seamless transitions between new and old.”
Interior spaces in the once-compartmentalized main level now relate to each other via arched openings, while the great-room addition extends the rear with a new master suite above it. Relocating the center staircase to one side created unimpeded views from the foyer to the backyard. New glass windows and doors were also integrated during the process.
“The flow changed completely,” Gorodetzky notes. “While the original house was tight and dark, the new one is well-lit, with tall ceilings and generous halls that draw you in.” Elaborate white-painted woodwork, favored by the owners, crops up in wainscoting, paneling and built-ins throughout.
Interior designer Pamela Harvey helped select materials and finishes and also furnished the home. For her, getting the entry right was the first important step in setting the tone and defining the design direction. “The homeowner would say, ‘I want to be wowed,’ so I designed the foyer to be elegant yet quaint, with the ‘wow factor’ being walls lacquered in a perfect icy blue offset by white wainscoting,” recounts Harvey. “That icy blue and crisp white became our palette for the house.”
The foyer now flows into a small, formal living room with a fireplace and bay window. Harvey used lighting to enhance the room’s symmetry, placing Circa Lighting sconces on either side of the fireplace mantel; matching table lamps flank the sofa in front of the bay window. “I never like to over-furnish, especially a smaller room,” she observes. “With benches and ottomans, a space can accommodate guests without visually compromising the aesthetic.”
Furnishings characterized by clean, classical lines are upholstered in practical white or blue performance fabrics. Skirted host chairs ground the narrow yet open dining room, where leopard-print wallpaper in ice-blue covers the backs of built-in cabinets. The same hue also crops up in a Roman shade finished with a feminine pom-pom fringe.
Dark-stained and white-painted pieces mingle. “We selected the mahogany dining table to complement the traditional vibe and make the overall décor flow with the homeowner’s existing antique pieces,” Harvey explains. “The mix also lends that evolved-over-time vibe.”
To add depth to the white woodwork in the great room, Harvey introduced deeper blues, punchier patterns and statement lighting. The great room faces the open kitchen, which features cabinetry from Stuart Kitchens and Cambria quartz countertops. A custom-designed oak table fits the small eat-in nook.
In the new master bedroom, Harvey enhanced the headboard wall with moldings and a Greek-key grass cloth laid on the diagonal; these elements break up the large, rectilinear space. “This room was all about introducing curves and concave forms,” she says. “The headboard, nightstands and chandelier all make the space softer, romantic and inviting.”
The master bathroom combines luxurious Waterworks tiles in a serene gray-and-white palette. It features a walk-in shower and freestanding tub.
Kelly Formant recalls the moment when she and her husband first laid eyes on the completed home. “After the reveal, we just kept walking through the house, drinking in each beautiful detail,” Kelly enthuses. “We couldn’t believe we live here!”
ARCHITECTURE: George T. Myers, AIA, principal; Tamara Gorodetzky, project architect, GTM Architects, Bethesda, Maryland. INTERIOR DESIGN: Pamela Harvey, Allied ASID, NKBA, Pamela Harvey Interiors, Herndon, Virginia. BUILDER: Sandy Spring Builders, Bethesda, Maryland. LANDSCAPE DESIGN: Green Today Landscaping, Arlington, Virginia.
Sofa & Blue Pillow Fabric: sherrillfurniture.com. Sofa Fabric: sunbrella.com. Stools & Side Tables: hickorychair.com. Bench, Stool Fabric & Pink Pillow Fabric: robertallen.com. Gustavian Tub Chair: wisteria.com. Mirror: modernhistoryhome.com. Table Lamps: eastenterprises.net. Sconces: circalighting.com. Coffee Table: Custom. Art Flanking Fireplace: Lisa Tureson; studioartistica.com through touchstonegallery.com. Chest of Drawers: Antique. Bench: hickorywhite.com.
Dining Table: lillianaugust.com. Dining & Host Chairs: hickorychair.com. Dining-Chair Fabric: kravet.com. Chandelier: Circa Lighting. Roman Shade Fabric: schumacher.com. Trim: kasmirfabrics.com. Roman Shade Fabrication: Custom. Rug: starkcarpet.com. Wallpaper: Beacon Hill through robertallen.com.
Gray Armchairs: lillianaugust.com. Armchair Fabric: schumacher.com. Side Table: globalviews.com. Ottoman: Custom. Ottoman & Drapery Fabrics: johnrobshaw.com. Drapery Fabrication: Custom. Pillow Fabric: ryanstudio.com. Cream Armchair: crlaine.com. Cream Armchair Fabric: kravet.com. Wallpaper in Niche: thibaut.com. Rug: starkcarpet.com.
Cabinets: stuartkitchens.com. Countertop & Backsplash: cambriausa.com. Faucets: kallista.com through ferguson.com. Flooring: classicfloordesigns.info. Barstools: hickorychair.com. Barstool Fabric: estout.com. Stove, Oven & Refrigerator: subzero-wolf.com. Pendants: circalighting.com.
Chandelier: robertabbey.biz. Dining Table: Custom. Dining Chairs: hallmanfurniture.com. Bench: wayfair.com. Dining-Chair & Bench Fabric: sunbrella.com. Rug: surya.com. Drapery Fabric: johnrobshaw.com. Drapery Fabrication: Custom.
Bed: bakerfurniture.com. Headboard Fabric: kravet.com. Chandelier: gabbyhome.com. Bedding: legacylinens.com. Bench: blissstudio.com. Bench Fabric: romo.com. Nightstands: Busbin Designs; 704-374-0501. Table Lamps & Pendant: circalighting.com. Mirrors: phillipsscott.com. Scott. Rug: starkcarpet.com. Arm Chair: lillianaugust.com. Armchair Fabric: romo.com. Table: bernhardt.com. Drapery Fabric: cowtan.com. Wall Covering: thibaut.com.
Bathtub & Floor Tile: waterworks.com. Vanity: ruttcabinetry.com. Countertop: cambriausa.com. Plumbing Fixtures: ferguson.com. Roman Shade Fabric: duralee.com. Ceiling Light & Side Table: wayfair.com. Sconces: circalighting.com.