Home & Design
Hammered-steel base Julian Chichester dining room table and a hand-knotted, wool-and-silk rug
Hammered-steel base Julian Chichester dining room table and a hand-knotted, wool-and-silk rug

A photograph of Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia makes a bold statement in the dining room. The hammered-steel base of the Julian Chichester table and a hand-knotted, wool-and-silk rug from C. G. Coe & Son add subtle contrast.

Kitchen walnut base cabinetry and white upper cabinets
Kitchen walnut base cabinetry and white upper cabinets

Meyer redesigned the kitchen with custom walnut base cabinetry and white upper cabinets to make the ceiling appear higher.

TV room with custom oak built-in and cozy furnishings
TV room with custom oak built-in and cozy furnishings

The TV room  houses a custom oak built-in and cozy furnishings, from an American Leather sleep sofa to Hickory Chair ottomans covered in suede.

Powder room with shimmery Philipp Jeffries wallpaper
Powder room with shimmery Philipp Jeffries wallpaper

A moody vibe prevails in the powder room thanks to shimmery Philipp Jeffries wallpaper.

Theodore Alexander bed with Romo fabric
Theodore Alexander bed with Romo fabric

In the owners’ bedroom, the Theodore Alexander bed is dressed in Romo fabric.

Side chair by Theodore Alexander with Holly Hunt cut velvet pillow
Side chair by Theodore Alexander with Holly Hunt cut velvet pillow

A side chair, also by Theodore Alexander, sports pillows in Holly Hunt cut velvet.

Custom built-in and a desk create a home workspace in bedroom
Custom built-in and a desk create a home workspace in bedroom

On the opposite wall in the owners' bedroom, a custom built-in and a desk create a home workspace.

Owners bath with custom oak vanity and shower tile from Architessa
Owners bath with custom oak vanity and shower tile from Architessa

The owners’ bath boasts a custom oak vanity and shower tile from Architessa.

Sculptural tub in owners bathroom
Sculptural tub in owners bathroom

A photograph by the husband hangs above a sculptural tub.

Interlude game table with chairs
Interlude game table with chairs

An Interlude game table is ready to host guests.

Modern Direction

A retired couple embarks on a new life in an airy Chevy Chase condo boldly reimagined by designer Sandra Meyer

Modern Direction - The prospect of downsizing from a grand, Shaker-style home to a two-bedroom condo was daunting enough.

But a couple relocating from Connecticut also had to contend with woefully outdated interiors in their new Chevy Chase digs. So before moving south, the twosome hired designer Sandra Meyer to overhaul the entire residence and outfit it in fresh, modern style.

“It was a gut renovation,” recalls Meyer. “We took the apartment down to the studs and replaced all the floors, doors and trim.” The makeover focused on creating comfortable yet chic spaces that could play multiple roles. A game table and reading nook add functionality to the living area, while the TV room houses a sleep sofa to accommodate overflow guests.

The owners envisioned a streamlined departure from the traditional look of their former manse, so Meyer pushed the décor in a modern direction. “I’ve found that when downsizing, many of my clients drastically change their style,” she reports. “I did one huge presentation for these clients and they didn’t say no to a thing.”

When they finally moved into the finished home, the owners were thrilled with every space, from the living area that revolves around entertaining to the sunny kitchen complete with bespoke cabinetry. Recalls Meyer, “They were pretty blown away.”

What role does texture play in the living room?
I used a combination of velvets, linens and reflective fabrics throughout. The living room sofa is covered in Zimmer + Rohde velvet while accent pillows in a Great Plains viscose cotton add sheen. There’s a simplicity to the room because the colors are very even; if we hadn’t added so much texture, it wouldn’t look as sophisticated.

Why was this apartment renovation tricky?
In this project, the ceilings are cement so we couldn’t add recessed lights. I had to get creative.

Do you employ lighting to create drama?
Lighting is a central part of a room, especially when you’re going for a statement. I love the Moooi fixture we found at Illuminations for the dining room. Little LEDs come out of the bottom and reflect on the mesh above.

How did you visually expand the kitchen height?
The kitchen has low ceilings, so I chose white upper cabinets that don’t extend all the way to the top, which makes the space feel airier. And I didn’t use hardware on the upper cabinets so they’d look super-clean.

What drove your countertop and backsplash choices?
We selected white quartz, which is very versatile, for the countertops, and a marble backsplash to add a bit of movement and tie it all together.

What is key to a successful kitchen redo?
I look at kitchens as a whole in terms of style and function. I’m a stickler on making sure you know where everything is going to go and how you’re going to use it.

Explain your strategy on designing built-ins outside the kitchen?
I think about function first and then I determine whether I want a wood or a painted finish. This decision depends on whether you prefer a built-in to stand out like a piece of furniture or recede to showcase what’s on display.

Is it okay to mix woods?
In a palette on a board, we designers get concerned about things working together perfectly. But in reality, I think just about any woods can work together. After all, woods are together in nature.

How did you take the powder room in a glam direction?
Often, clients who come to me for a cleaner aesthetic want to go all out in their powder rooms. In this project, it was about making the powder room super moody. We selected Phillip Jeffries wallpaper, which is very reflective, and I painted the ceiling gray.

What drove your design of the owners’ bedroom?
They wanted something serene. My goal was to make sure the room wasn’t too cold, given all the windows. We draped them like crazy in a sheer Romo fabric with stripes that add a bit of interest. All of the fabrics have a ton of texture and the wall-to-wall carpet is tonal but has an abstract pattern.

Why was the owners’ bath a challenge?
When we ripped out an old Jacuzzi tub in the space, we realized the drain had been raised. Fortunately, we were able to drill down into the cement to get it out.

Explain your approach for clients who are downsizing.
As I did in this apartment, it’s important to make sure that every space has multiple uses.

Renovation & Interior Design: Sandra Meyer, Ella Scott Design, Bethesda, Maryland. Renovation Contractor: Ted Floros, FRP Contractors, Gaithersburg, Maryland. Millwork Fabrication: D. William Sapp, Definitive Resources, Brinklow, Maryland. Styling: Charlotte Safavi.

 

ASK SANDRA

Interior Designer Sandra Meyer

PHOTO: STACY ZARIN GOLDBERG

What furniture possessions will you keep forever?
I’ll never part with my 1960s orange vellum-covered side tables from David Bell Antiques.

Share your favorite retails sources.
Crump & Kwash in Baltimore and Coil + Drift and Fair in New York. And CB2 for accessories and kids’ furniture.

How do you kick off a project?
I don’t have a rule. Sometimes I start brainstorming floorplans, then develop an idea for furniture. Or I’ll start with fabrics.

What's a bold move you want to try?
I’d like to use more colors—like burgundy, green or turquoise—in bathrooms I design.

Modern Direction - What makes or breaks an interior?

Lighting is my favorite thing. There are certain elements you might not notice in a room, but a light is hard to miss. When considering where to spend, lighting is not where you should cheap out.

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