Home & Design

Just off the kitchen, the breakfast nook conveys an organic vibe, pairing rattan chairs with a rough-hewn wood table, all from Flamant; a woven pendant completes the look.

The home’s traditional front façade centers on an elegant yet welcoming entry enhanced by copper accents.

The dining room was designed with the RH chairs and Parsons table in mind. A chandelier sourced through Rocky Mountain Hardware keeps the space fresh and modern.

Handcrafted Rutt cabinetry is offset by crisp-white quartz countertops and a glazed-tile backsplash in the kitchen. 

A full outdoor kitchen features a built-in grilling station and room for al fresco dining. Landscape architect Joseph Richardson masterminded the hardscape and plantings.

The adjoining bath boasts a Waterworks tub flanked by custom Rutt vanities stained a rich honey color.

A Provençale sensibility prevails in the owners’ bedroom, where an RH four-poster stands beneath white oak ceiling beams.

Michael Winn, Winn Design + Build. Portrait: Angela Newton Roy.

Designer Natascha Folens helped decorate the family room, where Studio McGee chairs and a rustic wood coffee table gather before a custom limestone fireplace.

Fine Patina

Builder Mike Winn and his wife Melinda bring a touch of Old World style to their welcoming custom home in McLean

Mike and Melinda Winn first purchased a 1,500-square-foot Cape on a picturesque street in McLean with a future renovation and addition in mind. Eight years and two kids later, they were ready to take the plunge—but their program changed when they discovered serious structural problems in the residence, which was built in 1958. “The basement was continually flooding and the foundation was heaving because a large hill in back was causing hydronic pressure,” says Mike Winn. “We had lead, we had asbestos—the list went on.”

As the founding principal of Winn Design + Build, he knew when it was time to go into tear-down mode. Collaborating with DC-based Harrison Design, Winn and his staff conceived a significantly larger dwelling—6,000 square feet including a finished basement—that would better accommodate the family’s needs while also matching the scale and resale value of the neighboring houses. “When the kids go to college and we’re ready to start the next chapter, we probably won’t stay here,” Winn observes. “We have an eye towards that.”

The design team set the new, five-bedroom, five-and-a-half-bath home as close to the street as possible to maximize the backyard and leave space for terracing on two levels, which addresses flooding issues by relieving hydronic pressure on the foundation. The garage is street-facing, enhanced by attractive carriage doors and obscured by an offset drive and stand of tall shrubbery. The harmonious front façade features a steel double front door flanked by squared window bays clad in nickel-groove siding.

The home channels a French Provincial vibe, to which Mike and Melinda, a homemaker, found themselves drawn while collecting images and inspiration during the project’s early stages. “The style of the house is fairly traditional. We didn’t want it to look new,” Winn relates. To this end, he asked the masons to lay brick “kind of sloppily,” he says. “Normally, they would make the mortar flush with the brick, but we had them leave it.” ReCote, a thick finish containing a sand aggregate, creates a light, stucco-like coating over the brick. It’s custom-colored to contrast with the trim, which is painted a battleship-gray hue. Adding to the Provençale-influenced, older-home appearance are cedar roof shingles with copper gutters and downspouts intended to weather over time.

The front door opens to a wide, airy hallway with the dining room on one side and a music room and study on the other. At the back of the house, the family room/kitchen flows into a light-filled breakfast nook and leads to a mudroom as well as a spacious screened porch; the open-plan space connects to the dining room via a butler’s pantry. The owners’ suite, kids’ en-suite bedrooms, laundry room and Mike Winn’s home office are upstairs while the finished basement encompasses a rec room outfitted for entertaining with a well-appointed marble-topped bar and mirrored-tile backsplash, a pool table and an area for TV watching. A kids’ playroom and guest suite are also on the lower level.

The interiors nod to the older-home sensibility with wide-plank, light-stained white oak floors; steel stair railings in a living finish that will become patinaed over time; and oak beams from Wellborn + Wright in the family room and owners’ suite. The kitchen is a standout, with a Lacanche range continuing the French theme; it’s topped by a custom hood clad in plaster that also covers the kitchen ceiling. Transitional, gray-painted Rutt cabinetry is complemented by white-quartz counters and a highly glazed, square-tile backsplash “that changes with the light,” notes Winn. The Miele fridge and freezer towers are paneled while smaller appliances are concealed within cabinetry for a clean, uncluttered look.

When it came to furnishings, “it took a village,” comments Winn, whose firm doesn’t specify furniture and who admits to feeling overwhelmed by the choices. He and his wife turned to Great Falls- and Belgium-based designer Natascha Folens for help with selections in the kitchen and family room and chose some fixtures and finishes themselves. Still ahead two years after the project’s completion: selecting furniture and artwork for the less trafficked spaces—and converting the music room, which became a classroom during the pandemic, back to its original use. Explains Winn, “Some places in the house were less of a priority. We decided to take our time and do it right.”

Architectural Design & Contracting: Michael Winn, Winn Design + Build, Falls Church, Virginia. Consulting Architect: Harrison Design, Washington, DC. Landscape Architecture: Joseph Richardson, PLA, ASLA, Joseph Richardson Landscape Architecture, Washington, DC.   


Mike Winn's Trade Secrets

How do you know when to renovate and when to tear down?
It depends on where you’re putting your money. If it’s going into things that aren’t going to give you a return—like a new roof, which is not going to increase your property value—it’s probably not a good place for your dollars.

Do you design spaces with existing furniture in mind?
We do that early in a design program. Furniture-planning in the early stages of schematic design is very important.

What’s the future of “farmhouse modern?”
I think it might be on its way out. We’ve been trying to subtly steer people away from it. I feel like it’s such a trendy look.

How do you make a small bathroom feel larger?
This was an issue in our house, especially in the case of our daughter’s bath, which is tucked into a small space. We gave both kids’ bathrooms curb-less showers and floating vanities. They would feel smaller without those elements.

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