Home & Design

The revamped main floor maintains separate living and dining rooms but imparts a sense of openness.

An unwanted door to the left was removed. Birch-hued grass cloth in the dining room showcases the light-wood custom table by Erik Organic and Noir chairs.

A Rose Tarlow mirror hangs above a bar cart.

Powell Brower extended the organic vibe to the reimagined owners’ suite, where Phillip Jeffries wallpaper is enhanced by sage-green hues to conjure an airy, natural sensibility.

The designers outfitted a niche in the upper hall with a mid-century-style desk and chair.

Custom window treatments frame the views beyond French doors.

Bethany Brower and Nancy Powell, Powell Brower Interiors.

In the living room, a custom sofa faces mid-century chairs and a sculptural fireplace.

Back to Nature

A mother-daughter team brings clean lines and an organic, woodsy vibe to a Falls Church dwelling

After buying their first home, a traditional, 1947 residence in Falls Church, a young couple found they could not see eye to eye on how to decorate it. “Each had their own style and those styles didn’t mesh,” recalls Nancy Powell of Powell Brower Interiors, the mother-daughter design duo tapped to remedy the situation.

“The husband liked an industrial look while the wife was attracted to something warm, charming and kitschy,” adds Bethany Brower, Powell’s daughter. “They were on totally different pages.”

In addition, a series of renovations over the years had left the existing living spaces disjointed and short on storage; in fact, the dining room doubled as a library. Powell and Brower streamlined the spaces, removing an unwanted side door in the living room and incorporating an ingenious hall closet into the adjacent dining room, where it maintains a low profile behind flat-paneled doors papered to match the walls. In the owners’ third-floor bedroom, a closet was eliminated in favor of a symmetrical layout that would gracefully accommodate the bed.

Tackling the couple’s style differences required some finessing. Eventually, Powell and Brower homed in on a whole new look, inspired by the wife’s work in forestry. They kept the living room neutral with rustic and refined wood pieces and channeled an organic vibe in the dining room, where Phillip Jeffries grass cloth the color of birch bark covers the walls, accented by trim in Benjamin Moore’s Garden Oasis. Printed vinyl wall covering in the bedroom conjures the feel of an aerie amongst the trees. Strong-grained hickory floors throughout the home emphasize a connection to nature.

Interior Design: Nancy Powell and Bethany Brower, Powell Brower Interiors, Manassas, Virginia. Contractor: Bedrock Remodeling, Inc., Baltimore, Maryland. Styling: Charlotte Safavi.

Ask the Pros

Advice before embarking on a design project?
Bethany: Arguably more important than what clients do like is what they don’t. When something hits you viscerally, tell your designer so they know where to stretch your tastes and where to mind the fences.

How do you reflect your clients in each project?
Nancy: To capture personalities, we consider lifestyle, tastes and the whole home. We try to showcase personal treasures.

Share a technique you use to create continuity between spaces.
Bethany: Repeating elements like paint color, finishes and materials establishes flow, so things have a “friend” in other spots in the house.

What elements help to marry different materials and finishes?
Nancy: My formula is: black, rugs, art, greenery, glass. That’s the foundation—plus natural materials like wood, stone and metal.
Faux materials can look dated quickly.

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HOME&DESIGN, published bi-monthly by Homestyles Media Inc., is the premier magazine of architecture and fine interiors for the Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia region.

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