Home & Design

The ground-level foyer leads to an office, plus stairs and an elevator to the upper floors.

 In the living room, blue textiles on the Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams sofa and side chairs enliven the creamy custom rug by Stark and fireplace-surround tiles from Mosaic Tile.

Cabinets from Snaidero’s Code collection grace the kitchen in a combination of matte lacquer and wood finishes; the ceramic-tile backsplash is from Architessa.

Metallic accents on the Calligaris stools add sparkle.

In the family room, West Elm swivel chairs and a Room & Board cabinet-cum-desk marry style and functionality.

The Rove Concepts coffee table conceals hidden storage.

In the owners’ third-floor bedroom, Lombard took their penchant for jewel tones in a purple direction with window treatments in a Stroheim print and pillows in Christian Fischbacher velvet.

The nighstands and chest are from Bernhardt.

Lombard designed the top-level loft for downtime with the grandkids. The sectional is by Interior Define and the Roman shades are from The Shade Store.

A round custom table surrounded by Calligaris chairs sparks easy conversation in the second-story dining area. Rockville Interiors fabricated the draperies and motorized shades throughout the home.

Old Town Aerie

Diana Lombard outfits a new Alexandria townhouse in chic, sophisticated style for a couple of empty-nesters

It was a life-full-circle moment. Designer Diana Lombard got a call from a couple she’s known since her high school days, when she babysat for their kids. Now grandparents, the duo had recently purchased a four-story townhouse in Old Town Alexandria and hired Lombard to tackle the interiors.

The residence was still under construction in Robinson Landing, a new community on the Potomac, so they asked Lombard to help them select finishes and color palettes along with furnishings. The 3,012-square-foot abode features a foyer and study on the ground floor; a kitchen and living, dining and family rooms on the second floor; a third-story owners’ suite and guest room; and a top-level loft and additional bedroom. “The bones of the structure are really beautiful,” says Lombard. “We had a good foundation to work with.”

The couple requested a departure from the beiges and browns of their former, traditional home. “They wanted to go fresh and modern—clean lines, bright and airy spaces and nothing too heavy or formal,” explains Lombard.

Now that it’s complete, the residents are thrilled with their city retreat. “They enjoy living right on the water,” the designer relates. “The interiors are very functional and tailored to them. The look is sophisticated but also warm, inviting and approachable.”

Why involve an interior designer before construction?
A designer can help clients navigate the process, which is often overwhelming, and create a more cohesive space in terms of materials, finishes and overall vision. It also lets us address the many details that come up, from where to place electrical outlets and light switches to making sure there’s clearance for draperies.

What were your first steps in the project?
The clients’ previous furniture was too big for the townhouse, so we started from scratch. One of the challenges was figuring out the appropriate scale and how to maximize seating, given that the new home is smaller yet they want to be able to host their kids and grandchildren. We studied how big the sofas in the living and family rooms could be and still have clearances for walkways.

What role does lighting play in the home?
I love statement lighting; it’s sort of like jewelry in a space. In this project, choosing the dining room chandelier was a big decision. When you walk up the stairs, it’s the first view you have and we needed something that would be a focal point. The crystal RH chandelier is a touch of glam without being flashy.

Describe your favorite custom details.
The fireplace wall became an accent in the living room. The three-dimensional tile we selected creates depth and serves as abstract art. And the upgraded backsplash tile we chose really changed the look in the kitchen. It’s an elongated hexagon in glazed ceramic from Architessa.

In the family room, what practical elements add functionality?
When the owners are entertaining, the gray leather swivel chairs let guests talk to people in the kitchen and dining area. The coffee table has some hidden storage, which is nice because there’s not a lot of storage in the home. The TV is hung on the wall but can swing out. And in the back corner, we created a workstation; it’s a desk that folds up into a cabinet that is really pretty.

How do you mix textures with success?
Balance is always key. You don’t want so much texture or pattern that elements fight one another. For instance, a velvet sofa might not need a fur pillow on it—their textures are too similar. But if you pair a smooth linen sofa with a chunky throw, they will complement each other well.

What inspired the color palette?
The clients told me they wanted bold, rich, saturated colors, which I love. I developed two color schemes and we ended up deciding on one inspired by jewel tones like blue, dark teal and, in the primary bedroom, purple. I love that the blues echo the home’s proximity to the river. We tempered these shades with more subtle tones. For example, we chose a white rug in the living room, and the kitchen as a whole is very neutral.

How do you guide clients who are downsizing?
You have to look at everything and almost “Marie Kondo” it. Ask yourself, “Do I love it, do I use it and is it going to be valuable in my new space—or is it something I can live without?” It’s about deciding which items you actually need and letting go of those you don’t.

Interior Design: Diana Lombard, Diana Lombard Interiors, Fairfax Station, Virginia. Kitchen Design: Studio Snaidero DC Metro, Alexandria, Virginia. Styling: Kristen Alcorta.

 

ASK DIANA

PHOTO: ANGELA NEWTON ROY

What drew you to design?
Design is a second career for me; I was a professional singer before I knew I wanted a change. I discovered design is a perfect fit. It provides a creative outlet and I really enjoy the people aspect as well.

What color inspires you?
I’m really into green. I’d love to try a chartreuse velvet sofa—maybe even in my own house.

Trend you love?
I love that wallpaper is in right now. I’m a huge fan of bold wallpaper.

Name a treasured furniture piece.
I am lucky enough to have inherited vintage mid-century furniture from my grandparents. One of my favorites is a gorgeous walnut dining table.

How has the pandemic shifted the notion of home?
The pandemic helped people realize the impact an aesthetically pleasing, functionally sound home can have on their mental and physical health.

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