Home & Design

Extra-tall, steel-and-glass front doors make a bold first impression.

In the great room, a fireplace wall clad in custom black millwork contrasts with a white-leather Vanguard sectional. The chandelier is by Visual Comfort.

Ammon covered the walls of the dining room in Phillip Jeffries grass cloth, an elegant backdrop for a custom dining table of her own design, fabricated by Chaddock Home.

The kitchen combines Shaker-style cabinets and Calacatta Cremo Delicato marble countertops. Stainless-steel appliances and English brass hardware complete the look.

A guest room sports navy Phillip Jeffries grass-cloth wall covering with a grid of gold rivets.

A fresh blue-and-green palette prevails in Ammon's daughter’s room.

Her son’s room is playfully decorated with skim boards.

Designer Bonnie Ammon.

Bonnie Ammon’s Cape Cod-style vacation home nestles along 250 feet of private beach on Lake Anna.

Smooth Transition

Designer Bonnie Ammon blends traditional and modern elements in her own vacation retreat on Virginia’s Lake Anna

Bonnie Ammon turned the old adage about the cobbler’s shoes on its head when she redesigned the getaway she’s shared with her family of four since 2005. The six-bedroom, 5,024-square-foot Cape Cod in Bumpass, Virginia, was picture-perfect on the outside. Inside, however, it had long needed an update. “With so many job sites shutting down in early 2020 due to covid, I finally had some time,” recalls Ammon, who updated the kitchen and five bathrooms and elevated the interiors with built-ins, moldings, new flooring “and everything else that goes into a home.” The finished abode embraces timeless style and is an idyllic spot for hosting friends and family.

As a designer, what were the challenges to decorating your own home?
With my clients, I never question my choices—but knowing there is so much to choose from made committing hard. Also, I love the collaboration with clients; doing my own home showed me how much I cherish teamwork.

How would you sum up the décor?
I call it livable luxury, with pops of color, touches of glamour and drama throughout. Each room was designed to provide a new experience while maintaining harmony and flow. I used lots of texture and organic materials to create a sense of refinement. A combination of mixed metals further enhances the aesthetic interest.

What was the vision behind the look?
This is our secondary home, not just a vacation place. We wanted our guests to feel as if they had checked into a luxurious B&B—not a cliché-type lake house with fish hanging on the walls and traditional shiplap siding. This is meant to be a retreat away from the hustle and bustle, a place to gather, recharge, spend time and truly enjoy family and friends.

How did the waterfront setting inform your choices?
It was imperative to use materials that can withstand the elements and wear-and-tear of daily lakeside living—from tracking in sand to coping with wet dogs. Hardwood flooring cleans up easily and I used lots of indoor-outdoor textiles and wipeable leather.

What drove your color palette?
Views of the water, blue sky, mature trees and our sandy beach were instrumental in forming my palette. I also relied on high- and low-contrast combinations, using a white backdrop in the main area to emphasize pops of color.

Share a highlight of the home.
A front door sets the tone for any home, as it’s a preview of what’s to come. The experience of this house starts with custom double front doors. They’re made of black metal and glass and they make a statement while inviting your eye through the house and out to the water.

How did your remodel alter the kitchen? 
It was a typical ’90s space. The island was a two-tiered, 45-degree L with a bulkhead above. The stove was on the perimeter wall, so my back was always to people sitting at the island. I removed the bulkhead and created a 10-foot rectangular island with a cooktop—which also allows for that golden working triangle.

Did you keep any furniture in the redesign?
The only thing I kept was the dining room table. It was the first piece of furniture I had ever designed and it was made for the lake house. It’s a farm table but it’s elegant because of its scale; it can seat 12. The dining room design grew to include other elements such as the whimsical embroidered pink butterflies on the wall that create movement as they surround the mirror.

What patterns do you favor?
I’m not a floral girl. I do like geometric patterns; I find that the eye is always drawn to them. I use them in textiles, trim, carpets and wall coverings. But because geometrics are bold and graphic, I do feel that a little goes a long way.

How did you approach lighting?
I’m drawn to scale, strength and simplicity, and I like to mix metals. A fixture has to wow me. Here, I used Philips Hue smart bulbs, which can be controlled via cell phone and offer a choice of color, shade and intensity to suit different moods. We like a nightclub vibe while sipping a cocktail and listening to music.

What’s your favorite color?
I love fuchsia; it brings out the little girl in me and makes me smile. However, knowing it’s a bold color, I use it sparingly as an accent.

Are neutrals over?  
All-gray or -beige rooms have taken a backseat to color. White is the latest go-to neutral; it’s the perfect backdrop to allow a room to come to life through punches of color and texture.

What makes the strongest statement in a room? 
Cohesiveness. It’s so important to strike the right harmonious balance between scale, texture, pattern
and color.

What makes you happy at home?
The things I love! I surround myself with pops of color, personal photos, artwork that evokes emotions and furniture that lets me relax.

What is your favorite room to design? 
The bedroom. It’s the place we spend the most time in—the first thing we see in the morning and the last thing we see at night.

Interior Design: Bonnie Ammon, Bonnie Ammon Interiors, Leesburg, Virginia. Styling: Charlotte Safavi.


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