Home & Design

The adjacent foyer features a new stairway and sightlines to the gallery and backyard.

Benjamin Moore’s Providence Blue saturates the living room, furnished with a Dmitriy & Co sofa, a sculptural cocktail table and Future Perfect armchairs upholstered in a Kravet textile.

Welch furnished the family room with sofas and a marble coffee table from RH.

The kitchen boasts a mix of cabinets from Quality Custom Cabinetry and Premier Custom-Built.

A dark-stained baking station is topped with oiled walnut.

An Urban Electric fixture and Brewster wallpaper enliven the breakfast room.

An Alison Berger Glassworks chandelier hangs over the stairwell.

Equipped with retractable screens, heaters and fans, the patio is now a year-round hangout.

The lounge and dining chairs are from JANUS et Cie and the teak tables are by RH.

The primary bedroom features a Dmitriy & Co bed, drapes in a Bart Halpern textile and RH Modern swivel chairs.

The primary bathroom was revamped with a tub surround and floor in Calacatta Gold marble tile from Architessa.

A TRNK modular sofa and Four Hands cocktail table occupy the lower level where a custom bar features quartzite countertops. Leathered cabinets flank an antiqued-mirror backsplash.

A Brabbu chandelier makes a dramatic statement in the dining room.

Simply Sublime

A dramatic McLean makeover embraces modern style with a nod to the home’s classic roots

When a young couple toured a five-bedroom McLean home, they saw beyond the traditional, builder-grade embellishments of its 2008 vintage—the mahogany-brown wood floors; copious molding and trim; stacked stone fireplaces; dark-timbered ceilings with fussy corbels; and uninspiring, all-white kitchen. They purchased the 6,567-square-foot residence with a major renovation in mind.

“My wife is from LA; I’m from New York,” says the husband, who is CEO of an IT company. “We wanted to give the house a more modern touch—a sleek, contemporary feel that would reflect the urban environments we come from.”

They quickly assembled the team that would make their vision a reality: interior designer Celia Welch; builder Devin Nasvaderani of Marvel Homes; and Sarah Kahn Turner of Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen & Bath, who worked her magic on the kitchen, basement bar and bathrooms.

“Our clients’ aspiration was a home with their very modern aesthetic, but it was important that we acknowledge its traditional style and neighborhood,” explains Welch, who has a knack for simplifying overdone interiors in the best possible way. “We started by stripping away all the interior trim details, as they felt heavy and fussy without imparting character. Then we thoughtfully added back some architectural elements to evoke the passage of time. We took inspiration from the exterior, which has some French manor house characteristics.”

The first dramatic change transformed the foyer. Previously, guests entered a tight, paneled space lit by a nondescript chandelier set in a tray ceiling. The route to the staircase was blocked by a corner wall that had to be rounded; just as awkward, the stairs ran from the rear of the house to the upper floor. “It was a problematic entry—narrow and not welcoming, with the staircase crammed in the back,” recalls Welch. “And there was no through-view to the backyard.”

Welch, Nasvaderani and architectural engineer Steve Backus set out to overhaul the entrance and reverse the staircase. The resulting space conveys an expanded sense of entry; new sightlines to the backyard bring the outdoors in.

A gallery runs along the rear façade, opening to the living room, kitchen and family room. Welch scrapped its outdated paneling and replaced its trio of French doors with sets of floor-to-ceiling, Arcadia Custom steel-and-glass doors that bring structure, gravitas and light into the space. As the designer observes, “Our aim was to give the home an uncluttered feeling and a sense of ease.”

Her plan also refinished dark floors in a white oak stain, traded brass hardware for bronze and revamped the fireplaces—for example, a timeless mantel in French limestone now graces the living room. Welch updated all the lighting, selecting dramatic fixtures for key spaces—including an Alison Berger fixture that cascades from the second floor all the way down to the foyer.

In a nod to the traditional architecture of the home’s Virginia locale, the designer applied moldings to the dining room walls, seeking “a sense of history,” she says. But rather than going ornate, she specified a clean-lined profile. She also enveloped some spaces in bold colors or, in the case of the breakfast nook, wallpaper. The living room walls and trim are finished in deep blue while the dining room is cloaked in a café-au-lait hue, with the ceiling covered in tone-on-tone wallpaper. Window treatments combine curtain panels and Roman shades in a mixture of linen and wool in neutral tones.

“The home’s palette is mainly soft white, but there are moments of depth, with welcoming blues and rusts,” Welch notes. “When using a deeper color, I often wrap the room in it and eliminate the high contrast between moldings and walls.”

The living room, like the rest of the house, features a mix of modern Italian and bespoke furnishings, contemporary in feel yet sumptuous. Think lush, rounded forms upholstered in tactile linens and velvets. Rugs are hand-knotted wool. In addition to stone elements, leather also found its way into the scheme, cropping up on the kitchen chairs and the lower level bar cabinets.

“The basement design was inspired by California wineries, blending that relaxed lounge vibe with industrial materials,” Welch explains. “We used wood planks on the ceiling and a mixture of metals and industrial elements, but kept them refined and elegant.”

In the kitchen, Kahn Turner preserved the overall floorplan while upgrading dated finishes and cabinetry. “We wanted a classic look, but still casual and livable,” she says. “The black-and-white palette is warmed up with finishes like oiled walnut and natural soapstone for the countertops.” La Dolce Vita quartzite clads the island top and breakfast bar. Meanwhile, open stainless-steel shelving in a blackened finish stretches eight-plus feet across the wall opposite the range, which features a black metal hood.

The intention was to keep things “light and bright” in Kahn Turner’s words, to create a smooth transition to the adjacent family room. This bustling space is outfitted with two L-shaped velvet sectionals fronting a steel fireplace with a light wood mantel matched to beams that have been simplified and restained.

Now the parents of two young children, the owners are thrilled with the home’s new personality. As Welch reflects, “The family wanted a house that felt like home.” Kahn Turner, who worked on their previous residence and initially introduced designer and clients, agrees, “I felt Celia was the perfect match for the owners. I knew she’d be able to mix the existing character of the house with the right elements to achieve the desired transformation.”

Renovation & Interior Design: Celia Welch, Celia Welch Interiors, Chevy Chase, Maryland. Renovation Contractor: Devin Nasvaderani, principal; Steve Backus, architectural engineer, Marvel Homes, Bethesda, Maryland. Kitchen & Bath Design: Sarah Kahn Turner, Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen & Bath, Chevy Chase, Maryland. Styling: Stylish Productions.



Chandelier: brabbu.com. Table & Chairs: contemporaria.com. Drapery Fabric: romo.com. Ceiling Wallpaper: hollyhunt.com; zakandfox.com. Study: holocene-design.com. Paint: Palisade by sherwin-williams.com.

Bench: olivyastone.com. Paint: White Dove by benjaminmoore.com.

Sofa: dmitriyco.com. Pillow Fabric: kravet.com. Chairs: thefutureperfect.com. Chair Fabric: kravet.com. Drapery Fabric: barthalpern.com. Paint: Providence Blue by benjaminmoore.com. Pedestal: westelm.com. Brass Floor Lamp: rh.com. Fireplace: francoisandco.com.

Stools: industrywest.com. Chandelier: lindseyadelman.com. Cabinets: qcci.com. Wood Butcher Block: glumber.com. Countertops: gramaco.com; soapstoneva.com; stoneandtileworld.com. Hood & Hood Fabrication: amoredesignfactory.com. Refrigerator & Freezer: subzero-wolf.com. Metal Shelf Design: Sarah Kahn Turner for gilmerkitchens.com. Metal Shelf Fabrication: premiercb.com. Hardware: topknobs.com. Faucets: brizo.com. Backsplash Tile: architessa.com.

Chairs: boconcept.com. Drum Light: urbanelectric.com. Wall Covering: brewsterwallcovering.com. Shade Fabric: jlambeth.com. Rug: chilewich.com through dwr.com.

Coffee Table, Sectionals & Sectionals Fabric: rh.com. Paint: White Dove by benjaminmoore.com. Roman Shade Fabric: jlambeth.com.

Round Table: rh.com. Lounge Chairs: janusetcie.com. Dining Table: rh.com. Dining Chairs: janusetcie.com. Sconces: frenchmarketlanterns.com. Fan: lumens.com.

Hanging Light: alisonbergerglassworks.com through hollyhunt.com. Paint: White Dove by benjaminmoore.com.

Bed: dmitriyco.com. Light Fixture: ochre.us. Chairs & Chairs Fabric: rh.com. Pedestal: dwr.com. Paint: Chantilly Lace by benjaminmoore.com.

Paint: Chantilly Lace by benjaminmoore.com.

Sectional: trnk-nyc.com. Ottoman: fourhands.com. Bar Stools: roomandboard.com. Light Fixture: boydlighting.com through hinescompany.com. Living Room Paint: Most Etna by Sherwin-williams.com. Bar Paint: Silver Satin by benjaminmoore.com. Pedestal: westelm.com. Table & Countertop Design: Custom by Sarah Kahn Turner for gilmerkitchens.com. Table & Countertop: gramaco.com. Table & Countertop Fabrication: stoneandtileworld.com. Cabinets: premiercb.com. Backsplash: Antique mirror.

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