Home & Design

 In the living room, a Dmitriy & Co. sofa faces mid-century armchairs re-covered in Dedar fabric.

Larsen drapes pick up the saturated tan found in the neighboring library, where Benjamin Moore’s Tyler Taupe coats the walls.

The revamped butler’s pantry offers shelves for displaying the clients’ vintage glassware collection.

The front entry centers on a rough-hewn, 17th-century Italian table.

Overlooking the back patio, the breakfast nook holds a table and chairs from Design Within Reach that are illuminated by an Urban Electric pendant.

A light, airy feel prevails in the kitchen, where custom Cabriole Studio cabinetry painted in Farrow & Ball’s Drop Cloth is paired with quartz countertops and backsplash. Thomas Hayes Studio stools, upholstered in two Pierre Frey fabrics, pull up to an oak-based island with an Urban Electric pendant above.

In the primary bedroom, new transom windows over the bed bring in light.

Corrie revived mid-century chairs with Rogers & Goffigon fabric and acquired a low-slung vintage table on 1stDibs.

The primary bath features a Cabriole Studio vanity topped with soapstone. Marble tiles clad the floor.

A Kingston Brass Arcticstone tub and a Kohler tub filler anchor one side of the primary bath.

A porch was added to the home’s exterior; the former two-car driveway is now a single, making room for a garden and a direct path from the street to the front door.

Millwork and Pierre Frey grass cloth enliven the dining room; a Lindsey Adelman chandelier lends pizzazz.

Fresh Approach

A traditional Bethesda dwelling marries clean lines and a tailored look

About 15 minutes after seeing it, a couple house-hunting in Bethesda was ready to make an offer. The 1993 abode was uninspiring from the outside—but inside, the potential was obvious.

“We loved the flow, light and tall ceiling height,” recalls one partner, a retired university administrator (his husband is a former corporate executive). “It was well constructed; the building envelope, systems and appliances were in very good shape.” As a bonus, the home is an easy walk from downtown Bethesda and from family who live nearby.

However, the 7,000-square-foot, center hall residence had its drawbacks—first and foremost, a problematic approach to the front door and an oversized driveway that left no room for a garden. Inside, an overwrought aesthetic was characterized by Roman-style columns, excessive crown moldings and strong, saturated colors in each room. The kitchen was dark, the layout of the owners’ bath was strange and there was not enough indoor-outdoor connectivity.

After purchasing the seven-bedroom dwelling, the owners enlisted architect Eric Hurtt and contractor Fajen & Brown to carry out their vision for improvements. In terms of the exterior, “they were concerned with how the house presented to the street,” recounts Hurtt. “They wanted to make it more approachable and pedestrian-friendly.” His plan added a welcoming front porch and narrowed the driveway. Landscape designer Patricia Miller devised a wide stair from the street up to the front entry; a retaining wall; and a garden of boxwood, ferns and textural plants.

The interiors also got an overhaul. “The goal was to increase the connections between interior spaces and the backyard,” Hurtt explains. “The basic structure remains the same, but we changed how rooms interact, tweaking cased openings and building out drywall corners to create a sense of flow or to clarify spaces.”

At the back of the house, an open-plan family room/kitchen accessed the patio via a set of doors on the family room side. Hurtt installed a second door by the kitchen and enhanced the breakfast nook bay by adding transoms and lowering the sills to let in light and views of nature.

To dial back the grandiose sensibility, the architect stripped out excess trim and heavy ceiling coffers; removed the outmoded columns; and modified overscaled fireplace walls in both the living and family rooms with understated soapstone surrounds. At the same time, he added new architectural elements to impart character—case in point, a small front room became a library with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and cozy window seats. Tall, clean-lined wainscoting now elevates the dining room.

With much of the architectural work complete, the owners tapped interior designer Paul Corrie to spearhead furnishings and finishes, and to collaborate with Hurtt on kitchen and bath renovations. “We worked with the clients to develop a cohesive and thoughtful design,” Corrie relates. “They wanted a gentleman’s abode that would incorporate their art collection and existing furniture.”

To create the look they were after, the designer embraced an earthy, neutral palette, adding visual interest via strong, nubby textures in upholstery and draperies and a grass-cloth wall covering in the dining room. Muted Oriental rugs ground the main areas, where numerous mid-century pieces belonging to the clients have been re-covered in knit and woven fabrics. To make a statement in the large front entry hall—a connector to the library, living and dining rooms—Corrie selected a massive, 17th-century Italian walnut table from 1stDibs. “It was the first piece I found for them and they loved it,” he recalls, “so I knew we were off to a good start.”

The original kitchen had an L-shaped layout, dark-wood cabinetry and a small, insufficient window. Hurtt designed a more open layout around a large island with an oak base and quartz countertop; the window became a French door with sidelites and a transom. Cabriole Studio cabinetry was designed by Hurtt to span the back wall, and Corrie selected the soft beige cabinet color, along with lighting, stools and breakfast nook furniture. A tight butler’s pantry between the kitchen and dining room was overhauled with widened door openings and new cabinetry.

Hurtt and Corrie also revamped the primary bathroom, part of the second-floor owners’ suite. In its original iteration, the space was oddly organized, with two WCs, facing vanities and a shower enclosure stuck in the middle of the room. “It was a convoluted layout,” Hutt explains. “You had to walk around the shower.” The architect eliminated one WC and anchored an oak vanity topped with soapstone on one side with the shower opposite. A soaking tub is centered between the two zones. Large- format marble clads floors and shower walls and lighting chosen by Corrie conveys a vintage-modern look.

With the renovation complete, the owners are thrilled with their reimagined abode. “Despite its size, it feels warm and cozy. It has really been transformed into a home,” observes the former executive. “The design has allowed us to combine our eclectic art, book and furniture collections—the things we’ve collected over time that bring us joy. And there’s nothing better than sitting on the front porch and connecting with passing neighbors.”

Renovation Architecture: Eric B. Hurtt, AIA, NCARB, Hill & Hurtt Architects, Washington, DC. Interior Design: Paul Corrie, Paul Corrie Interiors, Washington, DC. Renovation Construction: Fajen & Brown, Hyattsville, Maryland. Landscape Design: Patricia Miller, PL Miller & Company, Inc., Laytonsville, Maryland.



Window Treatment Fabrication: knightsbridgeinteriors.com. Millwork: cabriolestudio.com.

Table & Chairs: Owners’ collection. Chair Upholstery & Wallpaper: pierrefrey.com.  Millwork: fajenbrown.com. Chandelier: lindseyadelman.com. Drapery Fabric: dedar.com. Rug: mattcamron.com.

Sofa: dmitriyco.com. Sofa Fabric: pierrefrey.com. Armchairs: Owners’ collection. Armchair Fabric: dedar.com. Coffee Table: 1stdibs.com. Bench by Fireplace: olystudio.com. Bench by Fireplace Fabric: dedar.com. Painting over Fireplace: Owners’ collection. Drapery Fabric: larsenfabrics.com. Rug: mattcamron.com.

Leather Armchairs, Ottomans & Rug: Owners’ collection. Ottomans & Drapery Fabric: zakandfox.com. Roman Shade Fabric: larsenfabrics.com.

Desk: 1stdibs.com. Corner Chair & White Framed Canvas: Owners’ collection. Light Fixture: urbanelectric.com.

Cabinetry: cabriolestudio.com. Stools: thomashayesstudio.com. Stool Fabric: pierrefrey.com. Light Fixture: urbanelectric.com.

Table & Chairs: dwr.com. Pendants: urbanelectric.com.

Bedding: rh.com. Chairs: Owners’ collection. Chair Fabric: rogersandgoffigon.com. Round Occasional Table: 1stdibs.com. Bench: lawsonfenning.com. Bench Fabric: pierrefrey.com. Rug: mattcamron.com. Drapery Fabric: calvinfabrics.com. Low Table & Candle Holders: 1stdibs.com. Art Above Low Table: Owners’ collection.

Vanity: cabriolestudio.com. Sconces: urbanelectric.com. Flooring: annsacks.com. Occasional Table: olystudio.com. Tub Filler: kohler.com. Café Curtain Behind Tub: dedar.com.



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