Home & Design

A work by Claudia Cameron hangs above the living area’s travertine fireplace surround.

Architect Stephen Muse conceived the home in 1994; during its recent update, designer Laura Hur painted the exterior in Farrow & Ball’s Hopper Head.

The owner’s home office feels moody, with artwork sourced at Tappan Collective and walls clad in Portola Paints’ Roman Clay.

The kitchen was updated with lush walnut veneer covering existing cabinetry and gray, honed-quartz countertops; Allied Maker pendants above the island convey an industrial vibe.

In the dining area, a large-scale painting by Joelle Somero overlooks an RH table and Eternity Modern leather chairs.

Seen from the main-floor gallery, the original curved stairway leads to the second level and down to the finished basement.

An inviting lower-level family room beckons the owner and his kids for TV time.The space centers on a Rove Concepts sectional atop a rug from Armadillo.

An adjoining game room features a Design Public ping-pong table and a wall of open shelving from Horne.

A decorative Moroccan ceramic-tile backsplash, framed by black-painted cabinetry, enlivens the kitchenette.

Hur surprised the daughter with a Taylor Swift wall in her bedroom, where Kate Zaremba wallpaper in a pale pink colorway provides a backdrop.

Art from Montana Labelle hangs above an RH bed in the primary bedroom, with treetop views taking center stage; Portola Paints’ Roman Clay imparts a rich cast to the walls.

In the primary bath, a Victoria + Albert soaking tub nestles in an alcove clad in zellige tile.

Existing vanities were updated with new hardware and Rejuvenation mirrors.

The dining area lies beyond a low-slung Stahl + Band sofa; the living and dining zones are unified by industrial-style Apparatus Studio chandeliers.

Wooded Refuge

Lorla Studio elevates an airy DC abode with an eye on refined style and its scenic Rock Creek locale

In Washington, abundant green space creates happy opportunities for city living surrounded by nature. Case in point: Rock Creek Park’s Soapstone Valley, a rolling swath of woods tucked into DC’s Forest Hills neighborhood. Among the sprinkling of modern homes clustered along its fringes, a dwelling masterminded in 1994 by Bethesda architect Stephen Muse takes full advantage of the scenery—one of many reasons a dad with kids aged nine and 13 purchased the house in 2020. “As soon as I walked in, I thought, ‘This is the one,’” recalls the owner, a partner in a venture capital firm. “The sense of serenity and space and connection to the outdoors—it’s like you’re in a forest while you’re in the city. I thought it could be our forever house.”

Set back from the road, the 5,200-square-foot, five-bedroom residence fits seamlessly into its lush landscape. While it reflects a streamlined take on cottage style in front, a wall of windows in back lets nature in. The entry door opens into an airy, two-story front gallery spanning the width of the main floor; wide openings lead into the spacious living/dining room straight ahead and the kitchen to the right. These rear-facing spaces access an expansive deck perfect for al fresco lounging and dining while taking in the sweeping vista. At one end of the gallery, a short, perpendicular wing comprises a home office, laundry, powder room, mudroom and passage to the garage. At the other end, a staircase enclosed in a rounded volume leads up to the primary suite and kids’ ensuite bedrooms.

After purchasing the house, the owner enlisted architect Christian Zapatka to finish the basement; an extensive redo created more livable space comprising a family room, kitchenette, game room, guest suite and luxe gym. Marvels the owner, “We added a wing to the house without having to touch the exterior or change its character.”

Designer Laura Hur of Lorla Studio was tapped to update the interiors with new furniture and finishes. However, the assignment soon snowballed to include structural changes, from bathroom renovations and millwork updates to interior door replacements and a kitchen facelift. Hur also spearheaded the basement finishes and furnishings. Throughout the house, her client “wanted a feeling of casual, sophisticated elegance, chic for entertaining but comfortable for family living,” she recounts. “We also wanted nature to take center stage.”

Together, they homed in on a warm, modern aesthetic. Against a palette of brown, black, gray, tan and cream, the design took shape—spare and modern with a subtly masculine vibe. The color scheme reflects the world outside those expansive windows, as do subdued materials, including custom travertine that replaced a polished, black-marble fireplace surround in the living room; it crops up again above a new, built-in dry bar in the same room. Maple closet doors gave way to walnut versions embellished by sculptural, integrated wood handles. Clay finishes by Portola Paints add richness to the walls of the deep-green home office, the nearly black first-floor bathroom, the primary bedroom and a deep-taupe basement game room. The owner’s bath is clad in custom, hand-applied clay lime plaster. White walls keep the living areas bright—and ensure all eyes are on the panorama outside.

Furnishing the main-floor rooms, Hur opted for selections that would prioritize the view. Low-slung, sculptural seating with curved profiles imparts softness to the home’s innately spare lines. Leather and textural fabrics such as velvet, bouclé and linen convey a luxe feel, paired with aged brass and warm wood frames. “These elements play an important role in keeping the interiors from becoming too modern or cold,” notes the designer.

A new lighting plan replaced clunky recessed lights with less intrusive versions. Apparatus Studio chandeliers introduce an industrial edge to the living/dining area, primary bedroom and lower-level game room. Large-scale abstract canvases throughout the house complement its simple palette.

The kitchen layout stayed the same, but light maple cabinetry was refaced with a richly grained walnut veneer. Integrated handles contribute to an uncluttered sensibility. Black granite countertops were replaced with honed quartz; a waterfall top was introduced on the island to update the look.

The bathrooms throughout the house underwent more thorough makeovers. Hur selected timeless hues of green and pink for the son’s and daughter’s baths, respectively, to ensure staying power. The primary bath showcases a sculptural tub against a wall of creamy zellige tile, conjuring a luxurious, spa-like feel.

The owner and his kids are thrilled with the results of the redo. “It’s a perfect expression of me and what I wanted,” he observes. “Laura created a family home for us. We jelled and she made it a real partnership.”

Hur adds, “Though the house was very much still in the ’90s when we began, it had strong bones and a great layout. It was fun to reimagine it for today.”

Interior, Kitchen & Bathroom Design: Laura Hur, Lorla Studio, Kensington, Maryland. Contractor: JEFFCO Development, Rockville, Maryland. Styling: Courtney Favini.



Home Automation: abenetworks.com.

Sofa: stahlandband.com. Lounge Chairs: lawsonfenning.com. Coffee Table: crumpandkwash.com. Area Rug: armadillo-co.com. Side Table: yuccastuff.com. Table Lamp: dannykaplanstudio.com. Floor Lamp: palefirestudio.com. Pendant Light: apparatusstudio.com. Wall Sconces at Fireplace: visualcomfort.com. Art: Custom by Claudia Cameron. Wall Sconces at Dry Bar: rollandhill.com. Dry Bar Candles: lescollection.com. Ceramics: gisellehicks.com. Wall Paint: Chantilly Lace by benjaminmoore.com.

Table: rh.com. Chairs: eternitymodern.com. Chandelier: apparatusstudio.com. Art: joellesomero.com. Ceramics: bzippyandcompany.com. Wall Paint: Chantilly Lace by benjaminmoore.com.

Table: crumpandkwash.com. Bench: fair-design.com. Chairs: 2modern.com. Wall Sconce: humanhome.co. Counter Stools: luluandgeorgia.com. Island Pendants: alliedmaker.com. Appliances: subzero-wolf.com. Faucets: calfaucets.com. Ceramics: gisellehicks.com. Wall Paint: Chantilly Lace by benjaminmoore.com.

Vanity: Custom. Mirror: gubi.com. Wall Sconces: visualcomfort.com. Faucet: waterworks.com. Walls: Anchor by portolapaints.com.

Desk Chairs: Eames through dwr.com. Sleeper Sofa: westelm.com. Wall Sconces & Rug: luluandgeorgia.com. Artwork: tappancollective.com. Pillow: crateandbarrel.com. Planter: americanplant.store. Coffee Table: cb2.com. Stool: dwr.com. Walls: Lone Park by portolapaints.com.

Soren Globe Light: pinchdesign.com. Artwork: blockshoptextiles.com. Bench: spartan-shop.com. Rug: loloirugs.com. Walls: Chantilly Lace by benjaminmoore.com.

Bedframe: rh.com. Bedside Tables: crofthouse.com. Bedside Table Lamps: crateandbarrel.com. Chandelier: workstead.com. Artwork: montanalabelle.com. Chair: maidenhome.com. Chaise Lounge: crateandbarrel.com. Rug: fowlercarpet.com. Walls: Full Circle by portolapaints.com.

Wall Tile: ziatile.com. Floor Tile: parisceramicsusa.com. Bathtub: vandabaths.com. Plumbing Fixtures: waterworks.com. Ceiling Pendant: Ludovica e Roberto Palomba for Foscarini through lumens.com. Wall Sconces at Vanity: visualcomfort.com. Vanity Mirrors: rejuvenation.com. Bathroom Walls: Custom through theartistsrepublic.net.

Wallpaper: katezaremba.com. Mirror & Table Lamp: westelm.com. Desk Chair: ikea.com. Hanging Chair: serenaandlily.com. Paper Lantern: paperlanternstore.com. Throw Pillows: crateandbarrel.com; target.com.





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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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