Home & Design

Antique lanterns and vintage glazed vessels welcome guests on arrival.

The library’s paneling is softened by a milk-silvered pine faux finish.

A new steel door brings light to the entry, where the stair has been simplified and pendants from Hines & Company illuminate an Edward Finnegan graphite-on-paper.

In the dining room, Vibia’s Match lighting system crowns a custom-lacquered raffia table and Louis XVI chairs from 1stDibs. Métaphores’ Lagune Dune drapery panels underscore the neutral palette.

A painting commissioned by Carter adds his signature jolt of color.

In the kitchen, Lococo and Carter leaned into the home’s new, modern sensibility with a monolithic island that combines custom, white cabinetry and black Cambria countertops. Disc pendants from Illuminations offer ample task lighting.

Landscape architect Jennifer Horn shaped the outdoor spaces to complement the clean lines of the home. Mature hornbeam trees impart a European sensibility to the limestone courtyard, accessible from the kitchen through sliding steel doors.

A sculpture conceived by Lococo and executed in PVC and vinyl adorns the lawn. Along a nearby window bay, Hyperion daylilies and brunnera are bookended by Lacecap hydrangea.

Horn leveled the yard to accommodate the relocated pool; it occupies a spot just off the courtyard with clear sight lines to the kitchen.

Pristine white walls envelop the primary suite.

In the airy bedroom, a new, arched ceiling and understated wall of cabinetry are a modern contrast to a 19th-century Italianate pedestal table.

The primary bath pairs Kohler’s Iron Works cast-iron clawfoot tub with a reclaimed alabaster pendant found on 1stDibs.

A Stephanie Bachiero sculpture and a coffee table of honed Pietro marble stand out amid the library’s hushed tones.

State of Grace

A reimagined Bethesda abode merges serenity and streamlined elegance

Snowy white textiles, collectible art and carefully curated antiques don’t usually mix with the patter of little feet, but in this Bethesda home the elegant setting doesn’t hinder playtime one bit. Quite the opposite: In the library, the smooth curves of a sculpture by Stephanie Bachiero have become an unexpected jungle gym for two youngsters-in-residence. “No surface was so precious as to be off-limits,” says interior designer Darryl Carter. “The children have full run of the house, so the predominant goal was to create an environment that was kid-friendly.”

The owners, two busy professionals, called on Carter and architect Donald Lococo when it was time to renovate their builder-grade abode. Years earlier, the design duo had remodeled the wife’s parents’ house to much acclaim and the couple hoped to recreate that magic in their own home. They teamed with Horizon Builders, the firm that had collaborated on the previous remodel as well. “They wanted to reassemble the dream team,” jokes Lococo.

Frequent partners in design, Lococo and Carter are both renowned for their aesthetic restraint and their ability to synthesize classical architectural motifs and modern elements—an approach that proved useful for this project. Built in 1965, the 13,216-square-foot manse has a sprawling layout featuring a central hall entry flanked by the library and the dining room; the kitchen is on the opposite side of the dining area. Seven bedrooms are spread over three levels, with most situated on the second floor.

An exaggerated French façade was exemplified by overly ornamental limestone details and an oeil-de-boeuf window. To refine the exterior, Lococo streamlined the limestone trim and swapped out the ovoid window for something more understated. He then skimmed the brick with a creamy, stucco-like finish that “allows the brick to ghost through so you see its texture but not its color,” he says. Steel-framed windows and doors replaced the old ones to give the home a more European flavor. “Darryl suggested the house skewed Belgian modern, and that spearheaded the direction of the details,” Lococo explains.

“What Donald did was return the house to a purer state,” Carter adds. “Doing away with some of the decorative elements lends it a more modern sensibility.”

A similar mindset prevailed inside, where Lococo and Carter embraced the existing segmental arch openings throughout the home but nixed many of the interior’s fussier flourishes. Out went elaborate fireplace mantels in favor of sleek stone surrounds, and overdone crown molding was replaced by inset ceiling trim that evokes artisanal plasterwork of yore, but rendered in a fresh way. Walls received a mottled finish that lends a sense of age but still feels contemporary. “The thought was to elevate the interior trim details by reducing them,” observes Lococo. “I think the success lay in making the interior architecture traditional but questioning those details that we see time and time again.”

One exception was the primary bedroom, where embellishments were added: Lococo raised the ceiling to create a barrel vault which subtly echoes the segmental arches that appear throughout the home. “That arc helps transition from the public spaces to the most private and brings cohesiveness,” he says.

To further unify the rooms, Carter finished the oak floors in a blond hue that established a quiet ground for layering furnishings and art. “We had a shared design language and sense of palette,” he says of himself and the clients. “I am prone to environments that are relatively neutral, but I always like to use a splash of color in the art.” Here, he chose a bold saffron painting that unfolds like origami over three walls of the dining room. Other notable pieces include artworks by Edward Finnegan and Purvis Young, as well as a wide range of heirloom furnishings. “When you bring antiques into a more modern setting, their patina alone makes the environment more tactile and approachable,” the designer notes.

Alongside such rarefied finds, Carter incorporated durable indoor-outdoor fabrics throughout the home to stand up to the kids’ wear and tear. And to ensure there would be places to stash toys, snacks and other necessities, Lococo hid storage in plain sight: The living room paneling conceals built-ins and the primary suite features a wall of stealth drawers. In the kitchen, cabinets were so cleverly concealed as paneling that the wife called Lococo after moving in, panicked that there wasn’t enough storage. The architect showed up and started pulling open hidden drawers.

More visual sleight of hand occurred outside in the form of a living sculptural element. Landscape architect Jennifer Horn created a courtyard terrace of reclaimed French limestone selected by Carter, then planted four mature hornbeam trees that appear to burst forth from the stone, which actually cantilevers above the soil. Horn also leveled out the sloped lot and relocated the swimming pool to improve its sight lines. At the property’s edge, she devised a wall cloaked by a row of arborvitae to frame the woods beyond the house. “We really wanted to distill the landscape down to its purest elements: water, grass, trees, stone,” says Horn. “I think that’s in accordance with what Donald and Darryl were doing with the house.”

With that kind of synchronicity among the design team, it’s no wonder the collaboration rendered such harmonious results. Lococo and Carter have often said they’re so in tune that they finish one another’s sentences. “When we work together it’s a very fluid process, like there’s one brain doing it,” avers Lococo.

Carter concurs. “It’s great to work with an architect who shares a similar sensibility because it makes the collaboration a lot easier. It’s to the betterment of the project at large.”

Renovation Architecture: Donald Lococo, AIA, NCARB, Donald Lococo Architects, Washington, DC. Interior Design: Darryl Carter, Darryl Carter, Inc., Washington, DC. Renovation Contractor: Horizon Builders, Annapolis, Maryland. Landscape Architecture: Jennifer Horn, RLA, Horn & Co. Landscape Architecture, Arlington, Virginia. Home Automation: A.B.E. Networks, Rockville, Maryland.


Sofa & Fabric: hollyhunt.com. Wood-Framed Chairs: newel.com. Wood-Framed Chair Fabric: hollyhunt.com. Coffee Table: Custom through darrylcarter.com. Rug: starkcarpet.com. Sculpture: Stephanie Bachiero through peterblakegallery.com. Music Stand & Clawfoot Stool: 1stdibs.com.

Console: Custom by darrylcarter.com. Sculpture: Senufo through trocadero.com. Artwork: Edward Finnegan. Floor Runner: dorisleslieblau.com. Stair Runner: starkcarpet.com. Stair Railing: donaldlococoarchitects.com. Ceiling Fixtures: vaughandesigns.com.

Ceiling Fixture: illuminc.com. Table & Chairs: Custom through darrylcarter.com. Chair Fabric: brentanofabrics.com through hollyhunt.com. Drapery: metaphors.com. Artwork: Custom through darrylcarter.com.

Cabinetry: donaldlococoarchitects.com. Backsplash, Countertop & Island: caesarstoneus.com. Faucet: jaclo.com. Island Lighting: illuminc.com.

Bedstead & Bedding: Custom through darrylcarter.com. Table Lamps: shop.thedpages.com. Reading Lights on Wall: illuminc.com. Overhead Lighting: remains.com. Pedestal Table & Chest: 1stdibs.com. Art in Window: Purvis Young. Rug: starkcarpet.com.

Clawfoot Tub: kohler.com. Ceiling Fixture, Mirror & Foot Stool: 1stdibs.com. Tub Filler: newportbrass.com.

Wall Lanterns: vintage. Yellow Sculpture: donaldlococoarchitects.com. Chaise Lounges: knoll.com.





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