Home & Design

Meandering up to an agrarian property in Centreville, Maryland, a pea-gravel driveway intentionally sets an even slower pace. Visitors are meant to savor the pastoral scene along the way, as a majestic, multi-structure estate and wraparound water views magically unfold.

David Williams, a business investor, had dreamed of owning such a place for decades. Securing a 150-acre point of land on the Eastern Shore’s Chester River provided a great start. David and wife Kathryn, who reside in nearby Annapolis, then enlisted architect Cathy Purple Cherry to conceive a grand yet welcoming getaway. “The vision was to create a generational compound that would consist of various functions to support their family and friends for years to come,” reveals the architect.

Under her site plan, the main house anchors nine thoughtfully positioned outbuildings—a gatehouse, guest house, garage, party barn, carriage house, pottery studio, sheep shed, pool house and boathouse. Additionally, there’s a bespoke playhouse for the couple’s eight-year-old daughter and a growing gaggle of grandchildren. (David has four adult children from a previous marriage.)

As the husband imagined it, the principal abode would sit on a gentle rise overlooking the river. One hitch: The terrain was flat. “First we had to create a knoll within the horseshoe of the shoreline,” recounts Purple Cherry. The team, which included builder GYC Group and Campion Hruby Landscape Architects, undertook a colossal grading effort to raise the construction site by five feet.

David Williams also had in mind a romantic design concept, focused on making the new house appear old. “He was committed to a traditional, Georgian-style home, with a center core and flanking pieces so it would look like it evolved over time and grew as a multi-century home,” Purple Cherry relates. “The massing is my response. It’s a symmetrical layering of structures.”

A mix of exterior building materials bolsters the Old World aesthetic while respecting rural vernacular. The core’s white-painted brick transitions to horizontal lap siding, which, in turn, segues to vertical board and batten. “As you come away from the formal house, siding on the appendages breaks down the mass,” explains the architect, who specified durable fiber-cement products from James Hardie. “We blended Georgian architecture with farmhouse style.”

At 24,000 square feet, the main dwelling indulges the owners’ every programmatic wish. A library lies to the right of the front center hall and the dining room sits opposite. Two seating areas in the rear center core constitute the social hub. A den, the husband’s office and a billiards room with a bar occupy the right appendage. The butler’s pantry, kitchen, casual-dining area and mudroom are situated on the left. Purple Cherry positioned a stair at each end.

And bedrooms abound. The second floor comprises the primary suite and five more ensuite roosts, while the third floor houses his-and-her bunk rooms along with two other guest quarters. The lower level’s pièce de résistance is a brick dining/wine room with a barrel-vaulted ceiling.

Oodles of glass usher in natural light and splendor. “This property has magnificent views, so we put glass in the right places to make those connections,” says Purple Cherry. Lining the main home’s core, transom-topped French doors also encourage al fresco living; they open onto a covered back veranda bookended by a pair of screened porches. Adds the architect, “There’s inside-outside engagement at all times.”

Campion Hruby developed a landscape plan to elevate that engagement while preserving much of the original tract, some of which is still farmed. “The idea was to ground the entire experience in the daily narrative of Eastern Shore living,” shares principal Kevin Campion, who collaborated with firm partner Meredith Beach on the project. “We created spaces where the agriculture and their lifestyle could exist in harmony. There are lots of places to gather, and that was really part and parcel to the overall theme of a family compound.”

Beach concurs, “Our goal was to connect the buildings through garden rooms and to create an experience as you move between those rooms. We wanted the garden to bleed out into the existing agricultural landscape.”

Linear brick pathways, lush lawn expanses and boxwood hedges provide structure to the waterfront’s formal upper garden. Other plantings, such as roses and Hameln fountain grass, soften the effect. The pool terrace rests a few steps below so as not to obstruct the scenic panorama.

Purple Cherry finished the interiors with cocooning architectural flourishes—from the living area’s coffered ceiling to the library’s built-in reading nooks. “Beautiful millwork and little delights were important to David,” she reveals. “We had this constant, symbiotic conversation that allowed us to create unique moments throughout. Layers of detail bring human scale and add texture to the big spaces.”

An exquisite level of customization also sets off the kitchen, with its handcrafted cabinetry that includes homeowner-requested double islands. A tailor-made pot rack with integrated pendant lights from Ann-Morris crowns one island. What’s more, a coffee station precisely frames a particular painting of a silver cup from the couple’s existing trove.

Finally, Purple Cherry and her design crew outfitted the spaces with an eye toward instilling refined comfort. Their schemes combine classic upholstered pieces and unfussy antiques. “The interiors are traditional blended with a little bit of coastal, mostly in the blues of the palette and some fun fabric patterns,” she notes. “To me, this is an incredibly approachable home.”

The architect documents the five-year journey to complete this peerless retreat in her forthcoming book, The Design of a Country Estate, to be released by Gibbs Smith in July 2024. Just as the owners envisioned, the compound often bustles with activity. Other times, it’s a soothing sanctuary. “David and Kathryn love being here,” reports Purple Cherry. “I’m so happy that the home embraces them in the way it does.”

Architecture & Interior Design: Cathy Purple Cherry, AIA, LEED AP, principal, Purple Cherry Architects, Annapolis, Maryland. Builder: GYC Group, Westminster, Maryland. Landscape Architecture: Kevin Campion, ASLA, principal; Meredith Beach, PLA, ASLA, principal, Campion Hruby Landscape Architects, Annapolis, Maryland. Landscape Contractor: Chester River Landscaping, Chestertown, Maryland; and Planted Earth Landscaping, Inc., Sykesville, Maryland.


A house should evolve and not stay stagnant,” maintains designer Joe Ireland, who has helped one like-minded couple put that belief into practice for the past 15 years. From an initial renovation to a recent refresh—and several artful acquisitions in between—he has guided the stylish progression of his clients’ McLean manse.

The now-empty-nest owners bought their ’80s-era, center-hall Colonial in 2000, when the wife’s two daughters were still at home. Years later, they were ready to address the functional gaps, character deficiency and decades-old décor that had become sore points. The duo started outside, hiring McHale Landscape Design to create a resort-like backyard oasis.

Enhancing the exterior, however, brought the interior’s shortcomings into sharper focus. “I was very frustrated with the house,” reveals the wife, a retired telecom exec whose husband recently hung up his hat from a career in technology. “It had little charm and didn’t reflect me.” She first enlisted Ireland in 2008 to overhaul the 8,500-square-foot abode, upgrade its original builder-grade detailing and finishes and remodel the kitchen.

The wife, who loves to cook for family gatherings, meticulously drafted the dual-island kitchen layout herself. An inspiration image torn from a catalog captured the clean, two-tone look she was after. Taking his cues from it, the designer wrapped white-painted perimeter cabinetry in dark-stained, quarter-sawn oak and repeated the charcoal-colored finish on the footed island bases, which are outlined in stainless steel.

Furniture planning came next. The wife sought to take the interiors in a “more contemporary but also warm and inviting” direction. She was eager to jettison the period reproductions she had picked out earlier. “When we bought this Colonial house, I thought I should buy Colonial things,” she discloses. “It really wasn’t about what I liked.”

A handful of pieces the owners had collected while living overseas, including the large living room sofa, made the cut. To supplement those, Ireland sourced new selections, designed several custom pieces to fit the spaces and scoured 1stDibs and antiques stores for special finds—many of which remain today. “The upgraded envelope pays homage to the home’s architecture, but everything else is a mix of styles,” he notes. “And it’s constantly evolving.”

Since the 2008 redo, Ireland and the owners have gradually added newfound treasures, particularly artwork. On a buying trip to Paris, for instance, he and the wife stumbled upon a century-old, gilded-plaster relief that now hangs over the dining room sideboard. The woodland scene it depicts is based on a drawing by Armand Albert Rateau, the late French interior designer who conjured the celebrated Parisian apartment of couturier Jeanne Lanvin, where a nearly identical tableau adorned a bathroom alcove.

By 2020, though, a larger-scale refresh was in order. The goal: to heighten the energy of the spaces. “With the first [design] round, there was a stopping point, a certain budget,” explains the designer. “This round was about taking some elements to the next level.”

The music room offers a prime example. Its original cherry millwork had never suited the wife’s fancy; lacquering it in a salmon hue proved just the answer. “We lacquered the room to give it a new life,” Ireland explains. “We wanted it to be livelier and become a destination.” Four vintage, floral chandeliers lend the space what he calls “a bit of a ballroom feel,” while a vivid, painterly rug provides an edgy counterpoint.

The bold combination expresses the owner’s newfound style assurance. “When I first started working with Joe, I was much more timid about how far to go,” she admits. “Over the years, I’ve become less afraid of color and pattern.”

The dining room bears witness to her burgeoning confidence as well. Initially, the walls were painted top to bottom in dark amethyst. “We started talking about how we could make this room feel even cozier,” recounts Ireland. “It was pretty before, but it needed more personality.” He remedied that shortcoming with flora-and-fauna wall covering from The Vale London, which now wraps around the upper portion. A glamorous, 1950s glass-and-brass chandelier ousted a conventional, candelabra-style fixture.

Spirited prints replaced more staid upholstery choices in places. For proof, look no further than the sunny Sanderson botanical fabric that now emboldens the living room’s Ebanista settee. “From the beginning, we’ve tried—and I think we’ve been successful—to purchase things that would remain relevant, then we tweaked them in this update,” says Ireland. “I really aim for longevity. That’s good design.”

The wife appreciates the element of surprise too. “When people see the house from the outside, they don’t expect to walk in and find something so fresh inside,” she says. “The interiors are a little more playful, not so conservative now. They reflect the evolution of my tastes.”

Interior Design: Joe Ireland, principal, J.D. Ireland Interior Architecture & Design, Washington, DC. Renovation Contractor: P.A. Portner, Inc., Gaithersburg, Maryland.



Art: Donald Baechler through paceprints.com. Rug: antique through galleriacarpets.com. Stair Rail: paportner.com. Art: adams.ie.

Sofa: ebanista.com. Sofa Fabric: sanderson.sandersondesigngroup.com. Screen: Antique; antique mirror: jdireland.com. Art: purvisyoung.com. Small Coffee Table: tempoluxuryhome.com. Wall Covering: twindiamonds.com. Wood-Framed Chair: dessinfournir.com. Wood-Framed Chair Fabric: fortuny.com. Floor Lamp: Bell and Preston; 202-577-3070. Floor Lamp Shade Fabric: jimthompsonfabrics.com. Pedestal: Custom through jdireland.com. Vase: jasonjacques.com. Color Lithograph: Wall Barnet through doyle.com. Ceramic Bowl: Otto and Vivika Heino through lamodern.com. Twin Mirrors: Custom through jdireland.com. Chests: Owners’ collection. Art by Chest: kentonnelson.com through petermendenhallgallery.com. Occasional Chairs: Donghia through kravet.com. Occasional Chairs Fabric: jimthompsonfabrics.com. Sofa Fabric: zimmer-rohde.com/en. Art over Sofa: gilheitorcortesao.com through carbon12.art. Rug: ebanista.com; georgetowncarpet.com. Coffee Table: Owners’ collection. Coffee Table Wallpaper Inset: phillipjeffries.com through jdireland.com. Window Shades Fabric & Trim: dedar.com; samuelandsons.com. Window Shades Fabrication: designerworkroom.net.

Paneling: twindiamonds.com. Pendants: Vintage through davidowski.nl. Piano: Owners’ Collection. Rug: galleriacarpets.com. Wall Covering: elitis.fr. Ceiling Paint: Chestertown Buff by benjaminmoore.com. Chair: Owners’ Collection. Ottoman: Custom through jdireland.com. Ottoman Fabric: calvinfabrics.com.

Table Design: jdireland.com. Table Fabrication: michaeljamesfurniture.com. Chairs: Custom through ferrellmittman.com. Chair Fabric: powellandbonnell.com. Rug: Custom through starkcarpet.com. Wall Covering & Trim: thevalelondon.co.uk; samuelandsons.com. Paint: twindiamonds.com. Sideboard: Vintage through 1stdibs.com. Chandelier: ledecostyle.com. Bowl: francespriest.co.uk.

Table & Banquettes: Design by jdireland.com; fabrication by ferrellmittman.com. Banquette Fabric: jennifershorto.com; osborneandlittle.com. Sideboard: randomharvesthome.com. Chandelier: 1stdibs.com.

Stools: bakerfurniture.com. Cabinetry: downsviewkitchens.com.

Chairs: Donghia through kravet.com. Chair Fabric: pierrefrey.com. Ottoman: kravet.com. Ottoman Fabric: thibautdesign.com. Rug: galleriacarpets.com.

Wall Paneling: paportner.com. Art: juliewolfe.net through hemphillfinearts.com. Chandelier: davidweeksstudio.com. Stair Runner: georgetowncarpet.com.


Nestled on a tree-lined street off Dupont Circle, a stately Beaux Arts townhouse captured the hearts of a couple looking to trade up from their nearby condo. The 1915 brick beauty—with impressive, arched windows gracing its front façade—offered the architectural character and traditional bones they were after, plus ample space to start and raise a family. “It just felt like a place we could be and grow in for a long time,” says the wife. “We loved the historic features. Those arched windows definitely drew us in.”

The aged abode needed an update, though. Purchasing it in 2020, the new owners—he’s an entrepreneur and she’s a journalist—wanted to tackle a host of improvements before moving in. They enlisted interior designer Zöe Feldman, who led them to architect Neal Thomson. The thoughtful, two-year renovation and redesign that followed would touch every inch of the now-four-bedroom, four-and-a-half-bath home.

Protected under The L’Enfant Trust’s conservation program, the front elevation remained happily intact; the back benefited from the addition of new windows. Inside, the primary goals were to increase function for a growing family (the couple’s first child arrived mid-renovation and their second was due at press time) and to infuse a modern-classic style throughout. “The project was an effort to create a ‘new old’ house by today’s standards,” reveals Thomson. “Keeping the spirit of the old house alive was really important. It became a balancing act.”

Collaborating with Pyramid Builders, the team reconfigured the spaces, bringing cohesion and order to a plan that had suffered piecemeal changes over the years. They relocated a powder room that floated between the dining room and kitchen to the stair hall; combined the kitchen and adjoining breakfast room into one airy space; and flipped the positions of the second-floor primary bedroom and bath. A second bathroom was added on the third floor, where the two children’s bedrooms and the husband’s office sit; other bathrooms received sparkling makeovers.

A separate basement apartment (previously a rental unit) was reintegrated into the main residence, bringing its total square footage to about 5,000. Now, a back stair accesses that revamped level, which houses a playroom/TV hangout, guest room, full bath, gym and utility spaces.

The redo also included an overhaul of the HVAC, electrical and plumbing systems. Lead abatement was a key concern, too. “Great care was given to build a new life for this house,” says Bret Anderson, founder and president of Pyramid Builders. “All the things you don’t see really do add up to the home’s overall health and longevity.”

Although preservation was a priority for the owners, many timeworn original materials couldn’t be salvaged. In some cases, historically accurate replacements—such as the narrow-plank, stained-oak floors installed throughout and the dining room’s plaster crown moldings—achieve comparable charm. Other dated elements gave way to simplified versions, as the living room’s bolection-style marble fireplace surround illustrates.

Encapsulating the project’s old-meets-new approach, steel-framed French doors now separate the front vestibule from the foyer. “We bifurcated that area,” explains Thomson. “It’s a moment you see in a lot of old houses, where there’s the initial front door and then an interior door. We brought back some of those elements that had been lost along the way, but played with updated materials.”

Feldman’s choices of a mosaic-flower tile for the vestibule floor and deep-purple paint for its walls and trim hint at what’s to come. “When you walk into this house, you know it’s been here forever, yet it feels relevant for today,” she offers.

The kitchen design, she explains, intentionally leans modern “to create a nice tension” within the historic setting; a fluted island plays the starring role and provides hidden storage. The breakfast area’s built-in banquette features drawers underneath for stashing linens and such.

As the renovation dust settled, Feldman worked closely with the wife to establish a balanced aesthetic. “She wanted a modern sensibility, but also for things to feel a little more formal,” the designer relays. “We wanted to honor the classic bones of this elegant townhouse,” referencing its 10-foot ceilings, among other grace notes. The dining room’s hand-painted wallpaper from de Gournay was an early selection that set the tone.

Room schemes combine colorful upholstery, vintage finds and statement lighting. A designer-client buying trip to New York yielded many selections that became stylish springboards. Case in point: An amethyst, cashmere-velvet fabric that caught the wife’s eye now adorns the family room sofa. This jewel-toned sectional serves as the pièce de résistance in an otherwise fairly quiet plan, with wool-clad walls and a bouclé-covered chaise. As Feldman explains, her client “wanted the spaces to be comfortable for family, but not at the expense of the design.”

The couple is thrilled with the harmony struck by their collaborative team. The wife notes, “Our home nods to history, yet it’s been modernized.”

Renovation Architecture: Neal Thomson, AIA, principal, Thomson & Cooke Architects, Washington, DC. Interior Design: Zöe Feldman, principal; Tenley Masson, senior designer; Charis Fortunato, senior project manager, Zoe Feldman Design, Washington, DC. Renovation Contractor: Bret Anderson, Pyramid Builders, Annapolis, Maryland.



Cabinetry: oldtownwoodworking.com; themasterswoodshop.com; trailstrim.com.

Roller Shades: rockvilleinteriors.com. Dining Pendant: contardi-usa.com. Kitchen Pendant: rollandhill.com. Chairs: 1stdibs.com. Chair Fabric: arc-com.com. Banquette Fabrication: oldtownwoodworking.com. Banquette Fabric: perennialsandsutherland.com. Fluted Island Paint: Chantilly Lace by benjaminmoore.com. Island & Perimeter Countertops: petrastonegallery.com. Paint: Wevet by farrow-ball.com. Pillow Fabric: kravet.com. Footed Bowl: panoplie.com.

Sofa: Finch Studio through nydc.com. Semi-Flush Mount Light: vaughandesigns.com. Window Treatments: rockvilleinteriors.com. Coffee Table: blendinteriors.com. Stools: guyregalnyc.com. Chair: lepereinc.com. Chair Fabric: rogersandgoffigon.com. Marble Side Table: etsy.com. Shelf & Cabinet: chairish.com. Rug: starkcarpet.com. Side Table: 1stdibs.com. Steel Doors: Custom through Metro Steel. Paint: Blackened by farrow-ball.com.

Wallpaper: pierrefrey.com through hinescompany.com. Carpet: starkcarpet.com. Poufs: lepereinc.com. Glider & Ottoman: montedesign.com. Dresser: crateandbarrel.com. Crib: maisonette.com. Shelves: stillfried.com. Roman Shades: europatex.com Roman Shade Fabrication: rockvilleinteriors.com.

Paint: Great White by farrow-ball.com. Drapery: cowtan.com. Roman Shade: rockvilleinteriors.com. Bed Upholstery: gretcheneverett.com. Bed Fabric: pierrefrey.com through hinescompany.com. Chair: dennismiller.com. Chair Fabric: zimmer-rohde.com through ruefour.com. Black Lamp: vintage through allybanksinteriors.com. Pleated Lamp: vaughandesigns.com. Sconces: Latesda Studio through hollyhunt.com. Lumber: 1stdibs.com. Bedding: matouk.com. Light Fixture: gong.co.uk. Dresser: 1stdibs.com. Bedside Table: aerostudios.com. Marble Side Table: etsy.com. Rug: starkcarpet.com. Art: Tenley Masson.

Art: benhunter.gallery. Art Framing: Frameworks; 202-333-3335. Paint: Wevet by farrow-ball.com. Console Table: 1stdibs.com. Lamp: David Bell Antiques; 202-965-2355. Bench: Sofie Osterby through kolkhoze.fr. Rug: mattcamron.com.

Wallpaper: phillipjeffries.com. Pillow: dedar.com through hollyhunt.com. Chaise: verellen.biz. Lamp: vaughandesigns.com. Drapes: cowtan.com. Sectional Sofa: americanleather.com. Sectional Sofa Fabric: usa.delecuona.com. Side Table: thibautdesign.com through hinescompany.com. Wood Side Table: lawsonfenning.com. Coffee Table: dirkvanderkooij.com. Carpet: starkcarpet.com.

Paint: De Nimes by farrow-ball.com. Sconces: vaughandesigns.com. Rug: Vintage through elikorugs.com. Window Treatments Fabric: larsenfabrics.com through cowtan.com. Window Treatment Fabrication: rockvilleinteriors.com. Pillow Fabrics: clarencehouse.com through hollyhunt.com; pierrefrey.com through hinescompany.com. Daybed Fabric: jamesmalonefabrics.com through ruefour.com. Daybed Fabrication: rockvilleinteriors.com. Knobs: rejuvenation.com.

Paint: Wevet by farrow-ball.com. Wallpaper: degournay.com. Hanging Shade: visualcomfort.com. Chair: blendinteriors.com. Dining Chairs: 1stdibs.com. Dining Chair Fabric: zimmer-rohde.com through ruefour.com. Dining Chair Fabrication: rockvilleinteriors.com. Rug: chairish.com. Chandelier: vaughandesigns.com. Sconces: visualcomfort.com. Floating Console: vancollier.com. Dining Table: americaneyewdc.net.

Limewash: portolapaints.com. Side Table: lawsonfenning.com. Sconces: remains.com. Pendant: sheherazadehome.com through chairish.com. Runner: mattcamron.com. Plumbing: waterworks.com. Footed Bowl: panoplie.com. Vanity: themasterswoodshop.com. Marble Vanity Top & Tub Surround: petrastonegallery.com.

Paint: De Nimes by farrow-ball.com. Desk & Desk Chair: julianchichester.com through americaneyewdc.net. Eames Chair & Ottoman Fabric: scalamandre.com. Eames Chair & Ottoman Fabric Upholstery: gretcheneverett.com. Sconces: visualcomfort.com. Rug: Vintage through elikorugs.com. Desk Lamp: Zach Stamatis for zoefeldmandesign.com. Desk Lamp Shade: hinescompany.com. Window Treatment Fabric: larsenfabrics.com through cowtan.com. Window Treatment Fabrication: rockvilleinteriors.com. Vase: Taiki Fujimori.



Nearing retirement, a California couple packed their bags for Maryland to be closer to family. It helped that the wife’s father had recently sold them a waterfront parcel on Kent Island, near the confluence of Tanner’s Creek and Eastern Bay. The existing house there had served as a happy gathering spot for decades. Yet its new owners envisioned something even better and decided to start from scratch.

“We wanted to build a destination home that would continue to be a focal point in our family—a place where we could do most of the entertaining,” reveals the wife, who recently hung up her hat from the e-commerce industry. “But there were also things that really mattered to us, and there was a certain way we wanted to live.” They hired Hammond Wilson to conjure up their permanent dream digs. Interior designer Erin Paige Pitts, Focus Construction and Campion Hruby Landscape Architects soon joined the team.

Architects Leo Wilson and Marshall Harris devised a plan that caters to owners and guests alike. They sited the house along the water to capitalize on the spectacular Stevensville setting. The main living spaces flow in a linear, one-room-deep fashion via a spine that runs from end to end across the front. On the first floor, the foyer gives way to open living and dining spaces. The kitchen/breakfast area sits to the right; a wine room lies to the left. The second floor—accessed by two sets of stairs and an elevator—houses the primary suite and an office for the husband, who’s newly retired from a career in IT, at one end, followed by two guest suites and a bunk room. A gym and theater rest above the three-car garage, positioned at a right angle to the main volume.

“The arrangement allowed us to orient almost every room along that axis to the water views,” Wilson explains. “Then we opened up the waterfront side with a lot of windows and doors.” Transom windows above those swaths of glass invite additional sunlight into the spaces.

A tower was among the owners’ requests. The architects responded with a three-and-a-half-story element that houses the main stair and leads up to an all-weather observation room as well as an outdoor platform. Wilson points out that the couple “wanted to take advantage of the long view out to the bay, so the tower provides that.”

For the two oenophiles who came to the Eastern Shore by way of Napa Valley, a wine storage and tasting room was non-negotiable. They sought both a cave-like aura and a sightline to the creek. A domed ceiling and Venetian plaster walls capture the desired feel. Meanwhile, double doors frame a picturesque view and open onto an al fresco seating area, also accessible from the living room.

Several other spaces strengthen the indoor-outdoor connection. A patio off the dining room steps down to the lawn and water beyond. Adjacent to the kitchen, a screened porch links to the main outdoor-entertainment area, which features a new swimming pool and stone fireplace plus a terrace with zones for gathering, lounging and dining. The owners’ bedroom boasts a private balcony offering an impressive panorama.

Campion Hruby’s planting plan enhances and preserves the bay landscape. “We used a palette of mostly native trees, shrubs, perennials and grasses,” says principal Bob Hruby. “It’s ornamental, but it also fulfills our mitigation requirements in terms of construction disturbance.”

Embodying a coastal Shingle style, the home’s exterior meshes with its surroundings too. Engineered NuCedar shingles replicate traditional cedar shakes. Detailing—such as the series of gabled dormers across the back—“is intended to make you think about historic architecture, things of the past,” Wilson suggests.

Inside, Pitts answered her clients’ call for comfort and approachability without sacrificing style. “They asked for a hybrid look, California-meets-the-Chesapeake,” the designer recounts. Her translation: a gray-and-taupe color scheme with a smattering of blue and just enough interest. “It’s tonal, soothing and quiet, which feels good,” she notes. “At the same time, I wanted it to have a lot of depth, so I brought in texture and some pattern.”

Her schemes combine upholstery clad in nubby indoor-outdoor fabrics, woven goods, natural-fiber rugs and tactile wallpaper. Lighting selections bring the drama. The dining room, for instance, showcases a chevron-inlay wall covering made from genuine wood veneer and a statement chandelier featuring abaca rope.

Pitts threw “a wild card” into her design proposal: two platform swings that would hang from the living room ceiling to savor the view. Her clients were all in. “I presented two options—one with settees in front of the window and the other with swings,” she recalls. “They wanted the swings, no hesitation.”

A pizza oven and a large island topped the kitchen’s must-haves list. “We both love to cook, but like to keep it really casual,” discloses the wife. “That’s how we entertain.” A pizza-sauce-proof quartz from Cambria tops the cabinetry.

In the primary suite, Pitts created what she describes as “a restful retreat,” again marrying neutrals with texture; the fireplace’s silver-travertine surround is a shining example. The luxurious bathroom teems with marble, from its flooring to its shower tile.

The completed 7,200-square-foot abode works well for two—or a crowd. “While it’s a large house, it doesn’t feel overwhelming,” notes the wife. “We use and enjoy all the spaces.”

Architecture: Leo Wilson, AIA, LEED AP, senior principal; Marshall Harris, project architect, Hammond Wilson, Annapolis, Maryland. Interior Design: Erin Paige Pitts, Erin Paige Pitts Interiors, Annapolis, Maryland. Builder: Focus Construction, Ltd., Easton, Maryland. Landscape Architecture: Bob Hruby, PLA, ASLA, principal; Meredith Beach, PLA, ASLA, principal, Campion Hruby Landscape Architects, Annapolis, Maryland. Landscape Contractor: Solidago Landscape, Church Hill, Maryland.


Drapery Fabrication: Pilchard Designs; 202-362-4395. Home Automation: aticontrol.com. Windows: marvin.com through warrenswoodworks.com.

Console: madegoods.com. Bench: highlandhousefurniture.com. Rug: Custom through pattersonflynn.com. Stair Runner: fibreworks.com; fabrication: prismcarpets.com.

Chairs: Custom design by erinpaigepittsinteriors.com. Chairs Fabrication: Mitchell Yanosky; 410-467-2211. Chair, Pillow & Drapery Fabric: hollyhunt.com. Sofas: nafurniture.com. Sofa Fabric: romo.com. Armchairs: palecek.com. Armchairs Fabric: osborneandlittle.com. Stools: highlandhousefurniture.com. Rug: Custom through knotandco.com. Coffee Table: rh.com. Chandelier: arteriorshome.com.

Table: Custom design by erinpaigepittsinteriors.com. Table Fabrication: Mitchell Yanosky; 410-467-2211. Chairs & Host Chairs: hickorywhite.com. Chair Fabric: hollyhunt.com. Host Chairs Fabric: clarencehouse.com. Rug: Custom through carpetcreationsandflooring.com. Chandelier: palecek.com. Wall Covering: schumacher.com. Art: suzanneyurdin.com.

Chaises, Umbrellas, Sofa & Chairs: rh.com.

Wine Cellar Design: erinpaigepittsinteriors.com. Wine Cell Fabrication: lyndonheathcabinetry.com. Light Fixture: visualcomfort.com. Table: charlestonforge.com. Chandelier & Stools: arteriorshome.com. Stool Fabric: romo.com. Wall Treatment: Custom through twindiamonds.com. Tile: mod-craft.com.

Sofa, Chair, Coffee Table & Side Table: palecek.com. Sofa Fabric: christopherfarrcloth.com. Rug & Pouf: jaipurfabric.com.

Cabinetry: lyndonheathcabinetry.com. Countertops: cambriausa.com. Countertop Fabrication: atlasstonefabricators.com. Pendants: rejuvenation.com. Stools: hickorywhite.com. Stool Fabric: clarencehouse.com. Stove: subzero-wolf.com through ferguson.com. Chandelier: curreyandcompany.com. Faucet: brizo.com through ferguson.com. Pizza Oven: geappliances.com. Hardware: topknobs.com.

Bed, Bench & Bench Fabric: bernhardt.com. Bedding: miraslabbinck.be/en. Rug: prestigemills.com. Rug Fabrication: prismcarpets.com. Chandelier: mrbownhome.com. Wall Covering: aestheticswall.com. Drapery Fabric: hollyhunt.com.

Shower Wall Tile: cst-studio.com. Shower Wall Slab: atlasstonefabricators.com. Shower Floor Tile: cst-studio.com; waterworks.com. Vanity Design: erinpaigepittsinteriors.com. Vanity Fabrication: lyndonheathcabinetry.com. Countertop: cambriausa.com. Sconces: urbanelectric.com. Tub: vandabaths.com through ferguson.com. Faucets: newportbrass.com through ferguson.com. Hardware: topknobs.com. Wall Covering: schumacher.com.


It was a beautiful blank slate,” reflects Mary Douglas Drysdale, describing the spare interior of a modernist home in Ashburn, Virginia—before she set to work. With 12-foot ceilings and glass expanses celebrating a scenic landscape, the spaces held promise. “But there was an emptiness to the house,” the designer continues, “and it did not reflect the welcoming and generous spirit of the owners.” Over the next two years, she curated a collection of furniture, fittings, art and artisan-made objects to help achieve the home’s full potential.

Drysdale’s clients—he’s a CEO and she’s a retired business executive—purchased the residence brand new in 2015. Crediting her Dutch heritage, the wife says she was drawn to the “clean, sleek and modern European” model conceived by the Netherlands-based Studio Piet Boon and developed by K. Hovnanian Homes. Their lot backs up to protected woodlands within Willowsford, a farm-to-table community or agrihood. 

Back then, the couple had recently wed (a second marriage for each) and combined households. Their blended furniture, along with bare walls, left much to be desired. “Our space lacked personality and didn’t feel well-utilized, and our furnishings were not of the right scale or really suited for the home,” recounts the wife. “We wanted an interior that would be synergistic with the design of the house itself and integrated across each room.” 

They enlisted Drysdale after the wife observed her talent at a 2020 show house. Early on, the designer decided to preserve the home’s black-painted door and window frames. “I started by asking, ‘What have we got here, what can we work with,’” she recalls. “The black trim was a jumping-off point for me.”

Taking cues from that trim, she transformed the fireplace wall in the living room. Before, the television had been mounted over the linear firebox, where it stood out in stark relief against an expanse of white-washed drywall. Drysdale clad the area in dark-stained, rift-sawn oak and recessed the TV within, attaining a chic, integrated look. “I think about creating useful beauty,” reveals the design doyenne. “That wall is so dramatic now and grounds everything.”

Drysdale then drafted furniture and decorative plans with the goal of establishing a “soft, modern” aesthetic throughout. She sourced transitional-style furnishings and conjured several bespoke pieces, including a dining table, for the project. Airy glass lighting bows to the scenery outside. The breakfast area and kitchen, which join the living room at the home’s rear, feature prime examples.

A cohesive palette of black and white prevails. “I like there to be relationships between the rooms,” the designer says. “As you go through these spaces, you’re still connected.”

That simple scheme allows the creativity of numerous artists and artisans to shine. And it dovetails nicely with the wife’s affinity for elements that express a tribal quality. Take the dining room, for instance, where a graphic rug woven in Afghanistan lays the foundation. Black-and-white pottery by Oregon-based ceramist Sam Scott graces the tabletop. Drysdale notes, “The primitive, the handmade are a strong subtext in the story that’s being told here.”

Bold artwork also delivers a resounding message; it was part of the plan from the get-go. “Exploring the house, I felt immediately that colorful modern art on a grand scale would bring enormous interest and excitement to the experience of each room and the views from room to room,” says the designer. A trip with her clients to Washington’s Hemphill Artworks yielded the first three pieces in what is now a goodly trove. 

Those selections received prominent placements. A painting by DC artist Steven Cushner commands the wide hall linking the front and back of the house. An abstract work by the late Jacob Kainen adds verve to the dining room and offers the wife an inspiring vista from her office across the foyer. Likewise, dinner guests enjoy a clear sightline to the vibrant, multi-media creation of another local artist, Julie Wolfe, positioned behind the desk. 

Later additions include photographs by Anna Beeke and John Cole, which animate the main-floor primary bedroom. “I feel that one of the great obligations of a home is to delight and engage the viewer,” Drysdale offers. “Everywhere you turn or sit or gaze, there’s something interesting to see in this house. It’s a living museum, a stimulating—but not over-stimulating—visual experience that is comfortable.” 

Not only do the well-appointed spaces please the eye, they also support the couple’s relaxed yet social lifestyle. For example, the main hall is no longer just a utilitarian passageway; it now functions as “another beautiful room where they entertain,” says Drysdale. “They’re using their house in better and more complete ways.”

The wife concurs, sharing that the covered porch off the living room has become a destination too. “This area was nothing more than a transition to the backyard. With Mary’s redesign, the space is now used for intimate dinners with friends, as a gathering spot when hosting large groups—or merely for having a cool drink on a hot summer afternoon.”

Interior Design: Mary Douglas Drysdale, Drysdale Design Associates, Washington, DC.

Drapery & Upholstery Fabrication: myatelierva.com.

Fireplace: kossaridesign.com. Diptych Art: ruriyi.com. Sofas: Owners’ collection. Sofa Fabric: kravet.com. Small Stool: jomofurniture.com. Side Tables: janusetcie.com. Coffee Table: marydouglasdrysdaleinteriordesign.com. Armchair & Ottoman: leeindustries.com. Armchair Fabric: kravet.com. Rug: starkcarpet.com. Leather Chair: allmodern.com. Pillow Fabric: williams-sonoma.com. Paint: sherwin-williams.com.

Table & Sofa: janusetcie.com. Art: Kaiser Suidan. Pillow Fabrics: aliciaadamsalpaca.com.

Art: Steven Cushner through hemphillfinearts.com. Photographs: annabeeke.com. Small Paintings: juliewolfe.net through hemphillfinearts.com. Chandelier: julieneill.com. Rug: pattersonflynn.com. Paint: sherwin-williams.com.

Painting: jacobkainen.com through hemphillfinearts.com. Table: marydouglasdrysdaleinteriordesign.com. Chairs & Chair Fabric: bakerfurniture.com. Pottery: samscottpottery.com. Rug: amadicarpets.com. Lighting: ochre.net. Drapery Fabric: larsenfabrics.com. Drapery Banding & Pouf: marydouglasdrysdaleinteriordesign.com.

Rug: loloirugs.com. Island Pendants: kellywearstler.com through visualcomfort.com.

Table: Owners’ collection. Striped Chair Fabric: perennialsfabrics.com. Chandelier: reginaandrew.com. Artwork: Owners’ collection. Chairs: rh.com.

Painting: juliewolfe.net through hemphillfinearts.com. Table: Owners’ collection. Desk Chair & Poufs: marydouglasdrysdaleinteriordesign.com. Glass Orb: nickleonoff.com. Rug: carpetcreationsandflooring.com. Paint: sherwin-williams.com.

Photographs over Bed: johncolephoto.com. Grouping of Photos: annabeeke.com. Art on Left Wall & Poufs: marydouglasdrysdaleinteriordesign.com. Bed: roveconcepts.com. Coverlet & Bolster Fabric: fabricut.com. Rug: carpetcreationsandflooring.com. Drapery Fabric: larsenfabrics.com. Paint: sherwin-williams.com.





Set on five leafy acres in Great Falls, the 11,000-square-foot, red-brick Colonial had much to recommend it. A couple with four children swooped up the ’80s-era manse in 2011—overlooking its somewhat dated interiors. They lived with the outmoded spaces for 10 years before deciding to tackle a major renovation. By then, their initial, Tuscan-inspired décor choices also felt a bit passé. “There were so many things that were old and tired,” recalls the wife, who is currently pursuing a master’s degree in creative writing. “The house needed a facelift, for sure.”

Enter designer Erika Bonnell, tapped by the owners to mastermind a makeover that would enhance both form and function. A collaboration with building contractor SugarOak Corporation, the project overhauled the kitchen, butler’s pantry and six bathrooms, among many other improvements. “We gave the interiors an updated-traditional vibe,” says Bonnell. “Our goal was to honor the home’s traditional bones but keep everything very approachable. We also made some functional changes to support their lifestyle.”

While most of the floor plan remained intact, the designer repurposed existing spaces to better suit her clients’ needs. For example, the husband, retired from the insurance industry, wanted a place to read and display his books. So Bonnell transformed the rarely used living room off the foyer into what she describes as “a cool, masculine, English library that looks like it’s been there forever.” Floor-to-ceiling, built-in shelves now line the back wall and wrap around the corner to join the right side of the fireplace. 

For the kitchen redo, a layout that would accommodate multiple cooks topped the owners’ wish list. Although some of the kids have flown the nest, the brood prepares and enjoys meals together whenever they can. “We’re a family of bakers and cooks,” the wife reveals. “We needed the kitchen to work for all of us. Cooking together is a part of our family culture, and it’s so much more fun to do that in a nice environment.”

Before, a cooktop located in the island limited prep space. Bonnell reconfigured the plan, installing a professional-style Thermador range along one wall. Aesthetics in the previously dark, uninspiring space vastly improved too, thanks in large part to white-painted custom cabinetry from Cornerstone Kitchen & Bath.

Since increasing the kitchen’s footprint wasn’t an option, the designer further eased congestion by establishing a separate, bistro-style baking station in what she characterized as a weird pass-through space that connects the butler’s pantry and breakfast room. She also added a walk-in pantry, accessed through a hidden door in the butler’s pantry, by borrowing 50 square feet from the garage. 

Bonnell then cast her designer’s eye on the interior architecture. In the entry hall, she complemented the existing plaster crown molding by applying trim to the drywall below. “We had this beautiful, heavy plaster molding, but then the walls fell flat,” she recalls. “We really wanted to elevate the space by adding more architectural detail with the applied molding.” The existing marble floors stayed put but the previously deep-gold walls were repainted an off-white hue.

When it came to defining a new look, as Bonnell relates, the wife requested “something happy and fresh.” The reimagined dining room certainly fits the bill. There, a scenic paper from Schumacher replaced red paint on the walls. And tasseled swags made way for simple, raw-silk draperies at the windows. 

Bonnell sourced new furnishings with the aim of establishing “a collected, lived-in, comfortable feel,” she says. For the family room, she designed an outsized sectional, as well as a coffee table that allows two leather-covered ottomans to tuck under opposite corners when not in use. As she explains, “This is the family hangout, so we wanted to create a central seating area that would accommodate everybody.”

Thoughtfully chosen touches make her schemes sing without overpowering, as the first-floor primary suite illustrates. Painterly Schumacher wallpaper graces the bedroom, while floral mosaic tile embellishes the bathroom’s two arched vanity niches. “We enjoy contrast and interest, but always in a supportive, non-competing way,” states Bonnell. “The layers of details come together to create pleasing, non-jarring spaces.” 

The wife marvels at her designer’s creative flair—and at the completed project. “It really is artistry,” she enthuses. “There’s no way we could have done it on our own. Erika changed our life for the better.”

Interior Design: Erika Bonnell, principal; Emilie Bauer, design coordinator, Erika Bonnell Interiors, Sterling, Virginia. Renovation Contractor: SugarOak Corporation, Herndon, Virginia.

With their then-toddler and six-month-old in tow, a young couple set out to find a more accommodating replacement for the Capitol Hill row house they’d outgrown. “We were busting at the seams in our old place,” recalls the wife, a health-policy professional. “We had kids’ toys everywhere.” A newly built home within a quiet enclave in Northwest DC offered the space and family-friendly amenities they craved. Its big kitchen, basement with playroom potential and private backyard where their children could play sealed the deal in 2020.

Also appealing was the clean-lined architecture of the center-hall abode. “This is a well-done update of a traditional style,” observes the husband, who works in real-estate investment. But the interior, while beautifully finished with imposing marble accents, felt stark. 

“There’s a lot of black and white and big slabs of stone,” notes the wife. “We wanted to warm it up.”

Envisioning what the husband calls “contemporary, colorful and comfortable” spaces, the owners enlisted designer Catherine Ebert to bring them to life. The brief was clear: Don’t play it too safe. 

“They wanted something bold, with a little bit of drama,” recounts Ebert. “The architecture is sort of substantial—with high ceilings and chunky moldings. The house has a strong personality, so I sought out elements that would meet that moment.”

First, the designer addressed “a sea of drywall.” A plaster-like, decorative-paint finish awakens the living room walls while wall coverings animate several other spaces. A textured-vinyl selection from Phillip Jeffries, for instance, lends the powder room off the foyer a “glam-pow” presence, says Ebert. “Wallpaper is a wonderful way to differentiate spaces and add personality. It takes walls from blah to fabulous really quickly.”

New furniture was a must, given that few of the owners’ existing pieces measured up in scale. Ebert sourced unusual finds to amplify the interest. For evidence, look no further than the foyer’s black-and-gray console, which sports a malachite faux finish. The designer explains, “I was looking for a wide variety of ways to introduce special materials, textures and finishes throughout to give the house the substance and richness that it needed.” 

When Ebert had trouble finding the perfect piece for a space, she designed one herself. The living room’s sculptural coffee tables—with lacquered bases and smoked-glass tops—serve as illustration. “That room is really rectilinear,” she notes. “I wanted to add a layer of movement and organic shape.” For the husband’s home office, which lies just off the living room, she conjured a desk that cleverly conceals electrical outlets and wires in its base cabinet.

The owners’ preference for vivid hues dictated many selections. Take, for example, the green-velvet chaise resting on a custom-colored, splatter-print rug in the living room. “Whenever there was a choice between a safer option and a stronger option,” the designer reveals, “they always went for the stronger one.”

Ebert also curated a collection of art to bring in more color. “We had some big walls to fill,” she says. “I helped identify those places that needed robust artwork.” Hanging in the dining room, a powerful abstract painting by April Midkiff “energizes the vista down the entry hall.” The family room’s happy Hunt Slonem piece, depicting multi-hued finches, “provides a perfect segue to the outdoors,” accessible through steel-framed sliding doors.

In that family hangout space, which opens to the kitchen and breakfast nook, the designer balanced the couple’s request for a grown-up feel with practical considerations. A teal-toned performance fabric from Lark Fontaine clads the sofa. The Tulip table and indestructible chairs in the casual dining area can be wiped with a sponge. “We plan on raising our kids here,” states the husband. “We didn’t want stuff that we would feel uncomfortable having a two-year-old sit on.”

Upstairs, the primary suite serves as a soothing escape for the parents. Ebert encased the bedroom in monochromatic shades of dusty blue, starting with faux-silk wall covering from Phillip
Jeffries. “The clients are very well-traveled,” says the designer. “I was trying to call up that luxurious hotel-bedroom vibe.” 

Wallpaper bedecks the en-suite kids’ bedrooms too. The quirky Shattered pattern by Abnormals Anonymous enlivens the daughter’s pad. And a starry covering lines the ceiling of the son’s nursery. As fun as these spaces are, the lower level is, perhaps, the ultimate kids’ zone; its rope swing and climbing wall are popular neighborhood attractions. The basement also comprises a TV-viewing area, kitchenette and guest suite.

The owners appreciated the parental point of view that Ebert, who has children a little older than theirs, brought to the project. “I really wanted a home that felt elegant but was functional,” reveals the wife. “Without Catherine’s perspective, we might have ended up with a house that was really beautiful but hard to live in. This house strikes the right balance and works for our daily living.”

Architect of Record: Akseizer Design Group, Alexandria, Virginia. Architectural Design & Interior Architecture: PETRA Design Studio, Washington, DC. Interior Design: Catherine Ebert, Catherine Ebert Interiors, Washington, DC. Builder: GC Construction, Lorton, Virginia.


Windows & Exterior Doors: marvin.com.

Flooring: petradevelopment.co. Stairs & Railing Fabrication: Century Stair Company; 703-754-4163. Stool: kravet.com. Console: bradleyusa.com. Paint: Snowbound Vases by sherwin-wiliams.com.

Fireplace Surround: petrastonegallery.com. Chaise: modshop1.com. Chase Fabric: Sahco through kvadrat.dk/en. Coffee tables: Custom by catherineebertinteriors.com. Rug: artandloom.com. Game Chairs: arteriorshome.com. Lounge Chairs: vintage Marco Zanuso. Game Chair fabric: larsenfabrics.com. Lounge Chair Fabric: zimmer-rohde.com. Center Table: m2l.com. Roman Shades: conradshades.com. Art: Owners’ collection. Wall Treatment: twindiamonds.com.

Cabinets: binovamilano.com through petradevelopment.co. Island & Backsplash: petrastonegallery.com. Pendants: rh.com. Range & Refrigerator: mieleusa.com. Pot Filler: waterworks.com. Countertop & Sink: petrastonegallery.com. Bar Stools: m2l.com.

Chandelier: rh.com. Table: dwr.com. Chairs: m2l.com. Art: Owners’ collection.

Art: April Midkiff through merrittgallery.com. Table: hellman-chang.com. Chairs: gubi.com. Rug: galleriacarpets.com. Wall Covering: phillipjeffries.com. Chandelier: gabriel-scott.com. Sideboard: bethanygray.com. Mirror: arteriorshome.com.

Sofa: hickorychair.com. Sofa Fabric: larkfontaine.com. Rug: carpetimpressions.com. Coffee Table: Owners’ collection. Pedestal Table: westelm.com. Leather Chair & Ottoman: hermanmiller.com. Frame TV Art: Hunt Slonem through merrittgallery.com. Paint: Snowbound by sherwin-williams.com.

Sconce & Vanity: rh.com. Wall Covering: phillipjeffries.com. Fixtures: waterworks.com.

Desk: Custom by catherineebertinteriors.com. Chair: dwr.com. Desk Lamp: circalighting.com. Shades: conradshades.com. Drapery Fabric: larsenfabrics.com. Drapery Fabrication: rockvilleinteriors.com. Paint: Snowbound by sherwin-williams.com.

Bed: aneesupholstery.com. Bedding: matouk.com. Night Table: madegoods.com. Table Lamp: kravet.com. Drapery Fabric: romo.com. Drapery Fabrication: rockvilleinteriors.com. Rug: galleriacarpets.com. Chair & Ottoman: dwr.com. Pedestal: westelm.com. Wall Covering: phillipjeffries.com. Bureau: centuryfurniture.com. Art by Bureau: Owners’ collection. Art above Bed: Amy Donaldson through  merrittgallery.com.

Bed, Night Table & Hutch: newportcottages.com. Bedding: craneandcanopy.com. Chair: vintage. Chair Fabric: janechurchill.com. Table Lamp: westelm.com. Wallpaper: abnormalsanonymous.com. Rug: carpetimpressions.com. Shade Fabric: larkfontaine.com; samuelandsons.com. Shade Fabrication: rockvilleinteriors.com.

Crib & Chair: Owners’ collection. Rug: romo.com. Shade Fabric: fschumacher.com; samuelandsons.com. Shade Fabrication: rockvilleinteriors.com. Wall Paint: Pale Smoke by benjaminmoore.com. Wallpaper: hyggeandwest.com. Shelf: newportcottages.com.

Storage Unit: us.usm.com through m2l.com. Art: Amber Goldhammer through merrittgallery.com. Paint: Snowbound by sherwin-williams.com.




Starting a new chapter in life together spurred Timothy Price and Jerry Sealy to make over their Adams Morgan apartment. In 2016, Sealy sold his nearby loft and contemporary furnishings to move into the digs his now-husband had called home for more than two decades. The pair loved the conveniently located co-op building, a pre-War gem conceived by renowned DC architect Joseph Younger, and the character-filled bones of their completely renovated unit. Still, a change was in order.
“We wanted to make a space that was both of ours, that we each had input into, and elevate the design of the apartment at the same time,” reveals Price, a physician.

They found a style that resonated while touring the now-defunct DC Design House in 2016. To the couple, Josh Hildreth’s sumptuously layered library stood out. “It was a juxtaposition of colorful visual surprises in a traditional setting,” explains Sealy, a graphic designer. A year later, they were ready to launch their transformation and enlisted Hildreth, who in turn invited fellow designer Vivian Braunohler to assist.

Taking a “nonlinear” path, Hildreth began gathering special finds right away—before finalizing furniture plans. “I often describe my design process as soup-making,” he explains. “You go to the farmers’ market and you buy what’s good, even if you don’t know how you’re going to use it. You come upon something that wasn’t on the list but then it sort of organizes the whole meal.”

An early buying trip produced several too-good-to-pass-up pieces, including a deer-antler plant stand that, as the story goes, once graced Hearst Castle. It now sits in the couple’s dining room. “We didn’t have a sofa or a dining room table and chairs yet, so the plant stand was pretty esoteric,” Hildreth admits. “I sent Tim and Jerry pictures of things as I shopped and said, ‘Don’t worry if it doesn’t make sense now; focus on what’s appealing, because it’s those things that are going to get you to that feeling you described.’”

Throughout, the designers blended eras and styles with aplomb. The foyer’s collected vignette offers what Hildreth describes as “a good haiku” of their approach. It combines a 19th-century Chinese screen with a 300-year-old Flemish commode and a pair of vintage Brutalist lamps. As Vivian Braunohler points out, “There needs to be some sort of dynamic tension between objects in a pleasing way.”

A neutral backdrop, enhanced with decorative paint finishes in several spaces, showcases the curated trove as well as meaningful artwork. The clients’ shared love of photography is evident at every turn. For example, an arresting portrait by Danish photographer Trine Søndergaard punctuates a stippled, milk tea-toned wall in the living room. Artist Kyle Meyer wove strips of African textiles into a hand-shredded portrait to create the dining room’s mixed-media piece; his Interwoven series explores the challenges of homosexuality for men in Swaziland (now the Kingdom of Eswatini).

The design duo was careful to leave a little breathing room in their layered schemes. “We prioritized negative space around the varied collection,” explains Hildreth. “As much as we mixed things up, it never came at the cost of serenity and calm.”

Or livability, for that matter. Comfortable and practical new furnishings join the aged selections. Tailored upholstery, for instance, anchors the living room and spare-bedroom-turned-den. The couple’s bed and nightstands represent modern interpretations of 19th-century Aesthetic Movement designs.

The couple took refuge at their Delaware beach house for three weeks during minor construction work (a door leading directly from the den to the hall bathroom was closed off), painting and installation. They got their first look at the reimagined apartment during a big reveal orchestrated by the designers. “We walked through the door and were blown away by how beautiful it was and how reflected we were,” recounts Price. “It came together in ways that we could not have imagined.”

To thank their team, the pair hosted a dinner party. It was Josh Hildreth’s “greatest reward” to witness his clients in their element. “As a guest, I got to observe them living happily and comfortably together in the space,” he says. “Great design isn’t just beautiful—it also serves a purpose. It lifts up and celebrates living.”

Interior Design: Josh Hildreth, principal, Robert Cox, design director, Josh Hildreth Interiors, Washington, DC; Vivian Braunohler, Braunohler Design Associates, Washington, DC. Contractor: Ken Tarter, International Wall Designs, Gaithersburg, Maryland.



Sofa: Lee Jofa through kravet.com. Sofa Fabric: pierrefrey.com. Small Table: vintage. Pillow Fabrics: vintage; janeshelton.com. Cocktail Table: Guiseppe Scapinelli. Skirted Chairs: billybaldwinstudio.com. Skirted Chair Fabric: pierrefrey.com. Chair Pillow Fabric: fschumacher.com. Pedestal Table: design by joshhildrethinteriors.com. Wooden Stool: vintage through jfchen.com. Cane-Backed Chair: quintushome.com. Corner Chest: vintage. Lamp on Chest: vintage through David Bell Antiques; 202-965-2355. Drapery Fabric: hollandandsherry.com. Roman Shade: conradshades.com. Drapery Fabrication: Pilchard Designs; 202-362-4395. Floor Lamp: vintage. Rug: Custom by dorisleslieblau.com. Sisal: starkcarpet.com. Shelf Units & Bench: Custom design by joshhildrethinteriors.com. Art above Bench: Trine Sondergaard. Screen: 19th Century Chinese Paper Hand Printed Screen. Chest of Drawers: 18th Century Flemish Commode through marstonluce.com. Wooden Chair: 18th Century Swedish through dienstanddotter.com. Paint: Mahogany by farrow-ball.com. Lamp: vintage Harry Balmer. Silk Lamp Shades: jimthompsonfabrics.com.

Rug: custom by dorisleslieblau.com. Chairs: quintushome.com. Chair Fabric: us.loropiana.com. Chandelier: jonathanburden.com. Sconces: ironwareinternational.com. Art between Sconces: Kyle Meyer. Drapery Fabric: lisafinetextiles.com. Drapery Fabrication: Pilchard Designs; 202-362-4395.

Drapery Fabric: jimthompsonfabrics.com. Drapery Fabrication: Pilchard Designs; 202-362-4395. Ottoman: ferrellmittman.com. Ottoman Fabric: mooreandgiles.com. Sofa: ohenryhouseltd.com. Sofa Fabric: larsenfabrics.com. Sofa Pillow Fabric: lewisandwood.com. Chest by Sofa: antique. Art above Sofa: Elger Esser. Mirror: Owners’ collection. Table under Mirror: vintage. Armchair Fabric: Brunschwig & Fils through kravet.com. Wooden Pedestal table: us.julianchichester.com. Upholstered Chairs: arudin.com. Upholstered Chair Fabric: hollandandsherry.com. Console: vintage. Rug: starkcarpet.com.

Bed: aestheticdecor.com. Bedding: peacockalley.com. Table Lamps: vintage. Art above Bed: Karl Blosfeldt. Chair & Drum Table: vintage. Window Seat Design: joshhildrethinteriors.com. Window Seat Fabric: brentanofabrics.com. Window Seat Pillow Fabrics: cec-milano.us; us.loropiana.com; Hodsoll & McKenzie. Wall Paint: Slipper Satin: farrow-ball.com. Roman Shade Fabric: rogersandgoffigon.com. Roman Shade Fabrication: Pilchard Designs; 202-362-4395. Bureau: owners’ collection; restored by greenconservation.com. Lamp on Bureau: marstonluce.com. Sconce: vintage. Bottom Rug: starkcarpet.com. Top Rug: antique through abchome.com.

Craving a cleaner aesthetic, homeowners enlisted Studio 360 and BOWA to rethink their kitchen and adjoining spaces. First, the team remedied a choppy layout, removing a wall between the kitchen and breakfast room to make way for a sitting area. “We opened up the whole thing so it would flow,” says BOWA founding principal Josh Baker. “It has a more informal feel now.” A steel column, adorned with antiqued-mirror tiles, resolves structural concerns.

An existing pantry and closet merged to create a kitchen annex. Enclosed by a steel-framed glass door, that storage space (far left) houses a wall oven, a built-in coffee system and a microwave drawer. A pass-through window in the lounge area (left) folds open to the back patio and eases outdoor entertaining.

Eric Lieberknecht Design contributed to the kitchen plan. Glossy white cabinets and marble surfaces brighten the space; mahogany millwork and a herringbone oak floor offer contrast.

Renovation Architecture: Sarah Armstrong, AIA, Studio 360, Clifton, Virginia. Renovation Contractor: BOWA, McLean, Virginia. Kitchen Design & Custom Cabinetry: Eric Lieberknecht, Eric Lieberknecht Design, Washington, DC.

After inheriting an oceanfront double lot in Bethany Beach, Delaware, the new owner soon concluded that the 1980s dwelling on site didn’t quite pass muster. In its place, she envisioned a relaxed retreat with ample space to host her big brood, which includes two college-age kids and a married son with a baby now on the way. “I was looking for a family gathering place and needed more bedrooms than that house had,” says the real estate developer and philanthropist. “I needed a place that would almost be like a camp. That’s why I decided to tear down and build from scratch.”

The Potomac resident tapped architect Anne Decker, interior designer Jodi Macklin and Cottage Construction to bring her vision to fruition. Decker’s plan maximizes the substantial site. It integrates a new 7,900-square-foot house, a 2,500-square-foot guest house/garage and a pool area with an existing studio-apartment structure that stayed put. Bedrooms are now in abundant supply: the three-level main abode boasts four on its top story and two on the above-ground lower level, while the new guest quarters offer a couple more.

In the main digs, the architect positioned the open living/dining area along the rear of the first floor. Three sets of French doors open to a wide deck; the dining space spills out to a screened porch thanks to NanaWall folding doors. “We were trying to capture the ocean views in the hang-out areas,” she explains. “That run-on sentence of glass addresses the view. We really wanted to create a strong connection to the water.”

A Delaware native, the owner spent many childhood summers near the shore—and developed a lasting soft spot for “simple, wood-shingled beach houses.” Lending a sense of nostalgia, red cedar shingles stained a mid-toned gray clad the exterior of her new escape. The twin-gable roof strikes a classic note, yet other architectural choices, such as the cable railings on the deck and dune crossover, lean slightly more contemporary.

“This house references traditional, Shingle-style homes, but we wanted to add a modern twist,” states Decker. “You can see it in the details, in the very clean lines. Everything is a little over-scaled—the ceilings are a little higher, the windows are a little taller —to pull the outside in.”

Bowing to the peerless panorama, Decker bathed the interior walls in Benjamin Moore’s White Dove and specified white oak for most floors. “It’s a light and airy, beach-like feel,” she observes. “With a neutral palette, your eye isn’t distracted and goes to the view outside. It was more about the textural quality of things.”

Myriad textures and materials converge in the kitchen, which flows off the dining area, forming an L shape. Placed diagonally from each other, two custom-designed pantries project what the architect describes as “a commercial vibe.” One showcases steel-framed glass doors; the other exhibits chalkboard-covered doors. The subway-tile backsplash and stainless-steel appliances and accents reinforce the restaurant-inspired aesthetic.

The design does more than look the part, however. “Food is a big thing for my family,” the homeowner reveals. “The kitchen had to be really functional around multiple people cooking at once.” Two large islands, featuring marble tops with waterfall edges, provide the requisite elbow room. Double sinks also come in handy.

Picking up the airy thread, Jodi Macklin created “comfortable, informal” interiors that not only honor the surroundings but family life as well. She framed the first floor’s glass expanses with operable white sheers. “It was important to keep the drapery light and not interrupt that gorgeous ocean view,” she explains. “We kept all the furniture light too.”

The owner’s trove of treasured heirlooms jumpstarted the furniture plans. “She wanted to include pieces that were really important to her,” the designer discloses. “We started working with everything she had and then added on from there. We repainted and reupholstered and brought a lot of the furniture back to life.”

Take, for example, the passed-down console that sits in the foyer; it previously bore a red-painted finish and now sports a dark one. An easy-to-clean, white fabric from Perennials gives the heirloom McGuire dining chairs a fresh look. Perennials fabric also covers the living room seating. “We always try to incorporate indoor-outdoor fabrics at the beach,” says Macklin. “These spaces are heavily trafficked; the family uses every inch of this house.”

The outdoor spaces see lots of action, too. The ground-level rec room flows onto a covered loggia, which steps down to the limestone deck and pool designed by landscape architect Lila Fendrick. Cloistered between the house and the original 1980s guest quarters, “the pool is really a magical spot,” she proclaims.

Newly installed plants relate to the seaside surroundings. For instance, Fendrick interspersed sea lavender and woolly beach heather among the existing grasses on the dune. “It’s a soft, feathery look,” she notes. “It’s low-key and meant to look very simple.”

The owner cherishes her summers at the shore, but also enjoys her new retreat year-round. “This is kind of the designated house for my family,” she reports. “We eat here together on Sundays and might have a table set for 20 or 30 on the deck, out by the ocean. This house is about sharing meals and sharing time together. It’s really conducive to that.”

Architecture: Anne Decker, AIA, principal; Jon Reinhard, AIA, project manager, Anne Decker Architects, Bethesda, Maryland. Interior Design: Jodi Macklin, principal; Lauren Sparber, senior designer, Jodi Macklin Interior Design, Chevy Chase, Maryland. Builder: Cottage Construction, Bethany Beach, Delaware. Landscape Design: Lila Fendrick, ASLA, Lila Fendrick Landscape Architects, Chevy Chase, Maryland. Landscape Contractor: Michael Prokopchak, ASLA, Walnut Hill Landscape Company, Annapolis, Maryland.

Exterior Paint: Chelsea Gray by benjaminmoore.com. Interior Paint: White Dove by benjaminmoore.com.
Chaises: gloster.com. Chairs: teakwarehouse.com. Pillows on Bench: serenaandlily.com. Rockers: Owners’ collection.
French Doors: andersenwindows.com. Folding Doors: nanawall.com. Rug: pattersonflynn.com. Drapery Fabric: romo.com; villanova.co.uk. Drapery Fabrication: everettdesign.com. Chandelier & Wood-Armed Chairs: palecek.com. Wood-Armed Chairs Fabric: perennialsfabrics.com. Sofa: Owners’ collection. Sofa Fabric: perennialsfabrics.com. Pillow Fabric: larsenfabrics.com. Coffee Table: Owners’ collection. Bar Cabinet: Custom by potomacvalleybuilders.com. Dining Table: Custom by oldtownwoodworking.com. Dining Chairs: vintage. Dining Chair Fabric: perennialsfabrics.com.
Dining Chandelier: palecek.com. Drapery Fabric: romo.com; villanova.co.uk. Drapery Fabrication: everettdesign.com. Console: Owners’ collection. Drum Chandelier: bonesimple.com.
Cabinetry: Custom by potomacvalleybuilders.com. Perimeter Cabinet Paint: Ammonite by farrow-ball.com. Island Base Paint: Off-Black by farrow-ball.com. Marble Countertops: unitedstatesmarbleandgranite.com. Island Pendants: alexallenstudio.com. Hood: Custom by annedeckerarchitects.com. Tile Backsplash: waterworks.com. Glass Pantry Cabinet: Custom by potomacvalleybuilders.com. Glass Pantry Fabrication: akmetalfab.com. Bar Stools: palecek.com.
Table: Custom by oldtownwoodworking.com. Chairs: vintage. Chair Fabric: perennialsfabrics.com. Console: salvationsaf.com. Chandelier: palecek.com. Cabinet Design: annedeckerarchitects.com.
Bed: sonderliving.com. Rug: pattersonflynn.com. Chair & Chair Fabric: kravet.com. Bedding: matouk.com. Ottoman: kravet.com. Ottoman Fabric: mokumtextiles.com. Night Tables: lawsonfenning.com. Table Lamps: Owners’ collection. Cabinet Design: annedeckerarchitects.com.
Vanities, Tub & Washbowl: duravit.us. Hardware: houseofrohl.com.


As an interior designer and mother of two young boys, Marika Meyer passionately promotes functional beauty. “For me, the important message is that you don’t have to sacrifice aesthetics,” she asserts. “You can have a home that’s approachable, comfortable and durable yet beautifully appointed too.”

Meyer proves the point beyond doubt in her own Bethesda digs. She and husband Michael, who works in commercial real estate, purchased the post-War Colonial in 2009 just before their first child, Grayson, arrived; Colin came along three years later. Over time, Meyer has crafted an environment that showcases her design prowess, while surviving what she calls, “the chaos of life.”

The living room welcomes visitors to the home. Nuanced neutrals set a sophisticated tone, but durability rules the day. A performance fabric from Perennials covers the custom sofa; its contrasting trim elevates the look. A “very forgiving” velvet covers two armchairs. “Nothing in the house is too formal,” the designer notes. “I like things that feel refined, but I don’t want people to be afraid to sit down anywhere.”

Vintage furnishings, found objects and family heirlooms fill the home. The living room’s cocktail table, for example, was signed by T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings, a prominent furniture maker until his death in 1976. An antique chinoiserie mirror hangs over the living room sofa and beside it sits a child’s chair that Meyer’s great-grandfather had made for her grandfather more than 100 years ago. Books that once belonged to that same grandfather fill the library’s bespoke, black-painted shelves.

“I prefer a space that feels collected,” says Meyer. “That summarizes my aesthetic perfectly. It is more organic and authentic, and fundamentally reflects the people who live there. This house is very reflective of us.”

Opposite the living room, an “impactful” Farrow & Ball wallpaper envelops the dining room, where guests often gather. “Michael loves to cook, and I love to dress kind of a ridiculous table, so we both get to express ourselves,” the designer reveals. “Grayson says that I put more plants and objects on the table than food.”

Those creative inclinations led Meyer to study fine arts at the University of Maryland and, in 2007, to start her namesake firm. While handling a range of projects, Marika Meyer Interiors also specializes in consulting on construction. That expertise came in handy two years ago as the designer reimagined her own kitchen/breakfast area and improved other spaces.

The casual-dining zone, family room and part of the kitchen sit in an “unusual” 1970s addition at the back. One of the first steps in Meyer’s redo was to remove a dropped ceiling in the breakfast area, which gained nearly five feet of height in the process and now mirrors the family room’s vaulted effect. Freshly installed, V-groove ceiling panels bring vintage charm to both spaces. The dining area’s bay window boasts a new bench seat with concealed storage under its flip-top.

In the kitchen, an upper cabinet that obstructed the view into the adjacent family room came down. The remaining dark-wood cabinets received a coat of off-white paint. As Meyer explains, “The main objective was to make the space feel more open and expansive.” Softly veined granite countertops and a glazed-subway-tile backsplash “bring the aesthetic forward a little bit.” White oak flooring with an ebony stain replaced white tiles throughout the addition (the original hardwood floors in other spaces were refinished to match).

Meyer dialed up the color and pattern in the family room’s recently refreshed scheme. She reupholstered a Lee Industries sofa in a spritely, green-hued indoor-outdoor fabric from Thibaut. “This side of the house definitely goes bolder,” she notes. “I wanted it to be more playful, more fun. It matches the energy of our family.”

The chair and pillow fabrics, as well as the rug, are from the designer’s own collection, Marika Meyer Textiles, which launched in 2016. The impetus for the customizable line was twofold: to solve sourcing challenges for tricky color combinations; and to feed Meyer’s craving for “a new creative outlet.” Fabric options expanded last September with the introduction of the Dumbarton Collection, which draws its name from Georgetown’s historic property and offers three gardenesque designs.

“For me, inspiration is everywhere,” the maker reveals. “I’m always looking at things with a critical eye toward pattern. That’s the blessing and the curse.”

Meyer sought “visual quiet” in the upstairs owners’ suite, where she bathed the walls in warm-gray paint. A cherished portrait that depicts the designer’s great-grandmother, grandmother and mother—all of whom shared the name Marika—hangs in the space. The boys’ rooms, on the other hand, brim with exuberance. For proof, look no further than the wallpaper lining Colin’s pad.

The word “fun” pops up often as Meyer describes both her handiwork and approach. The designer’s sage advice for those embarking on a new build or renovation serves as illustration. “Have fun,” she encourages. “It’s a luxury to be able to do it, so there is no reason that the process shouldn’t be as enjoyable as the end result.”

Renovation & Interior Design: Marika Meyer, Marika Meyer Interiors, Bethesda, Maryland.


Front Door Paint: finepaintsofeurope.com. Rug: mattcamron.com. Sofa: custom by meyerinteriors.com. Sofa Fabric: perennialsfabrics.com. Pillow Fabric: kravet.com. Drapery Fabric: marikameyertextiles.com. Drapery Fabrication: gretcheneverett.com. Round Table: vintage. Table Lamps: vintage through misspixies.com. Wall Paint: Manchester Tan by benjaminmoore.com. Mirror Over Mantel: johnrosselli.com. Mirror Over Sofa: meyerinteriors.com. Side Chair: vintage through hickorychair.com. Side Chair Fabric: marikameyertextiles.com. Arm Chairs: vintage. Arm Chair Fabric: cowtan.com. Chest: vintage.

Table & Chairs: vintage. Chair Seat Fabric: perennialsfabrics.com. Chair Back Fabric: fschumacher.com. Rug: starkcarpet.com. Chandelier: circalighting.com. Wallpaper: farrow-ball.com. Drapery Fabric: fschumacher.com. Drapery Fabrication: gretcheneverett.com. Ceiling Paint: Iceberg by benjaminmoore.com. China Closet: vintage. China Closet Paint: billetcollins.com.

Cabinet Paint: White Dove by benjaminmoore.com. Countertops: unitedstatesmarbleandgranite.com. Backsplash: mosaictileco.com. Stove: kitchenaid.com. Lamp: vintage. Sink Fixture: perrinandrowe.co.uk through fergusonshowrooms.com. Runner: vintage.

Table: allmodern.com. Chairs: serenaandlily.com. Chandelier: vintage. Window Seat Fabric: thibautdesign.com. Window Seat Pillow Fabrics: clarencehouse.com; galbraithandpaul.com. Roman Shade Fabric: China Seas through quadrillefabrics.com. Roman Shade Fabrication: gretcheneverett.com. Wall Paint: Pale Oak by benjaminmoore.com.

Wall Paint: Manchester Tan by benjaminmoore.com. Bookshelves: custom by meyerinteriors.com. Card Table & Chairs: vintage. Chair Fabric: China Seas through quadrillefabrics.com. Rug: starkcarpet.com. Light Fixture: circalighting.com.

Wall Paint: Pale Oak by benjaminmoore.com. Rug: marikameyertextiles.com. Pink Table & Table Lamp: vintage. Sofa: leeindustries.com. Sofa Fabric: thibautdesign.com. Lucite Table: ballarddesigns.com. Photograph: Slim Arons. Sculpture on Wall: custom.

Animal Wallpaper: scionliving.com. Desk: westelm.com. Desk Chair: amazon.com. Desk Lamp: vintage. Blue Dresser: vintage through misspixies.com. Dresser Lamp: homegoods.com. Bed: crateandbarrel.com. Pillow Fabric: kravet.com. Mirror: vintage. Roman Shade Fabric: lucyrosedesign.com.




Wall Paint: Pale Oak by benjaminmoore.com. Bed: custom. Headboard Fabric: fabricut.com. Bedding: matouk.com. Pillow: marikameyertextiles.com. Armchair & Drink Table: vintage. Rug: coecarpetandrug.com. Roman Shade Fabric: Lee Jofa through kravet.com. Art & Night Table: vintage. Table Lamp: circalighting.com.

Looking for a place to unwind, a pair of DC-area professionals considered buying a weekend retreat near the shore—but then changed tack. Their new approach: to build a sanctuary in Bethesda they could enjoy full-time. As the husband, a corporate communications executive, recalls, “We thought, ‘Let’s rent a house when we go to the beach and make our primary home a vacation home.’”

A vacation-house-in-the-city mindset informed decisions along the way, starting with the lot selection. When a one-acre, woodland parcel belying its close-in location became available in 2018, the couple grabbed it. “The integration between indoors and outdoors was key” to their vision for a permanent haven, says the wife, a political consultant. “This was pre-covid, so the idea was to be able to relax in a Zen-like space when we came home from work and to have guests feel calm, comfortable and relaxed too.”

With demolition slated for an existing 1950s house, they tapped architect Mark Kaufman to design airy new digs that would showcase the property’s natural splendor. “They wanted a contemporary home with a lot of glass on the back side and some sense of privacy in front,” recounts Kaufman, a principal at GTM Architects. “They also wanted to be able to walk in the front door and see through to the beautiful backyard.”

Kaufman forged an L-shaped plan that fit the bill. “We started taking in all these parts and pieces—what’s the best view on the lot, where are we getting the best daylighting, how do we want to organize the more public and private spaces—and the L shape started to make a lot of sense,” he explains. “We created two wings that are connected by a glass hyphen.”

Soaring windows and sliding doors, all framed in black, dominate the back without overexposing the occupants. “Because of the home’s shape, you feel protected,” observes Kaufman. “You don’t feel like you’re on display here, even though you’re surrounded by glass.” On the exterior, those gleaming expanses are interspersed with sapele siding and deep-blue-painted stucco.

Skillfully sited, the 7,800-square-foot dwelling takes full advantage of the sun. The L opens up to southern exposure, ushering in natural light. Additionally, 80 solar panels on the flat roof help the homeowners approach their goal of net-zero energy consumption. According to the husband, “For months in the spring and fall, the meter is running backwards.”

Visitors step first into the glass link, where floor-to-ceiling windows reveal the backyard vista. To the left, the dining room sits up front, saving the stellar views for the glass-lined kitchen/breakfast area/family room, which crescendos to a 20-plus-foot ceiling. A screened porch housing a double-grill outdoor kitchen extends off that space. The opposite wing holds the living room, floating stairs and library. On the second floor, a gathering spot situated in the hyphen separates the primary suite from three other bedrooms (the couple’s adult son and daughter each claim one). The walk-out basement comprises recreational areas, a gym and guest quarters.

Before ground broke, designer Annette Hannon joined the team, specifying everything from finishes to furnishings. She and Kaufman collaborated on the kitchen design, which was predicated on entertaining. A lengthy, marble-topped island with a waterfall edge offers plenty of prep and serving space; it’s also where the wife prefers to work from home.

Wood accents warm up the sparkling interiors. Sapele pocket doors on the family room’s fireplace/television wall conceal a bar and storage space; the same wood reappears on the breakfast-area banquette. Walnut built-ins wrap around the library, which doubles as the husband’s office.

Nature dictated the décor. “The driving force for the whole project was marrying the interior with the exterior,” asserts Hannon. Benjamin Moore’s Pale Oak, Hannon’s pick for most public-area walls, creates a neutral canvas for the “living artwork” outside. Comfortable seating selections sport durable fabrics in tranquil shades of blue and gray that complement the view.

The lighting choices, she adds, “respect the interior architecture’s contemporary aesthetic.” Case in point: a sleek, 19-light pendant from Koncept Lighting that drops from the family room ceiling.

That social space spills out to a tumbled-travertine terrace, complete with swimming pool and hot tub. A bocce ball court lies along the side yard, opposite a changing room and outdoor shower. Fritz & Gignoux, who masterminded the landscape plan, added a modern garden that further ties the built environment to its surroundings. “We made it so that the house feels merged with the natural landscape,” observes Leslie Gignoux, who founded the firm with husband Scott Fritz. “There’s a very thoughtful and peaceful presence to the place that is intentional.”

Hannon established zones for outdoor dining, relaxing and lounging with Brown Jordan furniture. The porch table can extend to accommodate a crowd. Two sofas join a streamlined Paloform fire pit on the terrace, creating a spot, she says, “to hang out and have cocktails.”

The completed property offers a halcyon respite for owners and friends alike. “When the weather is warm, we have people over almost every weekend,” reveals the wife. “There’s lots of eating, lots of getting wet in the pool, hot tub and outdoor shower. It’s just like a vacation home.”

Architecture: Mark Kaufman, AIA, LEED AP, GTM Architects, Bethesda, Maryland. Interior Design: Annette Hannon, Annette Hannon Interior Design, Burke, Virginia. Builder: Thorsen Construction, Alexandria, Virginia. Landscape Design: Leslie Gignoux and Scott Fritz, Fritz & Gignoux Landscape Architects, Washington, DC. Landscape Contractor: Joel Hafner, Fine Earth Landscape, Poolesville, Maryland.



Windows: thesanderscompany.com. Home Automation: htarchitects.com.

Pool Chaises, Dining Table & Dining Chairs: brownjordan.com through americaneyewdc.net. Sofa, Sectional & Chairs: brownjordan.com through americaneyewdc.net. Coffee Table & Pedestals: Clients’ collection. Grill: lynxgrills.com through ferguson.com. Hood: Custom by Mark Kaufman through gtmarchitects.com. Hood Fabrication: custommetalsofvirginia.com. Paving: fineearth.com. Outdoor Sconces: kuzcolighting.com. Fan: montecarlofans.com. Pool Contractor: crystalpoolsrs.com. Outdoor Shower Plumbing: signaturehardware.com through ferguson.com.

Sectional: vanguardfurniture.com. Sectional Fabric: kirbydesign.com through romo.com. Pillow Fabric: rosemaryhallgarten.com through hollandandsherry.com. Armchairs: vanguardfurniture.com. Armchair Fabric: kirbydesign.com through romo.com. Armchair Pillow: brentanofabrics.com through hollyhunt.com. Rug: galleriacarpets.com. Cocktail Table: rh.com. Chandelier: koncept.com. Side Table: rh.com. Millwork Fabrication: Maryland Custom Cabinets; 301-898-0357. Fireplace: davincifireplace.com. Paint: Pale Oak by benjaminmoore.com.

Banquette Design: Mark Kaufman through gtmarchitects.com. Banquette Fabrication: Maryland Custom Cabinets; 301-898-0357. Banquette Fabric: designersguild.com through osbornandlittle.com. Table & Chairs: dwr.com. Cabinetry: Maryland Custom Cabinets; 301-898-0357. Hardware: omniaindustries.com through pushpullhardware.com. Range & Combination Steam Oven: mieleusa.com through ferguson.com. Refrigerator, Freezer & Wine Refrigerator: subzero-wolf.com through ferguson.com. Vent Hood: bluestarcooking.com through ferguson.com. Dishwasher: bosch-home.com through ferguson.com. Pendants: umage.us through lightology.com. Countertop & Backsplash: imaginesurfaces.com through unitedstatesmarbleandgranite.com. Plumbing Fixtures: kohler.com through ferguson.com. Stools: Clients’ collection. Paint: Pale Oak by benjaminmoore.com.

Bench: hollyhunt.com. Bench Fabric: kirbydesign.com through romo.com. Art: Clients’ Collection. Flooring: wellbornwright.com. Paint: Pale Oak by benjaminmoore.com.

Fireplace Surround: imaginesurfaces.com through unitedstatesmarbleandgranite.com. Ledge: unitedstatesmarbleandgranite.com. Sofa: aneesupholstery.com through hinescompany.com. Sofa Fabric (Interior): designersguild.com through osborneandlittle.com; Sofa Fabric (Exterior): kirbydesign.com through romo.com. Pillow Fabric: markalexander.com through romo.com. Armchairs & Armchair Fabric: rh.com. Rug: galleriacarpets.com. Cocktail Table: Clients’ collection. Round Table: mgbwhome.com. Wallpaper: S. Harris through fabricut.com.

Millwork Fabrication: Maryland Custom Cabinets; 301-898-0357. Rug: carpetimpressions.com. Desk: Custom by annettehannon.com. Desk Leg: custommetalsofvirginia.com. Wood Desk: Maryland Custom Cabinets; 301-898-0357. Chair & Ottoman: Clients’ collection. Paint: Pale Oak by benjaminmoore.com.

Veritable treasures await around every corner of a century-old Kalorama townhouse recently reimagined by Jose Solis Betancourt and Paul Sherrill, principals of Solis Betancourt & Sherrill. A second-century statue of the Roman goddess Diana beckons from a living room perch. A nearly 300-year-old harpsichord commands the stair hall. Ancient Greek pottery sits among cherished books on the library shelves.

Each piece survived a rigorous paring-back process to earn its place.

When a longtime client decided to downsize from a Tudor-style manse to a more manageable abode nearby, she sought to lighten her vast trove of furniture, antiquities and art—as well as her aesthetic. She enlisted the design duo to orchestrate both endeavors. The pair certainly knew her collection well, having helped assemble it decades ago for the previous residence.

“The pieces had been in that house for a very long time,” reveals Solis Betancourt. “They have a new life in this one and that is exciting to see. It was an editing job, curating the whole collection for this smaller residence.”

First, the designers drafted a plan to reconfigure the spaces to suit the owner’s needs and create an appropriately elegant envelope for the remaining ensemble. “It started sort of academically with her program—how she really wanted to live and entertain on this particular property,” Sherrill explains. “The program will allow her to age gracefully in this home.”

BOWA joined the team as contractor, executing a renovation that touched every space. “The house was in fine shape when we started, but it certainly wasn’t what it is today,” states principal Steve Kirstein. “We added, subtracted, moved things around a bit and put in some cool touches.” Retrofitting the four-story townhome with an elevator proved a major, though not insurmountable, challenge.

A redesigned staircase ascends from the gracious, ground-level entry hall to a main-floor landing situated between the living and dining rooms. Newly raised and expanded openings visually connect and define these spaces and allow light to flow. As Solis Betancourt relates, “In this project, in this new phase, the client really wanted to embrace natural light.”

The third-story layout changed dramatically. Three bedrooms were combined to create a large owner’s suite, complete with a sitting area and dressing room. A separate library gratifies the avid reader and history buff; it also serves as a snug spot to watch television.

New moldings and other millwork add refinement throughout, in keeping with the home’s classically inspired exterior architecture. “The interiors sort of lagged behind the style of the exterior,” recounts Sherrill. “We took the classical façade as a jumping-off point and developed the interior architecture to support that.” For example, fluted pilasters with Ionic capitals adorn the library’s built-in cabinetry. In sum, he notes: “It’s an understandable backdrop for a Grand Tour collection.”

A Marmorino plaster finish, applied on most of the public-area walls by The Valley Craftsmen, “gives gravitas to the architecture,” Sherrill continues, while subtly shifting tints of blue and green unify the spaces. “We kept the palette one that would be more reflective of natural light,” he states. Light-enhancing materials, such as the kitchen’s Mystery White marble countertops and the breakfast room’s limestone floor, enhance the sense of airiness.

Meanwhile, owner and designers culled the most meaningful pieces from her considerable cache. “She’s well-travelled and knowledgeable about the history of different pieces she has,” says Sherrill. “This is not a random collection. We had to make a couple of difficult choices in our attempt, at her request, to lighten the feeling.”

Solis Betancourt adds: “She was willing to part with things because she understood the idea behind it. That was the fun part.”

Viewing the scaled-down trove through a fresh lens, the design duo carefully composed the Kalorama spaces. Take the living room, for example. Two salvaged Ionic columns, found through a New York dealer and recently freed from years in storage, anchor the space. The crumbling relics stand comfortably alongside fine European antiques and clean-lined, contemporary pieces.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a minimal project,” says Solis Betancourt, wryly. “It’s very well-edited. Finding that right balance in the spaces was important.”

The creative vision for the gardenesque breakfast room included incorporating a group of hefty stone antiquities into the wall architecturally—a tricky structural maneuver. The result speaks volumes about the designers’ reverence for the familiar collection as a whole—not to mention the 30-year client relationship that corresponds with it.

Sherrill recaps: “This project was a nice way to revisit the things we worked with our client to collect and curate over the years.”

Interior Design: Jose Solis Betancourt and Paul Sherrill, Solis Betancourt & Sherrill, Washington, DC. Renovation Contractor: BOWA, McLean, Virginia.


Paint: benjaminmoore.com.

Desk: Antique. Chairs: Clients’ collection. Paint: Marmorino Plaster through valleycraftsmen.com. Chandelier: Clients’ collection. Chair: Antique. Paint: Marmorino Plaster through valleycraftsmen.com. Harpsichord: Antique.

Coffee Table: Owners’ collection. Rug: Custom through galleriacarpets.com. Left Living Room Sofa: Antique. Right Living Room Sofa: Custom through solisbetancourt.com. Sofa Fabric: scalamandre.com. Center Chairs: saladinostyle.com. Drapery: Great Plains through hollyhunt.com. Drapery Trim: rogersandgoffigon.com. Drapery Fabrication: Potomac Draperies; 240-676-3642. Lavender Pillow Fabric: romo.com. Paint: Marmorino Plaster through valleycraftsmen.com. Statue: Antique.

Sconces: artisanlamp.com. Paint: Marmorino Plater through valleycraftsmen.com. Chairs: Antique. Chair Fabric: kravet.com. Chair Trim: samuelandsons.com. Acrylic Side Table: bernhardt.com. Painting above Fireplace: Anthony Van Dyck. Porcelain: Antiques.

Table: Clients’ collection. Chairs: Antique. Fabric on Chairs: ralphlaurenhome.com. Wall Finish: valleycraftsmen.com. Console & Screen: Clients’ collection

Credenza, Chairs & Table: Antique. Table Base: Design by solisbetancourt.com. Table Lamps: saladinostyle.com. Chandelier: marstonluce.com. Shades: conradshades.com. Paint: Marmorino Plaster through valleycraftsmen.com.

Cabinetry: Existing through themasterswoodshop.com. Countertop & Backsplash: marblesystems.com. Plumbing Fixtures: graff-designs.com through ferguson.com.





Bed: Custom through solisbetancourt.com. Side Tables: Clients’ collection. Sham & Toss Pillow Fabrication: rockvilleinteriors.com. Bed Drapery Fabric: rubelli.com. Sham Fabric: fabricut.com. Sham Trim: decordeparis.com. Throw Pillow Fabric: cec-milano.us. Throw Pillow Trim: samuelandsons.com. Bench: Clients’ collection. Side Lamps: Clients’ collection. Paint: Frosted Café by benjaminmoore.com.



Lounge Chair & Ottoman: Custom. Side Chair: Clients’ collection. Table & Floor Lamp: Clients’ collection. Rug: galleriacarpets.com. Chandelier: Vintage. Drapery Fabric: romo.com. Drapery Fabrication: Potomac Draperies; 240-676-3642. Built-in Design: solisbetancourt.com. Paint: Snowfall White by benjaminmoore.com.


Wall Covering: fschumacher.com. Sofas: Owners’ collection. Sofa Fabric: kvadrat.dk. Drapery Fabric: coraggio.com. Pillow Fabric: fortuny.com. Drapery Fabrication: Potomac Draperies; 240-676-3642. Chandelier: Clients’ collection. Paint: Pristine by benjaminmoore.com.





Dreams for a custom home can take many shapes, as one local couple discovered when talks began in earnest. While the husband voiced his preference for traditional design, his French wife advocated a more modern approach. “I had this idea of what American architecture should look like,” she explains. “I wanted Frank Lloyd Wright.”

Her husband, an investment banker, came around with a little coaxing. “My wife had this excellent argument,” he concedes. “As an immigrant, when she thinks of the United States, she thinks of progress, innovation. She wanted something that represents the New World, and a contemporary style is what we both agreed would do that best.”

The pair secured a leafy lot in an established McLean neighborhood, knowing they would soon replace the brick rambler inhabiting it. They then asked Cunningham | Quill Architects to synthesize myriad images and ideas they had gathered over time and conjure their new home. A collaborative process ensued. “These clients understood from the beginning that it was going to be a team approach,” says founding principal Ralph Cunningham. “They were very engaged.”

First and foremost, the couple envisioned an open-plan nucleus that would support frequent entertaining—ranging from intimate dinner parties to 100-person charity fundraisers—and daily family life (their 18-year-old son lives at home and 20-year-old daughter studies abroad). “It was a mix of trying to make sure we had an environment where lots of people could mingle easily without moving through a maze,” explains the husband, “while also keeping it to a livable size and preserving a sense of home, comfort and snugness.”

The layout evolved from there. “It was very important to them that the center of house be a three-part room—dining, living and den—and that it be a big, tall, welcoming space,” discloses architect Angie Yu. “Our job was to figure out how everything else fit around that.”

In the architects’ 7,000-square-foot plan, an assembly of interlocking boxes forms a U-shape around a rear courtyard. The main volume holds the social hub on the ground level and three en-suite bedrooms above; the lower level includes hangout spaces, a guest suite and a gym. An office for the wife, who volunteers with many charitable groups, and the owners’ suite are housed in separate cubes to the right; the kitchen occupies a back wing to the left. A service extension off the kitchen contains a back stair connecting to the garage. The main staircase sits in a tower at the front.

To execute their geometric design, the architects chose a material palette of stucco, ipe and steel. “We took it consistently around the house,” Yu points out. “The material palette is very simple and clean yet playful at the same time.”

Cunningham adds, “I would describe the style as ‘warm modern,’ and the wood helps with the warmth.”

Several characteristics reflect Frank Lloyd Wright’s legacy. “One thing that Wright did consistently was to build on the brow of a hill, and that concept went into this project,” offers Cunningham. To take advantage of a sloping site, the team, which included Potomac Valley Builders, tucked the base of the house into the grade. That move helped to de-emphasize the street-facing garage doors, as did placing them in shadow and painting them a charcoal hue. It also allowed for a dramatic, ascending approach to the residence. As Cunningham explains, “The house sort of floats up in the air on a very dark base.”

Vast stretches of shaded glass—another Wright signature—establish the strong indoor/outdoor relationship the owners requested. In the main living area, kitchen and primary bedroom, sliding doors open onto the courtyard, with a pool and garden beyond. Large windows and several skylights amplify natural light. Black-painted, aluminum-clad wood frames on the doors and windows contribute a modern edge.

The couple also sought to evoke an inviting spirit with their see-through home. As the husband reveals, “We wanted an open house, not just for being able to see outside, but also the idea that it would be a house where our friends would feel welcome and people could come and enjoy themselves.”

And they do. The wife, who grew up in Provence, often prepares French favorites, such as blanquette de veau, to share with guests. “We like a good meal and good wine,” she readily affirms. Despite its heavy use, the kitchen projects a pristine aesthetic thanks to sleek, white cabinets and countertops from Porcelanosa.

Natural materials figured prominently in the owners’ vision for their interiors. Anchoring each end of the public core is a fireplace boasting a floor-to-ceiling, slate surround. Horizontal panels of French oak flank both fireplaces, decoratively concealing storage cabinets and adding desired texture. Wide-plank, white oak floors span throughout.

Striving for what she terms “simple elegance,” the wife created a minimalist vibe with neutral, clean-lined furnishings sourced mainly through RH. Bold, original artwork introduces color and personal meaning. As she sums up, “We wanted our house to have soul.”

Architecture: Ralph Cunningham, FAIA, principal; Angela Yu, AIA, Cunningham | Quill Architects, Washington, DC. Builder: Potomac Valley Builders, Bethesda, Maryland. Landscape Contractor: Fine Earth Landscape, Poolesville, Maryland.



Paint: Kendall Charcoal, Distant Gray & Amherst Gray by benjaminmoore.com.

Light Fixtures Over Stair: moooi.com.

Table & Chandelier: rh.com.

Cabinetry & Countertops: porcelanosa-usa.com. Ovens & Refrigerator: mieleusa.com through abwappliances.com. Barstools: ikea.com.

Sofas, Leather Chair & Coffee Table: rh.com. Artwork: original by Dan Badea.

Leather Sofa & Coffee Table: rh.com. Mirror: antique.

Desk & Chairs: rh.com.

Dining Table: rh.com. Dining Chairs: cb2.com.

Sofas: rh.com. Lounge Chairs: cb2.com. Pool: alpinepool.com.


Admittedly, it wasn’t the smoothest start. Designer Jamie Ivey joined a new-build project just as framing neared completion. Her clients—a Powhatan, Virginia, couple crafting their forever home—had come to the realization that they needed help with interior choices. And fast. “I came on board a little behind the gun,” she concedes. “The plumbers were going to be there the next week and nothing had been selected. We had to make some decisions quickly.”

Looking at the end result now, that less-than-ideal launch is hard to imagine. Everything, from the finishes to the furnishings, contributes to a carefullybalanced composition. As the designer notes, “It’s sophisticated and upscale, but still down-to-earth, fun and family-friendly.”

Ivey’s handiwork responds to the home’s Modernist architecture and bucolic vistas, as well as to the owners’ goals. Back in 2017, the husband, a construction project manager, and wife, a former executive with a financial-planning software company, had snapped up a 10-acre parcel that encompasses dense woods and a picturesque pond—all within a 40-minute drive west of Richmond. “We loved the privacy of the land, the pond views and having close access to the James River,” the wife reveals.

The pair then engaged SMBW, a Richmond-based architecture firm, to design digs to meet the needs of their active, outdoorsy clan that includes two adolescent boys, a pair of dogs and a cat. “We knew we wanted a modern home,” the wife continues. “We aren’t very formal, so it needed to be casual and comfortable.”

First, SMBW pinpointed the optimal building site. “There was a spot that we really tucked the house into so that, from the living space, you would be able to look down over a rolling meadow to the pond,” recounts project manager Michelle Mikita (architect Rich Fischl has since joined another firm).

Walls of glass afford that panorama in the open, L-shaped living/dining/kitchen area. The main floor also harbors a den, the primary bedroom suite, an office and a utility space, dubbed the “life management room.” Down a half-flight of stairs sit a game room and in-law suite. The upstairs comprises a bedroom and bath for each son, as well as a guest suite. As the wife affirms, “We love having friends and family over and that was a big part of the layout of the house.”

SMBW conceived the preliminary, 9,000-square-foot design before passing the reins to architect Mike Foltz of McAllister + Foltz Architecture, who finalized the plans, designed outbuildings and oversaw construction. Foltz and Ivey collaborated on many of the interior details, such as the extensive woodwork that offsets the glass surfaces. A cedar ceiling crowns the first floor’s open living area and extends outside to the covered patio. White oak floors with a natural, matte finish flow throughout.

Ivey tested umpteen shades of white paint before landing on Sherwin-Williams’ Snowbound for most of the home’s public-area walls. “We tried to keep it clean and crisp for the most part,” she explains. “In the main space, we’ve got exposed steel beams, the wood ceiling, floor-to-ceiling windows. I wasn’t going to muddy that up with wallpaper or curtains or do anything that would distract from the glorious views.”

This minimal-leaning approach is anything but boring. “There’s enough color and unexpected touches to make it inviting,” the designer asserts. “It’s definitely not a cold modern. We came in with some fun furniture, interesting countertop and backsplash selections, and color in key spaces to warm it up and show off the owners’ personality.”

An abstract Kravet print, for example, adorns the fronts of two swivel chairs in the living room; marine-hued leather graces the backs. The dining area’s Saarinen chairs sport lime-colored upholstery that echoes the surroundings. “I knew when it came to patterns, my clients were either going to like something real funky or plain,” the designer reveals. “No frills or florals.” In the kitchen, navy-blue paint covers the walls, prep island and lower peripheral cabinets (the uppers are soft gray), while a dynamic quartzite enlivens the breakfast bar, hood, backsplash and countertops. A calmer atmosphere prevails in the owners’ suite, where Ivey employed “a sea of neutrals and tons of texture.”

Practical considerations entered the conversation. “Any time Jamie and I discussed a fabric or flooring, we tested it to see how much dog hair it would show,” recounts the wife. “I have two boys who still like to play ball in the house, so we needed to be sure everything was livable.”

Since taking up residence in July 2020, the family has socialized largely around the outdoor pool, fireplace and sport courts. “We moved into this house in the middle of covid so we haven’t had the chance to entertain as much as we would like,” says the wife. “We are looking forward to hosting family here for Thanksgiving this year.”

Architecture: Rich Fischl, AIA, project architect; Michelle Mikita, project manager, SMBW, Richmond, Virginia. Mike Foltz, NCARB, McAllister + Foltz Architecture, Richmond, Virginia. Interior Design: Jamie Ivey, Ivey Design Group, Richmond, Virginia. Builder: Jeff Jarrelle, Powhatan, Virginia.



Sectional: Custom through tcsdesignsfurniture.com. Sectional Fabric: kravet.com. Ottoman: Custom through tcsdesignsfurniture.com. Ottoman Fabric: kravet.com. Rug: Antrim through stantoncarpet.com. Pillow Fabric: surya.com. Art: harrisondwalker.com. Paint: Greenblack by sherwin-williams.com.

Sofa: americanleather.com. Sofa Fabric: sunbrella.com. Small Black Table: ethnicraft.com. Pillow Fabrics: etsy.com; surya.com. Coffee Table: taracea.com. Leather Chairs & Ottomans: ciscohome.net. Rug: custom through juliedasherrugs.com. Built-In Design & Fabrication: kdwhome.com. Art: bethanymabeeart.com. Swivel Chairs: thayercoggin.com. Swivel Chair Fabric: kravet.com; garrettleather.com. Round Table: antique through vervehomefurnishings.com. Paint: Snowbound through sherwin-williams.com.

Fixture: gabriel-scott.com. Table: trueformconcrete.com. Chairs & Chair Fabric: knoll.com. Cabinetry Design & Fabrication: kdwhome.com. Bar Area Backsplash: annsacks.com. Countertop: caesarstoneus.com. Console: noirfurniturela.com. Art: justinjamesreed.com. Paint: Iron Ore & Snowbound by sherwin-williams.com.

Cabinetry: kdwhome.com. Backsplash, Hood, Countertops & Island: tritonstone.com. Light Fixtures: juniper-design.com. Sink Faucet: thegalley.com. Ovens: subzero-wolf.com through kdwhome.com. Bar Stools: sossegodesign.com. Cabinetry Paint: Hale Navy and Classic Grey through benjaminmoore.com.

Chaise: thayercoggin.com. Chaise Fabric: S. Harris through fabricut.com. Chaise Table: potterybarn.com. Armchair: thayercoggin.com. Armchair Fabric: thayercoggin.com. Armchair Table: noirfurniturela.com. Rug: stantoncarpet.com. Wallcovering: elitis.fr/en. Bedding: parachutehome.com. Fireplace: custom through bbmetalweld.com. Closets: poliform.it/en.

Cabinetry Design & Fabrication: kdwhome.com. Countertop: neolith.com through marvamarble.com. Flooring: porcelanosa-usa.com.

“I  like to take credit for finding it,” quips Neada Onufrychuk, referring to the captivating parcel of former farmland she discovered on the outskirts of Vienna, Virginia. The lot’s now-owner vividly recalls the day she happened by a for-sale sign and followed a gravel road to the site of her future home. “The property was so magical. The way the light came through the trees,” she describes, “I could just see my kids running down to the creek and being free here.”

Neada and husband Brian, a wine and spirits distributor, were living in downtown Vienna with their two young children at the time and searching for a buildable plot. After purchasing the five acres in 2017, they assembled an expert team, which included architect Stephen Vanze and designer Lauren Liess. The brief: Conjure a timeless, built-to-last abode that supports casual living and social gatherings. Airy interiors that capitalize on the sylvan setting figured prominently in the couple’s vision.

With a demolition on the horizon, the pair not only gave short shrift to the tumbledown brick residence on the lot, they overlooked altogether an attached log cabin obscured by dense bushes. Vanze and his colleagues, however, spotted the 1800s-era edifice on their first visit and recommended a course correction. “Our initial instinct was that we had to save that log cabin,” Vanze recounts. “It’s an important part of the story of the site.”

The Onufrychuks quickly got on board. And the storied structure, which was lovingly restored and improved, was integrated into the residence’s three-volume plan. It now serves as a dinner-party venue/pool house at one end of the main residence, while a three-car garage, with an office above for Brian, forms an “L” at the other. Glass-lined hallways link the side volumes to the center. Says architect Melanie Giordano, “We wanted to make the log cabin feel like part of the composition.”

Landscape architect Jennifer Horn reinforced the home’s old-meets-new narrative with thoughtfully designed gardens and outdoor living areas. For example, she specified irregular pavers with planted joints for the cabin’s more informal “remnant garden” and clean-lined bluestone for the terrace and pool surround. “The idea was to create the feeling that everything around the cabin had been preserved and had existed for generations,” she reveals.

At the heart of the 11,000-square-foot plan, an expansive great room celebrates its scenic surroundings. Abundant windows drench the well-used hub with natural light. “The house is an expression of the way [the Onufrychuks] live,” asserts Vanze. “All the rooms, including the upstairs, are organized around that living space.”

The architectural style, which Vanze dubbed Modern English Country, borrows from homes that came out of England’s Arts & Crafts movement. In particular, the work of pioneer architect C.F.A. Voysey (who was active during the late 19th and early 20th centuries) inspired the home’s asymmetrical design, sloping roofs and white-stucco exterior, as well as the spare interior detailing. “We essentially did a modern version of a Voysey house,” says Vanze. “It’s cleaner, simplified a little bit.”

Natural materials play a starring role inside—from the great room’s ceiling beams to the library’s white-oak built-ins. The plainspoken architecture—and outdoor splendor—provided a perfect backdrop for Liess, who espouses a down-to-earth design philosophy.

As she pored over the wife’s archive of inspiration images, a project vocabulary emerged. “Soulful, quiet and romantic, with a little bit of edge—that’s how I saw it,” she states. Starting in the kitchen, the designer selected decorative finishes and paint colors in muted shades “that got spread throughout the house and then embellished with tonal, watercolory fabrics,” she says. “I didn’t want anything in the house to overpower what was going on outside the windows.”

White-washed walls showcase original artwork, passionately curated by Neada. Lighting selections sport dark finishes for added contrast. “Bringing in that little bit of black creates a tension that makes it interesting and not so one-note,” offers Liess.

For the laid-back furniture plans, the designer specified many pieces from her own upholstery and case-good collections. A smattering of found elements, she points out, introduces “a bit of patina and quirk.” A pair of antique mirrors, hanging in the entrance hall, sets the tone.

The resulting blend is just what Neada had envisioned. “I wanted a mix of some old, some new but I didn’t want it to feel too dusty,” reveals the homeowner. “This is a nice in-between and it feels authentic to me.”

Friends and family gather for game days in the great room and relaxed dinners by the cabin’s fireplace. Says Neada, “It makes me love my home even more when I feel like other people enjoy being here too.”

Architecture: Stephen Vanze, FAIA, LEED AP, founding principal; Melanie Giordano, AIA, principal; Sydney Davenport Katz, AIA, LEED AP, project manager; Nancy Rizk, project architect, BarnesVanze Architects, Washington, DC. Interior Design: Lauren Liess, Lauren Liess, Great Falls, Virginia. Builder: CarrMichael Construction, Oakton, Virginia. Landscape Design: Jennifer Horn, RLA, Jennifer Horn Landscape Architecture, Arlington, Virginia.


Flooring: cochranslumber.com.

Cabinetry & Countertops: caesarstoneus.com. Backsplash: cletile.com through annsacks.com. Range: thermador.com. Flooring: architessa.com. Sink Faucet: watermark-designs.com. Sconces: laurenliess.com. Paint: Greek Villa by Sherwin-williams.com.

Lighting: laurenliess.com.

Sofa & Arm Chairs: laurenliess.com through taylorking.com. Sofa & Arm Chair Fabrics: taylorking.com. Sofa Pillow Fabrics: Lee Jofa through kravet.com. ; arabelfabrics.com. ; laurenliess.com. ; rosetarlow.com. ; peterdunhamtextiles.com. ; legracieux.com. Coffee Table & Stone Table: laurenliess.com through woodbridgefurniture.com. Nesting Tables: vintage. Round Side Table: noirfurniturela.com. Pendants: laurenliess.com. Rug Underlayment: laurenliess.com. Layered Rug: frenchmarketcollection.com. Sofa Table: antique. Floor Lamp: vintage. Sitting Area Chairs: laurenliess.com through taylorking.com. Sitting Area Chair Fabric: taylorking.com. Sitting Area Coffee Table: arteriorshome.com. Sitting Area Stump Table: etsy.com. Additional Floor Lamps: curreyandcompany.com. ; visualcomfort.com. Paint: Greek Villa by sherwin-williams.com. Art: marylittle.com.

Drapery Fabric: laurenliess.com. Drapery Fabrication: laurenliess.com. ; pauldavid.design. Window Shade: horizonshades.com. Runner: vintage. Lanterns: laurenliess.com. Mirror: antique. Demilune & Hanging Console: laurenliess.com through woodbridgefurniture.com. Paint: Greek Villa by sherwin-williams.com.

Chair: frenchmarketcollection.com.

Dining Table: sarreid.com. Chairs: industrywest.com. Chandelier: laurenliess.com.

Bench: arteriorshome.com. Ceiling Fixtures: laurenliess.com. Paint: Greek Villa by sherwin-williams.com.

Bed: tarashaw.com. Bed Fabric: suzannetuckerhome.com. Bedding & Pillows: peacockalley.com. Accent Pillow: vintage. Leather Benches: sarreid.com. Drapery Fabric: lesindiennes.com. Drapery Fabrication: laurenliess.com. ; pauldavid.design. Base Rug: fibreworks.com. Throw Rug: landryandarcari.com. Chair: laurenliess.com through taylorking.com. Chair Fabric: taylorking.com. Chair Pillow Fabric: walter-g.com. Floor & Table Lamps: laurenliess.com. Nightstand: noirfurniturela.com. Paint: Greek Villa by sherwin-williams.com.


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.

The company also publishes an annual H&D Sourcebook of ideas and resources for homeowners and professionals alike. H&D Chesapeake Views is published bi-annually and showcases fine home design and luxury living in and around the Chesapeake Bay.

The H&D Portfolio of 100 Top Designers spotlights the superior work of selected architects, interior designers and landscape architects in major regions of the US.

Stay Connected with HOME & DESIGN Newsletter

Copyright © 2024 Home & Design. All rights reserved. | Back to top