Home & Design

Bonnie Ammon turned the old adage about the cobbler’s shoes on its head when she redesigned the getaway she’s shared with her family of four since 2005. The six-bedroom, 5,024-square-foot Cape Cod in Bumpass, Virginia, was picture-perfect on the outside. Inside, however, it had long needed an update. “With so many job sites shutting down in early 2020 due to covid, I finally had some time,” recalls Ammon, who updated the kitchen and five bathrooms and elevated the interiors with built-ins, moldings, new flooring “and everything else that goes into a home.” The finished abode embraces timeless style and is an idyllic spot for hosting friends and family.

As a designer, what were the challenges to decorating your own home?
With my clients, I never question my choices—but knowing there is so much to choose from made committing hard. Also, I love the collaboration with clients; doing my own home showed me how much I cherish teamwork.

How would you sum up the décor?
I call it livable luxury, with pops of color, touches of glamour and drama throughout. Each room was designed to provide a new experience while maintaining harmony and flow. I used lots of texture and organic materials to create a sense of refinement. A combination of mixed metals further enhances the aesthetic interest.

What was the vision behind the look?
This is our secondary home, not just a vacation place. We wanted our guests to feel as if they had checked into a luxurious B&B—not a cliché-type lake house with fish hanging on the walls and traditional shiplap siding. This is meant to be a retreat away from the hustle and bustle, a place to gather, recharge, spend time and truly enjoy family and friends.

How did the waterfront setting inform your choices?
It was imperative to use materials that can withstand the elements and wear-and-tear of daily lakeside living—from tracking in sand to coping with wet dogs. Hardwood flooring cleans up easily and I used lots of indoor-outdoor textiles and wipeable leather.

What drove your color palette?
Views of the water, blue sky, mature trees and our sandy beach were instrumental in forming my palette. I also relied on high- and low-contrast combinations, using a white backdrop in the main area to emphasize pops of color.

Share a highlight of the home.
A front door sets the tone for any home, as it’s a preview of what’s to come. The experience of this house starts with custom double front doors. They’re made of black metal and glass and they make a statement while inviting your eye through the house and out to the water.

How did your remodel alter the kitchen? 
It was a typical ’90s space. The island was a two-tiered, 45-degree L with a bulkhead above. The stove was on the perimeter wall, so my back was always to people sitting at the island. I removed the bulkhead and created a 10-foot rectangular island with a cooktop—which also allows for that golden working triangle.

Did you keep any furniture in the redesign?
The only thing I kept was the dining room table. It was the first piece of furniture I had ever designed and it was made for the lake house. It’s a farm table but it’s elegant because of its scale; it can seat 12. The dining room design grew to include other elements such as the whimsical embroidered pink butterflies on the wall that create movement as they surround the mirror.

What patterns do you favor?
I’m not a floral girl. I do like geometric patterns; I find that the eye is always drawn to them. I use them in textiles, trim, carpets and wall coverings. But because geometrics are bold and graphic, I do feel that a little goes a long way.

How did you approach lighting?
I’m drawn to scale, strength and simplicity, and I like to mix metals. A fixture has to wow me. Here, I used Philips Hue smart bulbs, which can be controlled via cell phone and offer a choice of color, shade and intensity to suit different moods. We like a nightclub vibe while sipping a cocktail and listening to music.

What’s your favorite color?
I love fuchsia; it brings out the little girl in me and makes me smile. However, knowing it’s a bold color, I use it sparingly as an accent.

Are neutrals over?  
All-gray or -beige rooms have taken a backseat to color. White is the latest go-to neutral; it’s the perfect backdrop to allow a room to come to life through punches of color and texture.

What makes the strongest statement in a room? 
Cohesiveness. It’s so important to strike the right harmonious balance between scale, texture, pattern
and color.

What makes you happy at home?
The things I love! I surround myself with pops of color, personal photos, artwork that evokes emotions and furniture that lets me relax.

What is your favorite room to design? 
The bedroom. It’s the place we spend the most time in—the first thing we see in the morning and the last thing we see at night.

Interior Design: Bonnie Ammon, Bonnie Ammon Interiors, Leesburg, Virginia. Styling: Charlotte Safavi.

 

Nestled beside the Tuckahoe River in Easton, a stylish pool house takes inspiration from its sweeping waterfront views. “The homeowners wanted a retreat for their personal use, and an exciting, resort-style environment for friends and family,” says interior designer Amanda Friend, who completed this custom-built project in 2020 with Warrington Builders.

The pool house comprises two 450-square-foot structures connected by a veranda. One contains an inviting gathering space and bath while the other houses a kitchen. Friend painted the interiors of both a deep blue with contrasting white cabinetry and woodwork. “I used shades of teal and blue to mimic the waters of the pool and river,” she explains. “The dark blue gives the feeling of being underwater.” Touches of gold reference the sun.

The living area’s existing rattan-and-bamboo furniture was reupholstered in indoor-outdoor fabrics—a mix of fresh prints and weaves. Art, commissioned for the project, includes a playful painting by William Ireland of swimming legs.

The central rug is made of braided jute. “I used an arsenal of beautiful, fun but hard-wearing and long-lasting textiles and finishes,” Friend recounts. “These choices allow the pool house to be stylish and aesthetically pleasing while also being functional and usable.”

Interior Design: Amanda Friend, Amanda Friend Interiors, Newark, Delaware. Builder: Warrington Builders, Inc., Easton, Maryland. Styling: Charlotte Safavi.

Interior designer Jay Jenkins, principal of Jenkins Baer Associates, had two points in his favor when he undertook the overhaul of a 2,500-square-foot apartment in the historic Guilford neighborhood of Baltimore City. First, there was his existing relationship with his longtime clients, a pair of empty nesters looking to create a sophisticated yet comfortable, urban pied-à-terre. And second, Jenkins had lived in the same 1929 Beaux Arts-style building 15 years earlier while establishing his design business.

“I know these spaces well,” he says. “It was exciting and challenging to bring a new direction to this home—not to fall back on what had worked before but rather create a whole new look.”

While the bones of the apartment remained the same, Jenkins was tasked with updating and lightening the feel of the home. He employed a mix of the homeowners’ existing furnishings and newer pieces throughout. “My clients asked me to create a beautiful environment that would feel current while using antiques, paintings and accessories from their prior home,” he explains. “It was a huge editing process.”

A long foyer hall introduces visitors to the residence. To the right lie two en-suite bedrooms and a library, while the powder room, kitchen and dining room are on the left. The passageway culminates in a grand salon large enough to accommodate two sitting areas.

All these spaces are embellished with architectural flourishes which Jenkins calls “classic Old World proportions and detailing.” Dentil moldings cap 10-foot-tall walls, complemented by faux-finished woodwork and original walnut floors. “These pre-War apartment buildings are few and far between in Baltimore—the gracious apartments that attracted people from their big houses,” the designer observes. “This building is Baltimore’s answer to a Park Avenue home.”

Jenkins’ challenge was to enhance the interior architecture while improving the flow of natural light in what is essentially a compartmentalized space. He added new lighting where it was needed, and introduced lighter palettes or reflective finishes. For example, the deep-red library walls are coated in shiny lacquer while the dining room ceiling is framed by new track lighting that highlights the owners’ artwork. Most of the original moldings are painted in shiny gold leaf.

To balance the homeowners’ dark-wood antiques, Jenkins went with light carpets in the living and dining rooms, along with textured walls in pale, neutral colors. Reupholstering existing pieces went a long way toward refreshing and integrating them with the newer furnishings—like the living room’s cocktail and side tables—that are sprinkled throughout. “In the dining room, I selected a reverse-painted, glass-topped dining table,” says Jenkins. “The last thing this room needed was a heavy mahogany table.” The dining chairs are dressed in embroidered cream silk with chic Greek Key nail head trim.

In the formal spaces, the couple’s museum-quality silver collection adds sparkle to every nook and cranny. These treasures are on display against a striking array of contemporary and period art. “It’s a truly great project when you have this high a level of quality art to work with—from stunning historical portraits to contemporary masters by the likes of Grace Hartigan and Pablo Picasso,” Jenkins enthuses.

Taking décor cues from the owners’ diverse art collection, the designer effortlessly layered in old and new, with art often serving as inspiration. Above the sofas in the living room, he juxtaposed a traditional portrait, Queen Catherine of Braganza by Sir Peter Lely, with a contemporary abstract. He selected rich and sumptuous upholstery fabrics but for the most part kept the furniture forms clean-lined. “We worked hard to give the spaces an eclectic, not-so-formal look,” he notes. “The higher ceilings and larger rooms helped, as did the mix of elements.”

A highlight of the space is an ebonized Art Deco-style fireplace, original to the dwelling, that anchors one end of the living room. Jenkins accentuated this striking architectural feature with a contemporary, gold-framed mirror and modern sconces. The library pays homage to the living room’s color-rich Grace Hartigan oil painting by way of deep-red lacquered walls, blue chenille sofas and a cocktail table with a black wrought-iron base. Jenkins animated the kitchen’s existing sleek, black cabinetry with bright-orange leather chairs atop a vermillion-and-teal rug. A series of vivid color studies by artist Daisy Craddock inspired the room’s bold palette.

The owners’ bedroom is a quiet retreat reminiscent of a luxe hotel. Walls in the window bay are upholstered in the same soft, striped silk as the window treatments, with bedding and furnishings in complementary neutrals. “Ultimately, comfort was key,” Jenkins avers. “We edited and curated to create a space that looks gallery-esque—but with all the comforts of home.”

Interior Design: Jay Jenkins, Jenkins Baer Associates, Baltimore, Maryland.

RESOURCES

THROUGHOUT
Painting: felikspainting.com. Light Fixtures: jones-lighting.com.

LIVING ROOM
Wallpaper: thibautdesign.com. Mirror: interludehome.com. Chair by Fireplace: Owners’ collection. Ottoman near Fireplace: bunnywilliamshome.com. Chair Fabric: patrickgallagherdesign.com through johnrosselli.com. Ottoman Leather: Duralee through robertallendesign.com. Window Treatment Fabric: Beacon Hill through robertallendesign.com. Window Treatment Fabrication: draperycontractors.com. Settee between Windows: leeindustries.com. Settee Fabric: ralphlaurenhome.com through Folia. Pillows on Settee: pillowsalon.com. Pillow Fabric: kravet.com. Pillow Trim: samuelandsons.com. White Chair near Settee: bunnywilliamshome.com. White Chair Fabric: Beacon Hill through robertallendesign.com. Side Tables by Window: Owners’ collection. Lamps near Windows: jones-lighting.com. Painting: Owners’ collection. Abstract Painting: Owners’ collection. Chair Near Painting: Owners’ collection. Striped Sofa: Owners’ collection. Striped Sofa Pillows: pillowsalon.com. Striped Sofa Pillow Fabric: Beach Hill through robertallendesign.com. Striped Sofa Pillow Trim: samuelandsons.com. Side Tables: Owners’ collection. Brass Lamps: jones-lighting.com. Wooden Armchairs: Kevin Perry; 803-432-5427. Coffee Table: hickorywhite.com. Fluted Drum Table: globalviews.com. Abstract Art: bensoncobb.com.

DINING ROOM
Wallpaper: weitznerlimited.com. Table: mclainwiesand.com. Chairs: leeindustries.com. Chair Fabric: hollyhunt.com. Rug: sennehknot.com. Sideboard, Mirror, Console & Clock: Owners’ collection. Window Treatment Fabric: grovesbros.com through michaelclearyllc.com. Window Treatment Trim: fschumacher.com. Window Treatment Fabrication: draperycontractors.com. Stool: Owners’ collection.

BREAKFAST AREA
Table: Owners’ collection. Chairs: bernhardt.com. Chair Leather: kravet.com. Rug: Owners’ collection. Art: daisycraddock.com.

HALLWAY
Console Table & Bench: Owners’ collection. Rug: alexcooperrugs.com. Art: tammrasigler.com. Mirror: theodorealexander.com.

POWDER ROOM
Painting: Owners’ collection.

GUEST BEDROOM
Bed Re-Upholstery: ibelloupholstery.com. Bed Upholstery Fabric: legacylinens.com. Bench: Owners’ collection. Rug: Owners’ collection. Red Nightstand: oomphhome.com. End Table: theodorealexander.com. Table Lamp: jones-lighting.com.

DEN
Rug & Coffee Table: Owners’ collection. Ottoman: hickorychair.com. Ottoman Fabric: osborneandlittle.com. Sofa: hickorychair.com. Sofa Fabric: romo.com. Sofa Pillows: pillowsalon.com. Sofa Pillows Fabric: hollyhunt.com; fschumacher.com. Sofa Pillows Trim: samuelandsons.com. Shade Fabric: hollyhunt.com. Shade Fabrication: draperycontractors.com. Corner Lamp & Sconce: jones-lighting.com. Art: art-vista.com.

OWNERS’ BEDROOM
Bed: Custom through ibelloupholstery.com. Bed Upholstery: Sahco through kvadrat.dk. Bedding: williams-sonoma.com; Penny Green Ltd; 410-484-0996. Bed Pillow: pillowsalon.com. Chairs: mrandmrshoward.sherrillfurniture.com. Chairs Pillows: pillowsalon.com. Chairs Pillow Fabric: scalamandre.com. Chairs Pillows Trim: estout.com. Drapery Fabrication: modified by draperycontractors.com. Bedside Tables: bennetthome.com. Bedside Lamps: jones-lighting.com. Chest: Owners’ collection. Lamps Near Window: jones-lighting.com.

 

When a pair of empty nesters decided to remodel their Chevy Chase, Maryland, home of almost 20 years, they started off in an unusual direction. Instead of vetting, selecting and supervising the design team themselves, the owners turned to project consultant and interior designer Deborah Miller of The Tesh Project to manage the process.

“My job was to define the clients’ needs, wants and visions, and recruit the right team to execute them in a timely manner within the prescribed budget,” recounts Miller, who splits her time between San Antonio and DC. She hired architect Evelyn Pierce Smith of Evelyn Pierce Design Studio, builder Scott Taylor of Taylor Concepts Inc., Jodi Macklin and Lauren Sparber of
Jodi Macklin Interior Design and landscape architect Holt Jordan of Jordan Honeyman Landscape Architecture.

The team embarked on a two-year, whole-house renovation that added 954 square feet of exterior living space to the 5,204- square-foot home, while opening up the choppy, four-bedroom center-hall Colonial, imbuing it with a lighter sensibility. “The house had not been updated in years and had a very traditional, ’80s feel,” recalls Smith. “Imagine salmon-colored, faux-finished walls, heavy drapery with tassels, a cherry-and-granite kitchen and lots of dark rooms.”

On the owners’ to-do list: adding a screened porch and an adjacent veranda onto the back; gutting and reimagining the kitchen and bathrooms; creating custom built-ins; widening case openings to improve circulation; replacing outdated windows and French doors; and trading out the dated color palette for walls and trim in Benjamin Moore’s Ivory White. Existing orange-toned oak floors were stained espresso throughout.

To the left of the entry, a rarely used formal living room became a music room; to the right, a dining/sitting area flows into the renovated kitchen where the island was reoriented to make the transition between spaces smooth and inviting. “Living graciously was important to the homeowners,” affirms Smith, who added space for a sofa and armchairs beyond the dining table for after-dinner gatherings.

Along the back of the house, the new kitchen adjoins an open yet intimate family room—a roost where the couple can eat breakfast or watch the evening news; custom built-ins house a small TV, display the owners’ cookbooks and store serving pieces. The family room links to the remodeled living room via a custom, dark-stained wooden bar—a favored item on the husband’s wish list—complete with fridge and wine storage. The living room is spacious enough to accommodate two seating areas; one centers on a roomy sectional facing a big TV while the other is positioned in front of inset bookshelves that showcase collections acquired during the clients’ travels.

The transitional kitchen features Shaker-style cabinets designed by Smith and Miller and fabricated by Potomac Woodworking. Finished in a glossier version of the ivory wall color, they’re embellished with oil-rubbed bronze pulls and knobs. Similar cabinets, extending into the dining area, do double duty as a buffet for linens, cutlery and dish storage. “The owners like to cook and entertain, so every cabinet was laid out from the start, including an appliance garage and corner drawer storage for spices,” Smith notes. “Literally everything has its place.”

When it came to furnishing the remodeled spaces, designers Macklin and Sparber embraced clean lines and an airy feel. “Our collective approach was to give the house a lighter, updated look and move it away from its very traditional, darker base,” Sparber explains.

They combined high and low furnishings with family pieces. “We used existing traditional furnishings that we reupholstered, and also mixed in newer items,” Sparber says. For example, the Crate & Barrel sectional in the living room sits atop an heirloom Persian carpet that inspired the room’s pops of color.

Built-ins also enhance the owners’ bedroom, which lost its yellow floral wallpaper in the makeover. The retreat is painted in Benjamin Moore’s Calm, with a contrasting textured wallpaper defining its headboard niche. New carpeting, updated lighting and fresh window treatments complete the look. An en-suite bathroom, once a warren of nooks with a never-used bathtub, is now open and accessible, boasting a double vanity and a roomy, glass-enclosed shower.

The owners got additional outdoor living space via their spacious new screened porch off the living room and adjacent curved, columned veranda. “With its ceiling fans and heaters, the porch is suitable for year-round use, while the veranda creates lots of open space for entertaining,” Smith says.

Landscape architect Holt Jordan revived both front and back yards. He jettisoned an awkward red-brick path that cut across the front in favor of an expanded driveway court and elevated the backyard with a picturesque fountain and hardy plants that line the lawn and fill the garden beds.

The project wrapped up in June 2019, and the clients are thrilled with the results. Says Miller, “What ultimately emerged is a sophisticated but comfortable home with integrated organization and a clean, fresh look.”

Renovation Architecture: Evelyn Pierce Smith, Associate AIA, principal; Gretchen Maia, AIA, lead architect, Evelyn Pierce Design Studio, Washington, DC. Interior Design: Jodi Macklin, principal; Lauren Sparber, lead designer, Jodi Macklin Interior Design, Chevy Chase, Maryland. Renovation Contractor: Scott Taylor, Taylor Concepts Inc., Rockville, Maryland. Landscape Architecture: Holt Jordan, ASLA, PLA, Jordan Honeyman Landscape Architecture, Washington, DC. Landscape Contractor: Wray Brothers Landscapes, Bethesda, Maryland. Styling: Charlotte Safavi, Stylish Productions.

 

DRAWING BOARD
What’s key to rethinking a dated, choppy floor plan?
Evelyn Pierce Smith: I seek to create visual—and walkable—flow through a house. In this project, for example, it’s nice that you see the rear glass door from the foyer; it opens things up.

How do you approach a kitchen redo?
I design kitchens based on how the owners live, eat and cook. And I try to connect the kitchen and sitting areas so the cook can feel connected to activity in the rest of the house.

Explain your paint-selection strategy.
I like to paint walls, trim and ceilings the same color, but in different finishes. This approach makes a space feel bigger, taller and modern.

How do custom built-ins elevate a home?
Along with providing necessary storage, built-ins lend visual interest and balance to a space.

Secret to combining recessed and decorative lights?
I use smaller recessed lights to create less clutter on the ceiling and bring more focus to decorative lights.

Buying and decorating a house while living overseas is a challenge in the best of times—let alone in the middle of a pandemic. Yet a couple residing in The Hague, where the husband worked for the State Department, did just that. They purchased a six-bedroom, 6,656-square-foot home in Bethesda and hired Arlington Home Interiors to whip it into shape before they returned home with their three children, ages four, eight and 11.

“Our client had only seen the house once before buying it,” recalls principal Suzanne Manlove, who orchestrated the entire design process virtually due to covid. “They put their complete trust in us while still living abroad. They wanted us to create the perfect home for their young family.”

Built in Craftsman style by Lawrence Cafritz Builders in 2006, the house boasted strong bones and a welcoming, transitionally styled kitchen. Manlove’s mandate was to revamp its traditional interiors to reflect the owners’ modern tastes and lifestyle while creating warm, inviting spaces for everyday living and casual entertaining. She collaborated with Rockville-based House to Home Solutions on a few minor upgrades, including a modernization of the family room fireplace. However, most of the changes she recommended were cosmetic, from updating kitchen hardware and switching out light fixtures to wallpapering. All the window treatments and paint colors are also new.

“When we begin a project, we ask homeowners to provide us with room images they’re attracted to and discuss why,” explains Manlove. “From this process, we saw that these clients favored calm, monochromatic spaces with subtle textures, woven materials and wood.” She and her team began with a soft palette of taupes, grays and blues; these form the backdrop for the open-plan living and dining rooms, where the walls and drapery are finished in those powdery gray-blue hues.

“Because the home’s architecture is traditional, we didn’t want to go too minimal or stark,” says the designer, who selected a combination of transitional and modern furnishings for the home. Classic yet clean-lined sofas and armchairs are finished in tactile, user-friendly fabrics. For example, the living room features a pair of curved-back Bernhardt chairs in performance velvet, detailed with nail-head trim.

“It’s the mixing of natural textures, metals and woods with the soft tonal palette that connects all the spaces and makes this home a welcoming, peaceful place to live in,” avers Manlove.

Accent colors turn brighter and more playful in the family room, located just off the open kitchen and breakfast area. A wall of built-ins is embellished with shelf backs in a deeper shade of the blue found in the rooms at the front of the house.

A large sectional occupies this cozy hub where the kids gather for homework and other activities. The couple “specifically requested a light, round cocktail table here that can be rolled away for dancing and gymnastics,” Manlove recounts. “All the furnishings are finished in family-friendly performance fabrics.” An adjacent screened porch reflects the same inviting, contemporary sensibility found in the interior spaces.

Achieving a sense of warmth in the large master bedroom proved to be a challenge. The designer used textured grass cloth “to cozy up the space while also imparting a hint of color and texture,” she explains. A bed frame of woven abaca serves as a focal point in the room while a striking drum chandelier and a pair of swivel armchairs adorned with a tone-on-tone medallion motif create further interest.

Manlove was also tasked with sourcing art for this room and others. She combined new pieces with original photographs and artworks collected by the owners during their travels—including two Japanese-style prints above the sideboard in the dining room.

The finished project turned out to be just what the clients ordered—and the process went as smoothly as possible given the circumstances. “This was a large project and clear communication was definitely key,” Manlove relates. “We started with clients who weren’t living in the country, and at the same time our team was learning how to work remotely. But we pulled through and our clients got exactly what they wanted. We like to think we made a potentially stressful move more pleasant.”

Interior Design: Suzanne Manlove, Arlington Home Interiors, Arlington, Virginia. Contractor: House to Home Solutions, Rockville, Maryland. Styling: Charlotte Safavi.


Suzanne Manlove’s Trade Secrets

What are ways to make a soft palette interesting?
Texture, texture, texture! We mix loads of natural textural finishes, so rooms are never bland. Metals, shells, stone, woven materials and glass all complement neutrals beautifully. Wood adds warmth and depth.

How do you perk up existing architectural elements?
Depending on budget, we like to update the doors on built-ins; replace cabinet hardware; paint or wallpaper the backs of shelves or the insides of tray ceilings; and update or add crown molding. I am partial to a minimal cove molding but I look to a home’s style to dictate my best options.

Design pet peeve?
Chair rails! I think there was a time when builders put chair rails in every new build. I find that they can really break up the flow of a space.

Do you have a go-to paint color?
Balboa Mist by Benjamin Moore is one of our favorites.

Nordic Soul - When designer Katie Otis and her husband, Benjamin Moncarz, decided to start a family, they knew their one-bedroom Penn Quarter condo wasn’t going to cut it.

However, they found the house-hunting process frustrating.

“We quickly realized that we were never going to find everything on our wish list,” recounts Otis. “Most importantly, we were looking for something modern and unique.”

Otis—principal of Katie Otis Design and also the creative director of Sagatov Design+Build—has a high bar when it comes to residential architecture. In the end, she and her husband, deputy CFO at FEMA, purchased a 768-square-foot, 1920s cottage in Arlington with a major renovation and expansion in mind.

Working with Sagatov, Otis began the overhaul in 2014. “It was a two-bedroom, one-story bungalow,” the designer recalls. “The project was essentially a tear-down; we kept a few exterior walls per county regulations in order to call it a reno.”

Today, the 3,568-square-foot, three-story home with five bedrooms and a finished basement is a dramatic, modern presence in a traditional neighborhood, melding disparate architectural influences into a coherent and unusual whole. “I selected maintenance-free charred wood for the exterior construction and roof,” says Otis, referring to the Japanese technique of shou sugi ban that harnesses burnt wood for its resistance to the elements.

However, the blackened finish continues onto the steeply pitched roof in a look that speaks to a Scandinavian soul. “While I used a traditional Japanese technique, I adapted it to a Scandinavian context,” Otis notes. “Extending the cladding to the roof was another design detail in keeping with Scandinavian-inspired architecture.” The façade is anchored on one side by a white-paneled stair tower containing the staircase and front entry, and on the other side by a screened porch.

Inside, Scandinavian references set the tone, with clean lines and organic materials such as wood and stone reflecting what Otis calls “an overall sense of minimalism.” Wide-plank, white oak flooring adds warmth to the spare geometry of the airy and open interiors. Tall, plate-glass windows bathe the home in light from three sides. “Ample light is a defining characteristic of Scandinavian design,” Otis observes. “Many Nordic homes lack sunlight in winter, so it’s important for natural light to flow easily through a room.”

Two skylights illuminate the stair tower, which leads from the main floor to the rooftop. “At night,” she says, “the vertical windows draw the eye in, helping connect the indoors to the outdoors.”

Among the home’s most striking features is the kitchen island, which Otis designed as a focal point within the home’s minimalist composition. “Strong but simple gestures work best,” she avers. The unconventional island is monolithic yet faceted, its angles a departure from the straight lines that otherwise dominate the interiors. The same marble surface crops up again on the asymmetrical fireplace wall and floating bench in the living room.

A dropped drywall ceiling behind the island mirrors the kitchen’s L-shaped footprint. Contrasting cabinetry echoes the dark and light hues of the home’s exterior. Except for the BlueStar range, which was custom colored to match the surrounding base cabinets, all the appliances are integrated. Even the range hood is fronted by cabinetry. “Integrated hoods are a big trend right now,” Otis says. “Hoods can be discreet or focal; we chose discreet to let the other finishes shine and complement the adjacent areas.”

White walls and ceilings amplify the natural light and provide a neutral base for furnishings. The couple’s love of Mid-Century Modern design is clear in their furniture selections. Over time, these have grown to include molded-plastic Fritz Hansen dining chairs, which are child-friendly for the couple’s two small kids, and an enveloping Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair in the living room, reupholstered in cozy green mohair. “It’s no small feat to be able to exercise restraint in your décor choices while still aiming for comfort,” Otis comments. “The living room speaks to both our tidy tendencies and our desire to live in an inviting setting.”

A passion for curated artisanship, coupled with architectural detail, is always front and center. For example, those Drop chairs surround a dining table crafted by master woodworker Caleb Woodard; above the table, a cluster of frosted-glass globes is suspended from slender wires in an elegant Apparatus Lighting chandelier. An accent wall of black-stained birch paneling in the couple’s bedroom imparts warmth and offers a nod to the dark siding that clads the exterior.

“This home really has been a labor of love from start to finish,” Otis muses. “It was designed to be a modern renovation, with warmth and character to ensure it is timeless.”

Architectural & Kitchen Design: Katie Otis, Sagatov Design+Build, Falls Church, Virginia. Interior Design: Katie Otis, Katie Otis Design, Arlington, Virginia. Builder: Sagatov Design+Build, Falls Church, Virginia. Styling: Charlotte Safavi.

 

RESOURCES Nordic Soul

GENERAL
Flooring: White oak through countryplank.com. Exterior Cladding Paint: Swiss Coffee by benjaminmoore.com. Siding & Roof: montanatimberproducts.com. Windows: pella.com.

DINING ROOM
Table: calebwoodardfurniture.com. Chairs: Arne Jacobsen through furniturefromscandinavia.com. Chair Upholstery: maharam.com. Chandelier: apparatusstudio.com.

KITCHEN
Island Fabrication: glbtileandmarble.com. Photos on Wall: Brian Merriam through tappancollective.com. Counter Stool:materusa.com. Island Light fixtures: apparatusstudio.com. Cabinetry: adelphikitchens.com. Cabinetry Paint: farrow-ball.com.

LIVING ROOM
Egg Chair: furniturefromscandinavia.com. Woven Chair: Poul Kjærholm through fritzhansen.com. Coffee Table: Jamie Hayon through andtradition.com. Sofa: andtradition.com. Sofa Upholstery: Raf Simons. Floor Lamp: Owners’ collection. Light Blue Canvases over Sofa: blake-aaseby.com. Rug: starkcarpet.com. Woven Wall Hanging: hirotakeda.com. Throw: lenarewell.com. Ceramics: andrewmolleur.com.

STAIRWELL
Bench: carlhanse.com. Pouf: Cecile Manz through fritzhansen.com. Art on Wall: mattstewart.com.

NURSERY
Crib: nurseryworks.net. Wallpaper: anewall.com. Chair & Ottoman: Owners’ collection. Vintage Rug: timothypaulcarpets.com.

UPPER HALL

Console: bludot.com. Mirror over Console: crumpandkwash.com. Stools: Hans Sandgren Jakobsen through fredericia.com.

BEDROOM
Bed: roomandboard.com. Bedding & Blanket: areahome.com. Bedsheets: stgeneve.com. Pillows & Vintage Rug: timothypaulcarpets.com. Nightstand: lawsonfenning.com. Leather Chair & Occasional Table: Poul Kjaerholm through fritzhansen.com.

Cottage Charm - Tucked beneath leafy trees, the aptly named Shady Point Cottage sits on a navigable peninsula off the Magothy River, a mere three miles north of the Chesapeake Bay.

“It was love at first sight,” says Tracy Schlegel of the Pasadena, Maryland, abode that she and her husband Mike purchased in 2003 as an easy getaway to enjoy with their daughter and son, now 15 and 17. “We were looking for a weekend home close to DC.”

Over the years, Schlegel and her sister Kelcey Huff, co-owners of Bethesda-based Waterlily Interiors, transformed the dated, 1,800-square-foot, three-bedroom house into the charming retreat it is today. “We wanted the cottage to keep its character, but added a bit of color for fun and whimsy,” says Schlegel, whose primary home overlooks the Potomac River in Bethesda.

“Initially, our goal was to lighten and brighten the cottage, as well as open it up to the views,” adds Huff. Though they didn’t alter the home’s footprint, the designers expanded the living room by absorbing a closed-off sunroom that blocked direct sight lines to the creek.

“It’s hard to imagine, but there was no water view at the back of the house,” Schlegel recalls. “We removed a non-structural wall, vaulted the ceiling and added glass French doors and picture windows on the creek side.” Today the enlarged space is anchored by the home’s original stone fireplace on one end and the waterfront on the other.

The duo raised other seven-foot ceilings throughout the residence, cladding many in beadboard and beams to convey a cottagey look. Original dark-brown woodwork received five coats of Benjamin Moore’s Simply White paint to achieve the fresh, airy look the sisters wanted. Says Huff, “Once everything was painted bright white, it was impossible to tell the old from the new.”

Meanwhile, existing pine floors were stripped, stained and finished to achieve their best luster—with the exception of the kitchen and dining room flooring. “In the kitchen and dining room, we found the original wood floors under ugly linoleum, but decided to have fun there by painting the boards in an overscaled black-and-white harlequin pattern,” says Schlegel. Like the cottage itself, the floors have a vintage vibe, yet also feel playful, vibrant and current.

The designers took the furniture plan in a coastal-chic direction. For example, the dining room features an antique table, contemporary faux-wicker chairs and a glorious pair of emerald-green beaded chandeliers. The ceiling here, as on the screened porch, is painted pale aqua, a take on Southern light blue.

Cottage Charm - “I love blue but wanted to stay away from traditional nautical themes on the main level,” says Schlegel.

“Our palette is more seaglass with hits of teal.”

A 122-inch-long sofa anchors the living room, flanked by pairs of swivel armchairs. But it is the turquoise flower-shaped ottomans from the Ambella Home Collection, as well as the patterned throw pillows in teals, creams and black-and-white, that introduce a sense of playful sophistication to the space.

A large ottoman upholstered in an overscaled Kravet pattern was designed to fit under the coffee table when not in use. “It can go from a makeshift dining table to a movie-time footrest with a single push,” says Huff.

The screened porch off the living room was also treated to new vaulted ceilings and fresh paint; new screens better showcase the views. Classic white wicker furniture and fun accent furnishings in blues and yellows enliven this happy indoor-outdoor space that spills onto a flagstone patio.

In 2015, the Schlegels tapped Annapolis landscape architect Heike Nolker to upgrade their one-acre property. “While the interior had been beautifully updated, the landscape definitely needed some TLC,” says Nolker. “The existing plantings were minimal and the beds needed realigning and enlarging. Individual shrubbery, planted here and there, felt disjointed.”

Nolker’s plan preserved mature trees, whose dappled shade provides heat relief, while maximizing water views. For example, she kept the newly expanded and realigned patio open to embrace unencumbered vistas down to the creek. “The patio enjoys filtered shade from large canopy trees,” affirms Nolker. Throughout the project, she introduced a variety of new shrubs and perennials, such as hydrangea, astilbe, iris, summersweet and ornamental grasses. “The plantings are low-maintenance and offer spring-through-summer interest,” she says.

Whether you are inside or out, nothing about this waterfront escape feels too precious. The furniture is user-friendly and the upholstery mainly consists of indoor-outdoor textiles—all intended for an outdoorsy family that comes here to sail, kayak and go crabbing.

As Schlegel reflects, “Entertaining was always a big part of our goal. There is plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, and pre-covid, we always had a full house with lots of guests and family visiting.

“There’s really nothing better than sitting on the patio with a cocktail at sunset,” the designer adds. “This tiny cottage lives large.”

Renovation & Interior Design: Tracy Schlegel and Kelcey Huff, Waterlily Interiors, Bethesda, Maryland. Landscape Architecture: Heike Nolker, ASLA, RLA, Annapolis, Maryland. Landscape Contractor: E-Landscape Specialty Solutions, LLC, Davidsonville, Maryland. Styling: Charlotte Safavi.

A premium lot on a hillside in Northwest DC lured a businessman and his wife—despite the 1954 fixer-upper on the property. They intended a major redo to suit their lifestyle and family, which includes four children ranging in age from eight to 13. The couple turned to Monarch Interior Design Group to guide them through the process. East Coast principal Charlene Kennerknecht and Arch Williams, the firm’s West Coast counterpart, worked in close collaboration with Charlene’s husband, Jim Kennerknecht of Monarch Building and Development, to help the homeowners fulfill their dreams.

“We asked Monarch to create a home that felt like an Aman hotel in Napa Valley,” recalls the wife. “It was a lot to ask for, considering it was a Colonial-style house in a traditional neighborhood. But we really wanted to channel the rustic, casual feeling of Napa with an open, minimalist aesthetic, blurring the lines between indoor and outdoor spaces.”

Though the five-bedroom, 5,177-square-foot home retained its basic footprint, the gut renovation added two more bedrooms and dispensed with compartmentalized spaces on the main floor. The former center hall became an airy colonnade punctuated by squared-off, 12-inch-thick cased openings that lead into the formal dining room on the left and the revamped kitchen and breakfast area on the right. The existing living room’s fireplace was shifted to an adjacent wall to allow for a 15-foot-long NanaWall that seamlessly opens the space to the backyard. Meanwhile, a brand-new, 1,000-square-foot rear addition off the kitchen encompasses the family room and a wine bar, with a home theater and exercise room below.

Since the homeowners like to entertain, the design team not only expanded the home’s overall footprint, they also installed an additional NanaWall in the family room with panels that stack to emphasize the open flow from the indoors out. Designed by Jim, the inviting backyard centers on a spacious flagstone terrace with a fire pit; an al fresco dining area nestles picturesquely on pea gravel beneath poplar trees nearby.

Throughout the home, Jim masterminded one-of-a-kind, artisanal elements. He replaced the traditional main stair with a floating one combining open oak treads and steel-reinforced stringers. And he broke up the angularity of the interior spaces with a dramatic, curved steel staircase forged on site that connects the family room to the lower level. The curve of the stairway is echoed in the hourglass form of the feature wall that borders it. “Great houses take details and repeat them in different ways,” Jim observes. Glass panels in the feature wall replicate those in the NanaWall; they offer a glimpse of the wine bar beyond where both the ceiling treatment and crescent-shaped bar continue the curved motif.

A minimalist envelope ensures serene, almost monastic interiors that serve as a neutral canvas for furnishings and art. “The house is completely trim-less,” notes Jim, who oversaw its meticulous detailing. “There are no crown moldings or window casings; the baseboards are recessed into the walls.”

Honed-limestone floor tile, mottled and textural with layers of tonality, sounds a sleek, sophisticated tone. “It was a bold choice,” observes Charlene, noting that most clients request wood floors in a French oak finish. “We felt that limestone was perfect for this family, where no rooms are off-limits to their children. All our selections were made to withstand the test of time. Limestone is elegant, unique and indestructible.” In the colonnade, the tiles are laid in a herringbone pattern that defines the space. Meanwhile, the limestone’s organic quality and varied coloration beautifully offset the cerused-oak kitchen cabinetry and stained-oak grid of main and ancillary beams that crown the family room ceiling.

“The home’s palette, like the limestone, combines warm and cool grays,” Williams comments. “Sometimes people get caught up in a monothematic color scheme. When you look at a forest, if all the trees were the same color, it would lose its interest and vibrancy.”
When it came to décor the designers channeled Napa Valley casual. “Our furniture choices were about creating a serene, neutral and textured look. We married contemporary lines with traditional forms to be true to both the East and West coasts,” recounts Charlene, who spent two days in California visiting design centers with Williams and the homeowners. After gauging what they liked, she and Williams tailored their clients’ preferences to achieve the perfect fit for their lifestyle. Every selection was premeditated and curated.

For instance, a custom cocktail table in the family room was scaled down from a dining table design the clients liked, and a row of traditional lanterns in the colonnade was thoughtfully juxtaposed with a contemporary Alison Berger fixture above the curved staircase. It all works and flows together.

“We love every inch of our new home,” the wife enthuses. “When we walk in the door, we are always struck by the airiness and beauty of it all. It instantly makes us feel at peace.”

Renovation & Landscape Design and Construction: Jim Kennerknecht, Monarch Building and Development, Vienna, Virginia. Interior Design: Charlene Kennerknecht and Arch Williams, Monarch Interior Design Group, Vienna, Virginia; Salt Lake City, Utah; Los Angeles, California. Kitchen Design: Shawna Dillon, ASID, NCIDQ, Snaidero DC Metro, Alexandria, Virginia. Styling: Charlotte Safavi.

 

California Dreaming - RESOURCES

GENERAL
Flooring: Gascogne Blue honed limestone. Windows: lepagemillwork.com. Stair Rails: Custom steel, fabricated by monarch.us

FAMILY ROOM
Sectional: arudin.com. Fabric: romo.com through kirkbydesign.com. Coffee Table: paulferrante.com through hewnsf.com. C-Shaped Occasional Tables, Wing Chair, Console, Console Lamps & Bench by Fireplace: gregoriuspineo.com. Rug, Wing Chair Fabric & Bench Fabric: hollandandsherry.com. Matching Chairs: marcalidesigns.com through hewnsf.com. Chair Fabric: romo.com.

KITCHEN
Cabinetry: snaiderodcmetro.com. Countertops: caesarstoneus.com. Counter Stools & Kitchen Chairs: hollyhunt.com. Kitchen Table: Custom by keithfritz.com. Chandelier above Table: paulferrante.com through hewnsf.com. Kitchen Chair Backs: hollandandsherry.com. Kitchen Chair Seats: hollyhunt.com.

LIVING ROOM
Sofas: arudin.com. Fabric: blackedition.com. Coffee Table: gregoriuspineo.com. Rug: hollandandsherry.com. Occasional Table: ironies.com. Floor Lamp: elanatelier.com. Fireplace Wall: ecocretecoatings.com.

DINING ROOM
Table: formationsusa.com. Chairs: quintushome.com. Fabric & Vases: hollyhunt.com. Wallpaper: papermills.net. Rug: Custom through jhminassian.com. Chandelier: gregoriuspineo.com.

CURVED STAIRWAY
Light Fixture: alisonbergerglassworks.com.

PATIO
Dining Table & Dining and Lounge Chairs: countrycasualteak.com.

OWNERS’ SUITE
Bed: tedboerner.com. Bed Upholstery: romo.com through hewnsf.com. Bedding: internationaldownandlinen.com. Chaise: Custom through ohenryhouseltd.com. Chaise Fabric: pierrefrey.com. Chest of Drawers & Occasional Table by Chaise: gregoriuspineo.com. Motorized Shades: conradshades.com.  Drapery Fabric: romo.com. Drapery Fabrication: josegoncalves.co. Rug: starkcarpet.com.

California Dreaming - OWNERS’ BATH

Tub: vandabaths.com through fergusonshowrooms.com. Pouf: marcalidesigns.com. Vanity: snaiderodcmetro.com. Vanity Top: caesarstoneus.com. Motorized Shades: conradshades.com. Flooring: marble through tenaissancetileandbath.com. Art over Tub: Picasso, owners’ collection.

Daughter's Room:
Bed & Bedding: rh.com. Sheers Draping Bed: kathrynireland.com. Cornice & Trim: romo.com. Shade & Bed Drapery Fabrication: joseGoncalves.co. Rug: Custom through theelsoncompany.com. Hanging Chair: serenaandlily.com. Wall Paint: Morning Sky Blue, benjaminmoore.com. Shade Fabric: pindler.com

 

 

California Dreaming - A premium lot on a hillside in Northwest DC lured a businessman and his wife—despite the 1954 fixer-upper on the property.

They intended a major redo to suit their lifestyle and family, which includes four children ranging in age from eight to 13. The couple turned to Monarch Interior Design Group to guide them through the process. East Coast principal Charlene Kennerknecht and Arch Williams, the firm’s West Coast counterpart, worked in close collaboration with Charlene’s husband, Jim Kennerknecht of Monarch Building and Development, to help the homeowners fulfill their dreams.

“We asked Monarch to create a home that felt like an Aman hotel in Napa Valley,” recalls the wife. “It was a lot to ask for, considering it was a Colonial-style house in a traditional neighborhood. But we really wanted to channel the rustic, casual feeling of Napa with an open, minimalist aesthetic, blurring the lines between indoor and outdoor spaces.”

Though the five-bedroom, 5,177-square-foot home retained its basic footprint, the gut renovation added two more bedrooms and dispensed with compartmentalized spaces on the main floor. The former center hall became an airy colonnade punctuated by squared-off, 12-inch-thick cased openings that lead into the formal dining room on the left and the revamped kitchen and breakfast area on the right. The existing living room’s fireplace was shifted to an adjacent wall to allow for a 15-foot-long NanaWall that seamlessly opens the space to the backyard. Meanwhile, a brand-new, 1,000-square-foot rear addition off the kitchen encompasses the family room and a wine bar, with a home theater and exercise room below.

Since the homeowners like to entertain, the design team not only expanded the home’s overall footprint, they also installed an additional NanaWall in the family room with panels that stack to emphasize the open flow from the indoors out. Designed by Jim, the inviting backyard centers on a spacious flagstone terrace with a fire pit; an al fresco dining area nestles picturesquely on pea gravel beneath poplar trees nearby.

Throughout the home, Jim masterminded one-of-a-kind, artisanal elements. He replaced the traditional main stair with a floating one combining open oak treads and steel-reinforced stringers. And he broke up the angularity of the interior spaces with a dramatic, curved steel staircase forged on site that connects the family room to the lower level. The curve of the stairway is echoed in the hourglass form of the feature wall that borders it. “Great houses take details and repeat them in different ways,” Jim observes. Glass panels in the feature wall replicate those in the NanaWall; they offer a glimpse of the wine bar beyond where both the ceiling treatment and crescent-shaped bar continue the curved motif.

A minimalist envelope ensures serene, almost monastic interiors that serve as a neutral canvas for furnishings and art. “The house is completely trim-less,” notes Jim, who oversaw its meticulous detailing. “There are no crown moldings or window casings; the baseboards are recessed into the walls.”

Honed-limestone floor tile, mottled and textural with layers of tonality, sounds a sleek, sophisticated tone. “It was a bold choice,” observes Charlene, noting that most clients request wood floors in a French oak finish. “We felt that limestone was perfect for this family, where no rooms are off-limits to their children. All our selections were made to withstand the test of time. Limestone is elegant, unique and indestructible.” In the colonnade, the tiles are laid in a herringbone pattern that defines the space. Meanwhile, the limestone’s organic quality and varied coloration beautifully offset the cerused-oak kitchen cabinetry and stained-oak grid of main and ancillary beams that crown the family room ceiling.

“The home’s palette, like the limestone, combines warm and cool grays,” Williams comments. “Sometimes people get caught up in a monothematic color scheme. When you look at a forest, if all the trees were the same color, it would lose its interest and vibrancy.”
When it came to décor the designers channeled Napa Valley casual. “Our furniture choices were about creating a serene, neutral and textured look. We married contemporary lines with traditional forms to be true to both the East and West coasts,” recounts Charlene, who spent two days in California visiting design centers with Williams and the homeowners. After gauging what they liked, she and Williams tailored their clients’ preferences to achieve the perfect fit for their lifestyle. Every selection was premeditated and curated.

For instance, a custom cocktail table in the family room was scaled down from a dining table design the clients liked, and a row of traditional lanterns in the colonnade was thoughtfully juxtaposed with a contemporary Alison Berger fixture above the curved staircase. It all works and flows together.

“We love every inch of our new home,” the wife enthuses. “When we walk in the door, we are always struck by the airiness and beauty of it all. It instantly makes us feel at peace.”

Renovation & Landscape Design and Construction: Jim Kennerknecht, Monarch Building and Development, Vienna, Virginia. Interior Design: Charlene Kennerknecht and Arch Williams, Monarch Interior Design Group, Vienna, Virginia; Salt Lake City, Utah; Los Angeles, California. Kitchen Design: Shawna Dillon, ASID, NCIDQ, Snaidero DC Metro, Alexandria, Virginia. Styling: Charlotte Safavi.

 

RESOURCES

GENERAL
Flooring: Gascogne Blue honed limestone. Windows: lepagemillwork.com. Stair Rails: Custom steel, fabricated by monarch.us

FAMILY ROOM
Sectional: arudin.com. Fabric: romo.com through kirkbydesign.com. Coffee Table: paulferrante.com through hewnsf.com. C-Shaped Occasional Tables, Wing Chair, Console, Console Lamps & Bench by Fireplace: gregoriuspineo.com. Rug, Wing Chair Fabric & Bench Fabric: hollandandsherry.com. Matching Chairs: marcalidesigns.com through hewnsf.com. Chair Fabric: romo.com.

KITCHEN
Cabinetry: snaiderodcmetro.com. Countertops: caesarstoneus.com. Counter Stools & Kitchen Chairs: hollyhunt.com. Kitchen Table: Custom by keithfritz.com. Chandelier above Table: paulferrante.com through hewnsf.com. Kitchen Chair Backs: hollandandsherry.com. Kitchen Chair Seats: hollyhunt.com.

LIVING ROOM
Sofas: arudin.com. Fabric: blackedition.com. Coffee Table: gregoriuspineo.com. Rug: hollandandsherry.com. Occasional Table: ironies.com. Floor Lamp: elanatelier.com. Fireplace Wall: ecocretecoatings.com.

DINING ROOM
Table: formationsusa.com. Chairs: quintushome.com. Fabric & Vases: hollyhunt.com. Wallpaper: papermills.net. Rug: Custom through jhminassian.com. Chandelier: gregoriuspineo.com.

CURVED STAIRWAY
Light Fixture: alisonbergerglassworks.com.

PATIO
Dining Table & Dining and Lounge Chairs: countrycasualteak.com.

OWNERS’ SUITE
Bed: tedboerner.com. Bed Upholstery: romo.com through hewnsf.com. Bedding: internationaldownandlinen.com. Chaise: Custom through ohenryhouseltd.com. Chaise Fabric: pierrefrey.com. Chest of Drawers & Occasional Table by Chaise: gregoriuspineo.com. Motorized Shades: conradshades.com.  Drapery Fabric: romo.com. Drapery Fabrication: josegoncalves.co. Rug: starkcarpet.com.

OWNERS’ BATH
Tub: vandabaths.com through fergusonshowrooms.com. Pouf: marcalidesigns.com. Vanity: snaiderodcmetro.com. Vanity Top: caesarstoneus.com. Motorized Shades: conradshades.com. Flooring: marble through tenaissancetileandbath.com. Art over Tub: Picasso, owners’ collection.

California Dreaming - Daughter's Room:

Bed & Bedding: rh.com. Sheers Draping Bed: kathrynireland.com. Cornice & Trim: romo.com. Shade & Bed Drapery Fabrication: joseGoncalves.co. Rug: Custom through theelsoncompany.com. Hanging Chair: serenaandlily.com. Wall Paint: Morning Sky Blue, benjaminmoore.com. Shade Fabric: pindler.com

 

 

Something magical happens during the drive past fields of sunflowers and acres of verdant farmland toward Still Waters Farm, the name former owners gave this property nestled near the tranquil headwaters of Hunting Creek in Easton.

Perfect Symmetry - A sense of calm and contentment settles in.

“We used to own a getaway in Utah,” recalls Tom Frank, who shares the 265-acre property and its historic house with his wife, Lois. “But as our four kids grew up and we approached retirement, we decided we wanted a more local family compound, with easy access to outdoor activities.” The Easton spread not only replaced their vacation home, but also their permanent abode in Glen Arm, Maryland, where Tom worked as a marketing executive for his family’s retail packaging business.

The core of the stately Easton house was built in the late 1890s in classic Federal style, with a center hall and perfect symmetry. A major renovation by prior owners in 1992 added expansive wings on the left and right of the original home. During the 2000s, the five-bedroom, 5,500-square-foot home sat largely empty—until the Franks showed up and fell in love with it. “It was really perfect for us,” Tom enthuses. “We wanted plenty of land for privacy. I grew up hunting and fishing on the Eastern Shore and Lois grew up on a farm in Virginia.”

With the master suite on the ground floor, the layout also was ideal for aging in place. The upper floor boasts four ensuite bedrooms for when their children visit. “We often go from two to 12 on the weekends,” recounts Frank. “The house is roomy enough to accommodate everyone, but also comfortable and cozy.” Even the rear and side rooms boast stunning water views.

Once the Franks purchased the property in 2015, they hired Cappa Builders and Kitchen Creations, both based in Easton, for renovations and updates. Though rotting wood porches on the front and back of the house were replaced with hardier brick and composite versions, the structure was otherwise in good condition. The biggest remodel opened up the space between the kitchen, family and dining rooms, allowing for better flow and an open plan. The completely overhauled kitchen now boasts a nautical vibe conveyed via a beamed shiplap ceiling and built-in, L-shaped banquette and pedestal table reminiscent of a yacht.

When it was time to furnish the renovated interiors, the Franks happened into Bountiful Home, a home-goods emporium in Easton. They were having trouble finding the right paint color for their kitchen and asked for advice. “Some of our best ‘accidental’ design clients come into the shop because they’ve heard about us and then realize we offer interior-design services,” says Jamie Merida, who owns Bountiful and spearheads Jamie Merida Interiors, the design arm of the business.

The discussion not only helped the Franks select a grass-cloth finish for the kitchen walls, but ultimately led them to tap Merida and colleague Carol Wheeler to help them fully furnish—and finish—their forever waterfront home on the Eastern Shore. “I’m in and out of a lot of houses, and right away both Carol and I found this to be a very gracious home; it just feels calm, peaceful and happy,” Merida relates. “The clients are unpretentious. They like to entertain and have their kids visit. They wanted it to be elegant and welcoming but not stuffy.”

The Franks described their vision for the overall design as Eastern Shore transitional. With this ideal in mind, the designers suggested a palette built on the butter-yellow of some existing walls, with the addition of blues and whites. New furnishings are strong and classic, many made of mahogany, to stand up to the historical provenance of the residence. “We helped the Franks find timeless, classic pieces to complement their historic home,” says Merida. He and Wheeler also wove family heirlooms into the mix, including settees in the living room that were inherited from Tom’s mother and refreshed with Greek-key trim.

“The dining room décor is very much in our signature Tidewater style,” says Merida of the elegant space grounded by an expandable, round mahogany dining table paired with carved-back, Empire-style chairs. Wheeler selected a sisal rug and transitional chandelier to keep things fresh. Botanical prints add another layer of interest.

The owners’ bath received a major overhaul. Originally comprised of two his-and-her bathrooms off the couple’s bedroom, it’s now one expansive room with deep-blue walls and a double vanity. The space overlooks fields of sunflowers.

“I like that this house is not just any waterfront home. It’s a gracious, 19th-century farmhouse that could be anywhere—including Kentucky, where I grew up,” Merida notes. “It just happens to be situated here beside the water, where it is so peaceful and calm.”

Interior Design: Jamie Merida, principal, Carol Wheeler, lead designer, Jamie Merida Interiors, Easton, Maryland. Renovation Contractor: Cappa Builders & Company, Easton, Maryland. Kitchen Design: Kitchen Creations, Easton, Maryland. Landscape Design: Pinehurst Landscape, Glen Arm, Maryland.

Perfect Symmetry - Landscape Installation: Whitehall Gardens, Easton, Maryland.

A five-acre estate in Virginia’s Hunt Country proved irresistible to its owner, a Georgetown University alumnus and private-equity investor. “The approach is magical—a long drive up a curving hill past mature landscaping and formal gardens. I bought it on the spur of a moment,” he reveals. Subsequently married, he and his wife now split their time between the five-bedroom, 5,795-square-foot residence in Upperville and a home in Miami.

Architect Errol Adels—whose illustrious portfolio includes the Finnish Embassy in DC—designed the home in the late 1990s for his own use. The tripartite, one-and-a-half-story abode is composed of three interconnected structural masses. “It’s an unusual home, without traditionally compartmentalized rooms,” the current owner observes. “We loved the house, but the palette was Tuscan-inspired, its finishes and materials were dated and it needed an infrastructure overhaul. We wanted to modernize the layout and create a contemporary aesthetic such as you might see in a boutique hotel in London or Paris—still classic, but lighter.”

After living in the house for a year, the residents hired Middleburg architect Timothy Clites in 2015 to embark on a major renovation. No stranger to the area and its relatively conservative design sensibility, Clites orchestrated what turned out to be a three-year gut job with Duhring Construction.

“Our intent was to create an updated, comfortable residence, with interiors that harken back to a great urban apartment in terms of rooms, materials, details, scale and aesthetic,” Clites says. “It’s a classical building on a refined rural site, so the vision ultimately was to elevate the experience of both indoors and outdoors via this subtle contrast.”

The project began with the makeover of a guest house on the property, which turned out to be fortuitous as it provided a proving ground for what the main house could be. “Our team became clear about the scale and quality of the moldings and baseboards,” Clites relates. “We redid the flooring, refined our palette and experimented with custom cabinetry.”

While the Palladian-style façade and structure of the main house remained intact, the existing ochre Italian stucco and beige detailing went off-white. “Painting the exterior one consistent color gave us the sophisticated look we were going for, allowing the architecture to shine,” Clites explains. “High-contrast, black-framed doors and windows are currently trendy, but they’ll be timeless here because the architecture is strong and classic enough to take it.”

Inside, the central volume contains a 30-by-30-foot salon encompassing living, dining and kitchen areas; symmetrical volumes on either side house book-matched master suites. Directly above the latter, two additional en-suite bedrooms are accessed via twin staircases located in the hyphens that connect the salon with each master suite. While the upstairs bedrooms formerly overlooked the master suites via open balconies, Clites closed them off for privacy, installing cloister-vaulted ceilings in each master suite instead.

He also replaced all the home’s windows and doors—including eight-foot-tall French doors in the salon, which have been expanded to 10 feet tall with transoms; they open onto a pea-gravel terrace overlooking formal gardens, a swimming pool and a guest house. Terracotta floors throughout were replaced with quarter-sawn oak salvaged from a 140-year-old local barn, stained matte gray and sealed to create a more polished look.

“The aim was to elevate the interiors,” says Clites of spaces that went from Provençal to Parisian. “The 10-foot French doors help achieve that, as does the chic gray paint palette.” Thirty-inch plaster crown cove molding, designed and hand-applied on site, also draws attention to the grandeur of the salon, which was conceived in quadrants. The dual seating areas boast a light palette while the kitchen and dining area flanking the front door add contrast with custom, dark-wood cabinetry and built-in bookshelves  fabricated by Atelier Fonteneau. “We created a ‘box within a box,’” Clites relates, “whereby you leave the moodier, dark side and step into the rear quadrants, which are all about light and the view.”

Though the kitchen retained its original footprint, sleek cabinets topped by expanses of honed, high-contrast, dark-gray marble convey a sexy, sophisticated vibe. State-of-the-art appliances include a custom powder-coated metal hood that matches the LaCanche range.

Clites and colleague John Barr also helped furnish the home, tapping into the owners’ collection of art photography and vintage posters. The Deco vibe of the latter inspired pops of primary color in the neutral palette, while existing furniture, including some Mid-Century Modern pieces, served as a jumping-off point for sourcing additional acquisitions.

“Our inspiration was luxury, glamour and tailored lines,” Clites says. “There’s a lot of leather, velvet, marble and unlacquered brass, as well as custom pieces, such as the chest of drawers and his-and-her cupboards in the master bedroom.”

The owners are thrilled with the results. “This is a magnificent house for entertaining and we’ve hosted up to 200 both inside and outside on the terrace and lawn,” the husband says. “Tim helped us transform it into a brand-new, contemporary version of itself.”

Renovation Architecture & Interior Design: Timothy L. Clites, AIA, principal; John Barr, project manager, Clites Architects PC, Middleburg, Virginia. Builder: Duhring Construction, Marshall, Virginia. Styling: Charlotte Safavi.

 

RESOURCES

GENERAL
Doors & Windows- jeld-wen.com. Hardware: rockymountainhardware.com. Fireplace: earthcore.co/fireplaces. Custom Mantle Design: clitesarchitects.com. Custom Mantle Fabrication: easystonecenter.com.

LIVING ROOM
Sconces: remains.com. Paint Colors: Ammonite (walls) and Strong White (Trim) by farrow-ball.com. Rugs: starkcarpet.com. Seating, on right: Sofa & Chair Fabric: fschumacher.com. Seating, on left: Sofa & Chairs: Dunbar collectdunbar.com. Sofa & Chair Fabric: fschumacher.com. Art Above Blue Sofa: francescojodice.com.

DINING ROOM
Millwork Design: clitesarchitects.com. Millwork Fabrication: atelierfonteneau.com. Rug: starkcarpet.com. Chairs: fionamcdonald.com. Chari Leather: crestleather.com. Gricio Carnico Honed Countertop: fairfaxmarble.com.

KITCHEN
Gricio Carnico Honed Countertop: fairfaxmarble.com. Millwork Design: clitesarchitects.com. Millwork Fabrication: atelierfonteneau.com. Custom Hood: rangecraft.com. Range: lacanche.com. Faucet: rh.com. Hardware: rockymountainhardware.com. Refrigerator: subzero-wolf.com. Steam Oven: vikingrange.com. Lights on Island: remains.com.

EXTERIOR
Paint: benjaminmoore.com. Pool Renovation: duhringconstruction.com. Outdoor Furniture: kingsleybate.com. Planters: williams-sonoma.com. Table Near Fireplace: clubcu.com. Outdoor Lighting: santabarbaralighting.com.

MASTER BEDROOM
Bed: meridianfurnitureusa.com. Table: fontanaarte.com. Millwork & Custom Bureau Design: clitesarchitects.com. Millwork & Custom Bureau Fabrication: atelierfonteneau.com. Rug: revivalrugs.com. Paint Colors: Metro Gray by benjaminmoore.com.

GUEST BEDROOM
Custom Moldings: clitesarchitects.com. Bed: meridianfurnitureusa.com. Paint Colors: Ammonite (walls) & Strong White (trim): farrow-ball.com.

GUEST BATH
Sink & Toilet: kohler.com. Mirror: rejuvenation.com. Sconce: urbanarchaeology.com. Skylight: velux.com.

CLUB HOUSE INTERIOR
Furniture through jdireland.com. Billiards Table Restoration: billiardsbybrandt.com. Light Fixture: olampia.com. Paint Color: Blackberry Punch by benjaminmoore.com. Wine Area Design: clitesarchitects.com. Wine Area Fabrication: atelierfonteneau.com. Bar Stools & Tables: hinescompany.com. Bar Stool Leather, Recovered- Haute Fabrics; 703-961-0400. Rug: galerieshabab.com. Window: weathershield.com. Art: Owners’ collection.

When a couple with two kids purchased a traditional Forest Hills residence in 2016, they assumed that everything in the home would have to change except its recently upgraded kitchen.

The owners, a consultant and a fitness professional, wanted to transform and enlarge the 7,600- square-foot, center-hall home built in 1991. Their goal was to take the outdated, red-brick abode in a transitional direction, introducing a contemporary vibe while still embracing its established Washington, DC, neighborhood. Their wish list included a pool house in the backyard, which overlooks Rock Creek Park.

To help them realize their dreams, the duo tapped architects Patrick Cooke and Neal Thomson, interior designer Martha Vicas, landscape architect Kevin Campion and the contractor ThinkMakeBuild. The project would redesign the façade, adding triple dormers to the roofline and replacing and realigning windows and doors. It would also gut the interiors and add 300 square feet to the footprint with a new laundry room and expanded home gym. Above all, the redo would amplify rear views of the landscape. “A connection to the new rear garden and pool house was first and foremost the driving factor for our work,” says Thomson. “That—and planning a house that could work for entertaining on a large scale while also being a family home.”

New landscaping extends an elegant welcome to the completed residence, with its original red brick painted a pale cream. “We wanted the front of the house to complement the context of the street; it’s not nearly as modern as the back,” explains Campion, who laid new bluestone pavers across the lawn leading up to the home’s front entry. “We specified hornbeams to define the garden’s edge and also screen the garage area. Boxwoods further shape the space and provide a clean edge to the front lawn.”

Inside the home, new white-oak flooring and clean-lined trim detail the foyer; the former boxy staircase was demolished and replaced by a graceful, curved one, allowing for clearer sight lines from the front to the back.

Formal living and dining rooms flank the entry hall. Vicas outfitted these spaces in spare, streamlined style. “The owners’ previous house was filled with more traditional furniture and carpets, but the artwork was modern,” she observes. “They definitely wanted to make this house a tad more contemporary, but without being cold.” The intimate living room, with a textured “tweed” wall covering and a tailored stone-and-steel fireplace, is anchored by a modern interpretation of a Chesterfield sofa upholstered in orange velvet. “The orange color makes it edgy, as does the bronze base,” the designer adds.

Across the way in the dining room, a sculptural light fixture made of hand-blown glass forms hung from individual filaments is a focal point. Vicas furnished the elegant room with an extra-long dining table that seats 12 for large gatherings. “The walls are also really special,” she comments. “With their four coats of lacquered-oil paint, I find it hard to resist touching them.”

The back of the main level encompasses the kitchen and family room. Though the kitchen was untouched, Vicas hung a whimsical, pretzel-like light fixture above the newly furnished eat-in area. The family room features an alcove ceiling with five halo light fixtures and a custom-designed, white-limestone fireplace sporting banded-bronze inlays. The effect is a stylish yet comfortable room where the family can gather to converse, play the piano or read.

Along the rear of the home, Thomson and Cooke replaced the paned windows with floor-to-ceiling ones, along with new sliding-glass doors, all facing the lush parkland. “We completely redesigned the large balcony outside the family room, adding a glass railing with unimpeded views to the backyard,” recounts Cooke of the space, which boasts an al fresco dining area.

The second floor houses three bedrooms (there are seven in total), including the reimagined master suite. Another alcove ceiling and an inset headboard wall define the owners’ bedroom, along with an abstract patterned carpet that Vicas designed. Thomson and Cooke also added a small balcony where the couple can enjoy coffee brewed in the master bathroom’s morning kitchen, which features a wet bar and built-in espresso machine. “We tiled the master bathroom walls in solid marble slabs and created a sense of being suspended above the park with floor-to-ceiling walls of glass around the vessel tub,” says Thomson.

The rear pool area was inspired by the verdant courtyard in New York City’s Museum of Modern Art. Kevin Campion, along with colleagues Jordan Crabtree and Lacreisha Phillips, oversaw the transformation of the garden and its crisp hardscaping. “The negative-edge pool is dynamic and has several connected elements: a swimming pool, a hot tub, a paddling basin for the kids and a cold plunge spa,” he reveals.

The striking, 800-square-foot pool house is made of stone and steel; its indoor hearth is aligned with the swimming pool. “The pool house was designed to fold open to the terraced area with glass pocket doors,” says Cooke. The interior boasts two bar-height tables that can be moved outside if needed; they sit on either side of four armchairs and a concrete drum table.

Meanwhile, the backyard’s bluestone terrace matches the front’s bluestone pavers for continuity, and river birches grow in a steady line by the pool, creating a shade canopy that will improve with time. “A portion of the rear garden hangs on a fairly steep slope,” says Campion. “We call it the forest garden, where we employed a variety of native trees, shrubs and ground covers that will hopefully soon look like the richly planted woodland was never touched.”

Having remodeled a previous residence, the owners were savvy about the process and trusted the team to execute their dream home. Their wish list was met—and then some.

Architecture: Patrick Cooke, AIA; Neal Thomson, AIA, Thomson & Cooke Architects, Washington, DC. Interior Design: Martha Vicas, M.S. Vicas Interiors, Washington, DC. Landscape Architecture: Kevin Campion, ASLA, Campion Hruby Landscape Architects, Annapolis, Maryland. Renovation Contractor: ThinkMakeBuild, Washington, DC.

 

RESOURCES

Windows:  loewen.com through thesanderscompany.com; and fleetwoodusa.com.

LIVING ROOM
Sofa & Chairs: hollyhunt.com. Fabrics: Great Plains through hollyhunt.com. Coffee Table: dmitriyco.com. Mirror over mantel: Owners’ collection. Wallcovering: phillipjeffries.com. Carpet: custom by juliedasherrugs.com. Limestone Fireplace mantel: chesneys.com. Drapery Fabric: pollackassociates.com. Drapery Fabrication: leangsinteriors.com. Fireplace screen: avrett.com.

DINING ROOM
Table: hollyhunt.com. Light: ochre.net. Lacquered Walls: carlospaintingllc.com. Chairs: davidedward.com. Chair Fabric: Kerry Joyce for hinescompany.com. Carpet: custom by juliedasherrugs.com. Drapery fabric: pierrefrey.com.

FAMILY ROOM
Sofa: Custom. Sofa Fabric: castelmaison.com. Carpet & Vintage Sculpture: Owners’ collection. Coffee Table & Curvy Chairs: hollyhunt.com. Chair Fabric: Great Plains through hollyhunt.com. Square Chairs: deccahome.com. Chair Fabric: pollackassociates.com. Light Fixtures: camerondesignhouse.com through illuminc.com.

MASTER BEDROOM
Bed: capertoncollection.com through hollyhunt.com. Sconces: hollyhunt.com. Mantel, Nightstands & Bench: Custom. Bench Fabric: Great Plains through hollyhunt.com. Carpet: custom by juliedasherrugs.com. Ceiling Fixture: urbanelectric.com. Chair and ottoman: dmitriyco.com. Side Table: arteriors.com.

MASTER BATH
Tub: waterworks.com. Domed Light: alliedmaker.com. Floor: marblesystems.com. Wall Covering: innovationsusa.com.

BREAKFAST NOOK
Drapery: blackeditions.com. Light: Foscarini through illuminc.com. Table: boffi.com. Chairs: davidedward.com.

FOYER
Carpet: starkcarpet.com. Bench: bernhardt.com.

DECK & POOL DECK
Table & Chairs: hollyhunt.com. Chaise Longues: Richard Schultz for knoll.com.

POOL HOUSE
Raised Tables: brownjordan.com. Stools: janusetcie.com. Four Chairs & Coffee Table: hollyhunt.com. Rug: rh.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.

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