It's like unwrapping a bright, shiny birthday gift, with the cake, ice cream and confetti on the inside. From the outside, the traditional 4,500 s.f. "almost" Greek Revival -style house resembles its genteel Oak Hill, Va. country cousins, replete with an attentive group of dormers, a koi pond, Bernese Mountain dog and a couple of horses in the newly-built barn and dressage ring. In fact it's one of the few remaining horse properties in the Dulles area, which is what had attracted the homeowner in the first place.
But following a long interior structural renovation in 2004 where walls tumbled and open space prevailed, the homeowner’s affinity for all things bold and beautiful finally sought expression in a robust rainbow of fabric, furniture, fixtures, finishes, faux-design and glass. With details that include a fiesta of red, pink, blue and yellow Kitchen Aid small appliances to pump up the color volume even more, the home’s eclectic (and electric!) interior reflects the joy and optimism of its singular client.
"Initially, what we’d presented was very different,” said JDS Designs Inc. associate Nicholas Beck of the firm’s first meeting with the homeowner. “She’d mentioned she wanted color, and she wanted to use pink and purple, but the palette we did was definitely more subdued.” When it became clear she didn’t fear color the way most people do, and in fact mandated what some may consider risky peacock blue and hot pink hues over more traditional, muted tones, the designers embarked on a spirited treasure hunt to satisfy the tastes of its special client. With three full and two half baths, a foyer that flows into an open living room, dining room, kitchen and morning room, and multiple bedrooms—some of which became a sitting room, wife’s artist’s studio and husband’s study, the team recruited a legion of artists, custom furniture makers, upholsterers and craftsmen, and scoured New York, Seattle and New Orleans shops and galleries, to create spaces that fit the profile of its color-centric owner.
Paint brush poised
Past a mudroom with a multi-colored tweed window seat and raspberry walls, and on the two-story foyer wall, a vibrant, faux-painted damask pattern by Baltimore’s Valley Craftsmen Ltd. involved a multi-step process to build texture into the space. Designed by JDS Designs Inc. Principal David Herchik, a custom-made pink, purple, blue and lime green striped banquette by furniture maker Al Soussan of Custom Furniture and Wall Upholstery fits the curve of the foyer’s entryway, where one is tempted to pause and study a dynamic glass sculpture.“The client is very much into glass,” Beck said, explaining that “The Stinger,” a giant green and orange orb with sword-like protrusion, is part of a series in the vivid colors of super heroes from Seattle artist Nancy Callan. Because the homeowner is an artist with a predilection for hearts, Herchik acquired a painting of the same in bright colors from Rehoboth, Del. artist Murray Archibald to flank the banquette.
A purple dining room with green-shaded chandelier is visible from the foyer, as is the living room in the open-space design. Iced with peacock-blue walls, a custom-made rug that incorporates the room’s audacious turquoises, pinks, purples (and a little cream for good measure) underscores a largely azure-blue Nancy Corzine sofa with Osborne & Little cut velvet fabric. Small Odegard white marble tables, a larger gold leaf table, wing-back chairs upholstered in white patent leather, a taxidermy peacock and lamp shades dressed with actual peacock feathers completed the room, that is, until the homeowner and her husband returned from New Orleans with two unanticipated antique paintings. “Most of the artwork was intentioned and worked in to the ‘paletteing’ of the space, but it’s amazing how good these look—and their size and scale—it’s one of those finds,” Beck affirmed. Because of the client’s penchant for old mercury glass balls, the designers had a sizeable acrylic bin made to accommodate the collection. A marble fireplace surround was tiled on the inside with multi-hued Bisazza Mosaico tile, also seen in the master bath.
Though more traditionally programmed as a breakfast room, because the home owning couple takes an early meal at the kitchen island, a re-designated “morning room” with floor-to-ceiling windows is awash in sunlight. Window treatments for the room include vibrant striped drapes with sheers to help disseminate light to the space’s indoor plants and trees.
In the master bedroom, with its pink and lime green motif, Herchik designed the custom-made bed which included a gilt, antique-mirrored headboard carved in Italy. The client’s proclivity for bed trappings was manifested in embroidered sheer fabric from Etamine, a French collection from Zimmer & Rohde, and Zimmer & Rohde also did the striped silk fabric for the drapes. Trappings, suspended by a custom circular gilt ceiling rod, notably have a glass bead trim from Osborne & Little down the sides and across the bottom, and the master bedroom’s ceiling is light green glass beaded wallpaper, called “Bedazzled,” by Maya Romanoff. According to Beck, the embroidered sheers theme was carried over to windows, and the room’s back wall was draped to eliminate a tiny, rogue set of windows. "Like in all good decorating, it’s all about layers in this house,” Beck said. “When you get a client who is really invested in the project and wants to see it all the way to fruition - not stop short - that’s when you get these spectacular homes. This house is all about the details.”
To that end, bed linens were embroidered in Italy where a sample of the room’s embroidered sheers informed the process. “It was all very intentioned,” Beck affirmed, adding that a large, custom lime green with hot pink flecks rug for the space was designed by Herchik and executed by Rosecore.
Canvassing possibilitiesThe master bath echoes the Bisazza Mosaico tile from the living room, this time with a custom blend that infuses gold, platinum and silver with pink and purple. For added glamour, a silk ottoman and drapery panel were added, and the space is painted with a stenciled, faux finish, again from Valley Craftsmen Ltd. Plantation shutters, a purple silk shag rug and imposing glass vessels filled with water and purple food coloring add drama to the space. “We do that a lot—with an apothecary jar or any sort of vessel from a home store,” Beck explained of the easy but elegant feature.
Finally, a guest bedroom with a dark, older, nondescript bed, dresser and secretary was totally transformed by the enterprising designers to become a bold but restful sanctuary. “She loves pink,” Beck noted of the client. The room, which is a partnership of pink variations with beige walls, began with a newly upholstered headboard (the old bed), footboard and side rails in a cut velvet fabric from Osborne & Little. The dresser and secretary were transported to Mitchell Yanofsky Custom Finishes in Baltimore, with a sample of fabric used for the bed. Yanofsky stenciled the dresser and secretary to reflect the bed’s material, with the latter also painted pink and beige to match the room. “The furniture received a brand new life,” Beck explained, noting the decision to include a custom chair covered in silk roses, with an antique frame, and a Thomas Pheasant mirror on the wall.
“I think what’s really great about this home is it’s all about the client and her husband,” Beck said. “It’s not for everyone, but (design) is about listening and taking the client where they want to go. A lot was driven by her, and a great collaboration is why this house is successful.”
For design story ideas, please contact Beth at bh@ dcrealestate.com.