A happy and healthy new year to all. I made just one resolution: to wake up early! For the record, I've already broken it :( Ohhhhhh, well!
After the bustle of the holidays, this is the time to relax, refresh and regroup. It's about taking long walks after indulging in so much food. It's about being cozy next to a warm fire. It's about change.
So now would be the time to announce a big change for us. Though there is no official listing yet, Tom and I have decided to sell our home in Chevy Chase, DC. Why? We want to spend more time in Maine and downsize in DC. (And I do mean downsize, not downstyle.) We still love our home, but it and the property are much larger than we need, especially if semi-retiring one day in Maine.
Designed in 1915 by the architectural firm of Murphy & Olmsted, our house is in the Spanish Colonial Revival style - a standout amongst the parade of Colonials and Foursquares in Chevy Chase. Murphy & Olmsted built many Italianate and Spanish style homes across the country, and they were well regarded for their work in various Mediterranean interpretations. Our house does have the spirit of a Mediterranean villa with its expansive loggia, stucco surface, French in-swing doors and windows, and signature terracotta roof tiles glazed in green (which is similar to the shades that flow throughout Provence).
From 2008 - 09, we worked with the acclaimed firm of Muse Architects on the restoration, renovation and addition. The result is a gracious, historic home with a floorplan designed for today's living. The rooms are generous and flooded with natural light from French doors, wide windows and conservatory style skylights. I custom designed all the built-in bookcases, desks and furnishings throughout. HVAC and electrical systems are new; as is the plumbing with copper pipes.
Of course we'll miss our home with its beautiful connection to the gardens, which I designed to be evergreen with structure year round. The gardens are actually a series of outdoor rooms opening upon each other and, more importantly, can be fully enjoyed and accessed from within - five rooms on the first floor open directly outside. DC is full of splendid homes, but I have to say not many command such a special lot that is both private and walkable to shops, restaurants and Washington's last independent theater. The house is perched on a flat parcel atop a little hill.
Since I have never shown a proper tour (thought I'd have plenty of opportunities as we were planning to live here a while longer), let's go on one. We'll start with the "heart of the house" located at the back.
The following photos were taken over a period of six years - click for a larger view.
The kitchen, family room, home office, mudroom and powder room are located at the back of the house - it's where we spend most of our time. From outside, it looks like a series of garden pavilions with pagoda-like roofs. All the buildings with copper roofs are additions designed by Muse Architects. On the left is the mudroom, which is connected to its twin, the gazebo, by a long terrace with a rustic cedar pergola.
The family room and open kitchen share one large, lofty space with a raised tray ceiling punctuated by a cupola-like skylight in the conservatory style. No matter how dreary the day outside, it is always bright here.A view of the family room out to the blue garden. All the in-swing doors and windows, with cremone bolt hardware, were imported from Quebec, Canada. They are extremely energy efficient.
Most of the flowers in the blue garden bloom in shades of blue, lavender or purple.
A glimpse into the dining room. Though I love a pale color scheme, it's important to ground this palette with darker tones such as the pair of antique French walnut armchairs, vintage black iron industrial tables and lanterns, and brown leather bench from Crate and Barrel.Under the TV is an antique Swedish Gustavian style sideboard which houses the A.V. system. The Oushak rug continues the grays, greens and blues. Dividing the family room from the kitchen is an early 1800s Swedish trestle dining table which we use as a sofa table. Since this room is a new addition, it was important to fill it with found objects and pieces with history, character and imperfections. It's not meant to be matchy.
How about a cup of cappuccino, coffee or espresso? Below the coffee machine is a combo speed convection / microwave oven - quite handy!
Our Carrara marble counter tops are actual 2" slabs, not the standard size with a facade edging. The faucet is from Rohl.
I designed this corner workstation to be functional and simple. The built-in desk is painted in Benjamin Moore White Dove in high gloss for a modern look.
Tucked discreetly to the right of the office is a powder room. The toilet, sink console with limestone top and faucet set are all from Waterworks. Pair of antique sconces as well as the silver leaf mirror are from Tone on Tone.
Here is the sunny mudroom with an antique pine wall shelf, exposed beams and travertine floor. The antique iron lantern is one of a pair - its mate hangs in the gazebo across the pergola terrace. Above the French doors is a cedarwood lintel.
Looking from the mudroom across the wisteria-covered pergola terrace to the gazebo. For a seamless look, the same travertine tiles as in the mudroom are also used here.
I hope you have enjoyed this tour - more to come!
Also, I'd like to ask my readers to be on the lookout for a little cottage for us - something like a Cape, Dutch Colonial or Tudor with charm on the outside. We're looking for an older, unrenovated home with a small garden in the following areas: Northwest DC, North Arlington, Bethesda, Chevy Chase and Kensington, MD. Tom and I would make great neighbors :)
If you have any questions, please email me at:
Thanks so much!