A passerby might recall the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” when first viewing the exterior of this suburban home nestled in Reston, Virginia. The clapboard siding and contemporary brick exterior mimic the times of its 1992 construction and blend in seamlessly with the neighborhood homes, but inside the interior tells a timeless story that spans the decades. These homeowners enjoy the best of amenities from the surrounding planned community, which was one of the first modern, post-World War II developments of suburban America, yet they are also lucky enough to be able to relive their time abroad living in Europe amongst the minimalist design, architecture, and select art pieces that are now enclosed within the walls of their own home. “When people walk into the home,” says the husband with obvious amusement, “they think these 60-year-old people misled them! We like that element of surprise.”
The renovation began with guidance from Julia Walter, Showroom Manager at Boffi Georgetown. Julia’s philosophy is true collaboration with her clients to bring their vision to fruition. “Collaboration is key for me on every project with my clients. I really want them to be involved. And I ultimately want to translate their desires and wishes into a beautiful design.”
The homeowners envisioned a home that embodied a modern, contemporary design that would also capture the essence of their minimalist spirit. Instead of the rooms being flooded with busyness, the clean fresh spaces would speak for themselves showcasing the couple’s exceptional taste for unique furniture pieces and artwork dating back as far as the roaring 20’s and everything in between.
When it came time to put Walter’s ideas into action they reached out to Architects Douglas and Victoria Rixey to overcome some structural hurdles of the design. Rixey removed everything from door and window trims to walls and even did away with the plaster that had been suffocating the staircase. When all was said and done instead of having the home confined by its own walls, the areas united to create a unanimous dramatically flowing open floor plan. And as for that stairway, it is now much more than just a functional bridge between floors. The open risers float freely creating a stunning visual that is more of an art piece than a set of stairs. It truly is a focal point of the home.
Once the bones of the home were in place it was time for the real fun to begin. The homeowners worked with a designer and art consultants, Karen Glik and Colin Applegate, to selectively elect an eclectic array of international pieces. Anchor points for the home include a circa 1925 French Deco set of dining table and chairs. There is a 1958 teak desk by Danish designer Nanna Ditzel and a contemporary Italian console by Antonio Citterio. Other Scandinavian pieces include the living room’s angular sofa and IbKofod-Larsen Seal chair and the kitchen’s breakfast table and chairs by Poul Kjaerholm.
These pieces were blended with textures of wood, linen, cowhide and bouclé. Instead of monochromatically blending into the space, these tactile surfaces brought multi-dimensional life to the rooms. For example, the dining room’s Liaigre mango wood veneer chest and the living room’s cowhide patchwork rug from Contemporaria didn’t crowd the space, but honored the minimalism prevalent throughout the home. Their bold colors and patterns yield a contemporary feel in themselves but when not cluttered by the competition of surrounding objects these carefully selected pieces explode with warm energy and shine proudly throughout the abode.
“When people walk into the home, they think these 60-year-old people misled them! We like that element of surprise.”
When it came time to selecting the flooring, the homeowners were faced with a challenge. How would they keep consistent with the orderly, clean minimalism of the design? They knew they wanted hardwood, but strip floors would create a chaotic distraction to the eye with a plethora of seams between boards. The couple didn’t want the eye to be drawn to the busyness in the floor; rather, they wanted the floor to serve as a backdrop to compliment the overall look and feel of their style.
And that’s when they found true love by discovering Carlisle’s wide plank Ash floors. The floor they selected was handcrafted and customized to have dramatic lengths of 4’- 14’ long boards that measured 8” wide. These planks would not only minimize the overall number of seams in the floor but serve as the perfect palette for the entire open floor plan. Walter’s said, “With the open floor plan concept we wanted to have the flooring as the key element to combine all the different areas in the floor plan itself.”
These planks were certainly fashionable and in line with the minimalist spirit, but they were also an extremely functional choice due to their durability. The couple wanted to invest in a quality, luxury floor that was going to live proudly throughout the life of their home. Rixey, who has worked with Carlisle on several projects, spoke highly of the product stating, “One of the big concerns about wide plank flooring is how well is it going to hold up. Is it going to cup? Is it going to separate? This has been in place for several years and it’s in fantastic shape.” And while these high end floors are made locally in the United States, they were custom graded by hand to imitate floors reminiscent of a European home. Walters agreed. “Quality vendors are the most important part to include in a project. I really trust in their expertise and experience to make the project complete. And that’s what I loved about working with Carlisle,” she explained.
“One of the big concerns about wide plank flooring is how well is it going to hold up. Is it going to cup? Is it going to separate? This has been in place for several years and it’s in fantastic shape.”
Ash flooring was an obvious choice, but selecting the perfect stain color for the floor was a heavily weighted decision that held the power to affect the overall look and feel of the entire home. “The selection of the floor stain was very specific and important to everyone. It really had to build a contrast for a harmonious plan to all of the other design elements in the room.” Walter recalled. “They brought out different samples to the site. They put on different stains from really dark to a lighter gray stain, and that was the ultimate stain that we really selected for the flooring.”
The planks were prefinished with a custom driftwood gray stain. The team didn’t want the stain to mask the inherent beauty of the wood floors, but rather bring out the dark grain which naturally matched many elements in the home such as the kitchen island. “These particular floors were selected for their texture and their ability to take the stain in a certain way,” Rixey said. It was also important that the stain could be replicated on the floating stairway to keep the monolithic integrity of the design intact. The homeowners were stunned when they saw how perfectly the stairs matched the remainder of the flooring. “When I first saw the color go in I knew we made exactly the right choice,” Walter said, relieved.
If you’re seeking the perfect match for your flooring project let the specialists at Carlisle take the work off your plate and put together some design options specific for your taste and style. Carlisle has been working with clients all over the world for, for half a century, to create custom flooring designs in just the right style, species and color. Whether you’re seeking a floor that will compliment your space, or serve as the focal point for your home, rest assure we can custom craft a floor unique to you and your vision.
Contact us today to speak with a Carlisle Wide Plank Specialist for a complimentary design consultation and custom samples to explore how you can make your flooring dreams come true.
Carlisle is pleased to feature the talented professionals we had the pleasure of working with to yield the amazing outcome of this project.
Boffi Georgetown opened its interactive showroom in August 2010 as one of 23 company-owned shops that are part of a worldwide monobrand network. Designed by internationally acclaimed architect Piero Lissoni, the showroom is situated in a historic building with brick walls, soaring ceilings and large windows including oversized skylights – the ideal location for the clean, modern lines of Boffi’s kitchens, baths and wardrobe systems. Boffi’s products are created by an evolving group of renowned designers and based on a distinctive company history and philosophy. The principle is to harmonize functionality with a highly modern design approach. The end products are aesthetically minimal while offering outstanding designs and state-of-the-art elements. Boffi Georgetown’s in-house team, including internationally-trained architect and showroom manager Julia Walter, provides finished projects that are finely attuned to owners’ desired contexts, whether to suit a futuristic glass-enclosed high rise or a rustic 1900s stone barn house, www.boffigeorgetown.com
A partnership founded in 1985, Rixey-Rixey Architects focuses on high-end residential work including new houses, full house renovations, and additions. Located in offices nestled in Georgetown’s historic West Village, the firm provides full architectural design, interior design, and sustainable design services to a discerning clientele. While most projects are located in the Washington metropolitan region, the firm serves many repeat clients in locations as diverse as Sanibel, Florida, Little Compton, Rhode Island, and Fairhope, Alabama. An award-winning firm, Rixey-Rixey Architect’s hallmark is elegant, understated design that captures a style that is individual and appropriate to each project. The firm also selectively undertakes commercial and institutional projects on a limited basis, www.rixeyrixeyarchitects.com