When a young family decided to custom build a house in Vienna, they had one important thing in mind. “We wanted to use the home to raise our children (currently 6, 9, and 13 years old) and see them through high school,” says the homeowner.
With James Madison High School within easy walking distance, the half-acre lot they selected was the ideal setting. The homeowners then worked with Thomas French Architects, Somerville Homes, and Christina Simon of CS Design to help them realize their dream house.
“The overall inspiration was to create a Pacific Northwest-, California-style house, with touches of Scandinavian worked in,” says Simon, who was introduced to the couple by the builder, with whom she has a strong working relationship.
“We handled all the tile selections, plumbing and light fixtures, interior built-ins and cabinetry, countertops, paint colors, and any special features,” she adds of her involvement in the project.
The striking floor-to-ceiling stacked marble-brick fireplace in the open main floor’s living room is one such feature. However, for this young family with a husband and wife, three kids, and a dog, functionality is just as important as aesthetics. That’s reflected in the 300-square-foot user-friendly kitchen, roomy mudroom/mom’s office, and informal dining room.
“For the kitchen, we wanted L-shaped seating about the island, a coffee zone, and lots and lots of compartmentalized organization,” says one of the homeowners.
“Our clients were drawn to a high-contrast palette, with a combination of dark and light cabinetry, mixed metals, and lighter wood tones as accents,” says Simon of the overall style. “It was important for the space to feel timeless, yet modern, with an organic vibe. Good organizational solutions for an easy flow of day-to-day activities were also key.”
The kitchen features a coffee station, large apron sink, custom storage drawers and cupboards, a steam oven in the island, paneled refrigeration, and open display shelves in a light natural finish, which repeats as banding on the hood. The flooring throughout is white oak, and the walls are painted white. In the kitchen, as well as elsewhere, are many windows that connect interiors to outside spaces and woodsy scenery.
“Adjacent to the kitchen is a well-appointed pantry with built-in appliances, including a microwave oven and wine fridge, as well as an expansive work surface and lots of shelf storage,” says Simon of the pantry, which repeats some elements from the kitchen, such as open natural wood shelving and white quartz countertops.
Organization is also the name of the game in the mudroom/first floor office, which opens out onto the home’s backyard.
“We wanted a modest home office area and a spacious mudroom,” adds the homeowner. “Our home lot highlights nature all around, including trees, flowers, grass, and sky. The mudroom features big in tying together indoor and outdoor settings.”
Beside the large black-framed, glass-paned back door is a tall floor-to-ceiling cabinet, connected to a built-in desk, that affords plenty of storage. Here, there is a wall-mounted family calendar for keeping track of kids’ activities and a worktop surface for Mom to do correspondence and other tasks.
In an adjacent, larger built-in, each kid has their own low cubby for shoes and an overhead cubby niche for other odds and ends. There are plenty of hooks in between on the shiplap feature wall, as well as a bench.
Decoratively speaking, the high-contrast theme remains strong here, with the natural wood bench contrasting with the black cabinetry and white walls. The flooring is porcelain tile for hardiness and resilience, much needed in a room that gets plenty of indoor-outdoor traffic.
“The use of the natural materials was key in lending warmth to the modern spaces,” says Simon, thereby “evoking a clean organic aesthetic.”
The dining room table, for example, features a light wood top, that pairs well with kid-friendly molded plastic chairs. Linen slip-covered host-and-hostess chairs add a bit of tailoring and more warmth, but it’s the black-metal horizontal contemporary chandelier, with its exposed bulbs, that really defines the space. A long, custom-designed sideboard, with open cube shelving and closed storage further places the dining area on the open floor plan.
“It’s definitely a transitional dining room space that can be dressed up or down. We didn’t want a separate breakfast nook and dining room. Like the rest of our house, it is modern, purposeful, and kid-pet friendly,” says the homeowner. “We wanted a comfortable and welcoming custom home designed to grow with us.”
The stairwell features a wealth of natural light, steel cable railings, and a spiky black chandelier, but again, the natural wood handrail brings it down to earth.
Upstairs, the master bathroom features gray porcelain floor tiles, a double vanity with rift-cut oak cabinets and quartz countertops, and black-framed mirrors, all repeating elements from the main level. A free-standing soaking tub sits next to a walk-in glass-walled shower, both of which are tied together by a wall of decorative white tiles with darker grouting. Black-framed paned windows capture the trees outside.
“Our builder, architect, and CS Design Studio actively listened to our family’s needs and were able to design us a custom home with spaces that met all of them. Our home feels modern, timeless, bright and airy, and connected to nature,” adds the homeowner.