When the Paikin family moved into their Vienna home in 2021, they knew updating was at the top of their to-do list. The five-bedroom, 8,759-square-foot traditional brick house was custom-built by NV Homes in 1999 on a 1-acre wooded lot near Lahey Lost Valley Park, and it had not been significantly altered since.
“We fell in love with the house, its open layout, and the privacy of the lot, but the interiors were not up to date,” recalls Tara Paikin, mom to two college-age sons and wife of Jonathan, an attorney. “We needed to change paint colors, replace light fixtures, buy new furniture. It felt overwhelming,” she says.
Enter Wendy LeHew of LeHew Interiors, who is based in Warrenton but works throughout the DMV. The Paikins found her through a referral (a close friend of Tara’s had recently worked with LeHew).
“Tara and Jonathan are very social and big entertainers,” says LeHew, who worked on refurbishing the home for more than a year. “They were looking for a classic, yet current, look. It soon became clear that they were super easygoing and open-minded. This allowed us all to have fun, while transforming the home.”
The Paikins, who like to travel and collect art, especially by local artists, knew their limitations when it came to design and entrusted their wish list to LeHew. Their main level layout gave them all the right bones for what they wanted: a large kitchen for cooking and gathering; a dining room for special meals; a family room to chill in; a formal living room; a sunroom for her; a bonus home office for him. With that information, LeHew would flesh out a suitable design plan.
“We really wanted to live in the whole house. We enjoy entertaining with dinner parties and social events. The boys often come home from college with groups of friends. Our house is also a gathering place during the holidays for our extended family,” says Tara. “We wanted a home with lots of spaces to entertain in different ways, but also wanted it to be warm and cozy.”
First, LeHew coordinated a palette that would flow from room to room on a largely open plan. She went with neutrals — grays, charcoals, taupes, espresso-browns — while mixing in some of Tara’s favorite colors, such as smoky lavenders, powder blues, and soft greens. She also used high-contrast black-and-white elements to punctuate spaces.
“I used a lot of organic textures throughout — shagreen, faux tortoise, caning, concrete, linen, seagrass — to create a more natural feel, while keeping other elements more modern and edgy (chrome, glass, geometrics),” she says. “The powder room captures that blend well. I mixed chrome and modern lighting, with a raw amethyst vessel sink.”
Though the working kitchen received a minimal touch-up (LeHew refreshed wall paint, drapery, and lighting), its eat-in area was one of the first spaces she tackled.
“That shagreen table was the very first piece of furniture we acquired, and it has become the central gathering place in our home,” says Tara.
The table is surrounded by clean-lined chairs upholstered in a performance fabric. A graphic high-contrast chandelier grounds the space, while the art presents a striking floral diptych that’s modern yet organic. Floral motifs and sleek silhouettes repeat throughout the home.
This space directly connects to the family room, which features a deep L-shaped sectional sofa and comfortable swivel armchairs. Geometric patterned curtains add interest to the room and frame the floor-to-ceiling windows.
“The foyer felt so vast, empty, and cold when we first moved in,” says Tara. “Wendy filled that space with a settee and console, rugs, and plants. It’s so welcoming now.”
The formal living room, where the family customarily puts up the Christmas tree and frequently hosts holiday gatherings, is elegant and intimate. With its walls painted warm gray, the room’s accent color is Tara’s favorite lavender, which peeks out, along with blush and powdery-blue hues, in throw pillows, artwork, and an eye-catching leather bench. All the furniture is grounded by a contemporary black-floral-on-white rug.
“Putting in two chandeliers in the dining room took some convincing, but it’s now one of our favorite features in the home,” says Tara of the formal dining room’s striking glass-beaded chandeliers.
This room features lavender on its walls, while the sleek espresso-brown wood table seats up to 12 and features stylish chrome tips on its feet. The curtain rods are Lucite and hold geometric patterned satin curtains. Meanwhile, the textured seagrass rug and nubby linen upholstery on the dining chairs create natural warmth.
“We feel all the design choices achieved exactly what we wanted. Every room is an oasis and each flows perfectly into the next. Our guests and friends always compliment the impeccable look, comfort, and coziness in our home — all thanks to Wendy,” says Tara.
Feature image by Robert Radifera for Stylish Productions