When an Arlington family wanted to redesign their 3,400-square-foot 2009 house to incorporate both a modern feel and furnishings inherited from family, interior designer Susan Sutter carried out their vision, keeping both the present and past in mind.
“The overall feel we were going for with this project was transitional, with a nod to the past,” says Sutter, principal owner of Arlington-based Susan Sutter Interiors.
“When we take on a project, we like to ask the client if there are any collections they would like to include in the design,” Sutter says. “Sometimes people are afraid that designers are going to come in and say that everything has to go.
“Take family heirlooms or a favorite chair, for example. There is almost always a way to breathe new life into a cherished item,” she says.
By reupholstering the family’s pieces with new, updated fabrics, Sutter did just that throughout the home.
The remodel included the kitchen, family room, living room, dining room, butler’s pantry, powder room, office, and primary suite.
Bringing the Outside In
The first order of business for Sutter: Find a way to create a sense of symmetry in the kitchen.
“Originally, there was this awkward window along the back counter wall, and it just did not make sense, so we closed that off to help create symmetry between the range and range hood, and the sink and island,” Sutter says. She added a 48-inch double oven to provide the family with a balance of style and function.
Sutter then determined the color scheme. “The client’s home is surrounded by this lush, green property so I instantly knew that I wanted to bring the outside in,” says Sutter.
She started with wallpaper from Thibaut.
“I was flipping through some samples when I came across the large green and white floral design, and that inspired the whole theme,” Sutter says.
The designer added a custom-painted green island to bring another pop of color against the classic white perimeter cabinetry.
“White cabinetry is timeless and just goes with the traditional, transitional look we were going for,” says Sutter.
The island countertop is made of quartzite with green veining and ties in the green in the cabinets and wallpaper. The island seats three and features a custom copper sink, microwave, and shelving for cookbooks.
Other highlights in the kitchen include honey bronze cabinet hardware and unlacquered brass plumbing fixtures. Table and pendant lighting comes from Visual Comfort, while the walnut kitchen table from Gat Creek expands for larger get-togethers.
Continuing the Green Theme
In the family room that adjoins the kitchen, Sutter carries the green of the island to the background of a custom-built entertainment center where the family has a TV and electronics, as well as a seagrass basket collection. Seating in the family room — a sofa, two swivel chairs, a wingback chair — has custom upholstery in performance fabrics.
The butler’s pantry, also off the kitchen, has inset walnut cabinetry, soapstone counters, and an antiqued mirror backsplash with brass rosettes. The moody green wallpaper helps with the transition to the home’s more formal spaces where an inherited dining set and crystal chandelier are featured.
In the formal living room, Sutter reupholstered some of the family’s furniture using fabrics from Thibaut and trims from Samuel & Sons that give the room a modern feel. On the walls are neutral grasscloth wallcoverings from Wallquest, while the entire main level has wool area rugs from Fiberworks. The lighting fixture, in brass, comes from Visual Comfort.
The blue and green colors seen throughout the main level carry through to the updated powder room. A modern take on toile can be found on wallcoverings by York, while a striking mirror and polished nickel faucets and lighting finish off the room.
Revamping the Primary Suite
Moving upstairs, the primary suite upgrade is meant to feel like an oasis.
The color palette highlights soft blues, creams, and whites, while a seagrass headboard and nightstands from Serena & Lily add to the relaxing vibe. Heirloom pieces, such as a red painted chest and a lamp, provide the final touches.
The renovation of the bathroom created a spa-like retreat with an enlarged, walk-in double shower tiled in Carrara marble and a petite, freestanding bathtub. Sutter chose walnut cabinetry for the vanity to help bring a touch of warmth to the room. Custom shutters offer privacy and the ability to control the light.
“The previous bathroom was dark and dated, so we really wanted to create a light, bright, and airy space,” says Sutter.
The bathroom now provides the perfect place to prepare for the day or take a calm soak in the evening.
Feature image by Mary Pat Collins
This story originally ran in our December issue. For more stories like this, subscribe to Northern Virginia Magazine.