Home & Design
Painting by Alexandria artist Nicole Seifert in a foyer.
Painting by Alexandria artist Nicole Seifert in a foyer.

A colorful painting by Alexandria artist Nicole Seifert welcomes guests into the foyer.

Visual Comfort chandelier above dining table
Visual Comfort chandelier above dining table

A Visual Comfort chandelier hung above the dining table keeps sight lines open. Wool rugs throughout the home were sourced at C.G. Coe & Son in Bethesda.

Bar area houses an ice maker and storage for glassware.
Bar area houses an ice maker and storage for glassware.

A handy bar area to the left houses an ice maker and storage for glassware.

Artist Tracey West, decorative finish on a wall
Artist Tracey West, decorative finish on a wall

On the lower level, artist Tracey West created a decorative finish on the wall facing the stairs.

Play area with sectional sofa, tables and ottoman from Room & Board
Play area with sectional sofa, tables and ottoman from Room & Board

In the play area, the sectional, C tables and ottoman from Room & Board are ready for a sleepover or movie night.

Rodolph fabric panels made by Flowers Upholstery anchors the owners bed
Rodolph fabric panels made by Flowers Upholstery anchors the owners bed

Rodolph fabric panels made by Flowers Upholstery anchors the owners' bed, dressed in organic Coyuchi linens.

Cozy reading chairs nestles in the corner of owners bedroom.
Cozy reading chairs nestles in the corner of owners bedroom.

A cozy reading chairs nestles in the corner of the owners' bedroom.

Great room, gray sofa and armchair from Peyton Home and low-backed Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams sofa
Great room, gray sofa and armchair from Peyton Home and low-backed Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams sofa

In the great room, performance fabric on the gray sofa and armchair from Peyton Home and the low-backed Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams sofa withstand wear and tear.

Custom Flair

Kelly Holland orchestrates furniture and finishes with panache for a new family home in Arlington

Soon after updating a small home for clients with two young kids, designer Kelly Holland discovered the owners had shifted gears and put in a contract for a new five-bedroom, five-and-a-half bath home in Arlington. Though they’d worked with builder BCN Homes to specify tile and built-ins, the couple tapped Holland to spearhead the interiors of the 5,855-square foot abode.

Her furniture plan reflects its modern farmhouse style yet embraces the owners’ penchant for mid-century furnishings. One challenge: The wife wanted everything neutral while her husband was hungry for color. Ultimately, “both ended up being very happy,” says the designer. “The house is not one single look, but it’s so them.”

When did your clients realize they needed help from an interior designer?
BCN has a great team and they spent a lot of time getting to know the couple. But the owners were overwhelmed with their choices and that’s when they brought us in. We worked with BCN to complete sourcing and design furniture plans.

How did you resolve the couple’s love/hate relationship with color?
We kept the larger furniture pieces quiet and let them speak through texture. Then we brought in color through pillows in the great room and on the porch and through elements like paintings and area rugs. A tiny bit of color goes a long way.

What drove the dining chair selection?
By nature, there are a lot of rectangular shapes and straight lines in the kitchen; the ceiling beams are also strong and geometric. We needed something to loosen things up a little so we chose the sculptural host chairs and dining chairs with the circular backs for contrast.

Explain the benefits of the quartzite island countertop.
Quartzite is a natural stone that has the beautiful veining of marble and is as hard and durable as granite.
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What are smart ways to ensure durability?
We’re using as much indoor/outdoor performance fabric inside as we are outside. Fabrics in the Great Outdoors collection through Holly Hunt, for example, have the most gorgeous hand to them. In this project, the great room sofa is covered in a Pindler performance fabric that feels like suede. If something gets on it, a damp washcloth takes it off. We also selected wool carpets because they’re easy to clean. And the dining chairs are leather-wrapped and easy to wipe down after use.

Share the most serendipitous furniture find you made during the planning stage.
My colleague and I were antiquing in Culpeper and each spotted a Mid-Century Modern end table at Country Shoppes. When we saw there were two, we had to buy them. They were unfinished but great structurally. We hired artist Martha Leone to give them a new life. She painted the frames black and left the drawers natural wood. For a family-friendly vibe, we topped them with marble remnants; the stone finish is indestructible.

Explain how you created flexibility in the lower-level living area.
We placed little C tables so that the owners have a place for a drink or a laptop. We didn’t want a giant cocktail table that would lock them in. The leather ottoman and wood coffee table are also easy to move around so if they have a movie night, they can scoot the tables out of the way and put pillows on the floor for the kids.

How did you repurpose the clients’ existing furniture?
We help clients re-use what they have if it’s right and if it’s smart. In this project, we had our furniture finisher put a coat of marine-grade varnish on their original walnut dining table for use on the screened porch. And their previous dining room chandelier and Room & Board buffet ground the area at the bottom of the stairs on the lower level.

What makes the owners’ bedroom feel so tranquil?
Our local upholsterer created wall panels in a gorgeous smoky-gray fabric with a little bit of lavender in it. The Roman shade is motorized and there’s a sun shade behind it. We like to do a rug in a bedroom that’s room-size to soften up the space. And we selected crisp, white bedding in organic cotton. At the end of the day, it’s quiet and clean—and not fussy.

Interior Design: Kelly Holland, KPH Studio, Arlington, Virginia. Kitchen Design: Amanda Smith, BCN Homes, Arlington, Virginia. Builder: BCN Homes.

 

ASK KELLY

Do you have a designer good luck charm?
In my wallet, I keep a plastic cockroach that Mario Buatta gifted to me at a dinner in DC. It makes me smile and is a solid reminder to keep things light and fun.

What trend has run its course?
I want to break out in hives if I see another Chair and a Half.

What’s a new style you embrace?
I love that tight-backed upholstered pieces are more common now so we don’t have to fluff the back cushions on sofas and chairs any more.

Name a piece of furniture you treasure most?
My late mother-in-law showed up one Easter holding a primitive farm bench painted my favorite color, Kelly green. She picked it up at a consignment shop in Reston—and she nailed it. “This is your Easter basket,” she said. It was a coffee table in our prior home and now serves as a console. That super-simple piece means so much to me.

 

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