In the elegant, cream-colored living room, a carved limestone fireplace provides a focal point.


Family history plays a strong role in the story of this Bethesda renovation. The sprawling brick house had been in the Straus family since its construction in the mid-1960s by Betty Brydges Straus; since then, the children had grown but always returned for those milestone events that draw families together. Meanwhile, the house—already a stylistic hodgepodge—became cluttered and outdated, gradually settling into disrepair.
The kitchen is now a bright, modern space with custom cabinetry and glass-tile backsplash; it adjoins the breakfast room.


It was son David Straus, along with his wife Courtney, who decided to come back to stay. However, while the Strauses loved the idea of moving back into David’s childhood home, the couple, investment managers with a grown child, knew the house was in dire shape. With its stunning location on three bucolic acres, it seemed ripe for a teardown. But the emotional connection for David was strong; ultimately, they decided to renovate the existing structure. “We needed to gut everything,” says Courtney Straus. “But we wanted to keep the bones in place.” 

BEFORE: Prior to the renovation, the living room fireplace was mundane, with a traditional wood mantel.
 

The result of such capable teamwork—and flexible, open-minded clients—is a stately, stucco-clad structure embellished with Italianate elements that perfectly reflects the homeowners’ sensibility. All the double-hung windows have been replaced with larger, two-paned casements that bring in light and enhance the home’s new style. The original Spanish tile roof—which never matched the former brick fa├žade—seamlessly complements the new stucco siding. Landscape architect Howard Cohen of Surrounds, Inc., refurbished the pool and added pavers and slate, an outdoor fireplace and kitchen. He also re-positioned the back steps. 
The spacious entry hall leads to the kitchen as well as into the adjacent wood-floored dining room.


Inside, the bones of the house remain, though walls and doorways have shifted. “Renovations encourage creativity of design,” says Chip Gruver, alluding to the dramatically refurbished main entry, which now sets the tone for a serene environment with elegant lines and rich finishes. In order to eliminate what Gruver describes as “a feeling of cavernousness,” the original vaulted ceilings were lowered. The squared-off staircase was replaced by one with a gently curved banister.

New stucco siding replaces the brick exterior and complements the Spanish tile roof.

In the once narrow family room, the exterior wall was bumped out about eight feet to add more usable space—the only change to the home’s footprint. The wall separating the family room and kitchen was opened up to create better flow; since it was a major bearing wall, this was a challenge requiring “a steel beam that took 15 people to install,” says Gruver. Hutchinson designed decorative columns to add further support.

BEFORE: The former entry hall was a far cry from its current incarnation.

The kitchen and breakfast room changed positions so the family can enjoy the view outdoors during meals; the kitchen, once wallpapered in gingham with pink cabinets, is now a clean-lined, modern space with white cabinetry, marble countertops and an expansive island in the center. The breakfast room leads out to a large screened-in porch overlooking the backyard.

An intimate loggia off the master bedroom offers a view of the backyard, including a water feature and the pool beyond.

The ground-floor master bedroom suite also underwent a transformation. A series of smaller rooms was gutted to create a large bedroom with a sitting room nook that houses a breakfast bar. The bedroom opens onto an intimate covered loggia with a view of the woods. At the other end of the bedroom, a polished marble corridor lined with closets ends in a spacious bath with soaking tub.

The dining room features a custom table, silver leaf wall coverings and a crystal chandelier.


Decorated in deeper hues, the family room offers more casual seating and a view to the backyard.

A bolder color scheme sets the family room apart as a more casual space. Upstairs, four bedrooms, each with an en suite bath, have been redecorated; a fifth was converted to a sitting room and a spacious room over the garage now houses a paneled library with a walnut fireplace Antonides ordered from England.
 
 
They contacted Mary Anne Antonides of Posh!, Inc., who in turn led them to builder Chip Gruver of Gruver Cooley and architect Bruce Hutchinson. With an enthusiastic, unified team in place, the Strauses felt comfortable surrendering the reins of the project. “We work full-time,” explains Courtney. “We didn’t have time for it, so they came in and took it over.”
BEFORE: Prior to the renovation, the kitchen sported pink cabinetry and gingham wallpaper.

0 comments:

Post a Comment

 
Top