A Renovated Cape Cod-Style Home in Maryland

Details

Contemporary Cream Family Room with Vaulted Ceiling

This serene, contemporary family room features a vintage Louis-style chair. A vibrant carpet grounds the space.

Contemporary Cream Family Room with Vaulted Ceiling

This serene, contemporary family room features a vintage Louis-style chair. A vibrant carpet grounds the space.

Contemporary White Foyer Server

The foyer’s Pane e Vino server and classic brushstroke lamp are by Bunny Williams Home. A Hickory Chair chest, Phillips Scott Greek key mirror, and Bunny Williams lamp add interest, as does the room’s herringbone wood flooring.

Contemporary Cream Family Room Sofa

Blue pillow fabric by Manuel Canovas adds pops of color to the family room’s neutral Lee Industries sofa in Wesley Flax; pheasant feather lamps by Bunny Williams Home perk up a pair of Theodore Alexander side tables.

Contemporary Coffee Table Accents

A monochromatic floral arrangement accents the family room's coffee table.

Contemporary Cream Family Room Club Chairs

Lillian August club chairs and a cocktail table by Bliss Studio sit in front of a custom bookcase.

Contemporary White Foyer Server

The foyer’s Pane e Vino server and classic brushstroke lamp are by Bunny Williams Home. A Hickory Chair chest, Phillips Scott Greek key mirror, and Bunny Williams lamp add interest, as does the room’s herringbone wood flooring.

Contemporary Cream Informal Dining Room

Two pendants by Visual Comfort repeat the kitchen’s X-motif in the adjacent dining area. Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter (used in half-strength) coats the walls, while Kravet faux leather covers the seats and backs of Restoration Hardware chairs. The table is custom-made from reclaimed wood.

Contemporary White Kitchen Cabinetry

The kitchen cabinets were refreshed with custom-molded glass fronts, satin nickel hardware and Benjamin Moore’s White Dove paint. The AGA stove is accented from behind with White Rivershell Oval Mosaic tiles by Artistic Tile.

Contemporary White Kitchen Peninsula

Hickory Chair Madigan counter stools with gray leather seats nestle beneath a refurbished eat-in peninsula.

Contemporary Gray Living Room

The marble-and-wood fireplace designed by interior designer and homeowner Beth Gularson serves as a focal point in the coffered living room. A Lillian August sofa pairs well with Woodbridge end tables and a mirrored coffee table by Modern History, while rose-print pillows by Cowtan & Tout are the perfect complement to reupholstered vintage chairs.

Traditional Gray Dining Room

Farrow & Ball’s Silvergate wallpaper in Grisaille defines the dining room and lends a sense of whimsy to a more traditional space. The Drexel Heritage mahogany chairs pull up to a table that sits beneath a Visual Comfort chandelier. The plush bengal silk drapes are by Kravet.

Interior designer Beth Gularson gets nostalgic when talking about the Potomac home she shares with her husband, John, their two teenagers, and a couple of dogs. “We always wanted to live in this neighborhood,” she says. “It was one of those ‘someday’ thoughts.”

That day became a reality in 2012 when the couple purchased a 1966 Cape Cod-style house situated on three grassy acres in Potomac Falls, Maryland. The downside? It was a fixer-upper: As well as being outdated, the house felt choppy because of some ill-conceived additions. “People thought we were crazy, but I had a vision,” recalls Gularson. “I liked that it was vintage but felt that it didn’t have any personality. I wanted to open up the spaces while maintaining the integrity of the original home. I also wanted to create the character that an older house would possess through architectural details.”

To achieve her goals, Gularson enlisted the help of builder David Costopoulos, with whom she had worked before, and architect Kevin Driscoll, who often collaborates with Costopoulos on projects. With a team in place, Gularson set about enhancing the layout and improving the flow by enlarging or shifting all of the door casements on the main level. In the kitchen, two prior openings with French doors became one large open casement with columns. This enabled the eat-in dining area and backyard beyond to be open to and align with the family room across the hall, resulting in a great space for entertaining.

The newly expanded family room, which used to have a powder room in it, is where the biggest change took place. “When I did my initial walk-through, I saw an attic above that space,” recalls Gularson. “The house is an older one with 8-foot-high ceilings, so I saw this as an opportunity to create some height while taking advantage of unused space.”

The ceiling was vaulted up into the attic, and more visual height was added by putting in a large-scale fireplace, with a two-story-high chimney, as well as taller arched windows. “What you think are only design features are actually what was required to vault the ceiling,” says Driscoll. “The soffits on either side contain parts of the original framing, and the projected fireplace holds reinforcement for the wall.” Of the family room’s stately fireplace, which is carved from maple and painted a creamy white, Costopoulos says, “Beth handed me a magazine picture of a very expensive limestone fireplace. I suggested making one out of wood to a similarly grand scale at a fraction of the cost.”

Gularson went room by room, enriching the spaces via moldings and woodwork. “The old house was a box,” says Gularson. “It was missing that something beautiful, which I feel we brought into the home. Plus, after opening it up, we gave each room its own distinct character.” The foyer now boasts paneled walls and herringbone wood floors, the dining room features shadow box chair rail wainscoting, and the living room spotlights a coffered ceiling. Calacatta Gold marble countertops and white lacquered cabinetry turn the kitchen into a classic space.

When it came to the furnishings, Gularson’s approach was similarly sophis- ticated and spare. “I like traditional with a twist,” she says. “I like a look that is lighter, less fussy, more clean-lined. The biggest compliment people pay me is that my home is elegant yet comfortable.” In this vein, Gularson worked with a dove gray palette warmed by tans and camels, and mixed new traditional-style furniture with vintage pieces refreshed by upholstery, such as the monogrammed host-and-hostess wingbacks in the dining room. “I wanted it a bit eclectic,” she says. “I didn’t want everything from one place, but to be like an older home with things collected over time.”

Of the two-year process, Gularson states: “The remodel was long, including month after month of dust and dirt, missing floors and walls. In the end, though, it exceeded our expectations. It’s not the fanciest home in the neighborhood, but it feels like it to us.”

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