Interior design is a relationship business. We are so grateful for the close relationships we’ve developed with our amazing clients over the years. Many of those clients have been with A. Houck Designs for a long time, as we’ve worked our way through every room in their house. We’re especially honored when they build or purchase a new home and entrust us, once again, with their spaces — as one Arlington couple recently did.
A Shared History
We started working with these dear clients more than ten years ago. Over time, we introduced color, pattern and functionality throughout their first home. When the couple decided to trade that split-level for a newly built modern farmhouse last year, they gave us a call. And, of course, we jumped at the chance to work with them again.
Generally, a project starts with a discovery phase where we get to know our clients likes and dislikes, how they live, and what’s important to them in a home. In this case, there was great value in already knowing these repeat clients so well. Our history provided a head start for the project, and we were able to bypass some of that getting-to-know-you phase.
We quickly learned, however, that the couple’s style had evolved over the years, which we expected. So while they hoped to reuse some of their existing furnishings, they wanted a more sophisticated look for their new chapter in life.
Living Room Interior Design
To meet both objectives, we combined familiar favorites with fresh finds. The clean-lined architecture of the new home (which features steel-framed doors and windows) informed our design choices too. The living room illustrates our approach.
We originally sourced the four chairs from Hickory Chair and the round accent tables from Willem Smith for the living room of the former house. The cut-velvet fabric covering the chairs was in great shape, so we kept it. The chairs moved seamlessly into their new space. We always encourage clients to invest in high-quality furniture and fabrics that will stand the test of time. This project demonstrates the value in that advice.
The room’s fresh finds include a waterscape painting by Ning Lee, which animates a dramatic, charcoal-hued wall. A new wool, hand-knotted rug — in shades of blue, gray and sienna — grounds the conversation area; simple linen sheers frame the windows.
Dining Room Interior Design
We took a similar approach with the dining-room scheme, repurposing many old favorites. First, though, we installed a textured linen wallcovering with a tone-on-tone, geometric design from Innovations. The neutral envelope showcases vibrant abstract artwork, which was carried over from the former residence.
We populated the dining room with pieces pulled from various spaces in the previous home. The long credenza hails from the former great room; the smaller credenza is a new piece we custom-designed for this space. The etageres flanking the bespoke credenza are repurposed from the previous home’s entryway.
We’re happy to incorporate our clients’ existing pieces when we can. But scale and proportion are key to good design. Sometimes, the old furnishings simply don’t serve the new space and vision. In this instance, the existing dining table was the wrong size for the room. The new Guy Chaddock maple table, with an inlaid plank top, sit atop a wool rug that shifted over from the former living room. We recovered the existing dining chairs in two different woven fabrics from Romo.
A sleek and sexy chandelier from Hubbardton Forge hangs from a tray ceiling covered in a deep-blue grasscloth with metallic threads. We love to add interest to a ceiling with wallpaper or paint.
The Chinoiserie-style cabinet from Hickory Chair and the painting above it both made the move from the old house too.
Same Furnishings in their Former Glory
It’s interesting to compare how these beloved pieces looked in their original setting. Here’s a glimpse of our long-time clients’ former living room, with the same chairs found in their new one:
You’ll recognize many of the pieces in the great room of the old split-level home too (although the dining chairs are nearly unrecognizable in their current incarnation).
The credenza, table lamp and artwork all shifted to the couple’s new dining room. But that space’s new wallcoverings, windows panels and upholstery fabrics change the context and the end result.
We provided a fresh look for this couple’s new chapter in life, while embracing many pieces they already owned. Context truly is everything when it comes to interior design.