A Dream Home That Feels Like New England

The owners of this McLean beauty went for shingle-style architecture and whimsical furnishings.
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Photo by Diego Valdez

When Kara McCabe and Andrew Leblanc decided to build a new house in McLean—moving from Arlington to be closer to The Langley School, where their four boys are students—they hired GTM Architects, Artisan Builders and interior designer Skip Sroka to bring their dream to fruition.

McCabe then took advantage of the project’s extended timeline to do a deep dive for inspiration. “We lost her for three years,” jokes her sister Jennifer. “This was her full-time job!”

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Designer Skip Sroka’s attention to detail is evident in the home’s crisp millwork and stair balusters, which he custom designed. The foyer lighting is by Hammerton Studio and the settee is from Bernhardt Furniture Co. Photo by Erik Kvalsvik

What emerged is an 11,500-square-foot home steeped in the shingle-style aesthetic that’s common to Cape Cod, where their mother lives, and more broadly to New England. McCabe and her siblings grew up in Lexington, Massachusetts.

But rather than lean on any Puritan notions of restraint, Sroka filled the interiors with a riot of color and pattern. The style is reminiscent of British designer Kit Kemp, whose whimsical hotel interiors in London and New York the couple enjoyed for years until the pandemic put Leblanc’s business travel on hold (he’s an attorney, and his wife sometimes joins him on trips).

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The kitchen, by Lobkovich Kitchen Designs, features playful fabrics and colorful pendant lights from Rothschild & Bickers – London. Photo by Erik Kvalsvik

“Growing up, everything in our house was white or beige or gray,” McCabe says. “We would go to Kit’s hotels, and she had these crazy patterns and color combinations that you’d never think would go together, but it felt like home.”

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The front parlor’s bold colors and patterns were inspired by London designer Kit Kemp. The owners’ artwork hangs above a double fireplace that opens to a home office on the other side of the wall. Chandelier by Hinkley Lighting. Photo by Erik Kvalsvik

In choosing the interior palette, Sroka and project designer Elizabeth Shirey Bausch leaned heavily on coastal blues and greens that reminded the couple of New England.


Categories: Home & Design