A Surprise Inside

Michael and Deborah Sauri’s design-build background inspired them to create the perfect home: their own.

A mudroom off the kitchen is outfitted with kid- and pet-friendly features like floor-to-ceiling shelving—with baskets and hooks for backpacks, school supplies and extracurricular gear—as well as a built-in crate for the family’s Bernedoodle (yes, that’s a Bernese Mountain Dog-poodle mix) that allows the dog to rest in style under a built-in desk. They also have a cat.

The other showstopper in this communal space: four sliding doors that retract and recede, allowing the kitchen and family room to spill out onto the back deck in nice weather. Deborah says the idea of a disappearing wall was inspired by similar spaces they encountered while vacationing in Maine.

The couple’s love of the arts is also evident throughout the home. Remodeling business notwithstanding, Michael is a former professional musician (you may have seen his band, Fighting Gravity, in gigs around town) who has played guitar with the likes of Placido Domingo and David Byrne. Deborah is a talented graphic artist with her own firm, iSpy Creative.

The Sauri family at home. Photo by Erick Gibson

“One of our goals was to put art in every room,” she says. For example, a Japanese scroll that has been passed down in her family hangs in the front hallway. The watercolor depicts a cheeky ancient tale of a fairy bathing near Mount Fuji who lost her clothes to a local fisherman.

Nearby in the foyer, a vibrant painting by Arlington artist Ann Marie Coolick is on display.

The hallway features a Japanese scroll that’s been in Deborah’s family for generations. In the dining room: a modern light fixture by Dutch designer Marcel Wanders. Photo by Darko Zagar

In the dining room, a contemporary pendant lamp by Dutch designer Marcel Wanders is suspended prominently above a large, round marble table. Called “Sky Garden,” it’s an inverted play on the traditional chandelier: plain on the outside, with an ornate relief design of flowers, butterflies and insects hidden inside the dome. (According to Wanders’ website, the design was inspired by the antique plaster ceiling in his former home in Amsterdam.)

The master bedroom is a study in neutral tones and rich textures. The same aesthetic carries over to the master bath. Photo by Darko Zagar

Upstairs in the master bedroom, four framed pages from a German architecture book that’s been in Michael’s family for generations hang over the queen-size bed.

“We obsessed over every single room [and how it would look] from many angles,” Deborah says. “Because we’re a builder we like to try everything out first before we recommend anything.”

Katie Bianco is a freelance writer and native Arlingtonian. She dreams of one day having her very own Craftsman bungalow in Arlington to decorate.


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