An Oasis in Falls Church

The architecture of this stunning custom home is oriented around a backyard pond and wildlife habitat.
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His-and-hers office wings enjoy pond views and are connected by a spacious terrace. The landscaping prioritizes native plants that attract pollinators and wildlife. Photo by Anice Hoachlander

It’s called the Pond House for a reason. A large pond—apparently built for a previous owner’s swans—inspired a local couple to purchase the land comprising two lots near downtown Falls Church City and, in 2016, build a new 7,850-square-foot house in front of it.

The process, says Falls Church architect Charles Moore, required knocking down an existing Cape Cod and completely rebuilding the stagnant pond so it not only functioned as an aesthetic centerpiece, but also became the heart of an expansive and sustainable landscape.

Moore and landscape architect Joan Honeyman of the D.C. firm Jordan Honeyman worked hand-in-hand to design a home that is oriented toward the backyard, where they incorporated additional water features. A fountain and streambed double as a pump and bio-retention area to keep water flowing through the central pond and filter harmful runoff.

“The house is designed to be a private place that opens up to the pond and the terrace in back. It doesn’t open up to the street,” Moore says. And its layout allows the couple to live almost entirely on the first floor, with a second level for their grown children and guests. “It’s one-story living without it being a ranch house,” he says. “You put the space where you need it.”

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The front of the home from the street. Photo by Anice Hoachlander




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The kitchen features painted Shaker-style cabinets and two islands—one painted and the other made of rift-sawn white oak—by Wooden Design via TW Perry Custom Woodworking. The backsplash is Waterworks’ Grove Brickworks tile. Photo by Anice Hoachlander

The large family-dining-kitchen area faces the back of the house, cleverly shielded from view through the front door. One wing branching off the side contains the master bedroom suite, while others to the rear hold the husband’s and wife’s home offices, which flank a large central terrace overlooking the pond.

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Circular forms are a recurring motif in the husband’s home office, as seen in the custom window design and curvilinear flat-sawn cherry desk. The landscape plan outside the window is also arranged in circular groupings. Photo by Anice Hoachlander

At each turn, Moore and his firm’s interior designer, Jordan Campbell, along with Honeyman, played to the owners’ tastes. Circular forms in the husband’s office are repeated in the landscape, and a detached potting shed for the wife, an avid gardener, reads like a miniature version of the main house.

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A stand-alone gardening shed is clad in the same HardiePlank siding as the main house. The ipe wood boardwalk is bordered by native switchgrass, hydrangea and black-eyed Susans. Photo by Melissa Clark Photography

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This strategically placed wall partition (one of three separating the living room from the front hallway) allows natural light to permeate the first floor while still maintaining privacy. Rustic, 5¼-inch white-oak plank floors have a natural quality that matches the outdoors. Photo by Anice Hoachlander

The home’s construction is highly energy efficient and incorporates quality materials, including copper gutters and a slate roof; handmade tile and custom millwork inside; and radiant-heat floors with sensors to ensure the temperature stays consistent between tile and hardwood surfaces. “They spent whatever it took to do things in a really sophisticated way,” says Luke Gladis of Ironstar Building Co. in Arlington.

The landscaping is just as thoughtful. “They wanted a habitat garden to attract pollinators and wildlife,” Honeyman says. “A heron comes in for the koi in the pond, and there are seven to eight birdhouses. [The owner] is out there all the time, pruning, digging and adding extra plants. She’s having a ball!”

Project Credits

Moore Architects

Ironstar Building Co.

Jordan Honeyman Landscape Architecture

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Categories: Home & Design