House Tour: This Elegant Arts & Crafts Home Will Give You Closet Envy
The custom Falls Church residence features a bathroom coffee bar and closet space for 144 pairs of shoes.
After spotting this house in a 2015 issue of Arlington Magazine, Maryam and Stephen Brown approached the architects at McLean-based McNeill Baker Design Associates about creating their own dream home. Three years later, their vision was a reality and they moved into a new place in Falls Church’s Westmore Gardens neighborhood with their two sons and a couple of cats. We caught up with lead architect James Baker to chat about the design of the Browns’ classically-styled house, which was recently featured on the 2019 Tuckahoe Home and Garden Tour.
A flagstone path leads to the front entrance. Not wanting to disrupt the home’s foursquare symmetry with an attached garage, the architects opted for a porte cochère along one side, leading to a detached garage out back. This move also allowed the six-bedroom, 5 1/2 bathroom home to have a nearly 360-degree, wraparound porch. The builder was Thorsen Construction.
The mahogany front door opens to a spacious foyer with a custom chandelier and paneled wainscoting to complement the couple’s antique furnishings.
The fireplace in the great room is actually double-sided; it shares a chimney with another hearth in the adjoining screened-in porch. Built-ins showcase decorative objects, and exposed beams lend a rustic element to the ceilings.
The kitchen, designed in collaboration with Southern Kitchens, features a large refrigerator disguised behind paneled cabinet doors. In addition to Wolf and Sub-Zero appliances, there’s an end-grain butcher-block island, custom-crafted stools, Bevolo pendant lights and an ornamental tin ceiling.
No, this isn’t a second kitchen. It’s actually a multipurpose room that meets the requirements of a mudroom, laundry room and project workspace. The island includes built-in wire-mesh bins for stowing away shoes, kids’ sports equipment and more.
In the master bedroom, floor-to-ceiling curtains frame the sitting area and a large picture window. This spacious luxury retreat also features a vaulted, beamed ceiling and his-and-hers closets.
As president of Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas), Maryam has a wardrobe to suit many occasions. Her closet and dressing area features English floral wallpaper, clouds painted on the ceiling and–the pièce de résistance–a gilded, clawfoot leopard-print divan.
Even Carrie Bradshaw would be pleased with an “accessory gallery” of this caliber. It’s got storage space for 144 pairs of shoes and plenty of designer bags.
The master bathroom has the sophisticated feel of a luxe hotel, with a “wet sauna” steam shower and a soaking tub.
Also part of the master bath suite: a coffee bar, including a tiny fridge just big enough to fit a small bottle of cream. No need to trudge downstairs for your morning coffee when you can merely walk a few steps from the bedroom.
Stephen, owner of the energy-consultancy RBJ Strategies, is also founder of DC Dead Tape Exchange, a group whose collection of recordings totals approximately 27,000 hours of noncommercial, live music. Some of his music memorabilia (though certainly not all of it) is displayed in this downstairs rec room with custom built-ins. The space has a heated brick floor.
The Browns often enjoy relaxing and dining at the end of the day on their stunning screened-in porch. Storm windows, a cozy fireplace and a large ceiling fan allow it to be used year-round in all kinds of weather.