House Tour: Midcentury Rambler Gets Modern Makeover
Contemporary touches add elegance and utility to this Bellevue Forest home.
Not long ago, this contemporary-style, 5,992-square foot house in Arlington’s Bellevue Forest neighborhood was a one-story rambler almost a third of its current size. The original home, built in 1953, caught the eye of Yuri Sagatov at Sagatov Design + Build. The Falls Church-based company bought it in 2015, and the team spent about a year making the house up-to-date.
“We decided to renovate it instead of tearing it down so we could preserve some trees around the property, and also because we liked the way it nestled into the topography,” Sagatov says. We spoke with him to find out more about the six-bedroom, six-and-a-half-bath home.
Arguably, the most striking feature of the home’s exterior is its shape. The butterfly roof meets just off-center of the house at two columns that ground the structure to the front porch, which is made with ipe wood surrounded by dark-gray HardiePanel siding. The wood panels around and near the windows are cedar, with the path leading through the tiered front yard made of thermal-cut bluestone.
The front door opens to a small foyer that divides the main level. The flooring here and throughout the house is white oak with a natural finish. The gray wall paneling is from reSAWN TIMBER, a Pennsylvania-based company that applied a Japanese process called shou sugi ban to Accoya wood.
“It’s a wood that gets burnt and then finished with a stain that creates this marbling effect on it,” Sagatov says.
To the right of the foyer is a formal lounge with a dry bar and a sitting room. A barn door leads to a first-floor bedroom space that Sagatov converted to an office with a built-in, wraparound laminate desk.
A left turn from the front door leads to a large open space with the kitchen in the middle, flanked by the dining room at the front of the house and the family room at the back.
“The kitchen is really the heart of the home, and this house is no different,” Sagatov says.
Anchoring the kitchen are two islands with waterfall Carrara marble countertops—a material Sagatov repeats throughout the home for consistency. The dark cabinets against the wall hide a fridge on the left and a freezer on the right.
The family room wall is broken into thirds, stacking a row of windows above a blank display space and a stretch of built-ins clad in rolled steel. The built-in area includes a linear natural-gas fireplace and a TV with storage drawers underneath.
The screened porch has a double-height ceiling in cedar paneling to create volume and openness, Sagatov says. The highest section reaches 20 feet, while the lower hits 12 feet. The flooring is slate.
Upstairs, a floating, double-sided fireplace separates the master suite’s sitting and sleeping areas. Floor-to-ceiling windows across the back wall overlook the backyard, and the accent wall behind the bed is the same white oak as the floor.
The geometric tile in the master bathroom is by California-based designer Kelly Wearstler. A floating vanity with two sinks includes vertical columns with wall-mounted faucets that hide two medicine cabinets. Sagatov combined the tub and shower into a single “wet room” outfitted in slate and Carrara marble and topped with a skylight.
One of three bedrooms upstairs, this one has a beachy feel with wallpaper by Great Wall and rustic oak wood paneling.
The backyard features a 30-by-15-foot patio and a triangular tree house beyond the screened porch. Built around a tree (rather than in one) the 12-by-15-foot tree house has a HardiePanel roof and two levels: a ground “floor” with gravel and stairs leading up to a play space.