A Modern Dream Home For a Family of Ten

This eight-bedroom, 10-bath compound in McLean spans 13,180 square feet with a pool and spa out back.
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The Mizzo residence in McLean, Virginia, built by BCN Homes (Photo by Robert Radifera/Stylish Productions)

Orchestrating dinnertime had become a circus act for Cherylyn and Chris Mizzo. 

Their 5,480-square-foot home in McLean’s Chesterbrook neighborhood wasn’t small, but with five kids under age 11—plus Cherylyn’s parents, who had moved in to help after their oldest (twins) were born—they literally didn’t have enough places for people to sit. 

“We couldn’t all fit at the kitchen island,” says Cherylyn, a former patent lawyer who became a stay-at-home parent as her family expanded. “People were standing during dinner because there wasn’t enough room to sit down to eat.” 

In July of 2018, the Mizzos decided it was time to upsize. Chris’s mom was planning to join the fold, and their household was soon to become a party of 10. Should they renovate and expand an older home? Buy new? 

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The exterior presents as a series of horizontal volumes, clad in earthy materials that fit the landscape. (Photo by Robert Radifera/Stylish Productions)

They started by making a list of their current home’s friction points—crowded kitchen, not enough storage, single dishwasher—and brought those issues to BCN Homes in Falls Church. 

Northern Virginia has plenty of big houses, but finding one with enough bedrooms and bathrooms was tough. After determining they were unlikely to find what they wanted on the market, the Mizzos decided to build a custom home for their extended clan. They just needed to find the right place to build it.

“We had been looking for land in the McLean area that would fit a home for our unique family,” says Chris, a trial attorney. “We saw numerous properties, but it was discouraging to say the least.” Some had the acreage, but only small buildable footprints. Others had precariously sloped yards that weren’t ideal for five children between the ages of 10 and 5. “We worried about the kids falling into a ravine,” he says. 

At last, BCN found an optimal site—a leafy teardown lot in Parkview Hills. “It checked all the boxes,” Cherylyn says. “Right location, lovely neighborhood, friends in the area. The lot size was perfect—about an acre. More important, it was an acre of mostly usable space.” 

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A commissioned piece by Italian artist Alberto Fusco hangs above a floating console in the foyer. (Photo by Robert Radifera/Stylish Productions)

Architecturally, the Mizzos had always pictured themselves in a home similar to the one they were vacating. But the vision for their new place evolved as they talked through their likes with the design-build firm.

“Their original inspiration image was a West Coast Craftsman,” says Caitlin Platt, director of sales and client relations at BCN. “The more time we spent with the family, the more we realized they were drawn to contemporary design. We presented them with some options that pushed the design in that direction and, ultimately, we landed on a very balanced home.”

Construction began in October of 2018. 

A little more than one year later, the Mizzos were moving into their new digs—an eight-bedroom, 10-bath compound measuring 13,180 square feet, with two garages, a five-car circular parking court, and a pool and spa out back.

Clad in Eldorado stone veneer and Azek PVC trim (in a dark cherry finish) with large wraparound windows, the house is horizontally oriented, with a low-pitched roof that downplays its size when viewed from the street.

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A detached pool cabana behind the house includes a kitchen, lounge area and full bath. (Photo by Robert Radifera/Stylish Productions)

The interiors, designed by Paola Martinez, principal of Olamar Interiors in Warrenton, are spacious, modern and functional. 

“They brought me in right after the old house that was on their lot was demolished,” says the designer, who worked with the Mizzos to select everything from the hard finishes (cabinets, flooring, light fixtures) to artwork, upholstery and area rugs.

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The pool cabana features custom woodblock artwork by D. Elizabeth Studios on Etsy. (Photo by Robert Radifera/Stylish Productions)

“The size of their family was at the forefront of my mind as we went through this project,” Martinez says. “BCN’s project architect, Keith Stricker, did an amazing job with the layout of the home. I focused my efforts on the size of the spaces where they congregated together most often.”

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The main kitchen has double islands, two sinks and a handy pot-filler over an eight-burner range. (Photo by Robert Radifera/Stylish Productions)

Mindful of the frustrations that had compelled the family to move in the first place, the team created an open kitchen anchored by two massive islands, each measuring 5-by-10 feet. One has seating for every family member, while the other provides enough prep space for multiple cooks. 

The main floor layout also includes a butler’s pantry with a second dishwasher and extra storage, a dining room with seating for 12, and an airy screened porch with a table for 10.

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The butler’s pantry provides extra storage and a second dishwasher for cleanup. A custom dining table by Bare Knuckle Fabrication seats 12. (Photo by Robert Radifera/Stylish Productions)

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A screened porch with an outdoor dining table and lounge seating overlooks the pool. (Photo by Robert Radifera/Stylish Productions)

The kitchen connects to a dramatic great room with 21-foot ceilings and wooded views through oversize custom windows. A second-floor catwalk at the top of an open cable-rail staircase overlooks the great room, contributing to its sense of openness. 

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The dramatic great room features a 21-foot ceiling, wide-plank white oak floors and a Porcelanosa Airslate Graphite fireplace surround. (Photo by Robert Radifera/Stylish Productions)

The same staircase continues down to a lower-level rec room with foosball, air hockey and a built-in bar, plus an adjoining home movie theater. 

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The lower level has a game room with a built-in bar, plus a home movie theater and a gym. (Photo by Robert Radifera/Stylish Productions)

The grandparents are part of it all, but they also have their own places to retreat: Two in-law suites flank either side of the main floor entryway, each with its own kitchen and bath. The set-up provides privacy, while simultaneously making it easy and effortless to join the larger family for meals and quality time.

Elbow room aside, the design of the home also answers the call for organization. Winning the battle against clutter and lost mittens is a mudroom where every family member has their own locker for jackets, bags, sports equipment, umbrellas and outdoor gear. 

“The mudroom needed storage that was built around the specific types of things they are storing for each child,” Martinez says—from cleats and shoes to bats. “There was a lot of conversation around how they lived to develop the spaces as efficiently as we could.”

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A girls’ bedroom with a kaleidoscopic accent wall connects to an adjoining bath. (Photos by Robert Radifera/Stylish Productions)

For all of the home’s sheer beauty, the Mizzos also have an oversize appreciation for its functionality. Cherylyn says it’s helped them find a rhythm in the day-to-day flow of work, school, sports and activities. 

“The kitchen and great room are the central hub of our new house,” she says. “In our old house, our family spent a lot of time in those rooms, but they felt very separate from each other. We wanted the feeling of separation corrected in the new house. Sure enough, this is where we spend the most time. It’s our favorite space to be in.” 

Plus, Chris adds: “We can sit down to eat now. We have two dishwashers, so one’s not constantly running in the kitchen. There’s ample storage for everything we use. It’s organized, and you can find the things you need. It’s these little things that help us.” In a big way.

Meredith Lindemon is a journalist covering lifestyle and interiors trends.

Mizzo Family Photo 2 Katy Murray

Cherylyn and Chris Mizzo with their five kids (Photo by Katy Murray)

The Project

Completed: 2020

Neighborhood: Parkview Hills

Square footage: 13,180

Builder: BCN Homes

Interior designer: Olamar Interiors

Pool/spa: Crystal Pools

Landscape architect: Caroline Ervin Landscape Design

Landscape installation: Area Landscaping

Cabinetry and built-ins: Kahle’s Kitchens

Tile: Mach & Rico Floors


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Categories: Home & Design