Remodel: A Classy Cottage

This little Cape Cod makes vintage furnishings feel fresh and new.

Over the years, Laura Terrell had made some basic upgrades—such as replacing the original Formica counters and linoleum floors—to the 1940s Cape Cod she bought near Spout Run in 2000. But by 2016, she wanted something more refined. A friend recommended D.C.-based designer Tricia Huntley, who quickly understood the situation. “I bought this house in my 20s,” Terrell remembers, “and Tricia said, ‘It’s time for you to have an adult house!’ ”

Huntley’s redesign respects the home’s cottage architecture, but sidesteps the genre’s less appealing stereotypes. Whereas the previous color scheme came straight from the Colonial playbook—navy blue, hunter green, maroon and yellow-beige—its new palette is built on crisp white and taupe, with subtle greens and accents of orange, purple and royal blue. “It’s taking the dowdy out and shocking it with sunshine,” Huntley says.

Terrell did have a few small requests at the onset of the makeover. She asked Huntley to preserve three “core” pieces of existing furniture: A glass-front bookcase and a ball-and-post bed, both custom-made by Samuel S. Case Cabinetmakers in Purcellville; and an antique iron bed that had been passed down from her great-grandparents. Using those elements as a starting point, Huntley added complementary antiques and vintage midcentury pieces. The wallpaper and seating fabrics are done in pat-terns the designer describes as modernized versions of traditional and Victorian motifs.

“It was very important to get the mood right in there,” Huntley says, in that her client, a white-collar defense attorney, travels frequently for work and needs a quiet, comfy place to recharge when she gets home.

Working in partnership with Crofton, Maryland-based Horizon HouseWorks, Huntley also expanded the home’s livable space by converting an old, unused deck into a soaring, screened-in porch—an outdoor room that Terrell now en-joys with her husband, Chris, a health care attorney, whom she married in 2016, not long after the remodel was completed.

“She really found my voice,” Terrell says. “She honored the house and its style, but she gave it this modern, fresh, but very comfortable design.”

Neighborhood: North Highlands
Originally built: 1940s
Remodeled: 2016
Previous square footage: 1,729
New square footage: 2,067
Interior designer: Tricia Huntley,
Builders: Horizon HouseWorks,; and Nicholas Draper

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Categories: Home & Design