The House of Four Pavilions
This ultra-modern Arlington home is all about windows and light. And it challenges the conventional wisdom about floor plans.
Yuri Sagatov’s latest home, in Waverly Hills, dares to think differently about how houses are fundamentally structured. The 5,900-square-foot plan is made up of four interconnected pavilions marked by huge windows.
“One thing I love about Arlington is the fabric of the architecture. It’s not a homogenous landscape like you would get further out in the suburbs,” says the builder, who has personally moved 15 times between North and South Arlington—including in and out of seven homes he designed and built in the past 15 years. He likes to live in them while he’s finishing them to truly experience the marriage of form and function.
Sagatov and his wife, Michelle, a real estate agent, plan to stay in this one for a while since their children, Alina, 13, and James, 11, are getting older and the property is within walking distance of Washington-Liberty High School. For that reason, Sagatov says he wanted the design to represent a “best of” showcase of his company’s modern aesthetic.
Top of mind was the evolution of open-concept living. “This pavilion design allows for an open plan but really creates separation between a lot of the spaces,” he says. Yet “there’s still connectivity” thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows that offer visual sightlines between the home’s four modules. Those enormous windows also enhance the interplay between indoor and outdoor spaces—another priority.
“We like the connection they create with the rest of the neighborhood, and the light is very important to us,” Sagatov says. “You can feel the time of the day.” (You can even feel it in the spa-like master bath and walk-in closet, thanks to large skylights and clerestory windows that channel natural light inside while maintaining privacy.)
Perhaps the biggest wow feature is the main level’s circular sunken lounge. Funkier than your typical living room, it centers on a massive, marble-lined conversation pit flanked by a wet bar and—you guessed it—dramatic windows. “A lot of the challenge in modern architecture is a lack of intimacy,” Sagatov observes. “Sinking the lounge makes it an intentional place to sit down and disconnect and have a conversation. Our whole family spends a lot of time in there.”
The kitchen is another key communal space. It anchors a rear pavilion that also contains dining and family-room areas, with glass doors that open onto a pool deck. Appliances and storage are hidden behind sleek custom walnut paneling, and two spacious islands make it easy for people to cook and mingle without feeling crowded.
Sagatov was careful to design flexible spaces whose uses can change over time: A room currently serving as a home office could become a main-level bedroom if needed, and one of his children’s bedrooms could later morph into an in-law suite, reachable via the home’s elevator. “Making the home work and flex to the needs of the family is a critical component for me,” he says.
Like every residence he builds, this one is also supremely energy-efficient and certified through the Arlington Green Home Choice Program. The house is heated and cooled with two centralized heat-pump-driven HVAC systems, separated into four zones (one for each pavilion), and is well insulated to prevent air leakage.
It’s also passively designed to draw additional heat, via sunlight, in winter through its large south- and west-facing windows. (In summer, when the sun is higher in the sky, a faceted façade minimizes heat gain through the same windows.)
“This is a culmination of a lot of different houses that we’ve lived in,” Sagatov says. “As families grow up and priorities change, this just seemed to be a great spot for the next 10 years.”
Styling by Allison Hardeman