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Expert Advice- Home Drama

April 29, 2011 Leave a comment

A skilled team of professionals worked closely to build this elegant home theater.

When homeowners in Clifton, Virginia, were ready to design their home theater, they turned to a team of talented professionals to create a room that wasn’t only entertaining, but stylish as well.

The couple wanted to transform their 3,000-square-foot basement, focusing on a home theater room and using additional space to house game tables, a kitchen, an exercise room and a room for the husband’s large model train. They hired Warrickshire Woodcrafters, a Reston, Virginia-based firm that had created a home office for them in the past, to design the space.

Sterling, Virginia-based Integrated Media Systems (IMS) who had done the audio/visual design in other areas of the home, were brought in to handle the technical requirements of the theater.

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Categories: Entertainment

Portfolio- A Fruitful Renovation

April 29, 2011 Leave a comment

The view from the hallway leading into the wine cellar.

In the hallway leading to the basement space, Andre Sabbagh created a new cove ceiling covered in Venetian plaster. It all started when a light fixture over a Rockville couple’s pool table broke. They asked their friend, interior designer Andre Sabbagh, for advice on whether to fix it or buy a new one. This launched a discussion about what they thought the lower level of their home should ultimately look like. Sabbagh had some exciting ideas. So exciting, in fact, that the homeowners decided to embark on a full-scale renovation that would create a one-of-a-kind billiard room, wine cellar and plush new home theater. In the original space, stairs led down to the basement and into a stark hallway with an existing wine room on the left and a spare room on the right. The hall culminated at a bar overlooking the billiard room. The décor consisted of white walls and dull wall-to-wall carpeting.Sabbagh’s goal was to create a refined, personalized space that would reflect his clients’ style. “This is a home, not a pub,” he explains. “We wanted to make it elegant. The intention was to give it the coziness of an Old World feel combined with the quality of today’s finishes.”

Categories: Entertainment

Delight in the Details

April 29, 2011 Leave a comment

Wainscoting in all rooms balances the client's color palette.

“What happens if we eliminate the formal rooms, design our everyday living spaces for both formal and informal purposes, and use the dollars we save to really personalize the spaces we live in every day?” —Sarah Susanka, FAIA, author and lecturer, “The Not So Big House” series. John and Nancy Trainer are enthusiastic proponents of the “not-so-big” philosophy. Before embarking upon the total basement renovation of their 1959 rambler, the couple did copious research to nail down what they wanted their home to become. “Many of today’s McMansions are missing a sense of proportion and grace,” says Nancy Trainer. “I read Sarah Susanka’s ‘Not So Big’ series, surfed her Web site and thought ‘Bingo, this speaks to me.’” Susanka’s Web site also led them to Peggy Fisher, design director of Fisher Group, LLC. About the not-so-big concept, Fisher says, “The idea is not bigger, but better; to spend your money on the details and usable spaces within your home. Everybody wants to maximize the space they have. How is the house going to ‘live’? We wanted to help rethink the use of the space to make it work best for their lifestyle.”

Categories: Entertainment

Garden Party

April 29, 2011 Leave a comment

Simple arrangements of roses and lilies adorn the dining table, along with plenty of candles.

Many Washingtonians clamor to throw their last outdoor parties of the season as the days of summer dwindle. Slightly cooler and less humid than prior months, September still serves up blooming gardens, a bounty of fresh produce and the irrepressible music of crickets after dark. For interior designer Skip Sroka, principal of Bethesda, Maryland-based Sroka Design, the impromptu dinner party he held last September at his Washington home was especially bittersweet. Not only was summer drawing to a close, but he and his partner, John Kammeier, had just finalized plans for a new custom home in DC and construction would soon be underway. This would be the final al fresco party they would host in their home of 10 years. But when it comes to entertaining, Sroka has never been one to fuss—for reasons sentimental or otherwise. This casual garden party was meant to be as relaxed and carefree as a worn pair of Topsiders. Seven friends would come over for drinks and a simple dinner on the terrace; later in the evening, Kammeier, an apparel industry executive, would arrive on a flight home from Italy and join the festivities.

Categories: Entertainment

A Well-Appointed Pub

April 29, 2011 Leave a comment

The 1,500-square-foot lower level includes space for billiards next to the bar.

When a Laytonsville, Maryland, couple bought their sprawling nine-year-old home fully furnished back in 2005, it was exactly what they wanted—right down to the furniture. They left the interior virtually untouched from the ground floor up, but from the beginning they knew the cavernous, unwelcoming basement would need an overhaul. After living in the house for several years, they decided to renovate. “We wanted a space to entertain, one we could enjoy with two people or 40,” the homeowner says. Their vision encompassed a range of entertainment options as well as a lively new look. The couple tapped interior designer Samantha Friedman for the job, which ultimately would include an audio/video area, a bar, a wine cellar and billiards. The homeowners wanted the space to remain as open as possible and the husband, who frequently travels to England for work, was attracted by the idea of creating a pub-style atmosphere in the space. “I like the friendly look and feel of a pub,” he explains. Friedman embraced the concept, creating what she terms “a modern take on an English pub,” with a color scheme and finishes that also worked with the rest of the home.

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