Based in Cabin John, Anthony Wilder Design Build does everything from whole house renovation to interior design. Admired by peers for his creativity, Wilder, who co-owns the firm with his wife, Elizabeth, calls his style “architecture with whimsy.”
How many houses have you remodeled in the Washington area?
More than 1,000. I used to do a lot of smaller jobs (close to 300 per year), but now we turn out between 15 and 20 larger, more detailed, projects a year.
What are the biggest mistakes people make when renovating a home?
Working with an unrealistic timeline is a huge mistake. All too often clients rush through selections in an effort to complete the project for a special event, rather than developing the details and letting all the great ideas and opportunities unfold. My advice would be that it’s great if the project is completed in time for a special event, but don’t lose sight of the fact that you’ll be living with these decisions for the rest of your life or until you move. It’s one of the most important investments you will ever make.
What do people want in their homes?
People want open space, natural light, and seamless flow—these are enduring elements that so magically become a source of serenity. A home or a room must always reflect good feelings. Everyone feels healthy and calm in natural light.
What is your favorite room in a house to design?
Rooms with beautiful views…especially of gardens.
You’ve done so many residential projects—do you have a favorite? One that stands out in your mind?
Projects that have anything to do with flowing water. I love using water as a reflection of the architecture.
What’s your own house like?
It’s a traditional house with a contemporary flair. One of my favorite parts is the seamless walls of glass facing the garden.