Heather Thibodeau, a physical therapist-turned-blogger, and her husband Dave, a mechanical engineer, have lived all over the DMV. They hopped around from DC to Alexandria to Arlington to North Bethesda before settling into their home in Green Valley, where they’ve been for five years.
They’d never lived any place rural, but now they love it. Their kids, Jack, 11, Charlotte, 10, and Hudson, 7, run outside whenever they can, and evenings are spent looking at the stars glowing over a farm that sits in their backyard. And it’s all only a 40-minute drive from downtown DC. (That is, unless it’s rush hour on 270. “Then all bets are off,” Heather says.)
Even though she’s a home design blogger, Heather says she has been careful to make sure her house doesn’t look like anyone else’s. “I like to buck the trend. I don’t want my home to look like a store catalogue,” she says. “I want it to be super personal and unique.”
That means plenty of DIYs and second-hand finds to create what Heather calls a “gathered and eclectic” look, a cozy spot for a family of five (plus guinea pigs Eddie Van Halen, Humphrey Bogart, and Harry Pawter).
Who lives there: Heather; Dave; children Jack, Charlotte, and Hudson; and guinea pigs Eddie Van Halen, Humphrey Bogart, and Harry Pawter
How long they’ve lived there: Five years
Approximate square feet: 4,000
Number of bedrooms: Five
Number of bathrooms: Three-and-a-half
Favorite piece of furniture: A 1940s cast-iron pedestal sink found on Craigslist; also, a mid-century modern chair Heather found on the side of the road and reupholstered with an Ikea cowhide rug. “She’s my Pretty Woman upholstery story.”
Favorite home interior store: Heather doesn’t have a favorite store, she says, preferring to head to unexpected places and find things that need a little love. “I think that’s the physical therapist in me,” she says. “I like to rehab things that need a second chance.”
Favorite DIY: “I’m digging our master bathroom these days. It was a monster project for us, and 100 percent DIY.”
Splurge: The glass chandelier in the foyer was the first piece she bought for the home. It was pricey, she says, but she knew the space needed a statement, so she saved in other areas to make it work.
Steal: The “runner” she created on her staircase with two cans of paint, as well as the makeovers she gave what she calls the “boob lights” (a.k.a. round, builder-grade dome lights) in her home.
Design advice: “Don’t buy into the false narrative that your home has to fit into some pre-existing mold.” Who says you can’t mix farmhouse and industrial or modern and vintage? “The only important box your home has to check is whether or not it’s comfortable to you. If you walk in the front door and it feels like slipping on your favorite pair of sweats, it’s perfect.”