Design & Home  |  Real Estate

Space of the Week: From Builder-Basic to an Entertainer’s Dream

A Loudoun County family (including two cute dogs) gets "a wow space" for hosting parties.

Photographs by Stacy Zarin Goldberg.

This week’s space: A 15-year-old South Riding home ready for a revamp.

The designer: Michelle Troxell, of Grace Thomas Designs.

Who lives in the home: A family of four—with one kid in high school, the other in college—and their two dogs.

Scope of the project: “They needed a wow space to entertain,” says Troxell. Initially, she says the clients considered simply repainting the kitchen cabinetry, but in order to truly maximize their space and upgrade their house’s style, they realized they needed a full makeover of the kitchen and dining room.

What the clients wanted: In the kitchen, the goals were to update and personalize the design, brighten the room, increase the buffet surface-area for entertaining, improve the cabinetry to maximize space and organization, and update the functionality of the butler’s pantry. In the dining room, the clients asked Troxell to keep two large heirloom pieces “as a nod to special family members” while modernizing the space and injecting it with playful, unexpected touches.

How she did it: For starters, the original builder-grade flooring and cabinetry had to go. Troxell brought in new white cabinets that reach all the way to the ceiling, and added more lighting—including beneath the cabinets and over the island. “To increase the buffet surface-area we moved the stovetop from the island to the opposite counter,” she says. She brought lots of personality into the dining room, with a mix of floral wallpaper, a rug with a subtle animal print, bright-pink hostess chairs, and a statement chandelier.

Her favorite parts: The shiplap-wrapped corner of the kitchen, the custom rustic shelving above the beverage station in the butler’s pantry, and the Dalmatian print in the kitchen. Given the family’s love of dogs, Troxell says it was “the perfect piece of art.”

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Senior Editor

Marisa M. Kashino joined Washingtonian in 2009 as a staff writer, and became a senior editor in 2014. She was previously a reporter for Legal Times and the National Law Journal. She recently wrote “A Murder on the Rappahannock,” a two-part investigation into the troubling, decades-old slaying of a young mother in rural Virginia. Kashino lives in Northeast DC with her husband, two dogs, and two cats.