Bethesda Magazine | March-April 2017

Inside 4 Beautiful Bethesda-Area Homes

From channeling the French countryside to bringing home the African plains, these stunning pads are filled with punch and personality.

Rise and shine: Meyer curated and framed Kate’s and Avery’s artworks, using them as a focal point in the breakfast room, which was previously a sitting area. She chose graphic, open-back chairs by Thibaut for the breakfast table. A custom-designed lantern from Urban Electric—visible from the foyer—crowns the space. “You notice it the second you walk in the door,” Shelley says, “and because we spend so much time in the kitchen, I appreciate it all day long.”

Photo by Angie Seckinger

Next step: The home’s classic center hall foyer sets the tone with a gray, zebra-patterned stair runner by C.G. Coe & Son in Bethesda (not pictured). “I wanted it to be clear that there were young people living in this historic house,” Shelley says. The stairs lead to a formal second-floor hall enlivened by a grid of colorful paintings by Matthew Langley from Susan Calloway Fine Arts in Georgetown.

Photo by Angie Seckinger

Shelf life: A previous renovation included an upstairs office-library with built-in shelving. Meyer papered the backs in a marbleized pattern “so you don’t feel like you have to fill every inch of the bookcase,” Shelley says. The couple also had antique books they wanted to display, and Meyer expanded their collection with more tomes she found at an antique book dealer. The bottom shelves hold the family’s large leather photo albums. “This room gave us somewhere to put them,” Shelley says. “We actually look at them more now.”

Photo by Angie Seckinger

Child’s play: The third-floor guest bedroom had an odd platform built into the dormer. “It’s an attic room that someone finished, with lots of angles and panels to the HVAC unit. It felt random,” Shelley says. Meyer added cushions to that platform, and it’s become a favorite retreat for the girls to read and play games. Meyer covered the walls in cheerful Thibaut wallpaper to play down their shortcomings. “The panels just went away,” Shelley says. “All you see is the fun pattern of the wallpaper.”

Photo by Angie Seckinge

High time: One of the few structural changes the family was permitted to make involved raising the ceiling height in the guest bath from 6 feet, 6 inches to 8 feet. “They were small tweaks but incredibly impactful,” Meyer says. New tiling, a vanity and shower followed, along with pale blue floral wallpaper by Thibaut. “The difficult angles and ceiling spaces are completely resolved by the use of pattern.”

Culture Club

Photo by Angie Seckinge

Carisa Suleman met her husband, Slim, through a mutual friend during college while she was studying economics in Tanzania. After she completed her studies in the States, she moved to Slim’s native Kenya where they started their life together. Twenty years later, the couple decided to move across the Atlantic with their three young children in order to expose them to American culture and education, choosing the D.C. area because of its international community. The real estate agent who helped them purchase a home in Potomac referred them to Bethesda designer Lorna Gross for help incorporating their significant collection of African art, artifacts and furnishings. “We wanted a warm, inviting, comfortable family home that could easily blend our cultures and our backgrounds,” Carisa says. “It was a challenging mandate. We had all these unique pieces we brought with us from Kenya.”