Needing more space for her growing interior design firm, Tracy Morris of Tracy Morris Design and her husband Justin Li bought this new build farmhouse style home in McLean, Virginia.
'When we purchased the house, it was 90 per cent complete,' says Tracy. 'To allow for my employees to have their own access, I worked with Stephen Yeonas, one of the partners at Artisan Builders, to come up with a unique solution. He suggested that we take out one of the windows in the basement and make it a door. The team excavated the space and created a new staircase and door for the design team.'
As well as creating a large, open lower level for the design team and client visits, other modifications made to create one of the world's best homes included a larger kitchen, a more spacious main bathroom and bigger individual closets, as well as changes to the outdoor space.
'The one design element I love throughout the house is the light,' says Tracy. 'The house was designed with large windows around the house. It makes all the difference in the world.'
Living room ideas include combining Tracy's favorite neutral textures. 'The chairs by Lee Industries (opens in new tab) are banded in a smoke leather to provide additional contrast to the space. The space is papered with a favorite Phillip Jeffries (opens in new tab) herringbone texture.' A painting by Joelle Somero (opens in new tab) pulls the colors together and creates a focal point.
One of the key dining room ideas involved making the wallpaper the starting point. 'I have always loved Phillip Jeffries Studs & Stripes wallpaper and could not wait to use it in my next home,' says Tracy. 'Once the wallpaper was finalized, I worked on the other pieces in the room. I wanted to keep the space light and approachable.' Tracy added a chandelier from Circa Lighting (opens in new tab) that enhances the airy feel.
'My favorite room is the kitchen,' says Tracy. Kitchen ideas include choosing a white palette to keep the look light with white cabinetry by Lobkovich (opens in new tab), and positioning all the major cooking elements on one wall enclosed by dark wood banding for definition. The dark wood has been added to the inside of the glass cabinet as well. 'This allows the contents to really stand out and be seen,' says Tracy.
'The kitchen and breakfast areas are the heart of our home,' says Tracy. 'A place was created for Justin and I to sit at the counter, have a meal and discuss our day. We end up gathering at the large island for holidays and birthdays, too. Plus, I love to bake! I'm known to produce a few dozen cookies on Sunday afternoons for my construction teams.'
The single pendant by Circa Lighting gives the island much needed illumination but doesn't overwhelm the space. The oversized counter stools by Lee Industries are covered in a taupe leather and are perfect for a meal at the counter.
Tracy was keen to create a cozy yet calm look in the main bedroom. 'I used a linen duvet cover that keeps us both warm and cool during the changing seasons,' she says. The cerused oak bedside tables provide plenty of storage and inject elegance. The drapes are made from Italian linen with a Samuel & Sons (opens in new tab) trim providing contrast.
Bathroom ideas included designing a vanity with two basins and plenty of storage. 'When we moved into the home, there were two individual vanities that did not have quite enough space for all our stuff,' says Tracy. 'We maximized the storage and used Benjamin Moore’s White Dove (opens in new tab) on the cabinetry.' Custom mirrors were made for the space and sconces from Circa Lighting added.
'This guest room was created for my mother-in-law,' says Tracy. 'She lives far from us, so when she is here, it is a treat.'
Bedroom ideas include a bed made with super soft bed fabric from Calvin Fabrics (opens in new tab) with a headboard higher than normal to create an enveloping space. Tracy added bedside tables with plenty of drawer space, plus a desk for writing. The space was topped off with a painting by Adele Yonchak (opens in new tab). 'The colors bring the whole space together.'
Interior designer/ Tracy Morris Design
Architect/ James McDonald Associate Architects
Builder/ Artisan Builders
Photographer/ Greg Powers
Interiors have always been Vivienne's passion – from bold and bright to Scandi white. After studying at Leeds University, she worked at the Financial Times, before moving to Radio Times. She did an interior design course and then worked for Homes & Gardens, Country Living and House Beautiful. Vivienne’s always enjoyed reader homes and loves to spot a house she knows is perfect for a magazine (she has even knocked on the doors of houses with curb appeal!), so she became a houses editor, commissioning reader homes, writing features and styling and art directing photo shoots. She worked on Country Homes & Interiors for 15 years, before returning to Homes & Gardens as houses editor four years ago.
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