What do you do when you have the right house in the right neighborhood, but not enough space for your family’s active lifestyle? You simply build onto perfection!
This is exactly what Tripp and Linda Duerson did when they realized that their home was no longer suitable for their family. The couple and their two daughters had lived in their house for fourteen years. Linda explained, “We would go look at different houses that would come on the market. But every time we got ready to think about moving everyone would say ‘No! We don’t want to move. We want to stay in our house!’”
There seemed to always be something lacking in every house that the family considered. Architect Scott Glass had drawn up some plans for them a few years ago and each time they looked at a house they would study the plans again. They spent a year and a half considering a move before they looked at his plans again and then decided to call in a builder. Linda and Tripp finally realized that with some changes their house could become exactly what they dreamed.
The Duersons’ home, built in 1978, is a Williamsburg style. The family was looking for a more open living area, a much bigger kitchen, a main level master suite and an extensive outdoor living space. After the fourteen-month-long renovation project, they achieved all of this and more.
The architect’s drawings included an extension to the entire back of the house. In effect, the front remains unchanged. This enabled the Duersons to retain the stylish exterior entrance as well as keep several of the native hardwoods that add shade and grace to their front gardens.
A side entrance leads into one of the most useful areas of any home, the mudroom and laundry. This rather sizeable area has a heated slate floor, making it one of the favorite areas for their dog. Built-in cubbies for every family member provide perfect personal storage, and a bench seat is convenient for changing out of wet shoes and boots. The vibrant red wall covering accented with white trim is a cheerful welcome to incoming guests.
Enter the great room and one’s attention is immediately drawn to the beautiful flooring. Linda explained that they were looking for wider planking. (The original portion of the house had narrow boards.) They found a Brazilian hardwood and just loved its bold grain pattern. In fact, they liked the floors so much that they removed the original hardwood in a portion of the older part of the house and replaced it with the more eye-catching Brazilian wood.
The great room is designed with comfort in mind. Adjoining the kitchen, it offers ample living space for both family and friends. A bar area with an extra sink, counter and wine cooler makes entertaining so much easier. Fourteen-foot ceilings, a large and comfortable sofa and overstuffed chairs, big screen television and a gas log fireplace make this one of the most popular spots in the house.
French doors lead directly from the great room onto an upper-level patio with TimberTech decking and an unusual railing system made of tempered glass. Linda explained that she did not want the view of the gardens hampered in any way, and the glass permits unimpeded views from the great room. Along the upper deck, tubs are filled with fuchsia-colored geraniums.
A large dining area unites the great room with the working kitchen. Linda brings her garden indoors with a bouquet of pale blue hydrangea blooms set in the center of the table. A large bay window with a window seat offers extra places at the dinner table when guests are present. Here, and throughout many areas of the house, the accent color is blue. This is Linda’s favorite color and she uses it often and with great effect.
One of the Duersons’ main remodeling goals was to expand the tiny original kitchen. They accomplished this goal and even more! The kitchen is equipped with all of the latest appliances including a built-in microwave set directly into the counter. It is accessible somewhat like a cabinet drawer and makes for easy entrée, even for children. Extra refrigerator space is built in conveniently near the stove.
An unusual backsplash behind the stove is a keepsake found on a trip to Europe. Linda explained that long before they even envisioned the renovation project, “I found this tile. I was attracted by the colors – blue and white. So I brought it home but did not know how I was going to use it.” The tile had been taken out of an Italian castle and featured an unusual design. When Linda visited Moyanne’s shop she found a batch of old tiles with a similar color scheme. “It was meant to be!” she exclaimed.
Decorating is a hobby for Linda. When her children were young she worked for Moyanne. When she spearheaded the renovation in her home, Linda found Moyanne to be a great resource and utilized her talents extensively.
A stunning granite countertop has flecks of copper running through an almost black stone. According to Linda, the granite is from Africa. They found it at Luck Stone near Richmond. There are endless choices there and each is a work of art. The black counters are a stark yet striking contrast with the white cabinets.
The original family room has been remade into an elegant sitting area. Here the focal points are two lovely portraits that were completed of the Duerson girls when each child was seven. Both children are barefoot, outfitted in lovely dresses and posed in an outdoor setting. One portrait hangs just above the entrance way from the great room and the other hangs on the opposite wall.
With the renovation of a small downstairs bath, Linda transformed a simple necessity into a room of elegance. First she replaced the tiny tiles with large squares. After finding a well-designed Bombay chest, she had it converted to fit a white porcelain sink with gold trim. Gold fixtures were an added touch. A hanging fixture, wallpaper and a bamboo framed mirror, all with an Oriental motif, complete the picture.
A charming nook with a small built in bench seat serves as a nice surprise as one walks through a narrow hall to the master bedroom suite. An upholstered cushion and overstuffed pillows provide a spot to sit and pause. On either side of the seat is a pair of shelves filled with family mementoes and photographs.
In the master bedroom, an enormous bay window with Roman shades, flanked on either side by elegant rich draperies, offers the ideal stage to look onto the garden. Here we find another comfortable window seat. A champagne colored bedspread, a striped French blue and champagne bed ruffle and billowy pillows create a very stylish room. The adjacent bath has those wonderful heated floors that are so nice to walk over on cold winter nights. The elegant champagne color scheme is continued here. Glass shower double doors, silver fixtures and a crystal chandelier add another touch of elegance to this already classy master suite.
Perhaps the showiest room in the entire home is the dining room. Ever so striking, it features red lacquered walls with a simple gold design and the ceiling done in gold leaf. Linda’s sister-in-law does decorative painting in Northern Virginia and offered to paint her dining room. “It was amazing to watch her do it!” said Linda. She spent time with her head bent back looking above her as she worked. In the center of the ceiling,
an anaglypta, painted in red, black and gold, calls attention to the chandelier.
Outside there seems to be just as much living space. Land Tech did the hardscape designs and plantings. According to Wayne Melancon of Land Tech, the back of the Duerson’s property was “nothing but woods on a slope.” They proceeded to excavate the entire area and used all of Linda’s ideas that she had collected over the years. According to Melancon, the pool is constructed of shot-crete, following Northern specs, so it is better prepared to withstand harsh winters. It uses salt water, which requires fewer chemicals than other pool systems. Linda says, “The salt water pools are much easier to care for and much better on the skin.”
Land Tech designed the pool house, and it fits well into the entire outdoor space. Its open style provides shade and seating adjacent to the attached outdoor kitchen. Buckets of pink and yellow petunias and violas decorate the pool area and multi-level patios. Heavy-duty wrought iron furniture, incorporating a Chippendale design, is upholstered in varying shades of white, blue or a combination of both.
The hot tub, with stone seating around it and a pair of stone steps leading below to the pool, illustrates the workmanship that went into the masonry. Each stone was hand cut and placed like a piece of a jigsaw puzzle in just the right spot. Water recirculates from the hot tub and back into the pool to form waterfalls. Around the pool are gardens featuring pink Knockout roses and rhododendrons. Several shrubs and small trees provide a deluge of spring blossoms and winter berries.
According to Land Tech employee Randy Mahaffey, who is responsible for the planting and maintenance of the gardens, a large variety of perennials were planted for spring and summer blooms. These include gardenias, vinca minor, Mediterranean heath, dianthus fire witch and moonbeam coreopsis. Along the wood line, Randy planted hellebore and ruby spice celethra. Summer blooms include hydrangeas, crepe myrtles and mandeville, all under a pillared arbor.
The front of the home is planted with several native species including redbud and dogwood. At the main entrance door to the handsome brick home, visitors are greeted by a pair of large boxwood topiaries. The main focal point is a towering beech tree. A bed of boxwood, vinca minor, pachysandra and little princess spirea is planted beneath.
When Linda Duerson planned her gardens, she wanted lots of color and variety. No matter what the season, the garden must be pleasing to the eye. And in preparation for this year’s Virginia Garden Day tour, which includes the Duerson home, Randy has planted over five hundred daffodil, tulip and hyacinth bulbs in the front gardens alone!
Opening directly into the outside gardens and just beneath the new addition is a large covered area. A fireplace, comfortable seating and a play area are all sheltered from the elements and make for easy entertaining and outdoor fun almost year-round.
From here there is direct access to the lower level of the house. The large recreation room holds a pool table surrounded by comfortable easy chairs, and the adjoining entertainment room, with a fireplace and a big-screen TV, has a line of very comfortable easy chairs set up and ready for viewing the next big sporting event. A bar completes the downstairs fixtures.
The renovation project extended over a fourteen-month period. It began the week before Thanksgiving when the workmen proceeded to open up the entire back of the house. Workers hung huge pieces of plywood across the opening. With no windows, the drab plywood would have been an eyesore had Linda not provided her daughters with paint and let them decorate the temporary walls however they wished. What a fun, and creative way for the family to live with the short-term monstrosity!
It is difficult to believe that this gem of a home is within close proximity of most of the family’s needs. Work, schools and shopping are just a few miles away. “This is one reason why we didn’t want to move!” said Linda. And now with the renovation behind them, they can sit back and enjoy all of their efforts and relax, knowing that they are here to stay in their perfect home!