A DC couple turned to architect Stephen Lawlor and interior designer Suzanne Manlove to create a Rehoboth Beach retreat.Designer Suzanne Manlove’s approach to the home features a warm, modern aesthetic.
Ask designers and architects if having a longtime working relationship with a client helps, and the question is met with a knowing grin. Familiarity is essential and eliminates countless steps in the process of getting to a plan everyone loves. Such was the good luck of DC-based architect Stephen Lawlor (lawlorarchitects.com), who had worked twice before with homeowners who wanted to build a 6,600-square-foot home in Rehoboth Beach.
Many shades of blue grace the great room, with blown-glass lamps from Visual Comfort and an ocean-colored carpet from Carpet Impressions.
This was by far the most ambitious of the series of projects Lawlor had undertaken for the DC couple, who have two adult children. “Both of the homeowners are extremely detail-oriented, professional working people with an interest in design, family gatherings and entertaining,” he says. “Since we’ve worked together in the past, we were able to build on our relationship from previous years and projects. They wanted a second home that reflected their interest in design and an antidote to their urban, DC living.” But the homeowners were adamant: While the ocean would be the setting, they didn’t want a beach house.
The primary suite holds a bed from CR Laine and side tables from Caperton.
For marching orders, Lawlor’s team learned the homeowners wanted specific spaces, including private and public, and indoor and outdoor rooms—all with warm, modern finishes. The other essential marker for the home was the ability to age in place.
Lawlor and his team recognized one challenge from the outset: The lot, which is triangular and on a corner, touched three of the four setback lines. “The early schemes we presented to the clients were very focused and responsive to the site,” says Lawlor, whose team conquered the challenge.
The open kitchen offers dual dining areas
While the finer points of the home’s design and construction were mapped out, the couple chose Arlington-based Manlove and Company Interiors (manloveandco.com) for the indoor aesthetics.
“This home is geared toward classic comfort with an abundance of elegantly casual, streamlined furnishings for living, relaxing and entertaining,” says Suzanne Manlove, the company’s principal. “Our clients love blue, so we designed with everything from light sea glass colors to deep blues, all built upon a neutral background so as not to compete with the beautiful landscaping outdoors.” Manlove also notes that the home’s architecture emphasizes wood detail, so the blues pop beautifully against the mahogany and fir represented in each room.
One alongside the island and another at an adjacent table with ample seating
Since her clients own a DC Victorian, they wanted a modern feel for this home. “Our job was to efficiently design their whole house in a style that complemented the architecture, while considering their aesthetic preference,” says Manlove. “We introduced them to new brands and furnishing concepts, and they are very pleased with the finished results. With its expansive views and outdoor entertaining areas, we designed the furnishings to connect from indoors to out.”
The two-story great room, complete with expansive views, large pendants and a catwalk, presented the challenge of making the space feel inviting and cozy. She started with the ocean-colored carpet from Carpet Impressions (carpetimpressions.com) and layered the room with blown-glass lamps from Visual Comfort (visualcomfort.com), a woven ottoman from Arteriors (arteriorshome.com), a console from Tritter Feefer (tritterfeefer.com) and upholstery from Lee Industries (leeindustries.com). “We needed to make it an intimate space to watch television, while using all of the floor space to maximize seating for a larger group.”
One of the marching orders from the homeowners to the architectural and interiors teams was to create plenty of indoor-outdoor spaces, including this relaxing screened-in porch area for breakfast and quick meals; the bright kitchen features stools from Room & Board.
In the dining room, the centerpiece is a 10-foot custom table crafted by Affinity Woodworking (affinitywoodworking.com) of Frederick, Md., surrounded by chairs—with teal leather—from Lee Industries; another rug from Carpet Impressions completes the look. The kitchen, which is ideal for large gatherings, benefits from streamlined stools from Room & Board (roomandboard.com).
“The primary suite is made up of a bedroom with a view on one side, a large marble bathroom in the center, and an owner’s den for relaxing and working on the other side,” says Manlove, who notes that built-in cabinetry minimizes the need for extra furnishings for storage. Her team chose a bed and sofa from CR Laine (crlaine.com) and side tables from Caperton Furnitureworks (capertonfurnitureworks.com).
The home’s pool and deck boast plenty of privacy and are perfect spots for entertaining during the warmer months.
Lawlor is also proud of the project’s smart home features, allowing for nearly complete control of most systems, lighting, sound, shading, HVAC, TV, pool accessories and photoelectric solar panel monitoring. Th e house was designed to be very energy efficient “without looking like a science experiment,” he says.
In the end, the work Lawlor and Manlove completed made the home feel like the quintessential retreat and a place that’s dramatically different from the couple’s main residence in the District. “Our clients are enjoying their dream home and spending as much time there as possible,” says Manlove. “They’ve hosted several big family events with great success. Everything in the home is functional for their everyday living. They really put a lot of thought into its design and execution.”
The home’s exterior is a blend of modern and traditional East Coast coastal design.
Rehoboth Beach, Del.
Manlove and Company Interiors
Kimmel Studio Architects
Great room lamps
Great room and dining room carpet
Great room ottoman
Great room console
Dining room chairs; great room upholstery
Dining room table
ROOM & BOARD
Primary suite bed and sofa
Primary suite side tables