A Respectful Renovation

Original architect Jim Rill helps new homeowners modernize their wooded Potomac home.

Photo by Stacy Zarin Goldberg

The new owners of this house in the Merry-Go-Round Farm community of Potomac were initially drawn to its strong connection with the surrounding environment, but they wanted to make some changes to accommodate their growing family. They hired Jim Rill of Bethesda-based Rill Architects, who had designed the 4,500-square-foot house 12 years ago, to modernize a few spaces without compromising the home’s original “naturesque” concept.

Among the updates Rill made to the contemporary Craftsman-style house was transforming the third-floor loft, previously a bird sanctuary, into a master suite. He also worked with interior designer Laurie McParland and general contractor Thorsen Construction to refresh the kitchen. While the original wood ceiling remains, additional windows were added along the back wall, preserving the openness of the main floor. A new mudroom was added off the kitchen for storage and access to the backyard.

Color and Drama

In the kitchen, Rill and his team updated the wood-stained cabinets by painting them white along the perimeter and blue-gray around the island, a trendy color palette that complements the original granite countertops. New industrial glass pendants, tile backsplashes and sleek appliances also help to modernize the space.

Photo by Stacy Zarin Goldberg

A Serene Soak

Custom wood shelving flank the freestanding tub, which sits in front of a walk-in shower in the new third-floor master bathroom. The flooring is white and gray Italian Carrara marble.

While Rill admits it was sad to see much of his original design go, he recognizes that change is inevitable. “There’s more than one way to envision a strong architectural design,” he says. “Architecture is a living, breathing thing that constantly needs upgrading and refreshing.”

This story first appeared in our August/September 2021 issue.


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