Hill & Hurtt Architects

Bethesda Penthouse

Although newly built, this luxury condominium unit in Bethesda was missing a level of finish and focus appropriate for its address. Conceptually an open floor plan, the primary spaces of entry, living, dining, and kitchen flowed into one another but lacked both a sense of cohesion and distinction. Poorly designed and over-scaled built-ins provided neither visual focus nor thoughtful accommodation for both storage and display.

Throughout the unit, carefully crafted built-ins and custom furniture pieces were designed to provide focus to the spaces and fulfill specific needs outlined by the owners. In the Family Room, a custom designed and richly painted built-in houses objets d’arte, family photos, mementos, and oversize books as well as the audio-visual equipment. The built-in is a layered composition of rectangles of different sizes and orientations, defined by discontinuous, chamfered horizontal and vertical members. In the Living Room, custom designed walnut cabinets flank each side of the fireplace, and compliment the stained finish of the baby grand piano opposite. The Study features sapele built-ins which provide two distinct work spaces as well as a mix of closed storage and open display.

The design of the built-ins and custom furniture is influenced by Scandinavian furniture design, and incorporates elements such as knife edge shelves, chamfers, and bevels to minimize and sharpen profiles; mitered edges and corners; and walnut and sapele veneers.

While the basic layout was left intact, in order to provide special clarity and distinction, soffits and coves were modified and re-aligned, and walls were modified to house the new built-ins. Furnishings were carefully arranged to highlight each distinct space, and lighting was updated throughout, with existing cove, recessed, and decorative lighting carefully modified and strategically replaced to compliment the furnishings and built-ins.

Interior Designer: Lavinia Lemon/Lavinia Lemon Interiors
Lighting: Wayne Hinson/Hinson Design Group
General Contractor: Smith Thomas Smith

Photos by Stacy Zarin Goldberg 2020