Text: Lauren Gentry Walker
Photos: Angela Newton Roy
For homeowners looking to create a custom home ideal for the next chapter of their lives, interior designer Rebecca Penno of Penno Interiors employed an intentional color palette, organic and natural materials, and classic yet casual furnishings. Nestled in McLean, Virginia, at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac, Phil and Cathy Horvitz’s new build includes rough-hewn beams and a wood and stone exterior that speaks to their laid-back personalities and goal of avoiding anything overly formal. “Now that their children are grown, they wanted something perfect for them that they could truly love and enjoy,” says Penno. “Everything is in their traditional style, but nothing is ornate. We also took their small dogs into consideration when selecting materials.”
Wanting to play off the architectural elements throughout the home and the surrounding landscape, Penno used natural color tones that would blend with the timber beams and stone. She then presented the Horvitzes with a neutral-based color palette that pulled in pops of indigo, green, and blue. “The architecture supported a neutral color palette, and my goal was to use it in a way that felt fresh,” says Penno.
Comfort and function were also at the forefront of the designer’s mind as she worked through each space. The great room, for example, includes a showstopping fireplace and circular light fixture, but the homeowners also requested a sectional sofa—a cozy place to curl up with a book or watch TV—with dog-friendly performance fabric. The room is surrounded by glass on three sides and takes full advantage of the beautiful property while still allowing plenty of privacy thanks to its location on the lot. “When the trees are full, it feels even more secluded,” says Penno. “They didn’t even want window treatments, because it already felt so private.”
The homeowners also love mixing metals and were very stylistically drawn to Visual Comfort’s lighting collection. In the kitchen, the globe fixtures above the island were selected for these reasons along with the large piece over the breakfast table. Cathy Horvitz, an avid cook, specifically requested the French door wall oven to accommodate her petite frame. “She knew that if she had a wall oven that pulled open toward her, she would have a hard time reaching in,” says Penno. “This was a beautiful solution.” The stools are slipcovered for easy cleanability, and the massive island has ample storage and a prep sink along with plenty of leg space when seated.
“The dining room really exemplifies a typically formal space that we were able to make comfortable,” says Penno of her personal favorite room in the home. “We see casual lines in the table—no crystal chandelier in sight—and a neutral palette that’s layered with pattern-on-pattern. I think layers of detail are what make this room feel refined while still casual.”
The oval shape of the foyer’s ceiling presents a unique entrance to the home and serves somewhat as a compass when standing in the middle of it. It directs you toward the owners’ suite, the dining room, the hallway that leads to the great room, and the study. As the story of the home continues to unfold, it is easy to see that an ornate wall-covering could have made the interiors feel formal, but the use of vertical tongue-and-groove created a more casual vibe. “From start to finish, this was one of my favorite homes to work on, because everything from the architecture, exterior, and interior really fit with my company and what I love to do,” says Penno.