The news is finally out! The DC region is getting a designer show house back, less than two years after the former DC Design House held its final event after a 10-year run.
This time, ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME magazine is announcing a partnership with Artisan Builders and Harrison Design to sponsor a show house in a home that’s currently being built on nearly an acre of land in the Mackall Farms development in McLean, with designer Mary Douglas Drysdale serving as design chair.
The charity partner is Cancer Support Community. Formerly called Gilda’s Clubs after the late comedienne Gilda Radner, the organization provides free housing to cancer patients and their caregivers who need to travel to receive treatment.
Considering we are such a large metro area, I was personally relieved to see a showhouse come back here — and with such strong partners, no less. “We’re always working to express the needs and desires of our clients, but showhouses are a wonderful vehicle for the designers to design for themselves,” Mary told me. “This is going to do a lot for those who are interested in design.” ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME, which is based in New York, is expanding into many other metro areas, including ours, and it’s developing a name for itself as a showhouse producer. It’s already done houses in Princeton, N.J., and Detroit this year, and will open another one in High Point, N.C., during Market this fall.
The 9,600 square-foot house at 952 Mackall Farms Lane in McLean is already being framed, and will go on the market for $6 million. It’s on a gently sloped property on one of the few open lots left in an enclave off Georgetown Pike, just past Langley High School. According to Harrison Design architect Mark Hughes, the design takes its influence from Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and the works of Palladio.
“Jefferson was looking at Palladio for Monticello, and we’re continuing that line of thought through history and doing a version with modern sensibilities,” Mark said. Though it doesn’t have a dome like Monticello, there’s great symmetry in the wings, Mark noted, and the interior gives a nod to Palladio’s Villa Rotonda with a central vaulted space anchoring every other room on the main floor:
The great room is topped with a huge skylight framed with clerestory windows around the base, which will pour sunlight into the space. The second floor opens down to the central area below and occupies just the front part of the home. You can see the outline of the skylight over the great room:
There’s lots more space on the lower level, with a media room, fitness area, and wine cave in addition to a large rec-room area, guest room and bar:
In all, there will be opportunities for more than 30 designers to work on the home’s interior spaces and landscape. According to the construction schedule, the house should be ready for designers to do a walk-through in October, said Steve Mandel, ASPIRE’s publisher. Selections will be made in December, giving the chosen designers more than four months to work on their spaces. “For the first time, there’s going to be ample time for everyone to get it done,” Mary said, noting that many show houses come together late, giving designers only 6-8 weeks to pull everything together.
Meanwhile, the team has already confirmed Bethesda-based KONST Siematic for the kitchen and cabinetry design; Dacor appliances; Pella Windows; and Sherwin Williams paint as sponsors for the showhouse. They are still evaluating other sponsors for plumbing supplies, roofing, lighting and flooring.
Unlike most of our past showhouses, ASPIRE is aiming for a mix of local and national designers. Anyone interested is asked to email an inquiry to email@example.com. For more information on the entire showhouse team, click here.
In other news (I’m way burying the lede here but will report further in another post this summer), I’m super-excited to report that I am also partnering with ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME to start producing a podcast! We’ll debut this fall—details to come soon—but one thing for sure is that we’ll be podcasting on the developments of this showhouse once the designers are chosen and the decorating is underway! Stay tuned.