Family-friendly design and luxury do not usually mix, but they cozily coexist at the home of Missy Walsh. Set on 42 acres of land in Potomac, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, D.C., the 13,000-square-foot, four-story colonial, where Missy and her husband raised their three sons for the past decade, was renovated extensively to fit their family’s lifestyle.
“We took about a third of the house away and rebuilt it,” says Missy, a photographer, stylist and former interior designer, who owns the website, Love Your Perch. The process took about two years and now they have a more spacious family room, updated bathrooms and finishes, a basketball court in the basement and an office suite for her husband.
For additional curb appeal, they refaced the exterior with new clapboard and raised the roof by about two feet, because the house looked a little squatty. “The pitch of the roof sat on top of the second-floor windows. With the renovation, the house got a lot wider and with the additional height, it gave it more proportion,” Missy says.
Taking every opportunity to add her own personal touches throughout, Missy’s hand and designer eye are involved in every detail.
In the family room, walls adorned in a grassy green custom paint color Missy selected surround a bank of windows with a view of the expansive backyard, creating a serene atmosphere. “I like for the interiors to blend with the exteriors, and the windows are huge in here, so it flows better that way,” Missy says.
Another gorgeous focal point in the home, Missy came up with the concept for the dining room wall mural and hired an artist to execute it. “We specifically asked for my three boys and dog to be hidden in the mural, so it’s very personal,” Missy says.
While the kitchen had been renovated by prior owners, Missy recently revamped it with new appliances, counters, painted cabinetry and updated lighting and hardware. “We redid a little bit of everything, except for cabinets themselves—they got a facelift [with paint],” explains Missy.
Classic Appeal, Modern Livability
The home’s overall style is quite elegant, but Missy assures that it’s all designed with a busy family lifestyle in mind.
“Because we have the three boys, it’s very family-friendly,” Missy says. “The slipcovers in the family room are removable and washable. We added the basketball court, gym, volleyball court and tennis court, so it was designed with kids in mind. We also entertain a lot, and it’s a great house to entertain in.”
Choosing finishes and materials wisely, Missy says, is key to keeping a home that’s equally stylish and comfortable. “Sofas get worn a lot, so I put linen on them so they could be laundered, and we have a nice mix of antiques and new. The antiques are in areas that don’t have to be used a lot. I wouldn’t want to live in a house where every single thing was new.”
Missy shares her tips for creating a home that’s elegant, yet family-friendly.
Old and new: For an instantly stylish look, curate a mix of antiques and vintage décor as well as newer furnishings. Combine old family heirlooms with newer mementos and accessories for modern appeal.
Durable comfort: Always keep aesthetics and function in mind. While a sofa may look beautiful, consider how its fabric will wear over the years. If you must have it, see if a slipcover will do the trick.
Bring the outdoors in: Find ways to connect the interior of the home to the exterior, not only through beautiful windows, but also by matching your décor with the natural surroundings.
Take the indoors out: Create cozy outdoor entertaining spaces by turning them into alfresco dining and living rooms with plush seating, accent pillows and beautiful decorative accessories.