How interior designer Syntha Harris transformed this Loudoun County home

The local interior designer helped a young family settle into their brand-new home at Willowsford, Loudoun County’s “agrihood.”

living room and dining room with staircase, lamps, mirror, and tv
A sectional from Bassett Furniture is paired with a TV stand by Trent Austin Design. The hammered metal side table, mixing up the warm metallic finishes, is from Studio A. (Photo by Robert Radifera)

“We were really excited about moving to Willowsford,” says the owner of a new home built by Van Metre Homes in The Grange at Willowsford. He, his wife and their two young children relocated to the Loudoun County ‘agrihood’ in 2018. “Our community is connected to a working farm; it’s big on farm-to-table nutrition, nature conservancy and green space. It just seemed like a great place to raise our family,” he adds.

When realtor Lauryn Eadie, of Keller Williams Realty, saw that the couple was looking for guidance when transitioning from their prior three-bedroom, 2,100-square-foot townhouse into their new five-bedroom, 5,300-square-foot home, she recommended interior designer Syntha Harris of Syntha Harris Interiors, whom she knows and respects.

“It was a much larger house, with an airy, open main floor plan. You could see every ‘room’ from every other ‘room,’” says the homeowner, adding, “Furnishing the house properly felt a bit overwhelming. We entertain a lot and needed to have it look good, but also be rugged and kid-friendly. I could buy random furniture and put it together, but we wanted it to be coordinated and look nice.”

Harris began by working on the main level of the home, which includes the homeowners’ office, as well as the living, dining, family, kitchen and eat-in areas. The transparency of everything meant all the finishes and furnishings had to be selected carefully for flow and cohesion.

“The homeowners wanted a comfortable home in neutral warm tones, with resilient fabrics and furniture choices that would hold up to young children, and to hosting large groups of extended family and friends,” says Harris, adding, “Nothing untouchable or precious was to be included in the design.”

home office with yellow and gray and white paintings with flowers in vase and book
The home office was furnished with Lexington Furniture pieces, as well as art from the Wendover Art Group. The wall paint is by Benjamin Moore. (Photo by Robert Radifera)

The base palette is of cream, gray, taupe, chocolate and charcoal shades, along with touches of mustard hues, as in the home office’s wall paint, or in the family room’s accent pillows and wall art.

The family room’s floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace, which sits in the elbow of the L-shaped open floor plan, was instrumental in forming the earthy color palette and introducing rich textural layers.

patterned chest in front of staircase
Using a chest, table lamp and accessories, Harris creates a polished nook in the niche by the stairs. (Photo by Robert Radifera)

“The fireplace has a bricked pattern, and a rusticity that is also elegant,” adds Harris.
Texture defines the living room at the front entry by way of a wall covering in a geometric pattern, with metallic detailing. The dining room also features shimmering wallpaper in the same colorway. These wall treatments, along with area rugs, also serve to define the different spaces on the open floor plan.

Meanwhile, Harris planned furniture layout to comfortably accommodate large groups of people. Whether an oversize sectional for watching TV and spending time in the family room, or a pair of chic, tailored sofas for social conversing in the living room, there is plenty of seating throughout.

“The homeowners like to host large dinner parties, so we needed to find a very long table. It was tricky, because the homeowners didn’t want something with table extensions, or anything rustic and farmhouse-y, rather a clean-lined, elegant dining table long enough to seat up to twelve comfortably,” she says of the 10-foot-long table she eventually sourced.

living room with couch and padded coffee table in front of bright window and wall art
Floor-to-ceiling drapery panels by Kravet complement the tailored furnishing, while adding warmth. (Photo by Robert Radifera)

Contemporary chrome chandeliers (a pair to fit the length of the table), pleated drapery panels and fully upholstered chairs ensure the dining room doesn’t read as cold and cavernous, rather as warm and welcoming.

“Our fabric choices were durable and comfortable blends, including eco-friendly choices, like pleather, or earth-friendly ones like wool,” she adds of upholstery choices.

For example, the living room’s performance-velvet-upholstered ottoman is both stylish and practical for a family with young children. The carpet also has an abstract pattern, which will easily disguise dirt or staining. Patterns throughout are limited and favor simple, clean lines, like herringbone.

kitchen with gray and white, fridge and cabinets
Union Rustic pendant lights hang above the island simply furnished with bar chairs from Overstock. Cabinets in a gray-painted Shaker style were provided by the builders. (Photo by Robert Radifera)

“The home needed to have a usable place near the kitchen and great room, where the children could spend time playing in their parents’ view,” says Harris. “As you look past the living and dining rooms, the children’s area lies directly ahead and is the first space you see when you walk in the front door, so it was important that its furnishings and finishes were not only functional but also fitting to the surrounding areas.”

Harris furnished this niche with four charcoal-hued club armchairs on swivels for reading or board games, as well as with a shaggy rug, where the children can play on the ground. A system of toy storage shelving is also discreetly tucked behind the family room’s sectional sofa, with plenty of cubbies to hold items. (The kids have a playroom in the basement too.)

living room with four chairs, fan and television
Four swivel club chairs from Bassett Furniture pull up to a round driftwood table from Article. The shelving is from Pottery Barn Kids. (Photo by Robert Radifera)

“It was great for us to have Syntha’s help,” says the homeowner of the design process. “We are a busy family, so we wanted to build a house, move right in and have everything be new and ready to go.”

This story was originally published in our January 2020 print issue. For more stories on Home & Design, subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

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