Meet The ASPIRE HOUSE McLean 2020 Designers: An Exclusive Interview With Maria Galiani

Maria Galiani of the Galiani Design Group mixes European styling with classic details in the ASPIRE HOUSE McLean Billiards Room. A modern billiards table paired with vintage doors create a unique setting in this lower level space. Maria shared her inspiration behind this Old World-style space in an exclusive interview with Sherry Moeller.


The Billiards Room by Maria Galiani of Galiani Design Group in ASPIRE HOUSE McLean. Rendering by Jayson Koback.

Sherry Moeller: Describe your room at the show house. How did you come up with the concept and what’s the backstory?
Maria Galiani: The Galiani Design Group is designing the Billiards Room. The entrance to the room has a stunning classic column detail designed by Mary Douglas Drysdale and Chadsworth’s. This feature and the moldings throughout the home were meticulously devised to marry clean contemporary with time-honored classic architectural details. These details inspired us to elevate the design to meet the extraordinary bones of the home and our space.

I began by highlighting the walls and the tiered tray ceiling with a soft ombre wall finish that is a gradation of earth tones from deep smoke to ivory by Canvas Sky Studios and Tim Knepp. The incorporation of the blue/green accents is a tribute to the 14th-century billiards game originally played outdoors on the lawn. The Parisian tie-dyed stripe velvet, upholstered on the oversized Bjork Studio chairs, and the organic wall finish were used to evoke a cozy atmosphere. Combining these elements with the lacquered art by Anke Schofield, the 1720s Louis XV antique doors disguising the window well, and the modern A.E. Schmidt billiards table illustrates the eclecticism that we often use in our designs. The right mix allows clients to feel more comfortable mixing the old with the new, bridging the gap between what we revered years ago and what we see today.

SM: What’s a favorite element you plan to incorporate into your space at the ASPIRE HOUSE McLean?
MG: I collect unique vintage architectural salvage or antiquities from my travels and like to incorporate them into the spaces. In this room, we chose a pair of doors from the 1720s that will house the billiards cues while disguising what sometimes can be considered an unsightly window well in a lower level room. Also, the modern billiards table from A.E. Schmidt has allure with a unique base with beams and gold metal banding detail.


This Galiani Design Group living space showcases the mixing of old and new that the design firm is known for. Photo by Gordon Beall.

SM: What projects have you done in the past that most resemble or relate in some way to what you plan to design at the ASPIRE HOUSE McLean? Or is this a completely different concept?
MG: One home we renovated in Woodlea Mill in McLean, Virginia, which was more than 25 years old, went from a colonial to a contemporary and has a similar feel as our Show House room. In the Woodlea Mill renovation, we removed and replaced all the cabinetry in the bathrooms and kitchen, lighting, trim, doors, hardware, plumbing, flooring and more, but we left some cabinetry in the living room and library. We also updated hardware and added small details or simply painted the dark cherry with high-gloss paint.

SM: Have you participated in other show houses and why?
MG: I participated in a show house 15 years ago for an interior design trade show at the Dulles Expo Center when I worked as the lead designer for Models, Inc., designing model homes for local builders. The theme that year was titled “There is No Place Like Home” and I designed the three bedroom, two bathroom modular home with The Wizard of Oz theme. The most rewarding part of it was being able to design a home that incorporated a theme that everyone enjoyed and understood as they walked through the space. When people tour show houses, view your work and express their delight at what you envisioned, you feel validated and understood.

We haven’t participated in other show houses, but now feel it’s a great time for exposure for our business and expanding our brand among our peers and the public.


Another angle of the same living room highlights the room’s architectural details and found items along the shelves. Photo by Gordon Beall.

SM: What’s next for you design wise—are there some projects you’re particularly excited about? Are there any projects you’d love to tackle, sort of a design bucket list?
MG: We are working on a renovation job in Great Falls, Virginia for a home that is more than 15 years old. We’re giving it a gorgeous facelift and the transformation is an amazing before and after story. There is nothing more exciting than a complete metamorphosis and working together with a client to reinvent and update their living spaces to reflect their current lifestyle and new design aesthetic.

Proceeds for ASPIRE HOUSE: McLean will benefit the ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME Diversity in Design Scholarship Fund. Click here to learn more, and purchase tickets for the event; opening August 22 through September 14, 2020.


About the Designer | Maria Galiani of the Galiani Design Group, a boutique interior design firm in McLean, Virginia founded in 2008, specializes in high-end residential design. Maria is known for transforming the design process into one cohesive process that allows for creating exclusive and memorable environments showcasing clients’ personality and passions.

Typically beginning with the architectural layout review, then working through the building or renovation process with the selection of all interior specifications, Maria’s more than 30 years of experience and relationship-based approach allow her to interpret her clients’ preferences to create warm, comfortable spaces with a tremendous amount of personal style. Captivating architectural details, rich colors and a variety of textures combined with her unique ability to add antique and vintage finds reflect Maria’s inspiring European travels and her exposure to the richness of various cultures and classic architectural design. Old World charm and new design innovations combine to incorporate an artful combination of materials and treasured pieces into each project, a hallmark of Galiani Design Group.


Sherry Moeller is a contributing editor for ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME magazine, see more of her work here.

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