The Aspire House McLean project began in 2018, when Bill Harrison, renowned architect and principal of Harrison Design, introduced aspire design and home CEO and Founder Steve Mandel to a developer he worked with called Artisan Builders. Mandel was immediately impressed, and planning began for a showhouse in this elegant suburb of Washington, D.C.
The residence, which adapts Palladian concepts of geometry, proportion and symmetry, is modern and light filled, with vast windows to flood the space with sunlight. In order to make sure the interior design matched the caliber of the architecture, Mandel invited Mary Douglas Drysdale to be the design chair. Drysdale explains, “A talented group of designers and creatives from the Mid-Atlantic region displayed their skills to create a home that is a modern classic mix, referring to the architectural traditions of our region and to the lifestyle that people aspire to today.”
aspire design and home: How much time did you have to complete this room, start to finish?
Courtney McLeod: 7 weeks.
aspire: What was your biggest challenge? Did you have a Eureka moment during the process?
Courtney: The biggest challenges were the short time frame and the logistics of working from out of town (NYC).
aspire: What did you and your team accomplish that you thought would not happen in time?
Courtney: Lee Industries worked a miracle completing the custom furniture in 4 weeks.
aspire: What was your inspiration for this room?
Courtney: I was inspired to reimagine the idea of a home cinema as a warm and inviting, multi-use space for the family.
aspire: Did you step out of your comfort zone for this project, and if so, why?
Courtney: I definitely did! I wanted to create something more moody and masculine, a big departure from the feminine and happy style I am known for.
aspire: Is your preference for a showhouse a small space or a large space? Does one or the other provide a better opportunity to stretch your creativity?
Courtney: Having worked on a few showhouses, I definitely think the small, quirky spaces provide the most opportunity to flex your design muscles.
aspire: Describe the town of McLean in one sentence.
Courtney: The town of McLean is postcard perfect.
This or That?
aspire: Paint or wallpaper?
aspire: Hardwood or rug?
aspire: Beach or Mountains?
aspire: Saturated Color or Black and White?
Courtney: Saturated Color
aspire: Brunch or Dinner?
aspire: Midcentury or 18th Century?
aspire: Draperies, shades, or nothing?
Courtney: Draperies and shades
aspire: 2001: A Space Odyssey or The English Patient?
Courtney: English Patient
aspire: Week at the spa or Week of Broadway shows?
Click Here to view more interviews with our Aspire House McLean designers.
Photography by Ron Blunt.
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