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?
Paul Fogg: We were able to install and finish our space within a day.
aspire: What was your biggest challenge? Did you have a Eureka moment during the process?
Paul: Setting up our seating in a manner that fit our original plan, as well allowed for proper social distancing.
aspire: What was your inspiration for this room?
Paul: The rich verdant landscape and the beautiful architecture of the home.
aspire: Did you step out of your comfort zone for this project, and if so, why?
Paul: This was well within my comfort zone. In my role with JANUS et Cie, I often collaborate with interior designers on their exterior projects, so for me this was like an extension of that same experience.
aspire: Despite the fact that there were so many designers involved, there is an inherent cohesiveness to the home. Did you all converse/collaborate? Or was this a completely individual process?
Paul: I relied heavily on the direction of our talented chairperson, Mary Douglas Drysdale. She shared with me the overall palette and details of the home’s exterior, which clearly influenced my selections from JANUS et Cie. The neutral palette also lent itself to cohesiveness with the interior spaces.
aspire: Is your preference for a showhouse a small space or a large space?
Paul: Does one or the other provide a better opportunity to stretch your creativity? Every size space offers a unique opportunity to showcases ones talent and taste, so it would be hard to choose a favorite.
aspire: Describe the town of McLean in one sentence.
Paul: Mclean is a town of lush rolling hills, beautiful homes, great people and terrific shopping.
This or that:
aspire: Paint or wallpaper?
aspire: Hardwood or rug?
aspire: Beach or Mountains?
aspire: Saturated Color or Black and White?
Paul: Saturated Color
aspire: Brunch or Dinner?
aspire: Midcentury or 18th Century?
aspire: 2001: A Space Odyssey or The English Patient?
Paul: The English Patient
aspire: Week at the spa or Week of Broadway shows?
Paul: Week at the spa
Photos by Ron Blunt.
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