Beth and Dan Concannon weren’t necessarily drawn to the early 1970s Colonial in Potomac that they first saw five years ago. But they were attracted to the two acres that each home in the community sat upon. The mature-treed lot and the peaceful vistas from both the front and back of the house clinched the deal.
Then the work began.
The Concannons met with James Rill of Bethesda-based Rill Architects as soon as they moved in. What they wanted, they told him, was a comfortable, relaxed family home and outdoor space for themselves and their two young sons (and the beloved family pooch, Louise).
“We didn’t want anything traditional and uptight,” says the couple. In other words, they didn’t want what the Montgomery County house initially was.
“It was a nondescript, builder-designed Colonial…very vanilla,” agrees Rill, who worked closely with his project manager, Kay Kim, on bringing the Concannons’ vision to life.
“But it was a great property in a great location.”
Much to the Concannons’ surprise, Rill didn’t suggest a major redo of the home. Instead, he recommended taking advantage of the space they did have, but tweaking it a bit to get the results they were looking for.
Simply by bumping out the back wall of the house six feet, removing several interior walls, and adding generously proportioned windows, Rill was able to accomplish the Concannons’ objective of creating a cohesive, light-filled space that took advantage of the home’s beautiful setting.
“We wanted to enjoy the property, but improve the flow,” says the couple.
The original home suffered from that ‘70s-era box-like effect, with all the rooms closed off from one another. Now a welcoming front portico beckons family and friends inside.
To the right of the widened entry foyer lie the original living room, which has become a formal dining room that can seat 20-plus guests (both Concannons come from large families and enjoy entertaining), and a cozy study/office with a vaulted teak ceiling.
To the left of the foyer are the more casual family dining alcove that looks out over the gentle slope of the front lawn, a small study for Beth, which was formerly the laundry room (now located in the ample-sized mud room), and the expansive kitchen and family room.
The kitchen—Beth’s domain—features a teak-topped island which serves many purposes, from homework station to entertaining hub for the couple’s many get-togethers. White marble countertops and white cabinets give the room a clean, fresh appearance.
Just off the kitchen is the relaxing family room, bathed in soothing shades of creams and browns. In the winter, the family can cozy up in front of the stone fireplace, but when good weather draws them outdoors, you’ll find the parents, sons, and visiting friends and family in their backyard retreat, enjoying the salt-water pool, hot tub, outdoor dining area, and redesigned pool house that has become a home “not too far away” from home.
Like the rest of the house, the backyard space was livable, but needed “gussying up,” says Rill, who wanted to create a cozy, attractive outdoor living area for the family to enjoy.
A stone retaining wall, textured patios, outdoor fireplace with open pergola, and balconies off the second-floor master bedroom suite create both a sense of space and a sense of scale so that the house doesn’t appear to be looming over the pool.
“The rear courtyard becomes almost organic in feel,” says Rill.
The pool house was made both more attractive and more functional with the addition of horizontally grooved white beadboard walls, durable but attractive furniture that can stand up to wet bathing suits (and “lots of teenage boys and pizza!” says Beth), a small kitchen, and an updated bath.