This Maryland Home, Perched Along the Potomac River, Looks Like a Woodsy Treehouse
Interior designer Alison Giese brought the outdoors in when perfecting this project.
Bringing the outdoors in is a hallmark of Alison Giese Interiors, so it comes as no surprise that this family home, perched in an equestrian community along the Potomac River, was a natural fit for her organic approach. "The incredible location of this home was the major source of inspiration. It really felt like a treehouse, where the outdoors was begging to be incorporated into the design. The jumping-off point was the unique stone floors, which functioned to guide the design in a rustic, but modern way," shares owner and lead creative Alison Giese.
Another driving factor in the design? The open floor plan. "You can set the stage of the home in the hub space of the kitchen and tie it into a softer space like a family room," she explains. The striking mix of textures and calming colors throughout the great room was no mistake—Giese says she has a mental checklist of her favorite materials to call upon in any given project. "Jute? Check. Leather? Check. Something black (iron or ebonized wood?) Check. I just love the way they work together, but depending on the profiles of the furnishings, they can read very differently. It's a way to be consistent with my process, without feeling stuck."
Thanks to the Maryland home's distinctive features, the design plan came together effortlessly and remained consistent throughout the project. "My team and I felt very confident in the initial direction of the design, so it was just a matter of finding the right finishes and materials to make that come alive!" Ahead, Giese and photographer Stacy Zarin Goldberg take us on a tour of the nature-inspired home and offer a glimpse into the design process.
Open Living Space
While the design plan came easily, Giese faced her fair share of challenges along the way. Namely, providing enough practical storage and functionality to the homeowners while staying true to the organic design.
"The stone floors presented such a strong point-of-view, we couldn't help but be inspired by them, and really based all our decisions on, 'But does it work with the floors?'" Mission accomplished—the thoughtful mixture of white ceramic, warm woods, and sumptuous textures are the perfect complement to the earthy, gray stone.
While this riverside home has no shortage of jaw-dropping features, Giese notes the kitchen's custom built-in pantry as her favorite. "It's so functional (a coffee station lives in there), but with its quarter-sawn oak construction, it's ultimately a beautiful piece of furniture."
A Modern Rustic Kitchen
Giese and her team took great care to transform a utilitarian space like the kitchen into a room that was full of warmth. "I worked closely with our partner cabinet maker, Unique Kitchens & Baths, to get just the right material for the cabinets. We were thrilled when the finished space felt like a natural extension of the outdoor elements," Giese explains.
A Chic Sectional
If there was ever a doubt that a sectional could be chic, this family-friendly sofa proves it to be true. "The sectional is so comfy, and a nice visual reprieve from the typical L-shaped sofa," she shares. Still, there's another piece of living room furniture that she can't help but deem as her favorite. "Truth be told, my heart lies with the leather and iron armchair. The lines are just so cool."
A Calming Color Palette
When choosing a color palette, Giese relied on the home's surroundings to guide the way. "The overall color palette was inspired by the incredible views on the property. The lot is wooded and private, so it felt like it needed to be a calm palette that was more about texture than color," she explains.
In order to make the home flow effortlessly from room to room, Giese called on her foolproof design elements. "We repeated colors like stone, taupe, ivory, and incorporated some of my favorite textures: camel-colored leather, washed or ebonized wood, iron, and jute," she shares.
A Marble Dining Table
The massive marble table from Restoration Hardware may be new to the homeowners, but they've already put it to good use: "We were on a tight deadline to get the table in before our clients were entertaining for the holidays. We made it by the skin of our teeth!" Since the dining room has several windows and doorways to work around for furniture placement, Giese had to make a statement with as few pieces as possible, making the luxe table a perfect find.
One area that Giese decided not to give the same white wall treatment as the rest of the first floor was the powder room off the kitchen; she opted for a moodier shade, instead. "The wallpaper was begging to be used in this powder room! It's a fantastic, fern pattern that calls to mind the flora on this property. The high contrast colorway was perfect to make a statement in the small space," she says.