Mary Jo and Jim Donohoe could picture what they wanted their grown-up house to be. Different from the Georgian Colonial where they had raised their two children, this house would have plenty of entertaining space, a first-floor master suite separate from guest bedrooms, and what Mary Jo, a designer, calls “volume.”
“We wanted something more fun than a flat-ceilinged house,” she says. Pedaling by on bicycles, the Donohoes had photographed structures in the French and Italian countryside. They didn’t want a literal translation in their established Bethesda, Maryland, neighborhood, but they asked architect David Neumann to capture the feel of an old French barn.
The focus of their great room is the 16th-century limestone mantel from France, decorated with French confit pots and local artist Steve Tidball’s rendering of a famous National Geographic photograph. The tufted “Fender” sofa is a handy perch for mingling guests. The beams along the 15-foot-high ceiling came from Vermont. “They transformed the space so it feels like an old barn instead of a big box,” Mary Jo says.
Architect: David Neumann, Versaci Neumann and Partners Inc., 202/775-4881, versacineumann.com. Now, Neumann Lewis Buchanan Architects, 1350 Connecticut Ave., N.W., Suite 401, Washington, D.C. 20036; 202/775-4881; fax, 202/775-4882,
Interior designer: Mary Jo Donohoe, MJ Interior Design Inc., 7204 Glenbrook Rd., Bethesda, MD 20814; 301/656-5370.
Builder: Potomac Valley Builders, 301/605-2803.
Landscape architect: Bob Hawkins, Hawkins Signature Landscape, 301/652-4117.
Decorative painter: Lenore Winters Studio, 301/654-6004.
Sofa (“The Fender Sofa’’ by Tomlinson): J. Lambeth & Co., 202/646-1774, trade only.
Sofa fabric (“Boxed Velvet’’): Robert Allen, 800/333-3777, robertallendesign.com, trade only.
Coffee table (custom): by Salvations, 301/445-1400.
Pyramid on coffee table: Interiors Market, 404/352-0055.
Glass ball on coffee table: Niermann Weeks, 202/488-1220, niermannweeks.com, trade only.
Table to left of sofa: Holly Hunt, 312/661-1900, hollyhunt.com, trade only.
Table lamp (antique): Marston-Luce, 202/333-6800.
Iron chandelier (custom): Paul Ferrante Inc., 323/653-4142, paulferrante.com, trade only.
Mantel (antique): DHS Designs, 410/827-8167, dhsdesigns.com.
Fire screen: Architectural Accents, 404/266-8700.
Urn holding logs: Crate & Barrel, 800/996-9960, crateandbarrel.com.
Sconces above mantel: J. Lambeth & Co., 202/646-1774, trade only.
Art on mantel: by Steve Tidball, 301/365-0063.
Chair and ottoman to left of fireplace: antique.
Chair fabric (“Oliver Velvet,’’ discontinued): Brunschwig & Fils, 212/838-7878, trade only.
Chair to right of fireplace (vintage): August Georges, 202/337-5110, augustgeorges.com, trade only.
Chair fabric (#92004-10): Rogers & Goffigon Ltd., 212/888-3242, trade only.
Upholstered chair to left of sofa (CBS Furniture): J. Lambeth & Co., 202/646-1774, jlambeth.com, trade only.
Table between chairs to left of fireplace; table lamp; corner cupboard: owner’s collection.
Carpet (“Tisca Tweed’’ with “Irish’’ borders): Floor Covering Resources, through MJ Interior Design Inc., 301/656-5370.
Paint (custom faux finish, “Soft Stucco’’): Lenore Winters Studio, 301/654-6004.
Photographs by Gordon Beall
Text by Sarah Egge
Produced by Eileen A. Deymier