A Kent Home With Style
BY JAMES SERVIN
PHOTOGRAPHS BY GORDON BEALL
The walls and trim in the family room are painted the same pale blue to create the feeling of a paneled room, and the ceiling and bookcases are papered in cream burlap for added texture
|Mae Grennan in her home’s family room|
Mae and Ande Grennan didn’t just happen upon the genteel Kent property that would one day be their busy, sprawling home base. They hunted it. “We loved the street,” says Mae. “It’s one of the prettiest streets in Washington. So in 2005, we stalked the street.” The particular object of their affection: a solid brick structure with Palladian windows set on half an acre. It reminded Mae of the Chattanooga, Tennessee, home she grew up in. Fortunately, the Grennans were able to secure their future dream home from its owners before it even went on the market. “We loved its bones,” says Mae. “But it needed to be totally renovated. We were excited to make it a family-friendly house.”
Just how friendly even the Grennans could not predict in 2005, when they moved in for a year to get a feel for the place before decamping to a temporary home a mile down the road during the two-year renovation process. At the time, the attorneys, philanthropists and young parents had a two-year-old boy and another child on the way. “Once we started construction,” says Mae, “we were pregnant with child number three and knew the current plans would not work. Our architect quit, but we were lucky to be recommended to [DC architecture firm] Franck and Lohsen. They came in, revamped the current plans and made accommodations for a big family.”
A Bold Expansion
Last year the Grennans welcomed a fourth child. By then the home, with add-ons bringing the total number of bedrooms to seven, had plenty of space and a color-saturated décor by Maria Crosby, a recent New York transplant who had been referred to the Grennans by a friend of theirs who is also a client of Crosby's. Crosby’s cool, youthful spin on traditional style appealed to the lady of the house. “I don’t like fusty old rooms. I love color, I love simple, and I love a modern twist to the antique,” says Mae, who also heads a family beer distributorship in Arkansas (and whose husband also has a tent company called Sperry Tents of DC). “We wanted our house to have style but not be too fancy.”
Crosby took an unconventional route with her bold treatment of a relaxed dining room. “People say not to use green in a dining room,” she says. “Green is one of the most difficult colors to pick, but this one works.” Painted a Farrow & Ball shade called Cooking Apple Green, the room is cozily domestic with a dash of rock-’n’-roll swagger—attitude further highlighted by the Damien Hirst butterfly print on the room’s mirrored walls, which add depth to the windowless space. “I like Farrow & Ball colors,” says Crosby, “because they have a high density of pigment and a good amount of gray that keeps them from feeling too jarring or strong.” Many of the other rooms have a blue theme: The family room’s walls are soothing pale blue; the kitchen’s appear white but are actually the faintest blue (a Farrow & Ball shade paradoxically known as Parma Gray). Master bedroom walls are covered in a melon-hued silk paper that is both painted and embroidered, a luxurious wall treatment also employed in the powder room, in a red bird print. Shades of brown in the master bedroom’s carpeting, bed and settee “play down the girly-ness of the room a little bit,” says Crosby.
Celebrating the White House Correspondents’ Association’s annual dinner at Carnegie Library.