Creative Design And Collaboration
INTERIOR DESIGN Jean Bouchoux Higgins
Inside Out Interiors, Inc., Vienna, VA
TEXT Jane Morley, Washington, DC
PHOTOGRAPHY Omar Salinas HiTech Photo, Tysons Corner, VA
Take two mature adults, each with a strong personality, established tastes, and aesthetic preferences. Throw in impending nuptials, the blending of two families, and the relocation of the groom from California. Spice this up with the fact that they haven’t bought a house yet (it’s November) and the groom needs to move in three months later. This recipe could be an interior designer’s nightmare, but for Jean Higgins and her partner at the time, Candice Anderson, the situation turned out to be a crucible for their creativity in design and in the management of their firm, Inside Out Interiors. A friend of both bride and groom – in fact, she introduced them – Jean had to first find a suitable house for the former executive and board member of a global engineering firm. He had lived and worked all over the world and had put together a splendid collection of paintings and other artwork acquired during his travels. This collection was just about all he was bringing from the west. Jean started going to open houses and eventually heard rumors of an appropriate house in McLean, Virginia that had been pulled off the market because an immediate neighbor was considering a presidential bid. This house turned out to be just the ticket for the soon-to-be transplanted Californian. It already had a tennis court and a wine cellar, great entertaining spaces and landscaping, and tremendous potential for creating a warm, inviting place where two families could grow together. The house also lent itself to the addition of amenities such as a sauna, a new dream-come-true kitchen, and a high-tech music system.
Fast Track Renovations
Eleven years old and in need of improvements, the house nonetheless had ‘good bone structure.’ As soon as the papers were signed, Jean and Candice took off and began planning the fast track renovation, lining up contractors, and ordering furniture, carpeting, draperies, accessories – virtually all the essentials it takes to get a house up and running. By dividing tasks and coordinating the schedules, purchases, and progress, the partners kept the job on schedule so the client got in on time and happily so. Candice played an integral role in the success of the job by assuming the responsibility of working with all of their other clients. Jean said, “Without Candice, the job would never have been finished on schedule.”
Every room, even the tennis court was made over. All of the existing built-ins were torn out, including a stained-glass window in the first floor powder room. Nineteen of the windows were suffering from vapor lock, and the roof was repaired along with myriad other items that seemed to surface on a daily basis. Keeping a host of contractors in harmony and on schedule was a daily challenge. The supervision and assistance of Leon Snow of Gruver and Cooley was a great help: “Leon just seemed to know what to do and when to do it,” Ms. Higgins recalls. Two of the most distinctive changes in the house are the entry hall, which is painted a rich shade of red with all wood trim a crisp, glossy white. It took some effort to convince the client, but it was well worth it. The effect is quite tailored and sophisticated – reminiscent of a tuxedo sofa with white piping – and sets the stage for entry into the softness and subtlety of the adjoining rooms. It’s like ‘Pow! Ahhhh….’
The other sensational feature of the house is the new kitchen, completed about two and a half years after the rest of the house. The existing kitchen was somewhat dark with cherry wood cabinetry. Ms. Higgins had plans for the kitchen from day one of the project and she discussed her ideas with the owners and then consulted Knut Fredricksen of Euro-Concepts of Arlington, initiating a very fruitful collaboration between designer and contractor. Their goal was to brighten up the kitchen and they came up with some ingenious ways to use the existing space and make it look and feel much larger than it really is. Walls of cabinetry were ripped out between the kitchen and family room. Transoms were added to existing windows. The new custom cabinets are Dutch-made in a soft, painted patina finish, and the island is wood stain complementing the surround. Where feasible, glass doors on both sides of the cabinets allow even more light into the kitchen. Polished granite countertops also serve to reflect light throughout the room. The spacious, light-filled kitchen lends itself to the preparation of festive meals and happy family gatherings bringing together the children and grandchildren of the couple in a warm and welcoming space.
Wedding bells have a magical ring and working closely with friends as clients added new colorations to Ms. Higgin’s palette. “If this sounds like a fairy tale, it isn’t,” she says. “It wasn’t always easy, but these are two very special people and they made our job go smoothly. The best part is that we are even better friends now.”
Tuscany Mirror: Labarge, Beacon Hill, Washington Design Center
Drum Table: Baker, Knapp & Tubbs, Washington Design
Center Rug: House of Oriental Rugs, McLean, VA
Living Room Commode: Columbo Furniture, Baker, Knapp & Tubbs, Washington Design Center
Living Room Chairs: The Thomas Collection, McLean, VA
Accessories: Owners Collection
Upper Level Mirror: Sparrows Antiques, Kensington, MD
Upper Level Sconces: World Imports, Ferguson Enterprises, Sterling, VA
Foyer Sconces: Owners Collection Upper Level
Wallpaper: Bali, Capital Carousel, Baltimore, MD
Custom Bordered Area Rug: J. Brooks Designer Floors, Fairfax, VA
Sofa: Baker, Knapp & Tubbs, Washington Design Center
Coffee Table: Kindel, Beacon Hill, Washington Design Center
Chairs: Minto-Spindell, Michael-Cleary, Washington Design Center
Chair Fabric: Decorators Walk, Washington Design Center
Chair Trim: Houles, Washington Design Center
Draperies: Exclusive Draperies, Chantilly, VA
Drapery Silk: Kirk Brummel, Washington Design Center
Drapery Trim: Houles, Washington Design Center
Drapery Sheers: Westgate, Washington Design Center
Wing Chairs: Kindel, Beacon Hill, Washington Design Center
Wing Chair Fabric: Robert Allen, Washington Design Center
Demi-Lune: Baker, Knapp & Tubbs, Washington Design Center
Mirror: Baker, Knapp & Tubbs, Washington Design Center
Nest of Tables: Baker, Knapp & Tubbs, Washington Design Center
Needlepoint Pillows: Colon House, Arlington, VA Artwork: Owners Collection
Accessories: Owners Collection & Design Elements, McLean, VA
Oil Painting: Owners Collection
Antique Engravings: Leesburg Gallery, Leesburg, VA
Wallpaper: Ronald Redding, Capital Carousel, Baltimore, MD
Plant Stand: Baker, Knapp & Tubbs, Washington Design Center
Rug: Shayan, Chantilly, VA
Covered Jars: Baker, Knapp & Tubbs, Washington Design Center
Table & Chairs: Kindel Furniture, Mastercraft Interiors, Fairfax, VA
Sideboard: Owners Collection
Flowers: Flowers on Cedar Lane, Vienna, VA
Table Setting: Owners Collection
Family Room & Sunroom
Rug: House of Oriental Rugs, McLean, VA
Chairs & Ottoman: Baker, Knapp & Tubbs, Washington Design Center
Sofa: O. Henry House, Michael-Cleary, Washington Design Center Coffee
Table: Minton-Spidell, Michael-Cleary, Washington Design Center
Accessories & Artwork: Owners Collection
Floor Lamp: Alden, French Country Living, Great Falls, VA
End Table: French Country Living, Great Falls, VA
Sunroom Furniture: McGuire Furniture, Baker, Knapp & Tubbs, Washington Design Center
Sunroom Accessories: Designer Elements, McLean, VA
Rug: House of Oriental Rugs, McLean, VA
Table & Chairs: Sterling Collection, The Rist Corporation, Washington Design Center
Window Fabric: Pindler & Pindler, Washington Design Center
Window Fabrication: Exclusive Draperies, Chantilly, VA Flowers: Flowers on Cedar Lane, Vienna, VA
Pottery: Present Tense by Herend
Fruit Bowl: Designer Elements, McLean, VA
Chandelier: Troy, Ferguson Enterprises, Sterling, VA
Cabinetry: Dutch Made Custom Cabinets
Contractor: Knut Fredricksen, Euro-Concepts, Inc., Arlington, VA
Chandelier: Tom Thumb, Michael-Cleary, Washington Design Center
Decorative Painting: Degage, McLean, VA
Counter Stools: Astoria Imports, Ltd., Brooklyn, N.Y.
Area Rug: Shayan, Chantilly, VA
Accessories: Owners Collection
Cooktop: Thermador Ovens: Thermador Refrigerator: Sub-Zero Microwave: GE Warming Drawers: GE Wine Cooler: Marvel Dishwashers: Bosch Sinks: Blanco Faucets: Concinnity Countertops: Granite, Arlington, VA
Transformation From Traditional To Contemporary
INTERIOR DESIGN Jean Bouchoux Higgins
Inside Out Interiors, Inc., Vienna, VA
TEXT Barbara Karth, Chevy Chase, MD
PHOTOGRAPHY Omar Salinas, HiTech Photo, Tysons, Corner, VA
As Discovery Television’s Lynette Jennings moves through the iris and clematis in this poolside garden, she lifts her arm to make an “L” with her hand directing the crew and talking of wide shots. “We need color, wherever you can find color.” She is more than an attractive performer. Lynette Jennings Design is her show.
It’s late spring, and Ms. Jennings is at the home of Jane and Scott Pelley in Virginia. Mr. Pelley is a featured journalist for CBS news and Mrs. Pelley is a writer in the health care field. (Their home was featured in the Winter 1999 issue of HOME & DESIGN Magazine.) And it’s here Lynette Jennings has chosen to feature the interior designer Jean Bouchoux Higgins, owner of Inside Out Interiors.
“The objective behind the program is to show Americans how other Americans live in particular regions, within communities… the conglomeration of different lifestyles. It’s multiple demographics as well. So, I choose a theme based on how rich in culture and history it is – geography, topography,” Ms. Jennings, explains, revealing a background in urban development. Behind the swags, chintz and chenille, there is conceptual depth.
As she sits in the comfortable family room of the Pelley home, Ms. Jennings talks of the criteria for her choice of rooms to feature. “The philosophy: homes have to be camera ready, they have to have a certain amount of design integrity, they have to have ingenuity, and there has to be a story. So the qualifications the house has to meet are fairly deep. I won’t shoot a house because there is a billion dollars thrown at it, an expose of the very wealthy. We get down to our final count and back them up triple deep, because, from the time we start until the time we finally shoot a house, any number of things can happen.”
For designer Jean Higgins, this was an unexpected opportunity. “Back in early February I was sent a six-page fax from Spring River Productions, Lynette Jenning’s company, inquiring about projects I had done – an entire house, preferably in Virginia.” At 10:30 one night she faxed them information on two homes. “They called at 9 a.m. the next morning and expressed interest in both.” She sent photos of the houses and a copy of HOME & DESIGN Magazine featuring the Pelley home. Around March 10th, Ms. Higgins received a call that the Pelley home and been chosen. “They never said how they got my name.” However, a call from Lynette Jennings had been made to HOME & DESIGN Magazine.
Time For The Show
At the Pelleys, there was still work to be done in the renovation: two baths and a closet in the master suite. The work resulted in a “huge clean-up project – that fine white dust over the whole house,” relates the undaunted Mrs. Pelley in a tone that belies the effort it took to get the house ready. With the major projects completed, there remained only last minute tasks.
A week before the shoot, Ms. Higgins and Mrs. Pelley divvy up the responsibilities. On the day before the shoot, they dash to Fresh Fields for flowers and camera-ready delicacies. Ms. Higgins’ homes have been published before, so she is a pro at styling for photography. Recognizing the camera’s unrelenting eye, they take a crochet hook to the sofa arm, repairing cat damage. Mrs. Pelley arranges the flowers, and Ms. Higgins takes a quick trip to Design Elements for camera – favoring accessories to replace a few things that look great in three dimensions but lose something on film. “It’s wonderful to have a client where you feel like a team, especially if something is going to be published,” says Ms. Higgins.
It is early morning when the trucks pull into the driveway. As crew members duck around cameras and lights, phones are turned off, and cables snake through open windows and across floors, every inch of the house is invaded. The lights come on and Ms. Jennings, dressed in cool beige, opens the Pelleys’ front door and invites the nation inside, while, off camera, Mrs. Pelley moves through the day as though nothing unusual is happening.
“I felt very blessed that I had a couple like the Pelleys, because they are very used to having this kind of action,” relates Jean Higgins. “Others could be easily traumatized.” How true.
Design Executive Suite – Designed and supervised installation of all furnishings and decorative arts in the executive suite for the Regional Headquarters. This project involved offices for six senior executives and support staff.
Furnish National Headquarters – Interior designer and space planner for the six story NAB Headquarters building located on Connecticut Avenue, in Washington, D.C. The final design incorporated extensive use of systems furniture (80 workstations) as well as furnishings for senior executive offices. Very high-end Board of Directors conference facilities were planned and furnished. Ms. Higgins provided direct supervision of interior renovations (wall removal/relocations, office construction) and installation of systems furniture. The project was accomplished in phases to allow continued operations during installation/renovation.
Meeting Rooms – This was a most interesting project as it involved working with plans and specifications in both metric and English units, then designing window treatments and selecting furnishings for the palace without a site visit. Many of the selected furnishings were manufactured in Europe. Inside Out Interiors coordinated all aspects of the shipping and delivery of the materials.
Read the full Article below, double click on the pages to enlarge, and select the small square in the topbar to make full page.
DESIGNER JEAN BOUCHOUX HIGGINS
WRITTEN BY SHERRY MOELLER
PHOTOGRAPHY BY BOB NAROD
Waterfalls along one stone wall cascading into the new heated pool create soothing sounds heard from the outdoor verandahs and through the stretch of open French doors leading into the focus of Scott and Jane Pelley’s addition – “the pool hall” or screening room. A familiar voice, Scott Pelley, CBS correspondent for “60 Minutes” who has won four Emmys, and his wife, Jane, who has a background in advertising and writing, saw the potential of this once colonial-blue Cape Cod on five prime acres. “We fell in love with the property,” Jane says.