Designer Amy Bannecker has a formula for creating spaces that deliver joy to clients: She simply captures the best version of their tastes; from there, she makes her gorgeous curation—a designer’s holy grail—feel like the client’s own. “My own aesthetic is a mix of modern and traditional, and a bit eclectic,” she says. “I enjoy mixing pieces and styles in a way that feels unique but still accessible.”
For a newly built home by GTM Architects and Carter Builders in Bethesda, Bannecker had a clean slate, but also a monumental challenge as the home is 5,000 square feet. If not planned well, foyers can feel like colossal portals to rooms with the gallery effect—that is, spaces that look wonderful but lack function and the requisite warmth. “It’s important for me to understand how a family lives and how they use their space,” says Bannecker. The family of four that would occupy the Bethesda residence wanted a house with an easy flow and minimal clutter. Each space also needed to have a purpose for four busy lives.
“Design-wise, the homeowner is fairly traditional in her aesthetic but was open to being pushed a bit,” says Bannecker. “She wanted a house that felt good for her entire family, including her two older, style-savvy kids, so the overall style was sort of traditional with a twist.” That twist included a range of modern touches, from the home’s abstract art by St. Frank to clean lines throughout living spaces, including the bright white kitchen.
A baseline color proved to be at once subtle and a unifying statement. “The homeowner loves blue, so I ended up using navy as my neutral, bringing it into almost every space on the main level but in a different way each time,” Bannecker says.
A casual, welcoming formality reigns in the living room. “I brought in pops of navy in the artwork and pillows, but kept it fairly neutral overall,” says Bannecker. “The art by St. Frank above the fireplace felt perfect to tie everything together.” When it came time to conjure the kitchen, Bannecker knew the script required a space that could abide a bounty of meal prep, heavy traffic, social events and, naturally, family time. Storage also was a guiding principle for the designer. “I wanted the space to be bright and timeless, so we used an amazing milk glass tile from Waterworks in a herringbone pattern on the backsplash that paired beautifully with the white marble countertops,” she says. “I mixed steel and polished nickel on the custom hood to add a bit of dimension. The homeowner’s only other request was a built-in banquette, which we [created] as a bench to keep it easy to use.” Fabrics added layers of warmth and color—again, navy—and a vintage runner behind the sink created another chance to add hues mimicked in the living room.
In the master bedroom, Bannecker fully embraced the couple’s favorite color by splashing the walls with a deep, abiding blue. Pillows and blankets were covered by vintage fabrics in blue and beige. But her design coups for the space were built-ins. “I suggested using the niches next to the fireplace as dressers, which ended up looking beautiful while being highly functional,” she says.
The big unveil, even if done incrementally, can always be nerve wracking for a designer. Bannecker needn’t have worried: The couple was thrilled. “I’m so glad to have helped them build what is intended to be their forever home,” she says.
Photography by: Robert Radifera | Styled by Charlotte Safavi