You can’t go wrong when the clients are a custom homebuilder and interior designer. Michael Banks, the co-owner with his brother of Banks Development Co., and his designer wife Ally Banks, were close collaborators on the design of their new home in Northwest Washington.
The house brings modern details to traditional form. Steel-framed windows and doors, clean lines devoid of fussy molding and iron pergolas outside mingle with a classic layout and a stately, porticoed façade. Under a black slate roof, the plan is simple and clear: Formal spaces are in front, while kitchen and family living areas are in back. The front door opens to a visual feast, as the entry axis runs under a sinuous curved stair and culminates in a jewel-box sunroom that’s surrounded by garden views.
Finishes are just as important. The exterior brick walls are rendered with a pigmented cement wash, which adds patina and mutes the expected brick texture. Mahogany windows and doors are bleached inside and out, creating a similarly aged effect. The interiors include natural white-oak floors with a flat, dry-looking finish; they provide a crisp contrast to the milky Venetian plaster walls. Oversized glass panes in the windows and doors penetrate this solidly built house with an abundance of light, further highlighting Michael’s craftsmanship and Ally’s interior design.