Tour de France
Working with John Cannon Homes, Traci and R. Michael Smullen personalized an existing plan to fashion a one-of-a-kind house with a decided French accent. We asked Traci about the design inspirations.
What distinguishes your home from its Mediterranean-style neighbors?
The wide variety of materials used inside and out. The French mix wood, iron, tile, granite, glass, different textures and wallpapers, and they use lots of color. When you walk through our home, you see all that and more. Michael and I didn’t want a cookie-cutter house. We went for a European flavor, but more refined.
Isn’t it unusual to mix formal Parisian and rustic Provencal?
We have the best of both worlds. The core of the house is open plan, which I love, and slightly rustic. We incorporated country elements in the kitchen and family room with wood beams that carry through from the kitchen to the lanai. The living room is more formal, with refined French furniture and window treatments, detailed millwork, faux finished walls and 17-foot ceilings.
The kitchen has such a romantic Country French flavor. What’s your secret?
Here again, it’s the mix of materials and textures. We used glazed antique brick floors with surrounds in the same wood as the adjoining hickory plank floors. The pecky cypress ceiling beams are stained to match the cognac color of the floors. I love the seeded glass in the cabinets by Jeff Albrecht and the stained glass pantry doors. The granite on the bar surface is polished, but on the island it’s honed to a leathered finish. Cynthia Semerar of Faux Real did an amazing job on the walls. The iron lanterns were custom made, and so was the tile backsplash. An artist in California based the tile design on a painting of sunflowers by Michael Dudash in our living room.
How involved were you in the design of your home?
Michael and I have lived in nine homes in Vermont and the D.C. area. We love doing the planning and designing together. We interviewed six different builders before settling on John Cannon Homes—we really liked their willingness to work with us on personalizing the design of this home. I also had a lot of help from Lynn Hunter of Hunter Design Group on the interiors. We were living in Vermont while the house was built, and Lynn and I worked long distance.
Is outdoor living important to you? Where did you get the idea for a fire pit?
Come to think of it, the first home we built in Maryland had an outdoor fireplace. But the outdoor lifestyle in Lakewood Ranch is different from anywhere we’ve lived before. Here the lanai and pool area is 2,000 square feet, screened in and surrounded with colonnades like a room. It’s an extension of our house and it overlooks a beautiful lake. Originally, this was to be our second home. We love it so much we sold our house in Vermont, and live here year-round.
The Home Team
Design and Construction
John Cannon Homes, Inc.
Lynn M. Hunter>Hunter Design Group
Jeff Albrecht>Albrecht Cabinets
Cynthia Semerar>Faux Real
Pool Design and Construction
Phillip M. Hess>Pool Design Concepts