Fresh Palette

Designer Zoe Feldman Jantzen channels a breezy California vibe in her client’s newly built Bethesda home

Watching a new house go up in the family-friendly neighborhood they had been eying for a year, a couple with two children took note. Once the home’s wood framing was in place, they realized that its generous scale and open spaces matched the layout they had been searching for. And they welcomed the chance to begin again with a fresh style of living ideal for their growing family.

“It was amazing to have a blank slate to start with,” says Amy Sherman, who with her husband, Stuart Sherman, CEO of the digital marketing firm SM Marketing International, purchased the house two years ago in the Luxmanor section of North Bethesda. “We wanted a modern feel, and to push that further with a casual California vibe. Nothing too formal,“ says Amy, a marketing executive at Marriott International.

Moving from a home with tighter quarters, the couple happily anticipated the easy flow from room to room, and the panoramic outdoor views. They imagined furnishing the house in a way that would treat the core living areas as a single space, serenely unified throughout. “We wanted it to be clean and crisp, but warm, inviting and cozy too,” Amy explains.

To realize their goal, they turned to interior designer Zoe Feldman Jantzen, with whom they had worked in the past and who shared their vision. Having grown up in a Mid-Century Modern house on Florida’s west coast—and worked with Alexa Hampton, one of Manhattan’s premier tradition-based designers—Jantzen has an outlook rooted at the crossroads of comfortable classic and modern design.

When she arrived, the house was still under construction. Custom builder Jeffco Development and the owners had already selected many finishes—in the kitchen, on the wood-paneled and beamed ceilings, and throughout—so Jantzen nimbly extended that base of neutral colors and natural materials. Meanwhile, the Shermans decided to reproduce her designs for the office and master bedroom in their former home “down to the grass-cloth-accent wall in the master bedroom,” says the designer. Despite duplicating the look in those rooms, almost everything else in the house is new. “It was an incredibly clean palette,” she notes, “a beautiful canvas to start with.”

Starting over can be exciting. Still, furnishing a home on the scale of 7,900 square feet inspired mixed feelings for Jantzen. “When I’ve worked on smaller residences in Manhattan and DC, it’s easy to make them feel warm and finished,” she says, “In a larger home, there’s more to fill in and more of a challenge to keep it feeling collected and cozy.”

To create a sense of warmth, Jantzen introduced organic materials with a range of woods and metals in furniture and lighting. Varied fabric textures help too, from nubby bouclé and linens to smooth leather and silks. In a household with eight- and 10-year-old boys, as well as a pet Maltipoo, the designer took the sensible step of protecting the light fabrics. “We used Sunbrella and other performance fabrics that can take a beating but don’t look like low-maintenance materials,” she says.

As a crisp backdrop to the largely white interiors requested by the owners, interior window and door trim was painted black. “We wanted to make the frames look like black steel, which I think is pretty against the white,” says Jantzen. That graphic contrast outlines panels by Jeld-Wen that fold back and completely open the living room to the enclosed sun porch.

Touches of pattern and color surface in art and decorative objects, including books. Beside a bookcase in the main living area, paired side chairs stand out with their intense apple-green mohair seats. Hanging on an opposite wall, a tall artwork panel incorporates dried moss in a flowing composition. “It appears as a vertical garden tying into the modern, organic space,” notes the designer, adding, “Especially in a house like this that’s clean and light with very white walls, it’s really important to add interest with art.”

Owner Stuart Sherman enjoys living with that art. Several pieces that he found are now displayed in his handsome home office next to the front door. One raw, abstract painting by New York artist Paul Gerben anchors the wall behind a modern Chesterfield sofa covered in butterscotch velvet, and a sparkling nickel-and-glass coffee table—a classic mix of design elements with verve.

Another brilliantly hued work by the same artist lights up a long wall in the cocoon-like butler’s pantry. Jantzen matched its deep navy walls to the color of the existing cabinets, then paneled the bar’s backsplash in coordinated, asymmetrical tile. “This is one of my favorite spaces; it’s moodier, with a ’70s influence,” she says.

The adjacent dining room in smoky gray is enriched by floor-length, forest green-silk drapes. Its vintage table sat for 40 years in the dining room of Stuart’s parents, before it turned out to be the perfect size and style for its new setting. “We had looked at this table forever and suddenly saw it in a new light,” recalls Amy.

Since moving in, the family congregates in that room for Thanksgiving dinner. And they gather every Friday on black-leather armchairs for “movie night” in the tiered lower-level theater room. Another favorite spot is the sun porch. Amy describes the family’s all-season enjoyment of that space: “In spring and fall, we open the windows and love the fresh air and feeling of nature all around,” she observes. “When the snow falls, it’s beautiful, especially with a fire in the fireplace. It’s a very relaxing, super-cozy environment.”

Architecture: Doug Roberts, GTM Architects, Bethesda, Maryland. Interior Design: Zoe Feldman Jantzen, Zoe Feldman Design, Inc., Washington, DC. Builder: Jeffco Development, Rockville, Maryland.

Click here to view the original article. Article by Tina Coplan. November/December 2017.

JEFFCO completes residence in the AVENEL neighborhood in Potomac, MD

JEFFCO Development is proud to announce the completion and deliver of our latest residential project.

The residence is a 25-year old home in the AVENEL neighborhood in Potomac, MD, a community of luxury homes and renowned in the Washington, DC area for its prestige golf course. The owners wanted to remodel their kitchen, which hadn’t been updated since the house was built, and JEFFCO was brought on through referrals from colleagues already working on projects at the home.

The project was fairly straightforward: a minor, non-structural demolition to remove all of the old floors, cabinetry and ceiling. The clients were not looking to go beyond their budget, which was made even more manageable when we discovered that the original plumbing could remain where it was already located. So, with the budget set and a timeframe of 5 weeks, we installed new floors, cabinetry, lighting, appliances, and stainless steel shelves that were built into the cabinetry behind the kitchen island. Indirect LED lighting was installed overhead, and 3 unique and quirky light fixtures were placed above the island.

We worked from start to finish with the clients, as always, picking out all of the materials with them. They had an idea of the design they wanted, but the space was more or less a blank slate from the start. Amy Collins, LLC, a local high-end kitchen designer in Glen Echo, MD, came in and, with Woodmode Kitchen cabinetry, created the aesthetic of the kitchen. Kely Estigarriba with Best Tile in Rockville, MD, handled the flooring, and Dan Errigo with United States Marble and Granite in Beltsville, MD, created the floor tile, installed the backsplash and fabrication of the Caesarstone countertops. On the construction end, Paige Christopher-Ferguson brought in the plumbing fixtures, and Dave Jeffers of Poolesville Plumbing in Poolesville, MD, oversaw the upgrades to the plumbing system; Ted Jackson of Paintworx in Sterling, VA, installed the drywall and painted the room; and Ken Lemere of Spartan Electric in Ijamsville, MD, wired and installed the lighting fixtures. Finally, Terry Hutzell-Ferguson managed installation of the new appliances.

The kitchen was delivered on budget, thanks to prepaying for the cabinets (which actually brought it in 2% under budget), and on time, which happened to be 2 weeks before Thanksgiving. The clients were able to enjoy their beautiful new kitchen just in time for the holidays.

As we close out 2016, JEFFCO is busy with 4-5 jobs closing up by Christmas, so stay tuned here for updates on those projects in the New Year.

Happy Holidays, and we wish you all a wonderful year to come.

Puree Juice Bar – Mosaic District, Fairfax, VA

JEFFCO Development is proud to announce the completion and delivery of our latest commercial project.

On November 5th, 2016, Puree Juice Bar (insert hyperlink to the website) opened its second location in the Mosaic District, a hugely popular shopping/dining/living quarter in Fairfax, VA. Owner Amy Waldman and JEFFCO have been working together since the inception of her first Puree location in the busy shopping district of Bethesda, MD. Introduced by her first design team, Streetsense, we were honored to help Amy expand into a market that caters to young professionals with children who live, work and shop in this upbeat retail market.

This build was very different from the Bethesda location. There were a lot of factors to navigate while staying on budget/task. It was our first time collaborating with Michael Belisle, the architect of record, and interior designer Renata Parisotto of Progetti Design Studio. We also used a different equipment supplier, which always brings new…challenges. The space, while projecting the same healthy-living atmosphere as Bethesda, has a different feel due to the installation of porcelain flooring, Dekton countertops, an Armstrong Luminations Ceiling system, and custom millwork constructed by Atlantic Millwork. Talented local artist Elyse Harrison created decorative art screenings that add a unique, personal touch to the bright and alluring interior of this location.

On the administrative side, James Bulmer of Eden’s Management, the property management company, played an integral role as we navigated the Fairfax County permitting process to help us deliver the space on time. It was slow going, with multiple plan reviews and inspections from the building authorities, the fire marshal and the health department. Patience and attention to detail paid off, and we got the Use & Occupancy approval from the Fairfax County Health Department.

In the end, nothing matters more to clients than being able to open their beautiful storefront as promised by the timeline we set, and we delivered 3 days before the official opening.

Next up for us: Puree Juice Bar’s THIRD location. Slated to open in Sibley Memorial Hospital’s brand new atrium/lobby, Michael and Renato will join us again to make this build as successful as the others. Stay tuned for updates and pictures from the finished project!

Parc Somerset Client Review

When we decided to renovate our 18-year old condominium in the Parc Somerset complex, we consulted our NYC interior designer (with whom we have worked for 11 years) and together we interviewed four local contractors. After an exhaustive day of interviews, it was a unanimous decision for all of us that Jeffco Development was far and away the most impressive. Jeff Robins was so interested, listened intently, did not have a superior attitude, took notes on our wishes and budget, and advised us about what was feasible. Within 4 business days, we had a proposal for a work contract from Jeffco Development.

We then discovered that we needed a certificate of liability insurance from our homeowners insurance to cover the project. When our homeowners company wanted to charge us an exorbitant amount of money, Jeff Robins found a way for us to link it into his business coverage and saved us.

Our project included the following: kitchen renovation with new appliances, new lighting throughout, complete floor renovations (removal of marble from the foyer, tile from the kitchen, carpet from the hallways and bedrooms, with installation of hard wood floors throughout), fireplace renovation, complete renovation of the guest bathroom and level 5 painting throughout. There were things that exceeded our budget e.g. master bath and master bedroom closet –but I will put them on a list for future projects with Jeffco. Shaun Aschenbach was the project manager and he would routinely accept deliveries for appliances, and all of the materials being shipped from NYC e.g. light fixtures, flooring, carpeting, cabinet and door hardware, wallpaper and installing them as they arrived.

Our condominium managers were incredibly impressed with Jeffco Development for their attention to detail, their prompt delivery of required documentation and how polite everyone on the Jeffco team was to the staff. Each day, the Jeffco team had to install plastic covering to protect the rugs between the elevator and our condo before the work of the day even started.

The job is completed. We are thrilled with the results and one of the nicest experiences I’ve ever had. The job was done to perfection and within the proposed budget. In addition, Jeff Robins adds the special touches. With every invoice, the concluding sentence is “respectively yours”. What an impressive mission statement! Jeffco also left us a bottle of wine as a thank you. Who could ask for more? We are so grateful to have had them on our project.

Nancy Richert
Chevy Chase MD
Sept 13,2016

6 Tips for Choosing the Perfect Architect for Your Custom Build or Renovation

Choosing an architect who can accurately and cost-effectively translate the vision for your custom residential or commercial build or renovation project is essential for ensuring the work stays on track and yields the stunning results you desire.

Whether you are doing a kitchen remodel, or building your custom dream home, having an architect that understands your project, vision and budget is vital.

As the president of JEFFCO Development, I have worked with many great architects in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. As a Bethesda, Md.,-based custom home builder, I know the importance of a good relationship between the client and architect. A good fit makes all the difference  in having a construction project run smoothly.

Here are six tips for ensuring that you hire the right person for your job:

Review past work to get a sense of their style.

Don’t be afraid to ask for their portfolio. Look for quality and variety but make certain that the work they do aligns with the vision you have for your construction project. If their previous work is primarily on town homes or kitchen renovations and you’re looking to build a six-bedroom luxury residence, then they may not be a good fit.

Ask what types of design projects they like to work on. Get a sense for how they work. Will your opinions and input be valued as part of the process? And ask how you will see their work. Will it be via blueprints or 3D models? How will that impact price?

Inquire about how the day-to-day operations will be handled. Will you working regularly with a senior architect or a junior associate? Having an idea of the workflow process will keep anxiety levels low.

Ask for references

Just like hiring a financial planner or an attorney, get references. It is helpful to hear what others’ experiences have been – the good, the bad and the ugly. Ask for a few addresses with similar style, curb appeal, size of project. Drive by to get a better sense of their work. Set up an appointment and go view their work in person. You may see something that you really like or don’t care for  that may not have come across in photos.

Clearly communicate what you want.

Take the time to create a database of photos and clippings to help explain what styles and materials you would like. It helps to clearly communicate what you want and expect.

Devil is in the details

A good set of construction plans always helps a job go smoothly. Discuss the level of detail you would like and how it will impact your budget.

Be upfront about your budget.

Ask the architect candidate how he charges for his time and his plans. Some architects charge by the hour while others charge by square-footage, according to Home Advisor. Others may charge a percentage based on construction costs. So be clear about how the architect charges and that the fees are in line with your budget.

When asked “How much does a job cost” it’s important to know there is a high level of detail that goes into pricing a job, even on smaller scales for renovations. The more detail/selections that are made will help to accurately estimate the cost of your project.  In early stages, square footage is taken into account to give rough estimates. When plans and selections are made, this can be translated into a more definitive number.

When considering the cost of a remodel or custom build, remember that there are two types of costs. Soft costs include items such as land, taxes, carrying cost, architectural plans, designers, and insurance. Hard costs which include items such as floors, doors, windows, hardware, cabinetry, counter tops, bathroom tile, fireplaces, lighting, exterior face, trim detail, stairs, kitchen appliances, elevator, pool, and any other types of bonus rooms like attic space.

What’s the timetable?

Certain architects can turn projects around faster than others. But the complexity and size of the project also plays a role in how long it takes for an architect to develop the plans. An exterior design plan could take a shorter amount of time than the blueprints for an intricate interior.

Keeping these simple guidelines in mind as you start looking for the person who will design your new space will help make your entire project run smoothly.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to the JEFFCO Development team at We’re here to help.


Jeff Robins

President, JEFFCO Development