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7SYP7YVZMZSV Designer/builder Doug DeLuca restores a bit of America’s soul with his reclaimed “Langley Ordinary.” BY ANNE KIM-DANNIBALE PHOTOS BY TONY BROWN


HOME LIFE | INSIDEHOMES

idway through a tour of Doug DeLuca’s mid-1800s McLean residence, you’re struck by the notion that all you want to do is sink into one of the cushy sofas, kick up your heels and take in life at a much slower pace. It may have something to do with John Cougar Mellencamp crooning in the background about little pink houses during simpler times, or the fact that the house is decorated in the understated all-American glamour of a Ralph Lauren catalogue. It could be DeLuca himself, a clean-cut guy with an artist’s eye in jeans and a T-shirt who exudes an easy West Coast vibe, though he was born and raised in Virginia and spent his formative years after military school working for Ralph Lauren in New York City. Then there is the house itself.The designated historic abode was once the Union headquarters for Gen. George A. McCall’s battalion where soldiers were stationed between skirmishes. In another life it was a “drover’s rest,” a stopping point for traveling farmers who paused with their horses and other animals before crossing into the city, perhaps taking a small moment to breathe deep before encountering the bustle of city life. “Things have become so noisy,” DeLuca says. “I try to create spaces where someone’s going to come, put their phone down and be like in a different world.” Though he had just purchased another house, the cofounder of design-build firm Federal Home Co. was drawn to “Langley Ordinary” with its wide porch and promise of longforgotten stories. Despite business partner Matt Bronczek’s reservations about the dilapidated, abandoned property, he

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OPENING PAGE: Doug DeLuca in his office surrounded by salvaged pieces and antiques from his many treasure hunts. PREVIOUS PAGE: Civil War re-enactors often visit Langley Ordinary looking for relics. The library built from an old barn is filled from top to bottom with antiques that reflect America’s history. DeLuca’s own paintings add a personal touch to guest rooms. DeLuca spends most of his time entertaining his many guests in the airy gourmet kitchen. THIS PAGE: The master bedroom and ensuite bath decorated with some of his folk art paintings form a sanctuary that overlooks DeLuca’s organic garden. The nautically themed guest house also houses some of DeLuca’s treasured Americana pieces against a crisp, clean backdrop.

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agreed to purchase the three-story house and its 2.2 acres through the company in 2011, and the two embarked on a two-year renovation with plans for Bronczek to build his own house on the land — before marriage took him in another direction. DeLuca stripped the mold-ridden clapboard structure down to its bones, uncovering snapshots of its varied past in the process — the original receipt for the stairwell for $7.20 with a note asking the builder to leave the money while the owner took care of his lame horse; Margaret English’s signature, circa 1887, scrawled onto the attic wall, the lone woman among male Union soldiers who did the same; old newspapers stuffed into the walls as insulation, all a time capsule from another era. What emerged is a gorgeous example of modern-meetshistoric, a five-bedroom, five-and-a-half-bath house with outdoor living spaces, including a kitchen and dining area, on a sprawling compound that includes a two-story, twobedroom guest house with an antique nautical theme, a carriage house and an organic vegetable garden that figures prominently in a side project teaching sustainability and healthy eating. Inside, the main house boasts a gourmet kitchen with a vaulted ceiling and exposed rafters, anchored by a reclaimed farm table, as well as a wing dedicated to the headquarter offices of Federal Home and a library built from an old barn. Seen throughout are examples of DeLuca’s environmental philosophy, incorporating found objects others might throw out,“reclaimed” and re-imagined into something else, like an old dresser given new life as a bathroom sink, adding character and warmth through all its quirky details. “The goal was to keep as much of the house original and then modernize it,” DeLuca says. Though he spends the most time in the kitchen entertaining his many guests and trying out various recipes with the bounty from his garden, DeLuca admits the library is his favorite room. Rustic with all the appeal of its rough history around the edges, it epitomizes his patriotic tendencies, filled to the brim with bits of America’s revolutionary past like an oil of the Boston tea party mixed in

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with DeLuca’s own folk art paintings, a collection of muskets and rifles, and other Americana. “It tells a story,” he says. “I go in there and I see old rifles, paintings. I see tons of history.” That history is as much a part of McLean’s Langley district, he adds, which is why DeLuca makes it a point to open the house to the community, hosting the McLean Project for the Arts’ annual gala and events for other organizations when he’s not obliging out-of-town guests. “That entertaining component is very important,” he says. “I have friends from New York who are stressed out and they come out here and they think they’re on “Green Acre” or something. McLean is so pastoral but it’s within five minutes of D.C.There aren’t that many places in the country like that.”

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Inside Homes - Washington Life Magazine - Summer 2014  
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