Chocolatier Jason Andelman and wife Jane remodel in Arlington

September 6, 2013

Jason Andelman, owner of Artisan Confections in Clarendon and in the Mosaic District of Fairfax County, makes sublime chocolates with modern designs that are creative yet unfussy. As you might expect, the Arlington County house he shares with his wife, Jane Andelman, and their two daughters has some distinctive touches, but it’s also a comfortable, clutter-free family home.

The Andelmans, who bought the house in 2002, expanded it in 2012 from 1,200 square feet to about 2,200 square feet, but they maintained the charm of the original, smaller home. The couple worked with interior designer Kelly Holland, owner of KPH Studios in Arlington, throughout the design process so that they could move back into a finished, decorated home when the renovation was complete.

“This project really did start out on a napkin,” Jane Andelman says. “We were having dinner with my father-in-law and started talking about how we were tired of spending all our time in the basement, which is where we had the computer, the TV and all the kids’ toys.”

Jason Andelman’s stepfather is Jeff Carpenter, founder of Monticello Homes in Fairfax Station, so at the dinner table the Andelmans had an expert to help them sketch out the addition, which includes a family room, home office, powder room and pantry/bar area on the first floor and a master bedroom suite upstairs. Carpenter collaborated with the Andelmans on every detail of the renovation, and Jason Andelman visited the house daily during the project.

“We thought about moving to get a little more space, but we love the Dominion Hills neighborhood and the school, so we were pretty limited in what we could find,” Jane Andelman says.

One of Jane Andelman’s priorities was to have an outdoor living space that the whole family could enjoy. The remodeled house includes a screened porch with skylights and a ceiling fan and, just steps from the porch, a flagstone patio with a fire pit. The former indoor dining table was moved to the screened porch for family meals.

“We’ve had this table forever, and we actually got it for free from my boss in Old Town when he replaced it,” Jane Andelman says. “We carried it from his house to ours.”

The Andelmans lived in the house during the first month of the remodeling project, then moved into an apartment for two months. The renovation cost about $230,000, and the Andelmans spent about $20,000 on furniture and accessories for the new spaces.

“The minute we moved back in here in August [2012], we started eating every meal on the screened porch,” Jason Andelman says. “We fixed up the back yard more, too, because we were inspired by the rest of the house to make it look better.”

The Andelmans installed a stacked stone wall around the perimeter of the yard and worked to convert a weedy, spotty grassy space into a lush lawn where the girls love to play.

In the midst of the renovation, Jason Andelman was also working to design and open his second chocolate shop, the one in the new Mosaic District in Fairfax. Andelman, who trained at the Culinary Institute of America and worked as a pastry chef, opened his first chocolate shop in 2006. He and another chocolatier make by hand all the chocolates for the shops and for catering orders. Each treat is made with Valrhona chocolate imported from the Rhone Valley in France, considered among the best chocolate in the world. Andelman’s contemporary chocolate designs, which include locally sourced organic ingredients, can take as long as two days to complete.

Holland worked with Jason Andelman to design his shop as well as the Andelmans’ home renovation.

“Kelly wanted us to have one of those ‘big reveal’ moments like they do on HGTV,” Jane Andelman says, “and we were really determined that our home would be finished when we moved back in, not just partway done.”

The Andelmans’ home includes a mix of furniture: some they already owned, items Holland found for them, handcrafted pieces they found on Etsy.com and pieces they had made for their new space. The living room space is the same as before the renovation, but the Andelmans opted for built-in bookcases to flank the fireplace and a matching built-in shelf that provides extra storage and separates the foyer from the living room.

“We both like everything really organized, so a big goal of this project was to declutter the house and get the kids’ stuff out of the living room,” Jason Andelman says. “We wanted the living room to be an adult space.”

The Andelmans repurposed an antique hutch from the dining room to use for storage in the living room and found a distressed wood storage bench at GoodWood on U Street NW in the District that fits in one corner of the living room and hides shoes, boots and backpacks. In the center of the living room is a bright red circular table Jane Andelman found at Covet, a home decor and accessories shop in Arlington.

The dining room links the new and original parts of the house and is open to the kitchen, which the Andelmans renovated when they first moved into the house. The Andelmans had their dining table handmade by a woodworker in Sperryville because they couldn’t find a 54-inch round table they liked. He also made the desktop for the home office, which sits on modern steel pins that Jason Andelman found on eBay.

The family room includes built-in bookcases, a gray sofa and comfortable club chairs so that the entire family can relax there. The Andelmans found a chevron-patterned gray and white cabinet and a modern wood coffee table stained yellow that complements yellow accent pieces and pillows in the room. The cabinet, table and light fixtures are all handcrafted items from Etsy.

“We had the cabinet shipped from California by Greyhound bus for only $18,” Jane Andelman says. “We had to go pick it up at the bus station, but it was worth it because it was so cheap to ship that way.”

Holland helped the Andelmans choose between accessories and pieces of furniture to pull their home design together.

“We wanted the home to be natural to us but better,” Jane Andelman says.

French pocket doors open to the home office, which has one wall of painted brick, the back of the chimney on what was an exterior wall. Built-in open shelving has been installed on one wall and an armoire/entertainment center that was in the living room fits neatly into one corner.

The Andelmans’ kitchen includes plenty of counter space, although Jason Andelman makes his chocolates at the shop rather than at home. They purchased yellow glass light fixtures that unexpectedly produce a butterfly-wing pattern on the kitchen ceiling. Their kitchen cabinets are repurposed cabinets that used to be in Jason Andelman’s parents’ kitchen.

The renovation expanded the space behind the kitchen, adding a charming yellow powder room with a stained-glass window. An extra cabinet with a black granite top, tucked between two pantries, functions as a bar with storage below.

Upstairs, the original three bedrooms and full bath have been reconfigured so that the girls’ rooms have angled doors to create a larger hall and to allow more light into the space. The third bedroom has become an arts and crafts room for the children. One of the girls’ rooms was designed specifically with a niche to hold an armoire that was in the Andelmans’ bedroom before the remodeling project.

The Andelmans’ new master bedroom includes a painted brick wall — formerly the exterior of the chimney — with built-in open shelving next to it, a tray (recessed) ceiling and a ceiling fan. A reupholstered chair that used to be in the living room creates a cozy reading corner in the bedroom.

“One of the biggest reasons we decided to renovate was that we only had one bathroom upstairs,” Jason Andelman says.

The contemporary-style bathroom includes gray tile flooring and a glass-enclosed shower accented with a small pattern of black, gray and white tiles also used as a backsplash for the vanities. The master bath, reflecting the couple’s desire for organization, has two vanities with drawers, a linen closet and an adjacent walk-in closet with dozens of drawers and shelves and multiple levels of closet rods.

The renovation increased the unfinished space in the house, putting a large storage and utility room next to the finished basement and laundry room.

“We wanted a home that we can stay in until the kids are grown, a place that’s cozy yet not so small that it we couldn’t be comfortable,” Jason Andelman says. “We got exactly what we wanted.”

Michele Lerner is a freelance writer.

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