French Country Manor

By Gay Lyons | Photography by Ben Finch/Finch Photo

When Mitch and Debby Steenrod contemplated leaving their home on the twelfth green at Fox Den, they wanted to move closer into town and Mitch had a look in mind: “I wanted to build a structure that would look like a golf course clubhouse with a French Country look.”

The Steenrods worked with architect Jonathan Miller and contractor Johnson & Galyon to create their 13,000 square foot home on just over two acres on Sherwood Drive. Preston Farabow created the custom ironwork. Landscape design was by Stephen Hackney. The wood floors were milled from trees that were on the property. Throughout the house there are symbols–such as knots, diamonds and the letter S–important to the family. Creative
use of buckeyes and the letter “O” are a
nod to Mitch’s alma mater, Ohio State.

Debby worked with decorator Ashley Skowron to achieve something “lighter, brighter and more open.” “I wanted the kids and grandkids to have fun here,” she said. “We wanted to be able to entertain.”

Skowron, who previously worked for Jonathan Miller, described the home as having the “perfect mix of timeless, clean and classic finishes paired with details and traditional materials from the past. Mitch and Debby were heavily involved in the process. Their input made for a great project and a spectacular end product that turned this house into a home with many personal touches. We created the ultimate space for them to live, entertain and enjoy time with their precious family.”

The Steenrod family includes daughter Kristin and husband, Jonathan, and their three children, and daughter Katie and husband, David, who have one child with another expected in August. Son Brandon died in 2012 at the age of 26.

The foyer, which features a pecky cyprus wall, custom plasterwork and a groin vault ceiling, leads past a dining room to the great room. The focal points in the dining room are a custom painting by Leslie Archer; “Chardonnay,” a custom sculpture by Tara Lynn (who did not know that she had named the piece after Debby’s favorite wine); and the V-backed chairs by Christopher Guy. “When I saw them, I knew I had to have them,” said Debby.

In the great room, the television is concealed by another custom painting by Leslie Archer. The massive fireplace surround came from Francois. The great room leads to the open kitchen. “We wanted a great family kitchen with plenty of seating and room to cook and gather,” Debby said. “During the 17 days we were quarantined due to covid, Mitch and I played 324 games of Scrabble at the kitchen island or in the wine room.” For entertaining, there is a separate catering kitchen with its own entrance.

The main level master bedroom features a custom iron bed, windows facing the lawn and a door to the terrace. The master bath features a large shower and a soaking tub complemented by a glittery chandelier.

The wine room is a tasting room and wine cellar. The gravel in the cellar was inspired by Artisanal Restaurant in Banner Elk, North Carolina. When the HVAC unit stirs up the gravel, the bottles acquire a dusty, Old World look.

The entertainment room in the bottom level features a golf simulator, a gym and a bar created from a double layer piece of marble. The four chairs and table were inspired by “Live at the Masters.” Debby’s art studio accommodates her work and the projects she creates for the grandchildren.

The grandchildren’s domain is the playroom, featuring a door to a secret room, and a bunkroom, featuring four beds and four trundles. When the Steenrods were recently honored by the McNabb Center with its Spirit Award, eight of Debby’s girlfriends stayed in the bunkroom. They may or may not have discovered the baskets of soft white cotton balls Debby keeps on hand for snowball fights with the grandchildren. 

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