Bill's Falls Church condo

by Sean Bugg
Photography by Todd Franson
Published on May 26, 2005, 12:00am | Comments

TAKE ON THE 'BURBS with this stunning two-level, 3BR, 2BA condo nestled in a quiet corner of Falls Church. A soaring living room ceiling will expand your horizon, while the sleekly modern bathrooms will indulge your urge relax in style.

When Bill Hillegeist found his condo in Falls Church, he was embarking on a new journey in his life following his divorce. He's created a comfortable and versatile space where his flair for decorating makes every room both useful and distinctive.

BILL: This is a new life kind of place. This is my gay phase. When I came out, I just went on with life. I've always liked to decorate and I did a fair share of it in [my former] home in Bethesda. We had a pretty home but I got to start over on my own here. Everything here is what I bought, or a few pieces from my mother's estate.

There is no gay life in Falls Church [laughs]. Actually, I've made wonderful friends here over the years. I love to entertain. I don't go into the city too much except for art and theater and museums and things like that. Somehow, I find life here just great.

[In the living room] I think this space is interesting because when you walk in the front door you don't expect to find a living room that is about 24-feet high with a peak and a great skylight. On a sunny day the sun just pours into this place. It's wonderful with winter moons. It's not a big space but I've had about 65 here for a party once. What I've tried to create is a space that's comfortable for me. I put my feet up on the coffee table, I read the Sunday paper and just enjoy it. I've tried to create something that's nice but comfortable and livable.

[On the deck] I love my deck. This is where I spend any summer morning when the weather is nice. I sit out here and have breakfast and it's great for entertaining. The neighborhood is very quiet. I hear the distant hum of Route 7, but especially back here in the trees it's very quiet. I never hear traffic noise in my bedroom.

[In the dining room] This is my little red dining room. I decided to paint it dark. I love it. It just makes it more independent. The chest is Dutch Colonial. I found that in a dear friend's store in San Diego. He sells Asian furniture and that was actually made in Indonesia for the Dutch colonists, so it has a Dutch look. I had it shipped from his store. He's coming to visit me in June and he'll see these pieces for the first time in my home.

[In the kitchen] I remodeled the kitchen and put down new flooring. This kitchen was done about seven years ago but it's worn pretty well. I picked the tile myself but I had a contractor install it. The only thing I really changed in the kitchen was to move the refrigerator over here so I could run the cabinets to the ceiling. I had those cabinets mounted, which are great for parties. The bartender can stand here [counter opening into the living room] and work. It's turned out to be a very efficient kitchen.

[In the guest bath] The counter is actually an Indonesian dining room buffet I found at Muleh on 14th Street. I had the contractor modify it. I wanted a little bit of an Asian flavor. It kind of started with the bowl [that's used for the sink] and went from there. I discovered the way to find good mirrors for your space is to go to a picture framing shop and get one exactly to the dimensions you want. I've kept my bathroom contractor pretty busy.

[In the master suite] This is my second floor sanctuary. I have a really nice deck out here as well. It's great in the summer. This is where I retreat so I wanted to keep the colors and design sort of neutral and restful. This is where I hide out.

I wanted to remodel my bathroom and I discovered that there was space in the attic that was not used [so I was able to] create this wonderful walk-in shower. I think it's about 25 feet square. I cut out those windows that look out over the living room so I have natural light in my shower, and I can look out into the skylights and the ferns. It's fun. I put in body sprays and a few shower heads. It's good for about 20 minutes of lots of good hot water. After that I'm sort of tapped out, but it really is a fun place for me to shower.

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