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Behind the Design: The Elm image

Behind the Design: The Elm

By: Ashley Jones Hatcher Category: Amenities, Design

If you’ve been to Bethesda recently and driven down Wisconsin Avenue, you’d be hard pressed not to have noticed all of the construction on Elm Street. That, my friends, is The Elm, and it is bracing to make an impact like none other in Bethesda later this year.

The Elm is positioning itself to be more than just another apartment building, but rather a premier lifestyle that balances work, play, wellness, and convenience. After getting a sneak peek of the plans, amenities, and design details, I guarantee you that life at The Elm will be the slice of luxury that one associates with a Bethesda address. For those that decide to make this place home – it will definitely be hard for you to leave.

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Brian Miller from Streetsense about the design inspiration for The Elm. As the Senior Design Director of Interior Architecture, he has spent countless hours working on creating an environment for The Elm that feels luxurious yet comfortable – a tall order, in my opinion!

There are so many design elements to be excited about at The Elm, so I’ve picked five key design details that I know will set The Elm apart from the rest:

Scandinavian-Inspired Interiors

Miller and the design team behind The Elm traveled to Copenhagen in 2017 to gather inspiration for the project. They looked at everything – the vibes, the social nature of the city, and even took inspiration from things as simple as the paving of a street. You’ll find Scandinavian design references throughout The Elm’s fresh, modern spaces, softened through the usage of fabric, fixtures, and natural light; in fact, many of the furniture pieces were originally spotted during the trip.

“Our visit to Copenhagen for inspiration was fantastic – going to dozens of furniture showrooms, seeing incredible masonry, crisp but gentle interiors, all of which informed the design of The Elm.”

A Cozy Setting

Miller wanted to ensure that they were creating a comfortable environment that felt appropriately scaled. In such a large building, patterns, prints, and textures can make even a 30-foot ceiling feel cozy and comfortable. You can expect to see lots of layering of textures, patterns, and colors – not only in traditional elements like wallpaper and fabric, but also in details like the grain of a wood floor or the way a tile pattern reads from a distance.

“From the public face and active hub of the plaza to the tucked-in niches through the lobby to the kitchen serving the pool deck, there are opportunities to cross paths and opportunities to be alone. We don’t want prescriptive spaces; we want to provide a wide range of options for people to be as social or as ensconced as they’d like.”

Lobby “Wow” Factor

From the moment you step inside The Elm, your eyes will be drawn to the richness of the textural elements – the flecked terrazzo floor, the sculptural water fountain, the brass surround framing the concierge area, and the one-of-a-kind carved wood concierge desk. Created by designer and sculptor Casey Johnson, the concierge desk features large-scale geometric carvings and serves as a focal point for the lobby. 

“We want people to feel at home. To know that they’re in the middle of Bethesda but in a calm environment, in a welcoming space surrounded by natural materials.”

Insta-Worthy Moments

The 28th-floor Skybridge and rooftop of the Elm are bound to provide you with incredible views of the DC metro area and the Blue Ridge Mountains that will make all of your friends jealous.

“We never thought we’d see a view like that from a building in the DC area. And as the building has gone up, seeing it on the skyline from different points in the region reminds us how much it surveys. We’re looking forward to seeing a clear day from the pool deck, but we’re just as much looking forward to watching a storm roll in from the panoramic view inside the bridge.”

An Elevated Experience

The inside of the Skybridge – one of the most incredible architectural spaces in Bethesda – is as stunning as the sweeping views it provides. Miller and his team managed to create several intimate seating areas that make you feel tucked amidst the impressive, sloping space.

“The Skybridge is going to be unlike anything else we’ve ever worked on. An expansive space, 28 floors up with incredible views, with small moments and seating areas carved out like a piece of landscape.” 

With so much redevelopment that has taken place in Bethesda over the last several years, life in Bethesda has become synonymous with words like luxury and convenience. First class finishes, the best-of-the-best features, and a convenient address near the Metro are all going to make The Elm impossible to ignore when searching for your next place to call home.