Jim Rill and Lauren Liess reimagine a 1970s home on Reston’s Lake Thoreau, instilling old-school details and an indoor-outdoor vibe

“It’s a little like walking into Oz,” says homeowner Art Richer. Indeed, step inside the Reston, Virginia, abode he shares with wife Leslie and a tranquil panorama of Lake Thoreau transports you to an enchanted land where toll-road troubles melt away.

That full-on display was a mere promise, however, when the Richers bought the ’70s-era contemporary house in 2016. Missed opportunities abounded. For starters, the home’s quirky design obstructed sightlines from the front door. Expanses of glass existed but the spaces could accommodate more. Drywall partitions hemmed in the tiny galley kitchen; the separate dining room up front lacked a lake view. And mundane details—think carpeted-plywood stairs—left Leslie, an attorney, and Art, a retired technology executive, feeling cold.

Transforming the dated digs took a major renovation and tons of vision

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