THE 2013 DC DESIGN HOUSE in the stately Wesley Heights neighborhood showcased the work of 24 area design teams. Open for tours from April 14 to May 12, the new home on Foxhall Road designed by GTM Architects was brimming with design inspiration. Rooms focused on comfort, with a soft palette of grays, blues and neutrals—and elegance overall. Now in its sixth year, the DC Design House is also a fundraiser that benefits Children’s National Medical Center.
1. Living Room
Camille Saum (Camille Saum Interior Design, LLC) and associate Whitney Hansen emphasized color in the light and airy living room. “We started with colors that would make it peaceful, lovely and comfortable,” Saum says. Flowing, crinoline-lined taffeta draperies played off Farrow & Ball’s Pale Powder walls. A chandelier by Niermann Weeks hung center stage and chairs designed by Saum in a chevron fabric flanked the fireplace. Saum installed a window seat with a bamboo base and pastel-hued pillows. A bold sculpture by Brian Kirk punctuated the tranquility and a delicate ceiling treatment, designed by Hansen, enhanced the room. To get a behind the scenes look Click Here.
2. Dining Room
Nestor Santa-Cruz, IIDA(Nestor Santa-Cruz Decoration), mixed periods and styles so the dining room would look “collected rather than decorated.” In this way, he conveyed “a polyglot sensibility” that connected the house to the embassies in the neighborhood. “I like to mix styles,” he says. “It’s the designer’s job to find a common language between things.” A Scandinavian dining table designed by Poul Kjaerholm coexisted beside a French Neoclassical chandelier from Marston Luce Antiques. An acrylic-and-glass console by Hugh Newell Jacobsen highlighted the stone-like, hand-painted wallpaper behind it. The wool rug by Matt Cameron was customized by Santa-Cruz.
3. Entry Foyer
With help from the DC Design House Advisory Committee, Farrow & Ball color consultant Eve Fay created an elegant, airy foyer to welcome visitors. Marble floors in a herringbone pattern delineated the space from the surrounding rooms, ensuring a sense of lightness throughout. Furniture finished in silver or painted in light hues added softness; all the furnishings and artwork came from David Iatesta, Inc. An original abstract oil painting by Iatesta himself was hung above the carved, painted Lancaster bench with its upholstered cushion. Farrow & Ball’s Cornforth White adorned the walls while Pointing was used on the ceiling.
David Mitchell (David Mitchell Interior Design) created the study with a well-traveled Harvard professor in mind. A far cry from the typical warren of dusty books, this retreat was designed for comfort and ease. Mitchell gathered large upholstered seating on a vintage Persian rug and lacquered a long teak table in a warm shade of green. Art and accessories appeared to be collected over a lifetime, “not like we went out and bought it all at once,” the designer says. “I wanted to convey a feeling of life and spontaneity.”
5. Family Room
Victoria Neale (Victoria Neale Interiors, LLC) took full advantage of the family room’s garden views, embracing organic materials and textures in her design. She combined drapes in a Cowtan & Tout botanical print with a sisal rug and wooden barrel chair by Formations. Nesting David Iatesta cocktail tables with iron frames and wooden tops played off softer textiles. Pillows, some made from hand-blocked fabrics Neale discovered in India, added a dose of color to the comfortable room. Says the designer, “I kept finding people sitting in here, which I loved.”
6. Powder Room
When designing the powder room, which already had classic black-and-white tile floors in place, Charles Almonte, AIA, ASID (Charles Almonte, LLC), found timeless inspiration in a Great Gatsby trailer depicting actress Carey Mulligan dressed in pink with a black and white Art Deco background. He created a similar effect with Farrow & Ball’s Lotus wall covering. “I knew I wanted something bold and dramatic,” he says. Almonte selected a mod Queen Anne lacquered mirror by Jonathan Adler for “a nice foil to the traditional motif.” A sculpture of pink recycled glass and purple tulipwood accessories added the finishing touches.
7. Morning Room
Iantha Carley (Iantha Carley Interiors) brought a Mid-Century vibe to the morning room. “When you can go back and revisit an era, you always do it better,” says the designer, who grew up in a Mid-Century home. Carley paired drapes in a cheery yellow and taupe Vervain floral with a geometric Phillip Jeffries jute wall covering that grounds the light-filled space. Mod accents ranged from a dramatic chandelier by Fine Art Lamps to a curvaceous Lucite table by Spectrum and a custom dog bed in orange fabric by Duralee.
8. Powder Room/Hallway
Intent on warming up a slightly “impersonal” powder room, Terri Hartwell Easter and Ashleigh Bradshaw (The Maris Elaine Gallery) painted the walls in Farrow & Ball’s soothing Charleston Gray. The designers aimed to bridge the softness of the adjacent living room and the masculine study nearby. Two metallic abstracts by Maureen Farrell dressed up the space. A turned-wood vessel by Arizona artist Eric Lima and a sculptural table blurred the lines between powder room and art gallery.
9. Kitchen/Butler’s Pantry
Under the guidance of Jessica Parker, LEED AP (GTM Architects), the kitchen became an open, inviting space for family to gather. The neutral palette included custom white, Shaker-style cabinets, light blue-gray walls and a glass-and-marble backsplash in gray and white. Against this backdrop, the dark-wood island topped with granite counters stood out, paired with Crate & Barrel stools. In the dining area, upholstered chairs in neutral and rust hues were grouped around a table from Century. A distinctive, handmade chandelier of painted twigs hung above the table and a mirror from Modloft reflected the view.
10. French Modern Bar
Andrea Houck (A. Houck Designs, Inc.) brought a sense of glamour to this hallway space “where you could have a martini, almost like you were going out in your own house” she says. Houck faux-finished the cabinetry in a burl mahogany and paired it with a caramel onyx countertop. Red lacquered and embossed wallpaper by Phillip Jeffries added drama and echoed the Zimmer + Rohde striped fabric on an elegant bench. A sculptural mirror from AmericanEye dressed up the wall painted in Farrow & Ball’s rich London Clay. A Nuevo chandelier added a funky vibe.
11. The Loggia
Located off the family room and kitchen, the loggia by Taylor Wells (Taylor Wells Design) overlooks the pool terrace below. Wells extended a sense of luxury outdoors with woven rattan seating surrounding a teak table with an inset granite top; all furniture was part of the Oscar de la Renta collection from Century. Plush upholstery and brightly striped pillows by Dash & Albert invited an afternoon of repose amid the greenery. Planters added more color and texture.
When designing the open lounge area on the lower level, Lorna Gross-Bryant, ASID (SAVANT Interior Design), looked for ways to enclose the space while still retaining openness and light. She delineated the area with upholstered screens from Century and topiaries, then chose Farrow & Ball’s Drawing Room Blue “for intimacy and definition,” making it high-gloss to bounce the light. Gross-Bryant centered the room around a sectional from Century and a quatrefoil chandelier from J. Lambeth. Calvin Klein wall tape with nail-head trim defined the fireplace wall while a Suzani rug from Galleria Carpet made a vibrant focal point.
13. Lower-Level Dining Room
Designing this relatively undefined space required ingenuity from Scott Cooke (Scott Cooke Design), who envisioned “an inviting room in which to congregate.” Cooke repeated the tray ceiling’s circular shape with a round sisal rug hand-painted by Billet Collins, a round dining table with a base from J. Lambeth and chairs from Henredon that echo the same curves. Modern art hung in a library area and throughout the space, providing a counterpoint to classical forms such as a chandelier by Niermann Weeks and an antique Buddha from Hollis & Knight. A palette of blue and terra cotta finished the room.
14. Covered Terrace
Extending the living space and color scheme from Lorna Gross-Bryant’s lounge, Jen Chappell and Ken Berry (AmericanEye) created inviting seating areas with an array of playful outdoor furniture. Poufs by Lee Uncovered, a water sculpture by glass artist Alison Sigethy and a tequila bar added whimsical touches to this comfortable al fresco room. A Dash & Albert outdoor rug softened the stone floor while cheery Sunbrella fabrics withstood the elements. “We wanted to create an adult space where you could see kids playing in the pool or watch a storm roll through,” says Chappell.
15. Master Mezzanine
Bringing the outdoors in was the primary goal for Claire Schwab, ASID, and Katharine Howard (Claire Schwab Interior Design, Inc.), who created a fresh, organic aesthetic in the hallway outside the master bedroom. A serene palette of light earth tones punctuated with soft green and orange provided a backdrop for outdoor elements such as plants and garden stools. An antique Chinese Qinghai altar table served as a focal point, and wallpaper from Kravet added interest. Paintings by Allen Levy and a pair of ottomans covered in a bright pattern enlivened the space.
16. Sitting Room
As conceived by Michael Hampton (Michael Hampton Design), the sitting room was “a tranquil retreat for lounging or working.” A flame-stitched carpet inspired the palette of cream, taupe and soft gold while a range of textures added richness. Alternating squares of faux bois wallpaper from Nobilis imparted character while metallic, lacquered wallpaper from Phillip Jeffries was a bold touch in the vestibule and desk area. Hampton paired the straight lines of a Parsons console with a curvy stool and centered the room with a custom daybed. Soft alpaca curtains were chosen “for the way they drape,” Hampton said.
17. Twins’ Nursery
In lieu of typical pink and blue, Nancy Twomey (Finnian’s Moon Interiors) took a more sophisticated approach in her nursery design. “We knew that Mom would be in here in the middle of the night,” the designer explains. “She needed to love her serene room.” Sleek iron cribs, hand-crocheted mobiles, crisp bedding and ribbed wallpaper panels imbued warmth and texture without looking busy. Mesh drapery panels by Kravet let daylight stream in. A local craftsman built bookshelves with circle cutouts to accommodate little hands. “They’re not perfect,” says Twomey, “as if someone’s grandfather had made them.”
18. Master Bedroom
Susan Jamieson (Bridget Beari Designs, Inc.) set out to evoke romance and vintage style in the master bedroom. An Elitis wallcovering that resembles travertine helped lighten the space. Jamieson flanked the iron bed frame by Mike Reid Weeks with an upholstered headboard and footboard and nightstands of her own design in a shagreen finish. A 1960s Grand Nest chandelier and a white flokati boosted the room’s mod quotient. “I like different shapes and different geometric patterns that play off each other, still keeping it soft and interesting,” Jamieson said. A mesmerizing abstract by Bill Fisher created a sense of calm.
19. Master Bathroom
Starting with the home’s opulent master bathroom already outfitted with honey-colored onyx tile and an oversized soaking tub, Darlene Molnar, Allied ASID (Darlene Molnar, LLC), kept furnishings and accessories to a minimum. At the vanity, a pair of iconic Harry Bertoia wire chairs were customized by Molnar’s father, a New Jersey leatherworker, with Edelman Leather. Across from the tub, TV screens in the mirrors entertained on demand. Carefully curated art included portraits, watercolors and painted textiles, while selectively applied black Dragged wallpaper by Farrow & Ball helped ground the light-filled retreat.
20. Teenage Boy’s Room
Boys of any age would feel at home in Regan Billingsley’s (Regan Billingsley Interiors, LLC) bedroom. The designer combed consignment shops as well as the Web for vintage finds that would add a sense of whimsy to the room. She had an artist friend refinish an old locker from a New York City public school and selected an Oushak rug from Timothy Paul over-dyed in acid green. Other “graphic and punchy” touches included “Disco Dan” posters from DC’s go-go heyday, bold Farrow & Ball striped wallpaper and a vintage trunk from her parents’ attic.
21. Away Room
To create a charming and peaceful refuge on the top floor of the house, Allie Mann (Case Design/Remodeling Inc.) emphasized the room’s angled ceilings with wide, painted stripes in Farrow & Ball’s Pointing and Slipper. A built-in daybed with attached cabinet storage from Crystal Cabinets was tucked into the far wall below the gabled window; it was illuminated by sconces from Ferguson Enterprises. The daybed and chaise were dressed in Robert Allen fabrics. A desk from Pottery Barn was paired with a chair from Robert Allen. The rug was from Susan Kasler through Ballard Designs.
22. Guest Room
Katherine Vernot-Jonas, Allied ASID (Katherine Vernot-Jonas Designs, LLC), transformed a small attic space into a cozy retreat for guests. She employed a graphic, black-and-white bedspread by Yves Delorme against the bold backdrop of Farrow & Ball’s Citron, with F & B’s Block Print Stripe Wallpaper in a black-and-white colorway as an accent. Vernot-Jonas installed a custom window seat with cushions that match the window valance. She replaced a carpeted floor with wood, added headboards upholstered in black to the twin beds and designed a diminutive, marble-topped nightstand to fit the small space.
23. Loft/Media Room
After passing through a landing with beautiful abstracts by Lisa Tureson on display, guests reached the loft/media room. Jeff Akseizer and Jamie Brown (Akseizer Design Group) conceived this modern refuge as a place where family members could curl up on the custom sectional and read or watch a movie or surf the Web on the four flat screens installed on a sleek media wall. A fabulous aquarium by ReefeScape (that automatically feeds its 300 inhabitants daily for three months) was equally captivating. “We wanted to eradicate the man cave,” says Akseizer, “and still have everybody together, having a good time.”
24. Entry Garden
The front entry garden was a challenge, says Amy Mills (DCA Landscape Architects, Inc.), because the house sat above driveway level. Mills and her team dealt with the height discrepancy—and created a strong sense of arrival—by building stone retaining walls. The terraced lawn is surrounded by evergreens and flowering plants such as hydrangeas, azaleas and camellias. At the bluestone-banded concrete paver driveway, a hedge of hollies provides privacy from busy Foxhall Road. White crape myrtles flank the bluestone front stairway up from the drive. A newly planted sycamore shades the yard.