Design Scene- A Modern Melange

Washington Design Center Design House

Foyer by KUBE Architecture

The Washington Design Center, in partnership with Metropolitan Home, presented its annual Fall 2006 Design House. Titled “Modern with a Capital M,” the eight-room display was the culmination of the efforts of eight area design teams who were unleashed in The Design Center’s luxury showrooms with a mission: to refurbish their spaces according to their own interpretations of what “Modern” means today. The results, in case you missed it, were sublime.

KUBE Architecture Washington, DC
The designers at Kube Architecture, in partnership with ITA Design and DMI Development Group, transformed the Design House entrance into an inviting series of folding planes. Flooring folded up to become seating, walls folded over to become ceilings and furniture materials folded down to serve as thresholds. The use of natural and eco-friendly materials—including polished black sea pebbles, recycled rubber flooring and bamboo—reflected the forward-thinking tenets of sustainable design.

Media Room by Gensler Architects

Media Room
Jordan Goldstein, AIA, and Jill Colletta Goebel
Gensler Architects Washington, DC

Rather than hiding technology away, Jordan Goldstein and Jill Colletta Goebel let it take center stage in their Japanese-inspired media room. Sony LCD flat panels were elevated to artwork on the walls and ceiling. A sunken lounge area invited visitors to relax and unwind, whether to watch the latest DVD release or simply enjoy each other’s company. Myriad seating options on the plush leather “floor” and the cushions sheathed in soft brown Maharam fabric let guests assume optimal viewing positions, even for watching TV on the ceiling. Why not?

Kitchen & Pantry by ColePrevost, Inc.

Kitchen & Pantry
Robert Cole, RIBA, and Sophie Prévost, ASID, IIDA
ColePrévost, Inc. Washington, DC

Debunking the notion that kitchens should be dark and serious, Robert Cole and Sophie Prévost lightened theirs up considerably with a crisp turquoise-and-white color palette. Their custom-designed dining/prep table would make a handsome and practical anchor in any kitchen. The herb garden, nurtured by special plant lights, lent an aromatic touch. Sleek Jenn-Air appliances and stainless-steel accents provided a high-tech contrast to Wood-Mode’s recycled-wood cabinetry. Unfurled rolls of fork-and-knife wallpaper by Tracy Kendall made a playful statement in the cozy seating area.

Living Room by Barry Dixon

Living Room
Barry Dixon
Barry Dixon Inc. Warrenton, VA

Barry Dixon is a master at mixing periods, styles and continents with panache. This living room was a case in point, where Dixon juxtaposed traditional architectural details with more contemporary pieces, many of his own design for the Barry Dixon Collection, available through J. Lambeth. Dixon’s Robertson bench took on a glamorous look, upholstered in a Watts of Westminster chenille

Bathroom by Division1 Architects

Division1 Architects
Silver Spring, MD

Show houses are meant to be forums where designers put forth ideas and working concepts. Division1 designers took the “modern” mandate to heart in their creation of a bathroom prototype. Clad in steel walls with a glass partition and dark-stained wooden bench, this was meant to be a sculptural “place to cleanse.” The sink was designed to channel clean water into the tub, creating the soothing sound of flowing water whether or not the bathtub was being used. A gutter in the tub would handle the overflow. Says principal Ali Honarkar, “Whether it’s practical or not, you always have to dream large.”

Dining Room by Patrick Sutton

Dining Room
Patrick Sutton
Patrick Sutton Associates Baltimore, MD

Inspired by recent travels, Patrick Sutton decided to emulate the elegance and simplicity he experienced in the dining rooms of both L’Ambroisie restaurant in Paris and in a rustic 16th-century guesthouse in Tuscany. “I found the austere beauty of both dining rooms at once ancient and modern,” Sutton recalls. He adopted the sparing touch, combining antiques, a rustic stone floor, a wrought-iron chandelier, a modern painting and simple fabrics in an uncluttered way that embodies elegance and warmth.

Wine Library by Darryl Carter

Wine Library
Darryl Carter
Darryl Carter Inc. Washington, DC

A wine cellar need not be relegated to a “cave” in the basement, as Darryl Carter so stylishly proved in his wine library. He achieved a modern sensibility by selecting Wood-Mode cabinetry in Nordic White and hanging a pendant of his own design (for The Urban Electric Company) over a pair of demilune tables from The Rist Corporation. White leather wingchairs with nail-head trim from the Darryl Carter Home Collection provided comfortable seating, perfect for the simultaneous enjoyment of a good Cabernet and a favorite book.

Master Bedroom by Raji Radakrishnan

Master Bedroom
Raji Radakrishnan
Raji RM & Associates Brambleton, VA

Raji Radakrishnan created this bedroom for a modern couple: he is a classicist while she loves modern design, especially the Art Deco period and the 1940s. The shell of the room reflects classical design in homage to Sir John Soane, with a Neoclassical mural and aged stone walls. The furnishings, however, are mainly from the 20th century, from Art Deco to contemporary pieces like the Arca bed and nightstands from Poliform/Sagart Studio and the metal tables with leather insets from Century. A modern mix indeed.