Designers Danny Christmas and Shannon Woodward
helped them update the once-drab space using
sophisticated furnishings and a warm color palette.
At home for a short break from the campaign trail in January, ABC News senior political correspondent Jake Tapper plays with six-month-old daughter, Alice Paul, in his sun-filled great room. In two days, Tapper is scheduled to fly down to Fort Lauderdale to catch up with the Giuliani campaign and then to Simi Valley, California, to cover a Republican debate. Where he goes after that is anyone’s guess. “If I get to run home and see Alice during this busy time, I always take the opportunity,” he says as she nods off in his arms. “This makes the three-hour flight worth it.”
With election year in full swing, Tapper will be on the road for weeks on end. But fortunately, the family’s new home in a forested enclave bordering Rock Creek Park offers a peaceful refuge from the fray when Tapper just happens to be in DC. “There’s nothing like coming back here after an intense day of political melodrama and sitting on the porch,” he says. “It’s quiet and isolated. Even though it’s just a few blocks away from one of the busiest streets in DC, it feels like another world.”
A self-described “political dork” who grew up in Philadelphia, Jake Tapper, 38, has lived in Washington since the 1990s. He began his journalism career in print, covering politics for Washington City Paper and later Salon.com. After stints on the CNN talk show “Take Five” and a VH1 series on pop culture, he landed a job with ABC News. Tapper now contributes regularly to “Good Morning America,” “Nightline,” “World News with Charles Gibson” and “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.”
Tapper met Jennifer at the 2004Iowa presidential caucus. They made plans to go to dinner back home in DC the following night. “After that first dinner with him, I knew something was going to happen,” says Jennifer, who does advocacy work on women’s issues. The couple married in 2006 in Jennifer’s home state of Missouri. “We got married at President Truman’s old men’s club,” says Jennifer. “It felt very East Coast because of the history and the politics.”
After a few months in Jake’s Adams Morgan bachelor pad (black leather sofa, James Bond poster), the couple decided it was time to find a more permanent residence. When their agent showed them the four-story home on Rock Creek, they were instantly drawn to the property and its leafy surroundings. “There was so much natural light. I had a deep emotional connection to it on one level because it reminds me a lot of my grandparents’ house…from the bookshelves in the living room to the light to the trees,” says Jake. They made an offer within hours and the house was theirs.
The Tappers turned to mother-daughter design team Danny Christmas and Shannon Woodward for help with the interiors. “Every wall was white,” recalls Jennifer. “There were these thick curtains in the great room. It seemed kind of closed-in and dark. We wanted to make it feel more like a home, give it some warmth and make it a happy place to walk into.”
In close collaboration with Jennifer, Christmas and Woodward set out to create spaces that reflected the couple’s style. They selected a warm color palette of creams and golds and replaced the heavy cornices with dupioni silk drapes. They upholstered new furniture—including a pair of love seats and a sofa in the great room—with rich fabrics in gold, raspberry and toile. And in the dining room, they fashioned custom drapes in a vibrant silk plaid.
“We wanted it to be youthful,” says Woodward. “It’s their first home and Jennifer wanted to be able to entertain more and wanted it to be sophisticated but still fun.”
The Tappers couldn’t be happier with the outcome. “I think having this home be such a reflection of who I am and who Jake is makes me feel very comfortable,” says Jennifer. “Even when he’s not here, it doesn’t seem like he’s very far away.”
The great room of the home.
The Tappers moved into the house in May 2007, just a few months before Alice was born; most of the work was complete in time for her arrival. The nursery is done up in pink—Jennifer’s favorite color. Above the changing table is a painting that Jake created for their daughter in the months before her birth.
To spend as much time as possible with the family, Tapper has a soundproof study equipped so that he can feed audio from home. He also posts daily commentary on his ABC News blog, Political Punch.
In the world of round-the-clock news online and on TV, does this political junky have a hard time disconnecting from the never-ending stream of political drama and punditry? “With 24/7 [news] and Blackberries and email, it can be a challenge,” Tapper admits. “But if Alice is awake, it’s pretty easy to put the Blackberry away.”
Photographer Bob Narod is based in Sterling, Virginia
INTERIOR DESIGN: Danny Christmas, ASID, and Shannon Woodward, Interior Magic, Chevy Chase, Maryland
Jake and Jennifer Tapper relax with daughter Alice Paul
in the great room of their new home.
Jake Tapper selected the painting of a farm scene to
pay tribute to the rural tapestry surrounding his wife’s
hometown, St. Joseph, Missouri.
Punches of color on the custom silk drapes and
dragonfly fabric enliven the dining room, which is
painted in Sultan’s Palace by Benjamin Moore.
Jake Tapper, an amateur cartoonist and former
art minor at Dartmouth, created a painting for Alice
Alice Paul is named for the famous suffragist, whose
autographed photo hangs outside the nursery.
Jake’s mother, Anne Tapper, creates wedding quilts
using mementoes collected from couples’ family and
friends. She gave one to Jake and Jennifer, who used
it as a chuppah, or ceremonial canopy, at their wedding.
Jake Tapper in his soundproof study, where some of his
own political caricatures are on display.