Watch this episode of “Capitals’ Red Line Monday” for a behind-the-scenes look at our photo shoot in Mike Green’s penthouse apartment.
Known for his bold moves on the ice, Washington Capitals’ defenseman Mike Green is just as daring when it comes to design. Settling in for his fourth season on the team, Green purchased a new penthouse loft in Clarendon last summer. He was drawn to the condo for its abundant natural light and reclaimed brick accents. But he had a few improvements in mind. Green wanted to trade in its white walls and standard finishes for a look that was young and hip. He also wanted a water feature, a wine cellar and TVs in every room. And, he figured, what good is a rooftop terrace without a hot tub big enough to hold a bunch of friends?
To help him make these goals a reality, Green tapped interior designer Leslie Rose of Jenkins Baer Associates in Baltimore, who had recently helped her brother outfit his bachelor’s pad in the same complex. Green saw photos of the brother’s home and knew he wanted to achieve the same vibe. So he called Rose just as he was leaving town for summer break in his native Calgary, hoping she’d have a plan in place when he came back to DC in September.
“Every apartment here has the same floor and the same brick and the same cupboards,” says Green. “I wanted to make it my own. I told Leslie I want it to be very modern, clean and simple, yet a little bit ‘rock and roll.’”
Rose got the message. She and Green bounced ideas back and forth in daily emails. After Green returned for training camp in September, she arrived at their first face-to-face meeting fully prepared. “I had done a furniture plan,” she recalls. “I brought in some carpets and lights to kind of get the ball rolling. We got off to a really good start and definitely clicked.”
Rose proposed a dark, masculine color scheme punctuated by bright works of art. They decided to paint the walls Gauntlet Gray (by Sherwin Williams) and stain the wood floors a deep ebony. She balanced sleek modern pieces with a few traditional touches. “Mike’s got a very personal style,” she says. “It was easy to play off that. And the space lent itself to a direction with its industrial feel. I was trying to blend the two. I think we hit it.”
Rose wanted to create comfortable arrangements that would suit her client’s lifestyle. “My goal always, especially when doing something contemporary and modern, is keeping it comfortable and inviting. I’m not a minimalist,” says Rose. “There is a certain traditional element in some of the stuff here, and I sometimes had to convince Mike that it was okay to do.” The draperies around the banquette, for example, are damask—tricked out in a funky black and silver color scheme. “I was afraid to show him that. But he said, ‘No, I love it,’” she recalls. “Mike has really good taste. He won’t take as much credit as he deserves. He pushed me a lot, keeping it a little edgier than I typically do.”
Rose’s plan dictated a few structural changes. They replaced all of the brand-new kitchen and bath cabinetry with lacquered cabinets for a more modern look. They installed a track lighting system, moved the door to the master bedroom to make space for a custom banquette and relocated the laundry room to create an open wine cellar. To top it all off, a hot tub was craned onto the second-story deck—where Green and guests can now enjoy views of a large video screen hung inside on a wall above the main living space while outdoor speakers provide sound.
Green turned to Scott Thomas of NGenius to outfit his home with the latest smart-home technology. “Touch panels on the walls allow Mike to control every aspect of the home: heating, cooling, home security, every light in the house, all the TVs, satellite radio, music, blinds, MP3, Internet and temperature,” Thomas explains. “Everything is controlled through one single system that he can access anywhere—even on the road.”
Now that he’s moved into his new home, Green is enjoying life in Washington more than ever. The fact that the six-foot-two, 208-pound defenseman is (at press time) the number-one scorer of all defensive players in the NHL—despite missing 13 games for a shoulder injury—doesn’t hurt either. The Caps are on a roll and hopes run high for a chance at the playoffs. “The city’s getting into hockey. And we have such a good group of guys,” says Green. “You get on a lot of teams and guys don’t care that much. Here, it’s a lot different. The guys are my family.”
Green’s teammates have an open invitation to hang out in his new loft. “I made it clear that any time they’re ready to play, they can just come here,” he says.
Does Green look forward to coming home to relax after tough games and long road trips? The soft-spoken 23-year-old pauses for a nano-second. “I think I’m going to be doing more partying than relaxing here,” he says. “The time for me to relax is in the summer.”
Photographer Lydia Cutter is based in McLean, Virginia.
INTERIOR DESIGN: Leslie Rose, Jenkins Baer Associates, Baltimore, Maryland. AUTOMATION: Scott Thomas, NGenius, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.