The 2010 DC Design House took the Washington area by storm this spring, attracting record numbers of visitors to tour the grand, 1905 country house in Chevy Chase. Talented local designers revived this Georgian-style grand dame and proceeds from the event benefitted Children’s National Medical Center.
A Warm Welcome
The elegant entry hall (above) is characterized by elaborate moldings and trim, which provided a challenge for Shazalynn Cavin-Winfrey of SCW Interiors. “I wanted to refresh these historic features,” she says, “and to build cohesion without over-decorating.” She chose wide-striped Farrow & Ball wallpaper—upstairs and down—and three Niermann Weeks hand-beaded crystal chandeliers to unify the expanse and add visual interest. A custom circular bench provides a focal point. All fabrics are sustainable, made from jute and linen; two paintings by Ruth Bolduan hang above custom-designed demilune consoles.
In the conservatory, Barry Dixon of Barry Dixon Inc., bridged the formality of the adjacent foyer with the surrounding landscape on the other side of the triple French doors. He expertly balanced classic elements such as the original crown molding with rustic objects that evoke the outdoors. Pieces from Dixon’s furniture collection, upholstered in his new fabrics for Vervain, mingle with antiques including a leather armchair from Paris. “To take the showroom mentality out of a show house room,” he says, “you need to bring antiques in.”
Light and Airy Retreat
Victoria Sanchez, ASID, of Victoria Sanchez Interiors offered a new take on the traditional library. In lieu of paneling and floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, she kept it light and airy. “I wanted to create an adult ‘time-out’ room where you can enjoy your morning coffee with the doors open,” she says. Sanchez designed coffered ceilings for architectural interest and added shimmer with gold and silver accents, from the ceiling paint to the Niermann Weeks chandelier and luminous Stark carpet. Reproduction Picasso prints create a tailored vibe. “In some rooms,” says Sanchez, “less is more.”
Designer Nestor Santa-Cruz, IIDA, of Nestor Santa-Cruz Interior Design inherited a few challenges in the reception room. He decided to retain the faux travertine walls and gilded trim on the ceiling, but painted over an existing “neo-Egyptian” ceiling mural. Santa-Cruz selected furnishings in perfect proportion and scale, mixing modern pieces such as a 1960s Danish sofa and a painting by William Willis with antiques including a 19th-century steel-and-bronze articulating table from Marston Luce. “I kept the neo-classical shell,” says the designer. “It just needed to be cleaned up.”
The spacious living room provided a canvas for Frank Babb Randolph’s design philosophy. “I want to make things light,” he says. “The room was dark and gloomy and I wanted it to feel happy, young and fresh.” He painted the walls a soft, pale gray and used light, airy fabrics. Most of the furnishings and accessories came from David Iatesta and Tone on Tone. The limestone fireplace mantel was sanded and buffed, and a large mirror was placed over it to balance against the massive fireplace opening.
Faced with an oddly shaped dining room that lacked architectural interest, Basha White, ASID, of Basha White Interiors decided to play up the room’s best asset—its height—and draw the eye up with tall David Iatesta mirrors and floor-to-ceiling silk-taffeta drapes. A blend of textures and reflective surfaces creates a hint of glamour, from the silver-leaf ceiling treatment by The Valley Craftsmen to the rock-crystal Ebanista chandelier. A custom, hand-rubbed table by Keith Fritz and antique chairs reflect the home’s classic lineage.
The conservatory terrace by designer Andrew Law of Andrew Law Interior Design brings the home’s architectural grandeur outdoors. A new paneled ceiling and a lighting plan combining a coach lantern, an iron chandelier and recessed lights evoke the feeling of an indoor room. Not to mention wonderful textures, from the weatherproof rug, the Niermann Weeks dining chairs in a gesso finish and the marble-topped table with a base of 19th-century French faux bois. A hand-carved 19th-century stone eagle sculpture creates a dramatic focal point.
An Intimate Escape
Cynthia Ferranto of Cynthia Ferranto Landscape Design was charged with revitalizing the entry terrace and sunken garden on the west side of the home (right). After turning on a newly installed fountain in the sunken garden, she says, “the history of the house came back to life.” She replaced a brick pathway with a narrower pea-gravel path, creating space for plantings and imparting a fresh new look. A pair of weeping cherry trees transplanted from the front garden brings color to the intimate space while a new cast-stone urn (above) offers a focal point.
Al Fresco Modern
Brown Jordan’s Open seating collection by Nicolas Thomkins was the inspiration for Emily Bishop of Emily Bishop Interior Design in her scheme for the deck and patio. “It’s a resin basket weave,” she says, “sleek and modern but textural and timeless.” Bishop chose not to introduce a lot of color and pattern, preferring clean-lined simplicity, but added whimsical pillows in Whammo Camo, a Perennials pattern, against the other neutral outdoor fabrics. “I wanted to let the environment speak for itself,” she says. Wanda Crossley of Matthews House and Garden spruced up the landscaping around the pool.
Rosi Kallivokas of Casablanca Designs devised a kitchen plan with a formal side for entertaining and a more casual side for family gatherings. “I kept it true to the tradition of the home, but made it very ‘today,’” she says. A light palette combining oak and painted Clive Christian cabinets and Arctic Cream granite lends the space a timeless look, while the built-in TV above the range brings it into the 21st century. A large armoire conceals one of the room’s two refrigerators—as well as a supporting post that would have otherwise stuck out in the space.
The sun room by Sarah Wessel of Sarah Wessel Designs, Ltd., was inspired by a 1930s Romo fabric print that gave the designer “the feeling of an orangerie or conservatory.” The irregularly shaped room has white-painted brick walls; Wessel refurbished the existing chandelier and retained the black-and-white vinyl floor tiles, which offset Meyer lemon and sweet kumquat trees. A David Iatesta console holds small plants while the brick wall above the loveseat by JANUS et Cie displays a collection of 28 19th-century mushroom engravings.
Designer Lynni Megginson of Virtual Golf Girl converted the estate’s former carriage house into a clubby home-entertainment center. The main attraction is a high-definition golf simulator that, with the push of a button, can be easily switched into a home theater system offering movies, TV, Wii and other gaming options. But with cozy furnishings by Edward Ferrell + Lewis Mittman, the room is also a great gathering space. Says Megginson, “I wanted to create a lounge that anyone—not just the golfer—can enjoy.”
A Restful Refuge
When Sally Steponkus of Sally Steponkus Interiors viewed the expansive master bedroom, she immediately visualized a butterscotch hue. Textured, striae Farrow & Ball wallpaper in just the right shade inspired a space she describes as “neutral but not bland—quiet and restful.” Wall-to-wall carpet from Godfrey Hirst in the same hue unifies the space, and furniture by the bay windows is “lady-size—classic but not old-fashioned.” Fabrics for upholstery, draperies and bedding by Quadrille, and furnishings and accessories from J. Lambeth & Co., among others, complete the room.
An Open Plan
When Celia Welch of Celia Welch Interiors encountered the dark, cluttered master dressing room, her first thought was to open it up. She removed a wall to create an elegant, inviting retreat. “The ceilings seemed low,” she says, “but it was because of low moldings, which we raised.” Welch lined the perimeters of the room with built-in closets and painted walls, trim and closets in warm grays. She stained the heart-pine floor ebony then added antique furnishings. A delicate chandelier from Michael Cleary finished off the space.
In her design for the study, Rose DiNapoli of Morris DiNapoli Interior Architecture and Decorative Arts emphasized the room’s architectural elements by adding wainscoting throughout. “We wanted a space that would be an old-fashioned study, not an office,” she says. The wainscoting accentuates the window moldings; the wallpaper from Charles Rupert Designs has a pattern typical of the period of the house. A Tibetan silk-and-wool rug echoes the color scheme while antique furniture mixes with modern accessories to bring the room into the present day.
An Artist’s Haven
The diverse artwork of a Georgetown gallery inspired Tracy Morris of Tracy Morris Design to create a mid-century artist’s studio with what the designer calls “a mosaic of colors, textures and mediums.” These include artwork from Susan Calloway Fine Art in a variety of styles and forms; such design elements as a Lucite desk juxtaposed with a velvet-seated chair illustrate the theme of eclecticism. The cream-colored walls allow the art to stand out, and delicate woven shades admit plenty of natural light.
A Bold Palette
Kelley Proxmire of Kelley Interior Design envisioned the family living room as a “his-and-hers” space. Proxmire was inspired by a brown-and-white damask print from Schumacher, which set the tone for what she calls “the room’s masculine-feminine dynamic.” Dark brown walls contrast crisply with white trim, draperies and upholstery, while metal-gray accents soften the effect. Numerous windows and doors created a design challenge; Proxmire arranged seating vignettes at each end of the room, and placed a custom octagonal skirted table in the center as a focal point.
“Bedrooms should be very tranquil, soft, luxurious and quiet spaces,” says Michael Hampton of Michael Hampton Design. Hampton applied this philosophy to the guest room, concealing a center window behind drapery so the David Iatesta bed could become a focal point. Next, he layered rich textures on every surface, from the custom cowhide rug to the Manuel Canovas upholstery on the walls and the silk velvet on the slipper chairs. A painting by Virginia artist John Matthew Moore echoes the subdued color scheme.
Barbara Franceski, ASID, of Barbara Franceski, LLC, poured a good deal of thought into her guest sitting room, where classic furniture and art mingle with the contemporary. Formal elements, such as the Bergamo shade and the silk-upholstered settee, contrast with such unexpected touches as a piece of driftwood used as sculpture and Donghia chairs covered in bleached cowhide. “These items bring casualness to a formal space,” says Franceski. “It’s the concept of ‘rough luxe.’ If everything is too perfect, it can feel like a museum.”
Fresh and Feminine
Page Palmer, Allied ASID, of Page Palmer Interior Design conceived the 10-by-18-foot girl’s bedroom for an occupant from the age of eight to 18. Using warm, sunny yellow wallpaper, lavender-accented upholstery and bedding from Cowtan & Tout, Fabricut and Robert Allen, she created a space that is youthful yet sophisticated. “People loved the colors,” Palmer says. “It’s the juxtaposition of the white with the lavender. The white furniture adds crispness.” A six-foot-high headboard with triple arches echoes the home’s architectural style.
Lisa Adams, ASID, of Adams Design, Inc., designed the boy’s room with a 13-year-old resident in mind. “Boys this age want entertainment space and flexibility,” she says. Twin head-to-head beds provide comfy space for stretching out or sleeping, while round poufs invite kids to read or do homework on the floor. Everything is moveable, from the Fritz Hansen hydraulic table to the desk on wheels. A punchy red wall and custom dog prints by Debra Nicholas are a backdrop any young man can grow up with. Adams updated the children’s bathroom (below) in collaboration with Page Palmer, adding a coat of blue paint, a custom Roman shade and new fixtures for a bright, crisp look.
Photographer Gordon Beall is based in Bethesda, Maryland.