A bold, irregular slice of blue agate on a sculptural framework of gold vermeil provided inspiration for designers Joe Ireland and Julie Weber of J. D. Ireland Interior Architecture + Design. Their atrium—the first space visitors see when they enter the DreamHome—mirrors the necklace’s simple, organic sensibility. The designers utilized natural elements, such as rugged stone flooring and a raised central green space. The circular agate shape is repeated in the iron sculptures that rise from the greenery, and in the wall panels hand-painted by Stacey Tranter of Twin Diamond Studios, which incorporate a bit of the agate blue into their vine motif. These design elements are juxtaposed with the sophistication and glamour of brass torchieres by Tony Duquette; a giant clam shell on a pedestal from J. Lambeth & Co. adds interest. The necklace was designed by Jaclyn Mason, owner of Charm Georgetown.
Inspired by the rare yellow stones in the delicate platinum and diamond earrings, necklace and ring designed and set by Pampillonia Jewelers, designer Lorna Gross of SAVANT Interior Design created a club room for women: a space that’s elegant with a touch of glitz yet comfortable enough for guests to kick off their four-inch heels. While the gray walls convey a serious note, the furnishings are feminine, the accent colors are rich and the patterned rug adds a softening touch. A transitional white sofa from Century reflects the classic style of the jewelry, while sleek metal and velvet chairs by Donghia offer comfort but communicate a contemporary sensibility. An array of silk pillows—some in vibrant saffron and chartreuse—provide dramatic counterpoints to the soft, monochromatic décor; yellow shades echo the diamonds in the jewelry. Mirrored white armoires by Henredon and silver gray draperies by Bergamo/Sahco for Donghia add a sense of opulence.
Designer Susan Nelson of Susan Nelson Interiors loves to mix patterns and colors—a fact that is immediately apparent from her choice of the tourmaline, peridot and citrine necklace by Dina Mackney Designs as her starting point for the living room. The green and yellow gems against the gold setting only hint at the mix of yellows, greens, lavenders and shades of blue that she used with abandon to create a space that’s whimsical and lighthearted as well as elegant. One end of the room has become the conversation area, with comfortable seating for six on sofas and wing chairs. At the other end, a game table by Hickory Chair and chairs by Lee Industries from AmericanEye center the activity, nestled under the glow of an aqua glass Currey & Co. chandelier also from AmericanEye. A mirror-topped Turgot console table by Henredon adds a dose of glitter to the space.
Andy Staszak of Andy Staszak Interior Design knew what he was looking for when he entered Adeler Jewelers to find inspiration for his family room. He envisioned a relaxed space with an organic aesthetic, and hoped to find something that would feel neither masculine nor feminine and would exude a restrained elegance. What caught his imagination was unexpected: a pair of earrings crafted from first century BC Roman silver coins set in 14-karat hand-hammered gold with four small bezel-set diamonds. In order to capture the feel of the jewelry in the room, Staszak chose an earthy, neutral palette, combining dark brown chenille upholstery on the Bond Street sofa by Donghia with custom hand-printed cotton wallpaper and hand-blocked linen draperies by Schumacher. To reflect the old and new components of the earrings, he juxtaposed a barrel chair upholstered in cowhide from Donghia with an inlaid chest from Ebanista.
When planning her cozy sitting room, Charlotte Palmer Lekakos of Willard and Palmer Interior Design was inspired by the optimistic patriotism of Ann Hand’s jewelry. Borrowing colors from the red, white and blue tones of the rubies, diamonds and sapphires in Hand’s American eagle pin, she mingled seemingly disparate design elements to create a relaxed and comfortable space. By blending numerous shades of red—from persimmon to a pinkish hue—as highlights to the white and blue of the walls and main furnishings, she added just enough color to keep it warm but not too bright. Whitewashed floor lamps and a weathered folding screen by Niermann Weeks provide a backdrop to all-American accents such as bold gingham wallpaper by Schumacher, patterned pillows from AmericanEye and a red lacquer-and-glass coffee table by Michael-Cleary. A leather campaign chair contributes a playful note of foreign intrigue.
Different points of inspiration created this understated, one-of-a-kind cocktail ring by Shah & Shah Appraisers. The bark-textured piece is accented with veins of diamonds to create a look that is both organic and elegant, fresh and traditional. These very elements served to frame the design and execution of this bedroom retreat by Zoe Feldman of Zoe Feldman Design, which also includes a touch of what she calls “DC glam.” Quiet shades of silver and gold keep the mood serene, while punctuations of bold saffron and melon in the upholstery and accent pillows give it interest. A rattan fan-back chair, a patchwork-hide accent rug by Edelman Leather and the upholstered bed by Barbara Barry for Henredon introduce natural materials into the design. Glamorous elements—such as the round gilded mirror by Baker and the Lotus motif sofa table by Viya Home for Odegard—are subtle and sparingly used.
Robert Shields of Robert Shields Interiors was inspired by a 1925 Art Deco, Egyptian-revival diamond and emerald brooch-cum-necklace he found at Chas. Schwartz & Son. Shields subtly wove elements of classical architecture and history into the design of a restful reading room that borrows its color palette from the emerald centered in the clasp and the gray Tahitian pearls attached to it. The focal point of the room, like the center stone of the brooch, is the fireplace whose striking surround is a swirling, Verde Bamboo Green marble slab. Dark and peaceful shades of gray prevail in the rest of the space, while a Villa Sofa and Percheron chairs, both through Holly Hunt, offer comfortable seating beside the hearth. In homage to the Egyptian Revival period of the jewelry, Shields constructed bookcases that slant up to the ceiling and added a pair of stylized figure sculptures in bronze.
When Chad Alan of Chad Alan Designs entered the Tiny Jewel Box, he had something very specific in mind: a piece of jewelry with a wood component. To his surprise, this custom necklace made for a Donna Karan runway show contained what he wanted. Crafted of silver, wood and brass, it created the jumping off point for a bedroom that would feature a variety of natural materials. Alan installed a wood floor, stenciling it with concentric diamond shapes. He covered the walls in deep blue grass cloth, then hand-applied a flower and leaf design using a staple gun (it took 25,000 staples to finish the job). Added to the quirky mix is a Julia Gray four-poster bed with an upholstered headboard, leather sheets, an embroidered wool sateen bedspread and appliquéd pillows from Holland & Sherry; draperies feature Duralee fabric, while the area rug comes from J. Asher Carpet Couture.
Jeanne Blackburn is based in Montgomery Village, Maryland. Thomas Arledge is a Bethesda, Maryland, photographer.
PLAN YOUR VISIT: DreamHome: Jewel Tones of Design will remain open through December 9, 2011, at The Washington Design Center. Admission is free. For more information, visit dcdesigncenter.com.