On the main floor, the living and dining rooms flow together. Colorful abstract paintings from Grand Image set the tone in the dining room area.
The adjacent kitchen was largely unaltered during the redesign.
A two-story wall of windows brings the outdoors in.
The second-story sitting room includes a series of colorful prints that accentuate the ceiling height.
The third-floor sitting room houses a Vitra sofa and chairs by Artifort.
Bright colors punctuate the master bedroom.
The renovated master bath pairs marble walls with a lacquered vanity and Silestone countertop.

City Living

Douglas Burton imparts a vibrant, modern edge to NFL linebacker D'Qwell Jackson's DC condo

NFL linebacker D’Qwell Jackson’s career began at the University of Maryland, but it has taken him far afield—to the Cleveland Browns in 2006 and, most recently, to the Indianapolis Colts. On returning to DC—where his girlfriend, Christina Weaver, grew up and now works as a lobbyist—he fell in love with the city, deciding to make it his off-season home. In fact, he and Weaver just recently completed the redesign of a condo in the U Street Corridor. 

Clearly, despite having just signed with the Colts in March, D’Qwell Jackson is in DC to stay. “For D’Qwell, it was really important to have diversity and economic variety around him,” comments Weaver. “We liked the feeling here that people of different backgrounds are blended and that everyone lives together.” 

It was during the house-hunting process that they happened upon a town home with interiors designed by Douglas Burton of Apartment Zero; colorful and modern, the space conveyed exactly the look Jackson and Weaver envisioned for their own residence. When they purchased their condo—part of a block of sleek, glass-walled, four-story town homes—they contacted Burton to give their interiors the same bright, warm, contemporary décor. “I wanted something modern, clean and functional,” Jackson says. “It needed to look good but be comfortable. Douglas’s expertise really showed itself during the process.”

The condo includes an entry floor; a main floor encompassing the open-plan living/dining room and kitchen, plus a guest room; a third floor with a TV room and master bedroom suite; and a fourth floor with another sitting area and access to a roof garden. Each level is connected by an open stairway with metal railings, and two-story atriums soar above the living room area and third-floor sitting room, where skylights bring in natural light. Light oak clads all the floors. 

Despite these touches, the condo’s interiors definitely needed a jump-start. “It was a vanilla box,” Burton recalls. “It was completely empty when I started.” Since color was very important to Jackson, the designer began by establishing a palette for each floor. Bright hues were the order of the day, so he and Jackson opted for chocolate browns and creams with pops of red (Jackson’s favorite color) on the main floor, while the second floor is finished in shades of gray punctuated by orange accents. 

Throughout the house, Burton and his clients selected a mix of original artwork and prints—bright, vibrant abstracts that convey a cheerful, upbeat mood. Jackson requested a TV in every room for watching sports, so Burton made an effort to position them as unobtrusively as possible. 

Since Apartment Zero represents a host of international contemporary furniture companies, Burton had his pick of furnishings with which to fill the space. He chose modern but comfortable pieces, some newly designed and some iconic. In the living room, with its two-story ceiling, matching sofas and ottomans by the Dutch manufacturer Leolux are grouped around a coffee table by Bensen of Canada; a Bocci chandelier of hand-blown glass is suspended overhead. The dining area centers on a table and chairs from Arco, enhanced by a Leucos light fixture and a rug from Kasthall. 

On the second floor, a sofa by Moroso shares space with a coffee table by Kristalia and an orange swivel chair by Artifort of the Netherlands that lends punch to the space. In the neighboring master bedroom, the bedstead, nightstands and desk all come from Bensen; a vintage Oyster Chair from Artifort and art from Grand Image add vibrancy to the otherwise muted space.

Though the kitchen and main-floor bath remain unaltered, Burton did remodel the master bath to give it a sense of openness. Previously separated from the rest of the bathroom by drywall, the shower is now enclosed by glass and clad in marble. Slate-like porcelain tile covers the floors and Silestone tops the lacquered vanity. A frosted-glass door leads into the WC.

For Jackson, the design process was a great experience. “I really enjoyed it,” he says. “It was something I wanted to do for myself. I wanted to see what I could create.” 

Photographer Morgan Howarth is based in Reston, Virginia. 

INTERIOR DESIGN: DOUGLAS BURTON, Apartment Zero, Arlington, Virginia. CONTRACTOR: BOWA, McLean, Virginia.