A newly completed house in McLean, Virginia, hosted the 2015 DC Design House. Designed by Harrison Design and built by Artisan Builders, the 8,869-square-foot home conveys a farm-house vernacular recalling the region’s bygone days. This year, 24 area design teams transformed 28 spaces—indoors and out—using creative, innovative ideas that respected the home’s rustic style while injecting sophistication, elegance and a touch of whimsy. With Home & Design as its media sponsor, the show house was open for tours April 11 through May 10; in case you missed it, we highlight each room online. Now in its eighth year, the DC Design House benefits Children’s National Health System.
VINTAGE FIND Sarah Wessel’s BREAKFAST AREA began with a painting by Kitty Williams based on early 20th-century WPA photographs. It set the tone for a space that combined new and vintage pieces—and served as a visual extension of the kitchen, which Wessel also accessorized. An antique French farm table from Côté Jardin and Lee Industries chairs rest atop a soft-hued rug from Stark. For the drapes, “I reversed a hand-blocked fabric by Lee Jofa to give it a softer look,” Wessel says. Pendants from Currey & Company evoked fireflies in a jar. Design: Sarah Wessel, Sarah Wessel Designs, Ltd.
OUTDOOR OASIS “Think South of France, dining al fresco,” suggests Skip Sroka of the elegant GARDEN PAVILION he designed on the patio. Fabricated by Walpole Outdoors LLC, the structure created an oasis for entertaining in the backyard. The intimate gathering space had ample room for a dining table, chairs, and chandelier by Sroka Design. All-weather draperies and cushion fabrics by Robert Allen and a rug from Infinity Fabrics sported a classic blue-and-white palette. Design: Skip Sroka, CID, ASID; Antonella Cestone Lafranchise, Sroka Design Incorporated.
FUNCTIONAL & FUN Margery Wedderburn gave “a nod to the Virginia countryside” in the BUTLER’S PANTRY. She chose custom wallpaper by Stacey Tranter: faux wood for the ceiling and botanical for the walls. Dishes and glassware came to life against the backdrop of an open pantry cupboard, papered by Tranter in a horizontal stripe. Touches of vibrant teal punctuated the room, even adorning a pendant from AmericanEye that Wedderburn lacquered for space. Design: Margery Wedderburn, Margery Wedderburn Interiors, LLC.
KITCHEN KARMA The KITCHEN by J. Paul Lobkovich and Emily Neifeld combined rustic wood beams overhead with clean-lined custom cabinetry by Signature featuring inset doors that created a modern feel. The island, with its walnut base and legs, was “more like a big farmhouse table,” says Neifeld. Crisp, white cabinets were offset by a niche of walnut built-ins. Taj Mahal quartzite countertops and a Tatami mosaic-stone backsplash kept the space light and airy. Design: J. Paul Lobkovich, Emily Neifeld, Lobkovich Kitchen Designs.
NATURAL SANCTUARY With curtained borders and a wall of evergreen shrubs, the LOGGIA “was meant to be a gathering spot with a sense of sanctuary,” says Nancy Colbert. A gray-washed teak sectional from JANUS et Cie and chairs from Lee Industries surrounded a custom, a granite-topped table that doubled as a fire pit, while an Arteriors mirror provided a focal point. Punches of soft teal in the ceiling, Sunbrella upholstery and throw pillows added color and fun. Design: Nancy Colbert, NCIDQ, ASID, CID, Design Partners, LLC.
GOING GREEN Iantha Carley envisioned “a FAMILY ROOM that would be cozy for family use—respectful of country style, but with a modern eye.” She selected a large-format botanical pattern by Lee Jofa for the drapes, then took her cues for the room’s striking palette from its vivid greens. Benjamin Moore’s Dragonwell Green covered the walls, tempered by white trim and furniture upholstered in white indoor/outdoor Perennials fabric. The custom coffee table was fabricated by Michael James Furniture. Design: Iantha Carley, Iantha Carley Interiors.
MODERN FARMHOUSE Jeff Akseizer and Jamie Brown bridged modern and rustic sensibilities in the DINING ROOM with white custom cabinets, wallpaper in a geometric pattern by Thibaut, modern hide chairs by Saddleman’s and a custom dining table by Keith Fritz. As an organic element, says Brown, “We made coffers for the ceilings, then used birch-stick remnants from a paper farm inside of them.” A dramatic, modern chandelier from Stilnovo suggested branches falling.
In the adjoining GALLERY, which links the public spaces, the design team went a different route to create “a modern take on farmhouse style,” says Akseizer. They offset the long, narrow room, bordered by a wall of stone, with crisp, white trim and a ceiling clad in Thibaut grasscloth that echoed the gray in the stonework. An antique chest and acrylic chairs from Spectrum lined the stone wall and abstract artwork by Lisa Tureson completed the look. Design: Jeff Akseizer and Jamie Brown, Akseizer Design Group.
RUSTIC REVIVAL Michael Hampton was inspired by the home’s architecture in the design of his LIBRARY, where “farm meets Greek Revival,” he explains. A backdrop of bleached-oak woodwork kept the room light yet cozy and a Chinoiserie painting above the John Rosselli sofa sparked the palette of greens and golds. A classical Greek key motif embellished the marble-topped coffee table from John Rosselli in Georgetown and Neoclassical painted chairs were paired with a table by Michael S. Smith. Design: Michael Hampton, Michael Hampton Design.
ARTISTIC TOUCH A 1952 painting by Helen Frankenthaler inspired Lisa Tureson’s design for the POWDER ROOM. An artist herself, Tureson painted a series of acrylics based on Frankenthaler’s work, positioning them throughout the small space. She finished the walls in a layer of quartz to create a subtly glittering surface. A console designed by Michael Hampton fit perfectly into space, and over the vanity, a mirror hand-etched by Tureson drew the eye. Design: Lisa S. Tureson, Studio Artistica.
FARMHOUSE CHIC Hoping to “draw people in” to the LIVING ROOM, Annette Hannon covered one wall in a hand-painted, hand-embroidered silk wall covering by Fromental depicting delicate cherry blossoms that appeared to float onto the ceiling. A reclaimed-wood fireplace mantel imparted an organic flavor to the room, which she describes as “a great mix of farmhouse and chic.” A chandelier by David Iatesta and custom coffee table by Keith Fritz added an artisanal touch. Design: Annette Hannon, Annette Hannon Interior Design, Ltd.
A UNIFYING ELEMENT “The BACK STAIR HALL is the vantage point for everything,” says David Benton. “We wanted it to be warm and welcoming, not just a hallway.” In the absence of a window on the first floor, Benton hung a painting of clouds, then chose elegant and functional furniture and accessories to create the impression of an acquired collection; a built-in desk occupies a niche. A graphic Cole & Son wallpaper pattern on the stairwell united the first and second floors. Design: David A. Benton, AIA, RA Spaces & Rill Architects.
GLAMOROUS TOUCH “We created a modern space with a hint of glam while respecting the home’s farmhouse-inspired architecture,” says Pamela Harvey of her design for the ENTRY AND UPPER STAIR HALL. Crisp, white-painted millwork provided a backdrop to subtle blush- and pewter-toned accents. A chandelier from Circa Lighting picked up gold hues in the nearby stonework. A glittery fabric wall covering from Beacon Hill started on the stairs and continued to the second-floor hallway, where an adjoining alcove beckoned. Design: Pamela Harvey, Pamela Harvey Interiors, LLC.
WELCOMING VIBE Country Casual designers Nicolette Powell and John LeMieux used teak furniture and accessories and cushions in vibrant blue, green and yellow to create a welcoming vibe on the FRONT PORCH. “We wanted a casual, warm approach to the house,” says LeMieux. A line of rocking chairs flanked the front door on one side while a glider, two armchairs, and a coffee table beckoned on the other. A granite-topped buffet table held greenery and teak planters lined the driveway. Design: Nicolette Powell and John LeMieux, Country Casual.
A SENSE OF AGE Charles Owen of Fine Landscapes, Ltd., selected LANDSCAPE AND HARDSCAPE materials to complement the home’s rustic architecture. “We wanted to evoke an Old American farm,” he explains. Brick pavers and decorative elements such as a 19th-century horse trough and well pump by the front porch conveyed a sense of age, and Pennsylvania flat-stack fieldstone walls with a connected water feature offered a focal point in the backyard. Design: Charles Owen, Fine Landscapes, Ltd.
SMOOTH TRANSITION Hand-painted walls by muralist Gary Goldberg formed the basis for the playful UPPER GALLERY. Since it was long and narrow with problematic doorways and windows, “there wasn’t a lot of room to hang things, so I decided to make the walls themselves the art,” says Christopher Nutter. He chose a botanical design that bridges adult and child sensibilities, providing a transition from public to private spaces. He punctuated the design with vibrant blue accents. Design: Christopher Nutter, Christopher Nutter Designs.
COLOR AT REST “You don’t have to use neutral colors to create a serene, restful space,” Alex Deringer and Courtney Cox explain their vision for the GUEST SUITE. A custom muslin wall covering in rich blush hues by Ann McGuire Studio matched the linen drapes and bedstead. Belgian linen bedding from Ivy Lane Linens boutique, night tables by Codor Design and a vintage acrylic bar cart finish the look. Design: Alex Deringer and Courtney Cox, Ivy Lane Living.
LUXE LAUNDRY A builder-grade LAUNDRY ROOM became chic in the hands of Lynni Megginson, who believes that “elevating even mundane tasks can make life better.” Inspired by the organic appeal of the existing gray-green ceramic floors and granite countertops, she introduced a shimmery custom wall covering of crushed oyster shells and mica. A playful touch: a drapery rod from which bracelets by Dina Mackney Designs and Swarovski crystal-encrusted hangers were suspended. Design: Lynni Megginson, IDS, NKBA, Lynni Megginson Designs, LLC.
An ORGANIC COMPOSITION The natural materials of the house inspired Scott Cooke’s design of the GENTLEMAN’S RETREAT. “The stone, the wide-plank floors—it all said that the room should be rustic,” he explains. Wallpaper from Thibaut that looks and feels like wood provided a backdrop to antique furnishings, lighting, and accessories from Hollis & Knight. A strong palette of browns and blacks was reflected in artwork provided by Cross MacKenzie Gallery for this inviting, masculine space. Design: Scott Cooke, Scott Cooke Design, LLC.
HIS AND HERS The two facing MASTER BEDROOM CLOSETS were “empty shells” when David Chin of Closets by Design arrived on the scene. He selected a design for the custom built-in closet systems that featured seeded-glass doors on traditional cabinetry. Convenient surfaces made it easy to set out accessories for wear, as well as personal items. Plenty of hanging space in both his and her sections accommodated dresses and shorter items, while multiple drawers kept things organized. Design: David Chin, Closets by Design.
SUBTLE + SERENE For the nursery, Nancy Twomey says, “I started with a spare Scandinavian vibe and broke that up with textures and subtle blues and pinks.” The serene space centered on a delicate photograph of a baby fawn, with spots that were echoed in the rug from Farsh, Inc. Barely blue accent wallpaper and soft pink drapes by Rogers & Goffigon imparted warmth, while shelves designed by Twomey held toys and books. A goose-feather light fixture added a whimsical note. Design: Nancy Twomey, Finnian’s Moon Interiors.
YIN AND YANG Designed by Christopher Patrick, the MASTER BEDROOM “blended masculine and feminine, modern and traditional, light and dark—the yin and yang of design,” Patrick says. Dark gray walls and trim made the large room, with its vaulted ceiling, feel cozy, while the white-painted bedroom alcove (top, right) boasted built-ins papered in Phillip Jeffries walnut wallpaper. Chaises from Plum Furniture created visual balance opposite the Niermann Weeks bedstead. Gold-accented occasional tables added sophistication.
Patrick also designed the MASTER BATHROOM, which started out with a stone wall and heavily striated marble surfaces. “I warmed up space with paint colors and an area rug,” Patrick says. The rug from Carpet Impressions toned down the expanse of marble flooring and picked up the hues in the stone; a Niermann Weeks chandelier and a leather slipper chair provided gold accents to enliven the design. Design: Christopher Patrick, Christopher Patrick Interiors, LLC.
COLOR ACCENTS “I wanted to create a calming, monochromatic retreat for enjoying art,” says Terri Pakravan of the ART AFICIONADO’S LOUNGE. An eclectic selection of artwork, sourced through Merritt Gallery, was showcased against walls and woodwork painted the same high-gloss gray enamel, allowing the art to pop. Custom hand-blocked wallpaper from Pintura Studio on the ceiling added interest and a hand-painted silk Fortuny chandelier lent a lavish touch. A leather armchair from Poltrona Frau offered a spot to relax under sconces from Dessin Fournir. Design: Terri Pakravan, Décor Dose, LLC.
CLUB STYLE In the basement-level BISTRO, Joanne Fitzgerald created a seating area with two distinctive elements: a Silver Lining blown-glass chandelier by Tracy Glover and a large-scale painting of a bull by Katie Pumphrey behind armchairs from American Leather. The room “was meant to be like a New York club—moody and intimate,” Fitzgerald says. Walls papered in Jessica Zoob’s Dreaming pattern for Romo Black Edition kept things light. Design: Joanne Fitzgerald, Gatéga Interior Design, LLC.
ALL GROWN UP Samantha Friedman envisioned “a space for a grown-up family that wants their basement back” in the LOVER-LEVEL DEN. Wallpaper in an abstract, large-format pattern by Casamance created a backdrop for comfortable yet sophisticated furnishings, including a sectional from Vanguard and club chairs from Restoration Hardware. An elegant rug from Stark unified the large room, which Friedman made feel smaller and cozier with matching Tritter Feefer consoles. Design: Samantha Friedman, Samantha Friedman Designs, LLC.
Photographer Angie Seckinger splits her time between Potomac, Maryland, and Spain.