Rooms We Love: Living Room

In a living room by Mary Douglas Drysdale, soft hues and traditional furnishings give voice to bright accents and modern art

Rooms We Love: Living Room In the hands of Mary Drysdale, the living room of a Bethesda home is a study in contrasts. Part of a whole-house renovation, it reflects the age and traditional style of the 100-year-old house while adding fresh, contemporary flair.

Drysdale had already designed numerous homes for the owners when she was called on for this one. The couple requested a living room for “gracious entertaining.” But measuring a massive 44 by 22 feet, space needed some architectural detailing to define it. Drysdale imparted symmetry with an extra, non-working set of doors at each end that balance the existing, functional ones. Crown moldings were also installed.

Since the living room provides access to four other rooms in the house, “it had to transition from those other rooms and work with them all,” Drysdale explains, because each room is painted a strong, vivid hue. She chose pale green walls and off-white silk drapes and linen upholstery and had the original wood floors glazed off-white with a subtle tone-on-tone stripe. Around their periphery, a floor stencil echoes the shape of the Wendell Castle coffee table that Drysdale selected to add punch to the room.

Other furnishings include the owners’ antique settees and chairs, now glazed and reupholstered; occasional tables from Hickory Chair; Louis XV chairs that flank the fireplace; and an ottoman customized by Drysdale Design Associates.

Orange-and-white abstract paintings by Donald Judd and a circular abstract over the fireplace by Linling Lu infuse the room with vibrancy and interest. Matching orange throw pillows complete the space.

Interior & Architectural Design: Mary Douglas Drysdale, Drysdale Design Associates, Washington, DC. Contractor: Jim Gibson, Gibson Builders, LLC, Washington, DC. Photography: Ron Blunt.

Other Rooms We Love:

Dining Room




Outdoor Room