When interior designer Charles Krewson, a DC native, returned to Washington after 30 years in Manhattan, The Presidential—one of the city’s oldest apartment buildings, built in 1922 by architect Appleton P. Clark, Jr.—proved irresistible. Krewson and his spouse, financial analyst Richard Feuring, purchased a 1,700-square-foot residence in the building. “I was excited to customize it for us the same way I do for clients,” says the designer about his update of their two-bedroom abode, which had not been touched since the 1990s.
Other than opening up the kitchen to the dining room and remodeling the bathrooms, his changes were largely aesthetic rather than structural. Still, there was much to be done.
“The old wood floors were a mess, with nail heads poking through an aged polyurethane finish,” recalls Krewson, who replaced them with wide-plank, bleached oak. For architectural polish, he added new baseboards that balanced the original ceiling moldings, and gave the latter a glazed, antiqued finish so they would stand out.
But it’s the foyer that really packs a punch, with its new, black-and-white checked marble floors. Due to a lack of natural light and ductwork that had been concealed behind awkward ceiling beams, the space was definitely a challenge. Krewson solved these dilemmas by painting the whole space in Benjamin Moore’s Fairmont Green. “Making it all the same rich color visually erased the messy beams,“ explains the designer, who added large-scale navy polka dots on the walls for a “wow” factor. “Now, the light bounces off the floors when you walk in and the dots make up for the lack of windows.”
Indeed, paint became Krewson’s best friend as he covered over a dowdy lavender hue that had previously adorned all of the apartment’s walls. He painted the kitchen, dining and living rooms—which connect via open door casements-—in Benjamin Moore’s Marlboro Blue. And for the den, located adjacent to the living room, he selected a bright canary yellow.
“I’m a color person—not a beige person,” he notes. “I am especially partial to yellow. It’s bright and cheerful during the day, and it deepens to create a golden ambience at night.”
In the small master bedroom, Krewson embraced a cozy vibe with a soft-gray ceiling and coral-toned walls—the latter enhanced with a faux-bois stenciled pattern. The effect is warm and textural at the same time.
“After living for years in a tiny New York apartment, this was the first time Richard and I were able to pull all our furnishings out of storage and integrate them,” says Krewson. “We have a mix of inherited pieces from our families and others that we have bought together over the years.”
In addition to other collections—including an impressive array of contemporary art—the designer has long been fascinated by textiles and has amassed many that came in handy during this project. “I reupholstered everything,” he recounts. “We have Otto (a wirehaired dachshund), so our furniture needed a refresh; the move was the perfect excuse.”
While Krewson used resilient indoor-outdoor fabrics like the blue sofa’s shagreen-textured blend, he also pulled from textiles he already owned. A vintage Stephen Sprouse cotton with Declaration of Independence wording serves as both a window valance and armchair upholstery in the living room. The dining room’s host chairs are covered in cut-velvet damask that used to hang as curtains in the couple’s New York City home.
“I love mixing weaves, colors and patterns,” Krewson observes. “One of my favorite pieces is the one-arm Victorian fainting couch in yellow felt.” The same yellow felt also trims out the back of a stenciled, cowhide-upholstered Mid-Century Modern chair in the living room.
Despite the eclectic nature of the furnishings, which span different styles and time periods, everything is harmonious—a tribute to Krewson’s vibrant palette and clever design approach. “Everything has to be a piece of sculpture in your mind,” he says. “I like to leave breathing room between things, so nothing is too clustered. It’s important to be able to move, have flow and be comfortable.”
The couple also chose the apartment for its open layout, as they love to entertain. In addition to formal meals around the dining table—which expands to seat 10 comfortably—they host cocktail parties for larger numbers. One thing is certain: There is never a shortage of design topics for guests to mull over in this richly curated home.
Interior Design: Charles Krewson, Krewson Design, Washington, DC.
Paint: Benjamin Moore’s Fairmont Green. Decorative Paint: stevenhammel.com. Chest of Drawers: Family heirloom, 19th-century American. Round-Backed Wood-Frame Chair: Vintage. Upholstery: Stephen Sprouse for knoll.com/textiles. Art above Chest: elisabethkley.com. Lamp on Chest: Circa 1970s, josephrichterinc.com. Dog Sculpture: Terracotta, 18th-century French. Abstract above Round-Backed Chair: christopherbrooks101.com. Marble Floor: architecturalceramics.com.
Sofa & Club Chair: Through Guido DeAngelis (516-723-3101). Fabric: durlee.com. Coffee Table: Vintage American, circa 1940s. Ru: Owners’ collection. Metal-Framed Chair: Circa 1970s Canadian. Fabric: knoll.com/textiles. Occasional Chair: French Art Deco. Fabric: dualoy.com, designtex.com. Valance Fabrication: bureaudecoration.com. Chrome Side Table: Vintage Florence Knoll through knoll.com. Lamp on Side Table: Vintage through barovier.com. Figurative Paintings Flanking Windows: Craig Coleman, circa 1984. Yellow Settee. 19th-century American fainting couch. Fabric: designtex.com. Glass-Topped Console: sirmos.com. Finish on Console: stevenhammel.com. Architectural Print above Console: Ink and gouache, circa 1881. Lamp on Console. French, circa 1920s. Foot Sculpture: fornasetti.com.
Table, Rug & Chandelier: Owner’s collection. Dining Chairs: Scottish Arts & Crafts period. Fabric: Vintage African Kuba cloth. Host Chairs: Samuel Marx, American, circa 1940. Fabric: Vintage cut-velvet. Paper Screen: Jack Beal. Sideboard: French Art Deco. Table, Rug, Chandelier: Owner’s collection. Drapes & Fabrication: bureaudecoration.com. Drapery Hardware: onadrapery.com. Botanical Prints: 18th & 19th-century, hand-colored. Lamp on Sideboard: Chinese Ceramic, circa 1920s.
Wall Treatment: stevenhammel.com. Bedding: craneandcanopy.com. Occasional Table to Right of Bed: 1940s American Revolving Bookcase, circa 1940s. Chair by Window: Scottish, circa 1930s. Fabric: brunschwig.com.
Sink: duravit.com. Faucets: grohe.com. Floor & Tub Surround: architecturalceramics.com