The lively, fast-gentrifying neighborhood of Bloomingdale first attracted a couple moving back to DC after a year in Richmond—and they were elated to discover a 1908 row house on a treelined street that fit their needs. “We loved the diversity, community and dynamism of Bloomingdale,” says the husband, who works in tech start-ups. “We picked this house because of its location in the heart of the neighborhood we loved.”
They had come across the home as a local developer was completing an update on it. While they loved the layout, after a year in a sleek, modern environment they wanted to embrace the abode’s classic structure and felt the renovation had stripped away some of its historic relevance. Before moving in, they contacted Zoë Feldman Design “to restore some of the traditional design to the space,” says the wife, a school teacher. “We wanted the house to feel warm, layered and inviting.”
The 2,000-square-foot residence encompasses five bedrooms and four and a half baths. Its typical row-house layout features a front entrance with the living room on the left and the dining room and kitchen straight back. The renovated home “mostly needed soul brought back into it,” designer Zoë Feldman observes, adding that the couple “naturally aligned with my own style, more than many of my clients. They had a good sense of what they wanted and trusted that we could get them there.”
The project began with some minor architectural changes. They traded a wood mantel for one of Carrara marble from Chesney’s and added built-ins to the owners’ suite. New stair railings were installed and the renovated kitchen had its cabinetry painted a soft gray-green and the hood replaced with one in a more sculptural style. They also overhauled the bathrooms.
When it came to furnishing the home, a collected sensibility prevailed. “We wanted pieces that feel both timeless and a bit eclectic, and we weren’t opposed to plenty of color and pattern,” says the wife; she and her husband brought some artwork and other items to the project but were otherwise ready for a fresh start.
Feldman began with a detailed space plan. “We find if we’re going to be more eclectic, we need some balance or it will feel chaotic,” she explains. “We start with a classic plan that’s intelligible to the client. Once we have that natural balance in each room, it becomes easier to layer in a Regency piece here, a modern piece there. Almost everything in this project is new or repurposed. We used a ton of vintage and antique pieces—I find them everywhere.”
The living room—the owners’ favorite spot in the house—marries furnishings ranging from an Empire commode and a French Directoire daybed to a mid-century, acid-etched coffee table by Bernhard Rohne for Mastercraft. Antique Caucasian rug-fragment pillows adorn a Baker sofa and a Napoleon III-style Louis Phillippe mirror presides over the mantel. Contemporary artworks include a charcoal nude by Bess Cutler and a colorful abstract canvas by Jenny Prinn that belonged to the owners; it hangs in the entry above a marble-topped Directoire-style console.
Separated from the living room by a partial wall, the dining room is distinguished by Pierre Frey textured wallpaper; Feldman opted to paint the ceiling black “to add a little punctuation to the quiet space,” she explains. “The dining room tends to be a moodier experience, so we didn’t worry about it darkening the room.”
Dramatic, modern lighting takes center stage in both the living and dining rooms. “Even when we’re harkening to a more historic vibe like we were here, we don’t want it to feel like you’re walking into an actual Victorian townhouse,” Feldman notes. “Modern lighting can make a space feel relevant.” The Calder-esque fixture by Andrew Neyer in the dining room “feels like art,” says the designer. “It’s a living piece and moves all day as a mobile would.” In the living room, a mid-century chandelier by Lawson-Fenning has a large footprint but isn’t visually obstructive. Its black shades pick up on other black moments in the room—furnishings and stair railings, for instance—and serve to unify the room’s disparate design elements.
Upstairs, the owners’ suite packs a punch with rich botanical wallpaper by William Morris in deep green—the wife’s favorite color. As she admits, “We were a bit nervous we might drown in so much pattern, but Zoë balanced it beautifully with pale-blue trim and built-ins.” Another favorite spot: a massive window seat that Feldman designed for the bedroom’s bay. “The drawers underneath provide a huge amount of storage,” the wife enthuses, “and the size means it’s roomy enough to hold the whole family—two humans and a pup—for an afternoon nap.”
Interior Design: Zoë Feldman, Zoë Feldman Design, Washington, DC.
Console: chairish.com. Art over Console: jennyprinn.com. Lamps on Console: kellywearstler.com through circalighting.com. Umbrella Stand: goodwooddc.com. Hanging Hands: globalviews.com. Art Above Hanging Hands: Tenley Masson through zoefeldmandesign.com.
Light Fixture: lawson-fenning.com. Orange Sofa: karamann.com through bakerfurniture.com. Rug & Daybed Pillows: oldnewhouse.com. Chair beside Bar, Black Curio Cabinet, Biedermeier Game Table & Chairs, Vintage Daybed, Mirror, Coffee Table & 19th-Century Commode by Fireplace: 1stdibs.com. Game Chair Fabric: jab.de. Daybed Upholstery: pindler.com. Chair & Daybed Fabrication: rockvilleinteriors.com. Paint on Daybed: Railings by farrow-ball.com. Side table by Daybed, Jacks on Coffee Table: chairish.com. Art above Commode: Bess Cutler through chairish.com. Hermes Bust & Art Deco Horse Sculpture: chairish.com. Mantel: chesneys.com. Sconces: circalighting.com. White Vases on Curio Cabinet & Bar: warehouse.davidiatesta.com. Curtains: arabelfabrics.com. Fabrication: Pilchard Designs, Inc.; 202-669-8760. Bar Cabinet by Stairs: avehome.com. Lithograph above Bar: Gene Davis.
Wallpaper: pierrefrey.com. Installation: Michael DiGuiseppe; 202-731-2634. Paul McCobb Dining Table & Milo Baughman Sideboard: 1stdibs.com. Dining Chairs: dwr.com. Art over Sideboard: Suzani Print through stfrank.com. Lamps on Sideboard: chairish.com. Roman Shades: arabelfabrics.com. Fabrication: Pilchard Designs, Inc.; 202-669-8760. Chandelier: andrewneyer.com. Art by Window: jessalinbeutler.studio.
Wallpaper: William Morris through stylelibrary.com. Installation: Michael DiGuiseppe; 202-731-2634. Rug, Bedside Tables & Bench: 1stdibs.com. Bench Fabric: hollandandsherry.com. Fabrication: rockvilleinteriors.com. Bed: leeindustries.com. Upholstery on Bed: brantanofabrics.com. Art by Window: Tenley Masson through zoefeldmandesign.com. Throw & Mirror over Bed: westelm.com. Bedding: matouk.com. Swing Arm Sconces: hudsonvalleylighting.hvlgroup.com. Daybed Cushion & Roman Shade Fabrication: Pilchard Designs, Inc.; 202-669-8760. Sconces flanking Daybed: circalighting.com. Daybed Pillows: luluandgeorgia.com. Custom Wardrobes and Daybed Frame: The Craft; 301-706-0873.
Sconces, Sink & Shower Fixtures, Washstand & Tile: waterworks.com. Washstand Fabrication: atlasstonefabricators.com. Hooks: rejuvenation.com. Gothic Revival Wood Chair: chairish.com. Recessed Medicine Cabinets: rh.com. Antique Rug: oldnewhouse.com.