Home & Design

In the open foyer, a mahogany-painted wall creates a sense of arrival and provides a bold backdrop for collected finds, including an 18th-century Swedish chair that functions, says the designer, “as a piece of art.”

A Trine Søndergaard photograph hangs between bespoke bookcases of Hildreth’s design.

In the opposite corner, a pedestal displays Mercury’s Hat, a painted, wood-and-sand sculpture by William Melton Halsey.

In the dining room, a decoratively painted wall displays a mixed-media creation by Kyle Meyer. Jerry Sealy works from home at the custom Demiurge New York table, handcrafted from 19th-century Italian walnut.

An Otto Luce chandelier by Jonathan Burden makes a statement in the dining room.

Over the sideboard, a grouping of 17th-century Italian panels depicts the leaders of Parma.

Renovated in 2010, the kitchen received a fresh coat of paint during the makeover.

The den combines a generously scaled O. Henry House sofa with a leather Ferrell Mittman ottoman. Hildreth chose a Jim Thompson textile for the drapes.

In the primary bedroom, black-and-white flower photographs by Karl Blossfeldt hang above the bed and nightstands by Aesthetic.

The 19th-century mahogany bureau from Tim Price’s collection was restored by conservator Nick Greer. Hildreth designed the L-shaped window seat.

A wash of off-white paint refreshed the apartment’s single bathroom.

A custom rug from Doris Leslie Blau that was inspired by an antique grounds the living room’s eclectic mix of furnishings.

Big Reveal

Designers layer a flat in Adams Morgan with an unexpected mix of art, antiques and objects

Starting a new chapter in life together spurred Timothy Price and Jerry Sealy to make over their Adams Morgan apartment. In 2016, Sealy sold his nearby loft and contemporary furnishings to move into the digs his now-husband had called home for more than two decades. The pair loved the conveniently located co-op building, a pre-War gem conceived by renowned DC architect Joseph Younger, and the character-filled bones of their completely renovated unit. Still, a change was in order.
“We wanted to make a space that was both of ours, that we each had input into, and elevate the design of the apartment at the same time,” reveals Price, a physician.

They found a style that resonated while touring the now-defunct DC Design House in 2016. To the couple, Josh Hildreth’s sumptuously layered library stood out. “It was a juxtaposition of colorful visual surprises in a traditional setting,” explains Sealy, a graphic designer. A year later, they were ready to launch their transformation and enlisted Hildreth, who in turn invited fellow designer Vivian Braunohler to assist.

Taking a “nonlinear” path, Hildreth began gathering special finds right away—before finalizing furniture plans. “I often describe my design process as soup-making,” he explains. “You go to the farmers’ market and you buy what’s good, even if you don’t know how you’re going to use it. You come upon something that wasn’t on the list but then it sort of organizes the whole meal.”

An early buying trip produced several too-good-to-pass-up pieces, including a deer-antler plant stand that, as the story goes, once graced Hearst Castle. It now sits in the couple’s dining room. “We didn’t have a sofa or a dining room table and chairs yet, so the plant stand was pretty esoteric,” Hildreth admits. “I sent Tim and Jerry pictures of things as I shopped and said, ‘Don’t worry if it doesn’t make sense now; focus on what’s appealing, because it’s those things that are going to get you to that feeling you described.’”

Throughout, the designers blended eras and styles with aplomb. The foyer’s collected vignette offers what Hildreth describes as “a good haiku” of their approach. It combines a 19th-century Chinese screen with a 300-year-old Flemish commode and a pair of vintage Brutalist lamps. As Vivian Braunohler points out, “There needs to be some sort of dynamic tension between objects in a pleasing way.”

A neutral backdrop, enhanced with decorative paint finishes in several spaces, showcases the curated trove as well as meaningful artwork. The clients’ shared love of photography is evident at every turn. For example, an arresting portrait by Danish photographer Trine Søndergaard punctuates a stippled, milk tea-toned wall in the living room. Artist Kyle Meyer wove strips of African textiles into a hand-shredded portrait to create the dining room’s mixed-media piece; his Interwoven series explores the challenges of homosexuality for men in Swaziland (now the Kingdom of Eswatini).

The design duo was careful to leave a little breathing room in their layered schemes. “We prioritized negative space around the varied collection,” explains Hildreth. “As much as we mixed things up, it never came at the cost of serenity and calm.”

Or livability, for that matter. Comfortable and practical new furnishings join the aged selections. Tailored upholstery, for instance, anchors the living room and spare-bedroom-turned-den. The couple’s bed and nightstands represent modern interpretations of 19th-century Aesthetic Movement designs.

The couple took refuge at their Delaware beach house for three weeks during minor construction work (a door leading directly from the den to the hall bathroom was closed off), painting and installation. They got their first look at the reimagined apartment during a big reveal orchestrated by the designers. “We walked through the door and were blown away by how beautiful it was and how reflected we were,” recounts Price. “It came together in ways that we could not have imagined.”

To thank their team, the pair hosted a dinner party. It was Josh Hildreth’s “greatest reward” to witness his clients in their element. “As a guest, I got to observe them living happily and comfortably together in the space,” he says. “Great design isn’t just beautiful—it also serves a purpose. It lifts up and celebrates living.”

Interior Design: Josh Hildreth, principal, Robert Cox, design director, Josh Hildreth Interiors, Washington, DC; Vivian Braunohler, Braunohler Design Associates, Washington, DC. Contractor: Ken Tarter, International Wall Designs, Gaithersburg, Maryland.



Sofa: Lee Jofa through kravet.com. Sofa Fabric: pierrefrey.com. Small Table: vintage. Pillow Fabrics: vintage; janeshelton.com. Cocktail Table: Guiseppe Scapinelli. Skirted Chairs: billybaldwinstudio.com. Skirted Chair Fabric: pierrefrey.com. Chair Pillow Fabric: fschumacher.com. Pedestal Table: design by joshhildrethinteriors.com. Wooden Stool: vintage through jfchen.com. Cane-Backed Chair: quintushome.com. Corner Chest: vintage. Lamp on Chest: vintage through David Bell Antiques; 202-965-2355. Drapery Fabric: hollandandsherry.com. Roman Shade: conradshades.com. Drapery Fabrication: Pilchard Designs; 202-362-4395. Floor Lamp: vintage. Rug: Custom by dorisleslieblau.com. Sisal: starkcarpet.com. Shelf Units & Bench: Custom design by joshhildrethinteriors.com. Art above Bench: Trine Sondergaard. Screen: 19th Century Chinese Paper Hand Printed Screen. Chest of Drawers: 18th Century Flemish Commode through marstonluce.com. Wooden Chair: 18th Century Swedish through dienstanddotter.com. Paint: Mahogany by farrow-ball.com. Lamp: vintage Harry Balmer. Silk Lamp Shades: jimthompsonfabrics.com.

Rug: custom by dorisleslieblau.com. Chairs: quintushome.com. Chair Fabric: us.loropiana.com. Chandelier: jonathanburden.com. Sconces: ironwareinternational.com. Art between Sconces: Kyle Meyer. Drapery Fabric: lisafinetextiles.com. Drapery Fabrication: Pilchard Designs; 202-362-4395.

Drapery Fabric: jimthompsonfabrics.com. Drapery Fabrication: Pilchard Designs; 202-362-4395. Ottoman: ferrellmittman.com. Ottoman Fabric: mooreandgiles.com. Sofa: ohenryhouseltd.com. Sofa Fabric: larsenfabrics.com. Sofa Pillow Fabric: lewisandwood.com. Chest by Sofa: antique. Art above Sofa: Elger Esser. Mirror: Owners’ collection. Table under Mirror: vintage. Armchair Fabric: Brunschwig & Fils through kravet.com. Wooden Pedestal table: us.julianchichester.com. Upholstered Chairs: arudin.com. Upholstered Chair Fabric: hollandandsherry.com. Console: vintage. Rug: starkcarpet.com.

Bed: aestheticdecor.com. Bedding: peacockalley.com. Table Lamps: vintage. Art above Bed: Karl Blosfeldt. Chair & Drum Table: vintage. Window Seat Design: joshhildrethinteriors.com. Window Seat Fabric: brentanofabrics.com. Window Seat Pillow Fabrics: cec-milano.us; us.loropiana.com; Hodsoll & McKenzie. Wall Paint: Slipper Satin: farrow-ball.com. Roman Shade Fabric: rogersandgoffigon.com. Roman Shade Fabrication: Pilchard Designs; 202-362-4395. Bureau: owners’ collection; restored by greenconservation.com. Lamp on Bureau: marstonluce.com. Sconce: vintage. Bottom Rug: starkcarpet.com. Top Rug: antique through abchome.com.

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