Home & Design

Chic bespoke cushions adorn a custom sofa.

A fluted-marble bowl sits atop an artisan-made coffee table.

A marble sculpture by Edward Meyrowitz is displayed beside ceramic mirrors crafted by Matt Repsher.

Reflective surfaces and countertops in swirling quartzite sound a glam note in the kitchen.

Glass-fronted, LED-lit upper cabinets in the kitchen provide separation yet let in the light.

The living area is animated by a purple grass-cloth accent wall against which a carved wood panel by artisan Caleb Woodard pops. A Galleria Carpets rug was customized for the space.

Located opposite the niche, the spare room houses a Resource Furniture system concealing a Murphy bed that opens over the sofa and coffee table. Wallpaper woven of banana bark and wire draws the eye. Artwork is by Craig Alan.

Ireland created a niche that defines the front entry, incorporating a built-in seat upholstered in Elitis fabric; Hermès wallpaper for Dedon adds a whimsical touch.

The bedroom showcases a custom tapestry designed by JD Ireland and fashioned with Carleton V fabric and Kravet trim. A sunburst sculpture by William Bowie hangs atop it.

A chest of drawers anchors one end of the bedroom.

Ireland transformed a run-of-the-mill bathroom into a showstopper with Rise, a bold and fanciful wallpaper pattern designed by French artist Ugo Gattoni for Pierre Frey.

Arteriors seeded-glass sconces accent the Robern vanity.

Stacked-glass shower tiles from Architessa convey an industrial touch.

Luxe details throughout the dwelling add depth and interest.

EcoNize outfitted the closet, which connects to the bedroom.

Ireland designed a banquette and walnut-and-concrete table for the dining area, with slender profiles to keep the views open.

Layered Luxe

Designer Joe Ireland refines a chic condo in DC with art, objects and fabulous finishes

I’m always surprised by how many layers there are to creating a beautiful space that feels warm and inviting,” marvels the owner of a diminutive condo on DC’s 14th Street Corridor. She’s discussing the project that she and her husband recently completed under the auspices of JD Ireland—the fourth in a 14-year collaboration that has also included the couple’s sprawling McLean residence and an apartment in Dublin. 

The DC makeover, a one-bedroom condo, is the latest stop on a journey that began in 2008 when the owners purchased a two-bedroom unit in the same building with the idea of downsizing (they ended up keeping their McLean home as well). When another unit down the hall came on the market in 2019, the couple—he’s in technology and she’s retired from the telecom industry—jumped at it. “It was an incredible opportunity to create a private suite for out-of-town guests,” the wife recounts. “And we love having an independent environment where we can work or relax.”

Odd angles and a concrete ceiling punctuated by exposed ductwork imparted a quirky, industrial-chic vibe—but that’s where the allure of the builder-grade flat ended. “I knew I wanted to demo the interior when we bought the place,” the wife says. “I needed Joe’s talent to design the layout and architectural elements.”

The 835-square-foot apartment opens into a short hall with a spare room to the right. Straight ahead lies the living/dining area, with the kitchen on one side and doors to the bedroom and bathroom on the other. “Everything in the unit was touched,” Ireland relates. “We gutted the space and reimagined it in soft-modern style with industrial flair.” 

He enlisted Winchester for the job, which included moving a wall in the spare room to widen the galley kitchen; installing eight-foot-tall pocket doors in lieu of the standard ones; and adding a wide panel of decorative frosted glass that admits light to the bedroom from the main area. A niche with a built-in bench turned the nondescript entry hall into a charming foyer that hints at sophisticated finishes to come. 

Ireland embraced the off-kilter window wall. Stone-look, ceramic-tile floors are laid at a diagonal and bespoke furniture follows the same irregular lines. The obtrusive ductwork has been upgraded to a custom, flattened-oval shape. “We covered the ceilings and trim in high-gloss paint to bounce as much light as possible through the unit,” says the designer. The color palette complements powder-coated gray aluminum window frames as well as views of the concrete-and-brick cityscape. 

The prefab kitchen got a glam makeover with Premier Custom-Built cabinets in a gleaming, metallic finish; a swirling Fantasy Brown quartzite countertop; and a wall clad in an antiqued-mirror panel over which a bold, colorful painting is showcased. The original kitchen was open to the living/dining area, but glass upper cabinetry now separates the spaces while still letting in light. 

Throughout the home, an opulent, layered sensibility prevails. Innovations grass-cloth wall coverings in purple and gold hues embellish both the living area and bedroom, while the spare room is clad in a tactile Arte wall covering made of banana bark woven with delicate metal wire. Extravagant patterns crop up on pictorial Pierre Frey wallpaper that makes a sumptuous statement in the bathroom and on a playful Hermès pattern that dresses up the niche by the front door. 

In the bedroom, a richly hued tapestry adorns the wall behind a spare Poliform bed; the designer hung a gilt sunburst atop the fabric, creating a dazzling visual moment. He also designed the bedding, which combines luxurious textiles from Misia Paris, Zak+Fox and Jiun Ho to lavish effect. 

Sleek, custom furniture keeps the vibe light and modern. “Almost everything is artisanal or vintage, with some pieces by local artists and craftspeople,” Ireland notes. In the dining area, a banquette of his design, clad in Holly Hunt velvet, is positioned in front of the window wall; its slender legs channel natural light beneath the seat. An asymmetrical table of sand-blasted, bleached walnut with a concrete base, also designed by Ireland, was fabricated by Michael James Furniture. In the adjacent sitting area, a bespoke sofa angles around a coffee table that doubles as art; its hexagonal glass surface displays a verre églomisé treatment by New York artist Miriam Ellner that glimmers with precious metals, iridescent flakes of mica and crushed abalone. 

Exuberant modern artworks share wall space with a carved-wood panel created on commission by artisanal woodworker Caleb Woodard and chic sconces that provide just the right ambiance. 

The owners are thrilled with their second pied à terre. “It’s fantastic,” enthuses the wife. “I knew Joe could elevate the space into something exceptional. I still get goosebumps when I walk through the door.”

Architectural & Interior Design: Joseph Ireland, cofounder, JD Ireland Interior Architecture & Design, Washington, DC. Renovation Contractor: Winchester, Millersville, Maryland. Photo Styling: Mieke Ten Have.



Ceiling & HVAC Paint: Gray Huskie by benjaminmoore.com. Trim Paint: Graystone by benjaminmoore.com. Wall Paint: Athena by benjaminmoore.com. Door Paint: Dragon’s Breath by benjaminmoore.com. Tile Flooring: architessa.com. Track Lighting: waclighting.com.

Banquette: Custom by jdireland.com. Banquette Fabric: jimthompsonfabrics.com through hinescompany.com. Table Fabrication: Custom design by jdireland.com; michaeljamesfurniture.com. Throw Pillow Fabrics: christopherfarrcloth.com through hollandandsherry.com; Christian Lacroix for designersguild.com through osborneandlittle.com. Leather Bench: kgblnyc.com.

Sofa: Custom by jdireland.com. Sofa Fabric: hollyhunt.com. Coffee Table Glass Top: Custom painted by miriammellner.com; Metal Base: Custom design by jdireland.com, fabricated by michaeljamesfurniture.com. Throw: misia-paris.com. Art over Sofa: calebwoodardfurniture.com. Sculpture: corbinbronze.com through hollyhunt.com. Wall Covering: innovationsusa.com. Sconce: covetlighting.com through Decaso. Rug: galleriacarpets.com. Pleated Marble Bowl on Coffee Table: cb2.com.

Cabinetry: premiercb.com. Backsplash: architessa.com. Countertop: caesarstoneus.com. Art over Mirrored Wall: austin-eddy.com. Mirrored Wall Fabrication: spancraft.com.

Murphy Bed & Coffee Table: resourcefurniture.com. Toss Pillow Fabric: romo.com. Wallpaper: arte-international.com, install by Michael DiGuiseppe. Bookscape on Coffee Table: treyjonesstudio.com.

Wallpaper: dedar.com, install by Michael DiGuiseppe. Wallpaper Trim: samuelandsons.com. Bench Fabric: elitis.fr. Hooks: stillfried.com. Umbrella Stand: vintage.

Nightstands: 1stdibs.com. Round Vase on Nightstand: treyjonesstudio.com. Rug: kaleen.com through georgetowncarpet.com. Tapestry: Custom by jdireland.com. Tapestry Fabric: carletonvltd.com through hollyhunt.com. Tapestry Trim: metaphores.com through kravet.com. Tapestry over Headboard: osborneandlittle.com. Sunburst: William Bowie. Sconces: arteriorshome.com. Bedding: Custom by jdireland.com. Bolster Fabric: misia-paris.com through michaelclearyllc.com. Coverlet & Sham Fabric: zakandfox.com through hollyhunt.com; samuelandsons.com through hinescompany.com. Throw Fabric: jiunho.com through hollandandsherry.com. Sculpture: edwardmeyrowitz.com through danajohn.com. Ceramic Mirrors: mattrepsher.com through cultureobject.com. Wall Art: alicecisternino.com through transformerdc.org.

Wallpaper: pierrefrey.com through hinescompany.com; samuelandsons.com through hinescompany.com. Sconces: arteriorshome.com. Shower Wall Tile: architessa.com. Shower Floor Tile: annsacks.com. Closet Fabrication: econizeclosets.com.


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