Home & Design

The living area is painted in Farrow & Ball’s Hague Blue. It features an iron-and-concrete coffee table from Four Hands with an Ochre chandelier above.

Bernhardt accent chairs and industrial-style bookshelves anchor one end of the living area.

An oak-and-steel console tucks in beside a staircase with iron-and-oak railings; Asian art is from the owners’ collection.

Kaplan enhanced the existing kitchen with Calluna, a purple shade by Farrow & Ball, and blown-glass pendants over the island.

An iron-and-glass divider delineates the dining area, where Kaplan painted an accent wall in Benjamin Moore’s Street Chic; an RH table and Rouse chairs are paired with a Hubbardton Forge chandelier.

In the foyer, millwork is a backdrop for an iron-and-bluestone console by Four Hands.

The wife’s office boasts custom built-ins offset by walls painted in Farrow & Ball’s Calluna.

A Kingston Brass console sink, slate subway tile and Cole & Son wallpaper enliven the powder room.

A Bernhardt bed takes center stage in the peaceful primary bedroom, where Cole & Son wallpaper and over-scaled lighting add drama.

The expansive, open-plan main level is unified by a beamed, reclaimed-wood ceiling by Stikwood and a palette of saturated hues that crop up throughout the abode.

Aged Patina

Kirsten Kaplan redefines a mundane townhouse with European-inspired details and an industrial edge

A builder-grade townhouse in Rockville proved the perfect canvas for a creative homeowner with outside-the-box ideas. Downsizing from a traditional abode in Kensington, she and her husband—a lawyer and a schoolteacher, respectively—spotted the new enclave developed by EYA while it was still under construction. They chose a 2,000-square-foot, two-bedroom unit with four levels and the wife quickly enlisted Haus Interior Design principal Kirsten Kaplan, who had decorated their previous home, for help realizing her vision.

“In my last house, we were thinking about resale and didn’t take risks,” the wife recounts. “This time, I decided not to worry about that. I didn’t go safe and instead just picked what I liked.”

Kaplan concurs. “Even before the house was done, it was clear that she had a different vision from what we were seeing on the plans. Her ideas pushed the boundaries more than we’re used to, which really made the collaboration fun.” 

Establishing an overall aesthetic was the first order of business for interiors that are distinguished by their cohesiveness. The owner “has a sophisticated, industrial sensibility; also, she and her husband travel regularly to Paris and are drawn to a vintage European look,” notes the designer. Kaplan artfully blended both influences, conjuring what she calls “an aged patina” throughout. “We had this tension where I would try to soften things a bit and she would say ‘no, I want it edgier, more industrial.’”

Working with senior designer Becky Wetzler and their client, Kaplan landed on a palette of smoky lavender, cobalt and gray “to balance and connect the spaces through color,” she says. They also clad the ceilings on the two lower floors in rustic reclaimed wood, which the owner had her heart set on. The layers of deep color and strong texture make a dramatic statement throughout the dwelling.

From the first floor entrance, a foyer opens on one side to the wife’s library/home office with the staircase up to the second level ahead. “The walls were just plain drywall, so the main challenge was how to make the foyer feel custom,” recounts Kaplan. “We aimed to create interest and also draw visitors up the stairs.” 

Decorative millwork on the stair wall solved the dilemma, adding character and dimension. “I wanted something more creative than the traditional squares,” the owner says—so Kaplan devised an unexpected geometric motif. Iron-gray paint coats the foyer and stair. 

The office also underwent an upgrade. Built-in shelves on every wall accommodate the owners’ considerable collection of books; an integrated desk provides plenty of space for the wife to work. “We narrowed the doorway to a deep, cased opening to accommodate all the books,” relates Kaplan, who designed the built-ins and had them fabricated by Jack Rosen Custom Kitchens. Smoky lavender clads walls not covered by midnight-blue shelving.

Kaplan established a similar “soft-industrial” vibe upstairs, where the open-plan second floor encompasses the kitchen and dining and sitting areas. The designers found ingenious ways to differentiate zones in the large space. “We knew we wanted some separation,” Kaplan says. “It all came together as the furniture layout took shape.” 

Color was an important tool: lavender for the kitchen, gray in the dining area and cobalt in the living area. Black-painted wood beams run vertically above the kitchen and dining area and horizontally over the sitting area; the ceiling planks also switch directions. And one of the client’s favorite features separates the sitting and dining zones: a custom, three-foot-wide divider made of glass and iron that creates a subtle visual barrier. 

The homeowners kept the existing all-white kitchen, which allowed them to invest in other design elements—including many new furnishings. During furniture selection, Kaplan largely avoided wood, already dominant on the ceiling. Among other pieces, an eye-catching iron-and-stone sideboard anchors the dining area while industrial-style iron bookcases, repurposed from couple’s former house, cover a wall in the sitting area. They face an acid-washed mirror with a Parisian vibe flanked by custom sofas Kaplan designed for the Kensington home. 

Over-scaled chandeliers make a major statement. The wife “loves dramatic lighting,” Kaplan notes. “It was a challenge to find interesting fixtures for the main room that would work together without being duplicative.” A moody horsehair-and-horn chandelier hovers over the coffee table, while a sculptural Hubbardton Forge fixture in hand-forged steel hangs above the dining table. Blown-glass pendants, also by Hubbardton Forge, dress up the kitchen island.

Kaplan put her imprint on the primary bedroom as well, with an accent wall in Cole & Son wallpaper and dramatic lighting—including oversized teardrop pendants that flank the bed and an industrial-chic Ultralights ceiling fixture that measures 36 inches in diameter. 

As happy as she is with her stylish new digs, the wife admits that she loves to move—and expects to do so again, in time. “I think her creativity needs a new outlet about every five years,” Kaplan observes with a laugh. “It’s been lucky for me!” 

Renovation Architectural & Interior Design: Kirsten Kaplan, principal; Becky Wetzler, senior designer, Haus Interior Design, Rockville, Maryland. Renovation Contractor: David Costopoulos, Dynamic Renovation Contractors, Inc., Silver Spring, Maryland.



Artwork: Owners’ collection. Ceiling Beam Paint: Mopboard Black through benjaminmoore.com.

Wall Paint: Hague Blue by farrow-ball.com. Pendant: ochre.us. Mirror & Cocktail table: fourhands.com. Chairs: bernhardt.com. Chair Fabric: janechurchill.com. Sofa Side Tables: uttermost.com. Floor Lamps: curreyandcompany.com. Sofas: Custom through Jonathan Wesley; 828-632-6800. Sofa Fabric: pindler.com. Ottoman: crateandbarrel.com. Oak-and-Steel Console: rh.com. Vase: vintage through greatstuffbypaul.com.

Wall Paint: Street Chic by benjaminmoore.com. Pendant: hubbardtonforge.com. Buffet: bernhardt.com. Dining Chairs: rousehome.com. Dining Table: rh.com.

Wall Paint: Calluna by farrow-ball.com. Island Light Fixture: Custom through hubbardtonforge.com. Stools: Owners’ collection.PRIMARY BEDROOM
Wall Paint: Cement Gray by benjaminmoore.com. Bed & Nightstands: bernhardt.com. Pendant: ultralightslighting.com. Lamps: rh.com. Wallpaper: cole-and-son.com.

Sink & Faucet: kingstonbrass.com. Countertop: Custom through fernandosmarbleshop.com. Vanity Light: visualcomfort.com. Tile: architessa.com. Wallpaper:
cole-and-son.com. Mirror: uttermost.com.

Wall Paint: Calluna by farrow-ball.com. Drum Fixture & Wall Sconces: hinkley.com. Built-ins: Custom through jackrosen.com. Reading Chair: Owners’ collection.

Wall Sconces: rh.com. Console Table: fourhands.com.

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