Home & Design

A demilune table and Zoffany wall covering define the vestibule.

The dining room features vintage chairs from France and a Bernhard Rohne credenza in patinated bronze.

In the study, rich textures and metallic accents prevail.

A custom rug, vintage chandeliers and metallic wallpaper unify multiple seating areas in the gracious double parlor.

French club chairs with burled backs, circa 1935, are among the owner’s favorite finds. The acrylic side tables and wood cocktail table are accented in antique brass.

The kitchen combines a marble backsplash, custom black cabinetry and Deco-style brass hardware. Underlighting and gold beadboard bring a subtle glow to the center island.

The primary bedroom gets a dose of color from Osborne & Little’s Sansui wall covering, which was inspired by Chinese screens.

The guest room/office boasts a Murphy bed and media center, brightened by double exposure windows, blond-wood wall covering and textured wallpaper on the ceiling.

The covered, multi-columned pergola  is designed for all-season living with rust-proof outdoor furniture from RH, ceiling fans and a heater.

Traditional Victoriana opens to Art Deco opulence.

Past Perfect

Art Deco-inspired spaces bring an 1870s Georgetown row house into the 21st century

Appearances can be deceiving. Behind its austere, khaki façade, an 1870s row house departs from Georgetown’s traditional aesthetic to celebrate Old World train travel—notably, the Orient Express—and the swank elegance of a 1930s men’s club. Moody and dramatic yet modern and functional, the interiors are a coherent expression of owner Greg Jackson’s vision and passion, shared by his designer, Lorna Gross, for the streamlined shapes, rich textures and exotic materials of the Art Deco period.

At almost 2,900 square feet with four bedrooms and four baths, the home feels quite spacious due to the judicious use of mirrors, metallics and light-reflective finishes—all in keeping with Art Deco style. Decorative ceiling treatments, wall coverings, moldings and trim “draw the eye up, creating a complete visual experience,” Jackson notes. “The patterns and the colors are almost kaleidoscopic and change with every viewing.”

Fortunately, the floor plan on the main level lent itself—with a few modifications—to the homeowner’s dream of recreating a bespoke train car. A narrow entry hall travels past a double parlor-turned-living room to the left and opens into a dining area and kitchen, which overlooks a rear courtyard.

“The kitchen and dining area were very boxy. We wanted to open them up so that, as soon as you entered, you saw all the way through to the back,” Gross explains. By removing one wall and opening another, she expanded the space while bringing in more light, thanks to the kitchen’s new period-faithful, glass-paned doors.

A staple of Victorian homes, the double parlor presented another challenge: How to unify the long and narrow room, which includes two fireplaces, into one cohesive space where guests could circulate easily or gather in smaller groups. (This was especially important—visually and functionally—since Jackson frequently entertains.) The solution was a massive, one-of-a-kind wool-and-silk-blend rug from Stark; its subtle, repetitive geometric pattern plays up the original wood flooring and draws attention to the molding, fireplaces and hearths.

An opulent palette of furnishings and other design elements ensures the continuity of the Orient Express look and feel throughout the residence. Art Deco-inspired porcelain floor tile, some with burnished, cast-metal borders; shimmering, textured wallpaper in jewel or pale tones shot through with metallics; and antiques from the 1920s and ’30s bring the past vibrantly to life.

You’d expect a home with so much history to have a story or two. In the living room, twin antique chandeliers hide a mystery worthy of Hercule Poirot. As Gross tells it, “All the Art Deco pairs of chandeliers I came across were too fussy. I kept returning to this phenomenal single French fixture that, in duplicate, would have been perfect. So I decided to have it replicated. The new one looks so much like the original that it’s difficult to tell the difference without a magnifying glass!”

In the dining room, a patinated bronze credenza etched with Kanji script was almost overlooked in a New York showroom. “It was a serendipitous find, covered in fabrics and hidden by chairs,” Gross confides. Now, it is an elegant companion to the mirror above as well as the hammered-brass-topped dining table.

The moody ambience continues into the kitchen with its black cabinetry, Deco hardware and a marble-and-brass-mosaic backsplash. The directional pattern in the tile flooring runs to the glass doors and the view outside, where a spacious porcelain-tiled patio with a columned pergola holds court. It is the perfect spot, Jackson says, to host large parties and get-togethers.

From the vestibule, a staircase leads up to the primary bedroom, den and second office space that does double duty as a guest room. The latter features a blond-wood Phillip Jeffries wallcovering (a great Zoom background) and 1930s cocktail table.

Jackson’s favorite room in the house is the den, a quintessential gentleman’s retreat. An original brick wall sets off a leather Chesterfield sofa framed by gold-painted concrete slabs sourced from a former speakeasy in New York. Two basket-weave club chairs in vegan leather and velvet and a vintage cocktail table complete the scene. Walls are covered in vegan leather enhanced by custom brass trim.

Like the rest of the house, the bedroom uses wallpaper as an anchoring device, adding visual interest and serving as art. “With so many windows and doors, wall space was at a premium,” Gross admits. Here, a red and gold Chinoiserie-patterned accent wall contrasts with streamlined wood furnishings.

“We usually think of modernism as a stripped-down aesthetic,” muses Jackson, a writer and historian. “But Art Deco, the modernism of its era, is also influenced by the elegance and grandeur of antiquity—specifically Greek and Egyptian revival, which were big movements in the 19th century. For this house, we chose elements that are emblematic of the past but still hold timeless appeal.”


Interior Design: Lorna Gross, ASID, NCIDQ, Lorna Gross Interior Design, North Bethesda, Maryland. Renovation Contractor: Glass Construction, Washington, DC.

 

RESOURCES

EXTERIOR
Lighting: bevolo.com. Paint: Roycroft Bronze Green by benjaminmoore.com; Rockwood Red by sherwin-williams.com.

STUDY
Light Fixture: Owners’ collection. Art: Owners’ collection. Art Deco Panels & Coffee Table: 1stdibs.com. Tufted Leather Sofa: centuryfurniture.com. Rug: mastourgalleries.com. Chairs: burtonjames.com. Vegan Leather on Walls: innovationsusa.com. Acrylic Table: johnrichard.com.

ENTRY
Wallpaper: zoffany.sandersondesigngroup.com. Light Fixture & Demilune: 1stdibs.com.

DINING ROOM
Wall Covering: weitznerlimited.com. Chandelier: Owners’ collection. Table: us.julianchichester.com. Chairs & Sideboard: 1stdibs.com. Chair Fabric: pollackassociates.com. Mirror: mirrorhome.com. Ceiling Paint: Northern Cliffs by benjaminmoore.com. Flooring: annsacks.com.

PARLOR
Rug: starkcarpet.com. Wall Covering: romo.com. Blue Sofa: chaddock.com. Blue Sofa Fabric: S. Harris for fabricut.com. Pillow Fabrics: pollackassociates.com. Acrylic Tables: highlandhousefurniture.com. Corner Chair by Fireplace: 1stdibs.com. Corner Chair Fabric: romo.com. Mirror: mirrorhome.com. Chandeliers: 1stdibs.com. Gray Sofa: centuryfurniture.com. Gray Sofa Fabric: stouttextiles.com. Sconces & Chairs by French Doors: 1stdibs.com. Chair Fabric: fabricut.com. French Doors: dynamicfenestration.com.

TERRACE
Furniture & Outdoor Fabric: rh.com. Sconces: bevolo.com.

KITCHEN
Cabinetry: KS Builders. Island Countertop: gramaco.com. Backsplash: tilebar.com. Pendants: hvlgroup.com. Range & Hood: us.bertazzoni.com. Refrigerator: kitchenaid.com. Flooring: annsacks.com. Windows & Doors: dynamicfenestration.com. Hardware: houseofantiquehardware.com.

PRIMARY BEDROOM
Wall Treatment: osborneandlittle.com. Chandelier: dominionelectric.com. Rug: safavieh.com. Bedding: macys.com.

GUEST ROOM
Sofa: vanguardfurniture.com. Sofa Fabric: pollackassociates.com. Pillow Fabrics: hollyhunt.com. Armchair: burtonjames.com. Armchair Fabric: kravet.com. Ceiling Fixture: 1stdibs.com. Rug: Paragon through prosourcewholesale.com. Tufted Ottoman: Owners’ collection. Coffee Table: 1stdibs.com. Shutters: hunterdouglas.com. Wall Covering: phillipjeffries.com. Desk: madegoods.com. Desk & Table Lamp: arteriorshome.com. Side Table: highlandhousefurniture.com. Side Chair: centuryfurniture.com. Side Chair Fabric: Lee Jofa for kravet.com. Sunset Painting: Owners’ collection.

 

 

 

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