Home & Design

French doors open to a Parisian-style, pea gravel garden court lined with linden trees.

Pine-and-cypress-patterned grisaille wall covering by Ananbô embellishes the gallery, which opens to the salon.

A graphic, black-and-white palette graces the front hall, where a fringed pouf by Lorenza Bozzoli Design and a Neoclassical wood table sit atop a floor tiled in limestone and black marble.

On the facing wall, a Louis XV-style settee was reupholstered in Jim Thompson sunburst silk; above it, photos of Versailles by French artist Brice Chatenoud nestle between Alfonso Marina side tables and Vermont Verde green marble lamps dressed in pagoda shades.

In the salon, a sitting area by the fireplace features an armless banquette from Kravet, fringed chairs by Federico Munari and contemporary Lucite stools atop a Moooi rug. Grisaille paintings by Marion Colomer flank the fireplace.

Arboreal wall covering in the galleryoffsets an ebonized, Neoclassical bar and a brass director’s chair by Valentí.

Sleek Snaidero cabinetry and a La Cornue range are the prime ingredients in the kitchen, where a marble-topped island is the owners’ preferred dining table.

In the salon, an ebonized Napoleon III table extends to seat six for formal meals on Chinese Chippendale chairs with apple-green cushions. Italian brass pedestals flank the French doors out to the courtyard.

In the primary bedroom, a serene and sophisticated palette of Farrow & Ball blue and an accent wall of Phillip Jeffries grasscloth complement the soft gray Nourison rug and silk Dedar draperies.

The color scheme refreshes a Chinese Chippendale headboard, Art Deco screen and Louis XVI-style nightstands. French doors open onto a Juliet balcony.

Spanning the rear of the house, the airy salon epitomizes the eclectic and elegant aesthetic envisioned by designer Romain Baty.

Paris Chic

In a Capitol Hill row house, a design duo puts a French twist on American style

It’s the eternal conundrum: What comes first—form or function? Both and neither, according to Christian Zapatka and Romain Baty, the architect and interior designer respectively behind the transformation of a modest, circa-1900 row house on Capitol Hill into a sophisticated, European-inspired urban villa. “Structure and design are connected,” Baty contends. “They’re engaged in a dialogue where every piece and architectural element complements the other and tells a story about the residents’ values, tastes and lives.”

Zapatka agrees, explaining that he “creates classic, timeless structures that integrate both site and interior design.” In this case, his renovation—a three-year adventure that included extensive negotiations with DC government agencies, neighborhood groups and historic preservation societies—informed Baty’s vision, which the designer diplomatically describes as “an identity that favored a disconnect from DC style.”
Before finding its inner glamour, the home was treated to a total gut job that reconfigured the interior spaces, adding rooms, functionality and a more organic flow. At the back, recalls Zapatka, “we replaced a goofy, bright-orange, two-story addition” with a lighter, more spacious three-story extension featuring skylights and clerestory windows. Post-reno, the 2,420-square-foot residence includes three bedrooms, three-and-a-half baths and a wealth of artfully disguised storage areas and closets.

Homeowners Gary Jankowski and Michael Schaeffer, both real estate agents, came to the project prepared with vision boards and ideas that were more European classic than American traditional. The couple, who’ve traveled extensively in France and Italy, wanted to create a refuge where they could live comfortably but entertain grandly—one that would reflect their sophisticated aesthetic and love of art. To achieve their vision, Baty, who hails from France, modeled their home on hôtel particulier, an architectural vernacular dating from the 16th century and popular among well-heeled Parisians ever since. Combining a wide variety of styles and periods, it’s a hybrid of the most elegant examples of European and American art and design.

The transatlantic journey begins at the front entry, where a refined gray, black and white palette is established through a limestone tile floor with black diamond inlay. Artwork, an Italian fringed stool and bold purple objets atop an antique-mirrored table enliven the graphic scheme. A graceful switchback staircase leads up to the second-level primary bedroom and a third-floor guest room.

A narrow gallery flows from the foyer back to the salon—an airy, open space spanning the rear of the house and encompassing both living and dining areas. The passageway is offset by graphic, arboreal-patterned grisaille (gray-toned) wall covering with a pastoral theme; it creates a bucolic backdrop for an ebonized, antique bar cabinet and a brass-and-leather director’s chair.

For all its grandeur, the salon is an intimate space that equally enriches everyday life and more formal gatherings. Cool blues and grays, luscious textiles and decorative marble and metallic elements all invite the visitor to relax and take in the French-inspired courtyard outside three tall French doors. Baty adhered to his vision of eclectic elegance with Italian and French side tables and pedestals that serve as plant stands while a Louis XV-style settee, exuberantly cloaked in sunburst silk, is flanked by marble-topped side tables and marble-and-brass lamps. Contemporary acrylic stools play harmoniously with two gray velvet lounge chairs and an armless banquette in jewel tones; all three are trimmed with bullion fringe.

Between the two chairs rests an ebonized Napoleon III-style table that opens to seat six when needed (very rarely, the owners confess). This flexibility, Baty explains, reduces volume and clutter and keeps the sight lines to the garden clear. Large-scale grisaille paintings and a photo triptych of Versailles display classic scenes in modern mediums.

Outside the French doors, a picturesque courtyard was landscaped by Oehme, van Sweden to evoke the parks of Paris, planted with fragrant linden trees set in a sweep of pea gravel. At the far end is a loggia designed to hide a two-car parking space. Both the trees and re-built, Moroccan-inspired masonry walls contribute to a cool-and-calm oasis vibe.

To the left off the gallery, the U-shaped kitchen is a study in glossy gray, glass and warm wood. Snaidero cabinets line the walls while creamy Caesarstone counters and glazed tiles are a soft counterpoint to the sleek cabinetry, La Cornue range and custom-designed steel hood. A marble-topped bronze island—crafted by Baty from an antique bank counter—is the couple’s preferred dining table, whether it’s just à deux or for larger groups. “It’s where we do most of our entertaining,” Jankowski admits.

Upstairs—past a cozy media room and a dressing area with built-in storage and a deep walk-in closet—is the primary bedroom, a serene and spare retreat arrayed in the colors of Parisian weather: gray, white and blue. Like the salon, metallic accents are everywhere, adorning the Neoclassical night tables, a Chinese Chippendale headboard and an Art Deco screen. Soft textures prevail, from the bed linens and curtains to the rug.

It’s been nearly seven years since the owners moved back to this recreated corner of Paris and every day they appreciate anew the joy it provides. From the moment you enter, Jankowski avers, “you feel transported to another world. It’s unlike anything we’ve seen on Capitol Hill.”

Renovation Architecture: Christian Zapatka, AIA, FAAR, Christian Zapatka Architect, PLLC, Washington, DC. Interior Design: Romain Baty, Romain Baty LLC, Washington, DC, and Paris. Renovation Contractor: LR Mailloux Construction, Washington, DC. Kitchen Design: Snaidero DC Metro, Alexandria, Virginia. Landscape Design: OvS, Washington, DC.



THROUGHOUT: Paint & Trim: farrow-ball.com.

Sofa & Sofa Fabric: kravet.com. Rug: moooicarpets.com. Chair Fabric: jab.de/us. Chair Trim: Stroheim for kravet.com. Coffee Table, Chandelier, Large Round Table & Console Flanking Fireplace: Antique. Art Flanking Fireplace: Custom. Bust: Antique. Art above Stands: fornasetti.com. Bench: Owners’ collection. Tables Flanking Bench: alfonsomarina.com. Art above Bench: Brice Chatenoud. Lucite Stools: Vintage. Bench Fabric: jimthompsonhomefurnishings.com. Mirror: Owners’ collection. Dining Table &  Chairs: Owners’ collection. Chair Fabric: Vintage.

Art: mishaillin.com. Runner: pattersonflynn.com. Stool: lorenzabozzoli.com. Mural: ananbo.com/en. Director's Chair: valenti.es/en. Sideboard: antique, Neoclassical.

Cabinetry: snaiderodcmetro.com.

Bedding: ralphlauren.com. Wall Covering: phillipjeffries.com. Rug: nourison.com. Desk Lamp: Vintage. Drapery Fabric: dedar.com. Drapery Fabrication: greatdreamsinteriors.com. Stool: lorenzabozzoli.com. Screen: Antique. Bench: Vintage. Bench Fabric: jab.de./us. Blue Chair Fabric: kravet

You may also like:

Home Grown
Area designers reveal their latest décor collections
Hot New Talent- Joe Ireland & Julie Weber
Design Intuition
Cutting Edge
Innovative products outfit any rooftop deck in comfort and style
HOME&DESIGN, published bi-monthly by Homestyles Media Inc., is the premier magazine of architecture and fine interiors for the Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia region.

The company also publishes an annual H&D Sourcebook of ideas and resources for homeowners and professionals alike. H&D Chesapeake Views is published bi-annually and showcases fine home design and luxury living in and around the Chesapeake Bay.

The H&D Portfolio of 100 Top Designers spotlights the superior work of selected architects, interior designers and landscape architects in major regions of the US.

Stay Connected with HOME & DESIGN Newsletter

Copyright © 2024 Home & Design. All rights reserved. | Back to top