Family heirlooms, art and antiques filled Whitney Wood’s childhood home in Charlottesville. “Thinking back,” he recalls, “I was always rearranging my room.” So it wasn’t a stretch when, right out of high school, he landed a job with Middleburg interior designer Shoshana Datlow.
“She taught me the intricacies” of the business, Wood affirms. Four years later, he moved to Washington, DC, where he worked for a special-events design company before launching his own firm in 2018.
Wood likes to channel tradition while bringing a fresh, modern sensibility to his work. “I grew up surrounded by items that were passed down in my family,” he explains. “So I love using things from a client’s past in their home—it’s basically like telling a story.”
The designer is currently finishing up a Charlottesville abode and orchestrating interiors for another residence breaking ground in Gainesville, Virginia, this summer. And he recently wrapped up the chic apartment he and his fiancé share in DC’s West End. “This project was fun because I incorporated more neutrals and modern elements than in our prior home, which was very traditional,” he notes. “I wanted to challenge myself by going outside my comfort zone—and not overdoing it.”
Interior Design: Whitney R. Wood, WRW Interiors, Washington, DC.
A business degree propelled Anne Pulliam into a marketing career, but she felt unfulfilled. “I’m a creative person and it didn’t feel like the right fit,” she admits.
Pulliam loved décor and “house-stalking”—peering into the windows of beautiful homes—but never considered the passion a career option until an interior designer friend invited her to a lunch for creative women in DC. “I met designer Erica Burns, who was looking to hire someone,” recalls Pulliam. “Erica took a total risk and gave me a job.”
The novice spent almost five years learning the ropes from Burns and falling in love with the industry. When covid hit in 2020, Pulliam decided to move back to her hometown of Richmond with her husband and their baby girl and launch her own firm.
With seven projects underway near DC, Pulliam finds herself in Washington often, but enjoys the quieter pace of Virginia’s capital. She and her husband, who welcomed a son last fall, are renting and “looking for that perfect historic gem in need of renovation,” she says.
Richmond has influenced Pulliam’s approach. “Its historic architecture first triggered my obsession with design,” she reflects. “I love the contrast of modern and traditional and in my designs, I think that shows.”
Interior Design: Anne Pulliam, Anne Pulliam Interiors, Richmond, Virginia.
A Georgetown bath makeover pays homage to history.
Jonas Carnemark transforms an outdated relic into a calm oasis.
A design team crafts a posh bath with Old Wold soul.
Kate Abt and Chris Snowber create a spa-like oasis in a DC gem.
During their complete overhaul of a 1912 Mount Pleasant row house, architect Christopher Snowber and interior designer Kate Abt bridged old and new in its reimagined primary bath.
They gutted and slightly expanded the cramped existing lavatory (which had a combination bathtub/shower), making way for a more efficient layout that includes a soaking tub, a walk-in shower and a water closet opposite the vanity. Dual skylights more than compensate for the room’s lack of windows. “The goal was to create a bright and clean oasis, accentuated by a carefully detailed mix of modern components,” says Snowber.
Walnut millwork and Dolomite marble on the floor and tub surround nod to tradition but are applied in a modern way. “It’s very much streamlined, without a lot of fuss,” says Abt. “And the wood vanity warms up the marble.”
A countertop in stain-resistant quartz was selected as a matching but practical alternative to stone. Black metal accents in the form of Visual Comfort sconces, a heated towel warmer and the steel frame of the custom shower enclosure convey a crisp, industrial edge. “The steel-framed partition became a driver of the design,” explains Snowber. “It serves as a way to separate the spaces while bringing a surprisingly sensuous feel to the room.”
CREDITS + DETAILS—Renovation Architecture: Christopher R. Snowber, AIA, Hamilton Snowber Architects. Interior Design: Kate Abt, Kate Abt Design. Renovation Contractor: AllenBuilt, Inc. Dolomite Marble Tile: architessa.com. Tub: ferguson.com. Plumbing Fixtures: brizo.com. Shower Door Fabrication: wellbornwright.com. Sconces: visualcomfort lightinglights.com. Quartz Countertop: rbratti.com.
Sometimes a project’s greatest challenge is to create a sense of character where there isn’t much. Such was the case when a client called on Thomson & Cooke Architects and interior designer Zoë Feldman to revamp her ’90s-era townhouse in DC’s Foxhall enclave.
“It was a nice blank space, but underwhelming in architectural value,” Feldman recalls.
The owner, who’d just returned from a stint in California, sought a Spanish Mediterranean vibe. Another jumping-off point for the primary bath was the Greenwich Hotel, her favorite destination in New York, which boasts luxe, marble-and-brass-appointed bathrooms.
The team took the interiors down to the studs. Armed with inspiration, Feldman conjured an Old World-style bathroom complete with a tub for two, a large shower with an arched opening, a water closet, Carrara marble surfaces and unlacquered-brass fittings that will patina over time. Built-in cabinets keep clutter at bay.
A marble ledge by the tub is a resting spot for wine, candles or bath salts, says the designer, who had the walls coated in blush-colored plaster. “When done properly,” she avers, “plaster is even more waterproof than tile or stone. It also adds texture and really softens a bathroom.
“It is amazing,” Feldman concludes, “how a few architectural tweaks and treatments can make a room feel timeless and give it soul.”
CREDITS + DETAILS—Interior Design: Zoë Feldman, Zoë Feldman Design. Renovation Architecture: Neal Thomson, AIA, and Patrick Cooke, AIA, Thomson & Cooke Architects. Contractor: Hyp Renovations. Tub, Plumbing Fixtures & Flooring: waterworks.com. Marble Backsplash & Counter: atlasstonefabricators.com. Tub Sconces: urbanelectric.com. Mirror: mirrorlot.com. Vanity Sconces: circalighting.com. Vanity: sinklegs.com through weaverhardware.com. Rug: districtloom.com.
Soon after a couple moved into a Kalorama apartment, they asked Jonas Carnemark to replace their bulky whirlpool tub with a new shower. But as they discussed taking the 1990s-era primary bath in a fresh, modern direction, the project quickly morphed into a total overhaul.
First, Carnemark made a clean sweep, removing everything to arrive at an open space housing a large shower, a double vanity and a toilet screened by a partition. He proposed displaying an oversized stone slab as an organic work of art in the shower. A hunt ensued until his clients fell in love with a quartzite specimen at Gramaco. “It has some really cool richness and picks up the trees outside,” says Carnemark. “We tried to minimize everything else in the room.”
A sleek Artelinea vanity fit the bill. Made entirely of glass, it combines matte, back-painted-glass door fronts and an undulating “frosted-glass top that flows into polished glass in the bowls themselves,” explains the designer. Completing the minimalist picture are heated and slip-proof porcelain-tile floors, touch-latch shower niches to stow away toiletries and a linear shower drain.
“This kind of bath is so peaceful to me,” reflects Carnemark. “Some might say there’s not enough going on, but I like it when there are just a couple of points that really draw your attention.”
CREDITS + DETAILS—Bath Design & Contracting: Jonas Carnemark, CR, CKD, CLIPP, CARNEMARK design + build. Floor & Wall Tile: architessa.com. Quartzite Slab: gramaco.com. Slab Fabrication: eurostonecraft.com. Plumbing Fixtures: fantini.it through konstunion.com. Vanity & Mirror: artelinea.it through konstunion.com. Custom Glass Panel: proshowerdoors.com.
Preserving history was a priority in the recent renovation of a couple’s 1815 manse on Smith Row in Georgetown. Architects Dale Overmyer and Laura Rowland and interior designer Tracy Morris balanced the husband’s classicist aesthetic with the wife’s penchant for modern glam. “This was not a small undertaking,” says Morris about the project, which included the transformation of a sitting room off the primary bedroom into a new owners’ bath.
The architects drew up a plan for a large, open space housing a tub and custom vanity as well as a separate shower and WC. Determined to salvage the room’s existing fireplace, the owners decided to cover its original brick with a new material. When they discovered book-matched slabs of Aurora Blue quartzite on a shopping trip with Morris, “Their eyes lit up and I knew it would be a stunner,” the designer recalls.
Overmyer and Rowland detailed the protruding fireplace wall to integrate seamlessly with the room’s architecture. Crown molding pays homage to Greek Revival style while contemporary touches—from the vanity’s tapered legs to the sculptural tub—place the project firmly in the 21st century. “Tracy wove a real compromise between the clients,” says Rowland. “They were very adventurous and open-minded in a lot of ways.”
CREDITS + DETAILS—Renovation Architecture: Dale Overmyer, AIA; Laura Rowland, Overmyer Architects. Interior Design: Tracy Morris, Tracy Morris Design. Contractor: Goldsborough Design Build. Marble Floor Tile: architessa.com. Quartzite Fireplace Slab & Marble Countertop: marblesystems.com. Tub: vandabaths.com. Tub & Sink Fixtures: kallista.com. Custom Vanity: jtdylaninc.com. Mirror: riverglassdesigns.com. Sconces: circalighting.com.
McLean and Tircuit
Inspired to offer consumers high-end furniture, art and accessories typically available to the trade only, designer Sheryl McLean recently launched a boutique within the new studio of her firm, McLean and Tircuit, in Laurel’s historic district. “I gravitate towards pieces that are colorful, artisan-made and ethnically diverse,” she says. “I picked up many of these products at international markets.” Pop-ups will take place in the shop every month; the next ones happen on July 30 and August 27. By appointment only. 617 Main Street, Laurel; 301-430-0723. mcleanandtircuit.com
Marking its seventh location, Architessa has unveiled a 3,200-square-foot showroom in Georgetown. Look for a curated collection of tile, natural stone, luxury vinyl tile and wood flooring. “Our vision for the future includes supporting DC’s thriving design community,” notes CEO Betty Sullivan. The shop offers the city’s widest selection of porcelain slabs and is its only authorized dealer for Walker Zanger and Artistic Tile brands. An array of outdoor surfaces is also available. 2212 Wisconsin Avenue, NW; 301-718-8343. architessa.com
Tyler Whitmore Interiors
Home-staging experts Tyler Whitmore and Debbie Labonski opened a 2,000-square-foot furnishings showroom in Kensington’s West Howard Antiques District where wares are displayed in stylish vignettes.The duo culls estate and private sales, East Coast flea markets and consignment shops to find their inventory of furniture, lighting and art—then refurbishes many pieces onsite. Says Labonski, “We hunt for items with good bones and great lines and transform them into treasures that become statement pieces.” Inventory is also sold online. 4208 Howard Avenue, Kensington; 202-746-2537. tylerwhitmoreinteriors.com
SipaBoards' self-inflatable standup paddleboards are equipped with an electric jet motor providing four optional knots of extra propulsion—a smart safety feature in the event of high winds, strong currents or user fatigue. Newly released models are lighter and quieter than the first generation; built-in LEDs illuminate adventures after dark. From $1,990. sipaboards.com
With daily nonstop flights between DC and Athens, getting to Greece has never been easier. Island-hoppers may want to drop anchor at Kalesma Mykonos. Opened last year, it’s home to Pere Ubu restaurant, where chef Costas Tsingas spotlights his native fare with aplomb. One-bedroom suites feature private patios and heated pools. Interiors by Studio Bonarchi and K-Studio sport custom furnishings in cool earth tones that play off whitewashed surfaces. A grand villa boasts a full outdoor kitchen. And bougainvillea envelops the pool bar with a view. Rates from $1,600 a night for a suite and $3,800 a night for a villa. kalesmamykonos.com
A visual and culinary feast awaits at Shoto—a Japanese eatery designed by Noriyoshi Muramatsu of Tokyo-based Studio Glitt. Precious lava stones from a volcano in Japan are suspended from the dining room’s traditional basketweave ceiling. A private gathering space (right) seats up to 40; Shoto also boasts a landscaped terrace facing L Street. Browsing the menu of innovative sushi and izakaya-style fare, guests can choose delicacies such as salmon and tuna tartare with nori rice crackers and caviar and a dessert platter of exotic fruit, ice cream and sorbet. 1100 15th Street, NW; 202-796-0011
Though it’s a quick drive or motorboat jaunt from the heart of Annapolis, a three-and-a-half-acre wooded parcel with its own strip of beach on the South River feels far removed from the bustle of Maryland’s capital. Tami and Rick Matson discovered the gem on their search for a new home near the bay. For years, they’d spent laid-back weekends in a small getaway they’d owned in Edgewater, less than an hour’s drive from their Gaithersburg residence. When the youngest of their four kids went off to college, the Matsons decided to trade both homes for permanent digs on the shore.
“You hit the point when you’re ready for the next journey,” says Tami, a homemaker. “We loved coming to the Annapolis area on weekends and thought it would make a great spot to live.” She and Rick, who owns a commercial-construction company, envisioned a retreat large enough to host the kids and their future families with ease.
Both were “blown away” at first sight by the Saunders Point property, complete with swaths of woods and lawn, a pool and views of the South River and Crab Creek. “I could see one of our kids getting married on the lawn someday,” muses Tami.
There was also a 1970s Acorn Deck house on-site. Initially, the couple spent time in the “cool” but outdated prefab, getting to know the lay of the land. But it soon became clear that to create the retreat they wanted, they’d have to start from scratch. So the owners tapped architects Leo Wilson and Sandie Martino of Hammond Wilson, interior designer Erin Paige Pitts and Gate One Builders to make their dream a reality.
The Matsons have long admired the Shingle-style dwellings of Rhode Island, where Rick’s sister lives. After detailed discussions, the architects homed in on timeless New England vernacular. “We were aware that this is not a beach house or even a bay house,” notes Tami. “Instead, we wanted to capture the feeling of a river house with a darker exterior—not stark white.”
Factoring in critical-area setbacks and the pool (which was staying put), the architects situated the new house on nearly the same footprint as its predecessor. This move not only took advantage of the best vistas, but also preserved mature trees and gardens during construction. Once the existing house came down, materials were donated for reuse.
The completed residence is organized as two separate structures—a main house and a three-car garage—connected by an open breezeway. “I’m so happy with the way the house landed,” says Martino, the project architect. “When you come around the drive, the breezeway frames views of the pool and the water.”
The foyer opens to a double-height great room—one of Tami Matson’s must-haves—with a dining room, kitchen and screened porch to the left and the owners’ suite and an office on the right. There is a bedroom for their youngest daughter plus two guest bedrooms on the second floor, while a full apartment over the garage is ready for extended stays. The above-ground lower level revolves around play time with a billiards table and bar, a gym and an inviting lounge.
Careful massing downplays the size of the 7,565-square-foot dwelling from the front. “We took advantage of space under the roof for the second floor,” say Martino. “This allows the home to come down in scale and makes it warmer and more approachable.”
Warmth and approachability, along with a dash of casual elegance, drove the interior plan—starting in the great room, dining area and kitchen, all aligned along the rear. The palette was inspired by St. Moritz marble that rims the great room fireplace and tops the kitchen island. “With its soft grays and blues, the stone looks like the sky with floating clouds,” designer Erin Paige Pitts observes.
An oversized hearth grounds the airy great room. “We typically sway clients away from double-height volumes because they take up square footage, but there’s something beautiful about this one,” says Martino. “Erin added the wood-beamed ceiling, which makes the room feel so comfortable.” Custom sofas dressed in nubby fabrics encourage guests to linger.
With its curvy, blue-gray island and tall walnut cabinets, there is nothing cookie-cutter about the kitchen. Pitts carefully detailed the space, from the Lunada Bay backsplash tile to the diamond motif on the cabinet fronts. “We tried to make it feel less like a brand new, all-white kitchen with a mix of cabinetry and furniture pieces,” she says.
Wilson and Martino ensured that residents and guests could gaze out to the river from practically every room; myriad window seats, also favored by the family dog, offer intimate vantage points.
During warmer months, everyone heads outdoors. The garage doubles as a pool house, harboring a guest bath and an al fresco kitchen; parties can also meander down to the beach and dock or to a woodsy fire pit for gatherings after dark. ”This is one of those projects that has all the pieces everyone wants—trees, a beach, a pier, a front lawn,” marvels Martino. ”With its existing gardens and mature trees, it feels like the house has been here forever.”
The Matsons, who moved in during the summer of 2020, couldn’t be happier. ”I feel very connected to nature here,” reflects Tami, ”and we have an amazing sunset every day.
“I wanted a home that would age well,” she continues. ”We’d like to see this house be here for years and years past us.”
Architecture: Leo Wilson, AIA, LEED AP, principal; Sandie Martino, project architect, Hammond Wilson, Annapolis, Maryland. Interior Design: Erin Paige Pitts, Erin Paige Pitts Interiors, Annapolis, Maryland. Builder: Matt Long and Todd Soroka, Gate One Builders, Annapolis, Maryland. Landscape Contractor: Mark Childs,Exterior Image, Lothian, Maryland.