Home & Design

Fall House Tours Washington, DC 

Bloomingdale Civic Association 2015 House Tour—October 17
Entitled “Historic, Hip and Happening,” this year’s tour of eight to 12 homes in the DC neighborhood of Bloomingdale will include both historical and modern designs. Most of the proceeds will be donated to the BCA Scholarship Fund; following the tour, an art show and reception will honor scholarship recipients. bloomingdalecivicassociation.org/events/housetour/

48th Annual Dupont Circle House Tour and TeaOctober 18
This tour of homes in Dupont Circle takes in a variety of urban residences ranging from townhouses to pied-à-terres. Tea will be offered at The Carlyle, a nearby hotel, from 2 to 5 p.m. dupont-circle.org


59th Annual Potomac Country House Tour—October 3 to 4
Three impressive Potomac homes are featured on this tour, which boasts a silent auction, luncheon and boutiques selling gifts and decorations. Proceeds benefit local charities. potomaccountryhousetour.org


74th Annual Historic Alexandria Homes Tour—September 26 Highlights of this Alexandria tour include residences that were built in the 17th and 18th centuries—several of which were originally owned by freed slaves. Also in the mix: remodeled historic homes with innovative interior designs. thetwig.org/homes-tour

14th Annual Reston Home Tour—October 17
Six Reston-area homes will open their doors to visitors; on view will be several dramatic renovations and a luxury apartment. The tour is sponsored by the Reston Historic Trust. restonmuseum.org  —S. M.

Lush + Exuberant Opening on October 17 at the National Building Museum, an exhibit titled “The New American Garden” will highlight the work of Wolfgang Oehme (1930-2011) and James van Sweden (1935-2013), two pioneers of modern landscape architecture. Oehme and van Sweden transformed the industry by rejecting the traditional, overly manicured gardens of the 20th century in favor of natural, sustainable alternatives using broad swaths of low-maintenance perennials and ornamental plants.

“Oehme and van Sweden revolutionized the principles and techniques that underpin the creation of lush, exuberant landscapes,” said Charles Birnbaum, founder, and president of The Cultural Landscape Foundation, which partnered with the museum in mounting the exhibit. “They ushered in a design vocabulary that relied on the skillful integration and juxtaposition of form, color, texture, massing, and scale of plant materials to provide a landscape narrative that was dynamic and responsive to all four seasons.”

The partners founded Oehme van Sweden and Associates in Washington, DC, in 1977, and the firm continues to design award-winning gardens across the country. Among its credits are the Federal Reserve Bank in DC, the New York Botanical Garden and the landscapes of embassies, universities and private residences, including Oprah Winfrey’s country estate in Indiana.

The exhibit will contain extensive photographs of Oehme and van Sweden’s designs, along with related drawings and artifacts from their practice. Paintings and sculptures that influenced their artistic outlook will also be on display, including works by Henry Moore and others.

Considering the transient nature of the partners’  legacy—at least nine of their projects no longer exist—the retrospective offers a rare glimpse into Oehme van Sweden’s body of work. As Birnbaum says, “Viewers will see how each of Jim and Wolfgang’s projects could be appreciated in their totality.” For more information, visit nbm.org.

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