House of Spirits
What’s a log cabin doing in Chevy Chase? And why is it decorated with Alaskan art?
When Alice Rogoff wants a little time alone, she slips out of the home she shares with her husband, the Carlyle Group’s David Rubenstein, and drives five minutes to her log cabin in Chevy Chase.
At the white-cedar cabin, she might light a fire in the stone hearth, settle under a blanket of sea-otter skins, and read one of her books about Alaska.
“It’s such a wonderful place,” she says of the 1924 structure she bought a year and a half ago, originally the carriage house of an estate. “I love being in it.”
Chair of the Alaska Native Arts Foundation (alaskanativearts.org), Rogoff, 55, also uses the cabin to showcase her collection of Alaskan art, which includes evocative masks, whale-bone bowls, scrimshaw bracelets, sculptures carved from walrus tusk, and dolls with magnificent beaded and fur-trimmed costumes. Materials like ivory tusks are byproducts of the villagers’ subsistence hunting and fishing.
Rogoff often entertains at the cabin—she opens it up for interested groups—and sells pieces. Her mission is to promote and develop a market for Alaskan craft, which she fell in love with while on a trip there.
“In my cabin I’m surrounded by these glorious pieces of art, which to me are like the spirits of the people who made them.”