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DC Design House: A First Look at the 2014 Showhouse

We got the scoop on the designers’ plans for five of the rooms. Check out all 29 spaces in this weekend’s preview tour.

The 2014 Design House. Photo courtesy DC Design House.

It’s arguably the most epic before-and-after project in town. And this Saturday, the curious will get a shot at scoping the raw “before” space of the 2014 DC Design House, which will open briefly to the public for the annual Bare Bones Tour. The next time it opens, get ready for a serious reveal.

The fundraising design project—which began in 2008 to benefit the Children’s National Health System—will spotlight local designers transforming 29 spaces in this year’s nearly 8,000-square-foot home, a stone estate in Forest Hills that was built in 1929 and originally owned by the founder of the Madison Hotel, Marshall B. Coyne, who was an avid collector of artwork, French furniture, and historical documents. The home was donated by Coyne’s granddaughter Suzi Wilczynski, who currently owns the property. “This year’s house had a great history, with 60 years in the same family,” says Susan Hays Long, the chair and board member of the DC Design House. “How amazing it is to have the DC Design House at Marshall Coyne’s home, the home he lived in before he moved to his 30th Street house, which was filled with his collections. We love a home with local history, mystery, or something unique. That works for our search process.”

The six-bedroom home also retains many of its original features, such as crown molding, wood floors, and custom cabinetry. The age of this year’s host site makes it a more challenging project than last year’s showhouse, which was a new construction—this year, the project required renovation and earlier involvement from the designers, says DC Design House cofounder Skip Singleton.

Keep reading to get a first look at the raw space, along with some of the designer’s inspirations, renderings and proposed designs—then head to the showhouse on Saturday for a complete view of the home before its transformation is revealed April 13.

2014 DC Design House. 4600 Linnean Ave., NW. Bare Bones Tour Saturday 11 to 3. $5 or free with the purchase of a $25 ticket to be used during the complete home’s monthlong run.

Living Room
Designer: Kelley Proxmire, Kelley Interior Design
The inspiration: Proxmire wanted to pay homage to the history and architecture of the house, incorporating the glamour and sophistication of the 1920s while creating a space that is also livable and inviting. Mixes of antiques and contrasting metallics keep the space unique and interesting; modern and colorful pieces give the space interest and an updated overall feel. She intends to retain the original crown molding and flooring. Planned design elements include a large sisal area rug layered with an Oriental rug, high-gloss lacquer gray paint with white trims, a soft blue ceiling, and silver metallic detail etched around the border of the room. The grating on the built-ins will be lined with a crisp white silk to complement the white woodwork. Overall, the room will be kept neutral and comfortable with whites, grays, silvers, and some hints of a warm gold. For furniture, Proxmire will blend a traditional look with a few unexpected, updated pieces, such as the white sofa with straight lines and two acrylic Chinese Chippendale chairs. The tables will incorporate wood, metal, and glass, while all the upholstered pieces will be a mixture of whites, grays, and splashes of gold.

Powder Room
Designer: Joanne Fitzgerald, Gatega Interior Design
The inspiration: “I love powder baths because I see them as little jewel boxes. Because they’re usually small, applying more intense finishes has more impact. For this home, in a nod to its classic styling and roots in an era that was on the cusp of mainstream modernism, I chose as the focal point a very classic British wallpaper, applied sparingly yet front and center on the commode wall. I coupled it with iridescent wall tiles running vertically on the sink wall (which visually elevates the ceiling height of the diminutive space), an ornate Venetian-glass mirror, and more updated elements, including modern fixtures and shimmery finishes. My objective was to straddle design styles to create a space that is at once elegant, playful, and dramatic.”

Second-Floor Family Room
Designer: Interiors by Design’s Dennese Guadaloupe-Rojas and De Space Designs’ Diane S. Taitt
The inspiration: “‘L’eau-inspired elegance’: The sitting room is casual but elegant and draws inspiration from the movement and reflective colors of water. A cool, crisp color palette of silvery, textured beiges is accented with inspired blues and purples. Rich textures abound, and playful and unique accessories bring accent color and flair into the space. The furniture elements, in simple, comfortable shapes and neutral shades, are grounded by a rug that reflects a water-inspired organic pattern in earthy grays and blues. The room is crowned by a dramatic and elegant ceiling relief panel in rich purples and blues; the motif echoes the water-inspired motif in the rug. The ceiling relief, together with the organic rug, the accent wallpaper, and the cool, crisp fabric colors, give a symbolic nod to the natural world. The elegant and organic nature of the space encourages a serene state of being, inviting occupants to reflect and relax.”

Guest Bath
Designer: TJ Monahan, ibby/Case Design/Remodeling
The inspiration: To wow guests. Monahan wants guests to be utterly stunned by this bathroom. Here’s how he’ll do it:
“The attention to detail is impeccable. The play of color, texture, and scale is joyful. At first, your guests are taken aback by the modern lines that seem to spring from the historic confines of the space. As the space begins to settle in, they see that no, this is not just modern design for design’s sake. The tones of the stained-wood vanity and mirror would suit the finest library trim. The marble floor is supple and soft. The white ceramic accent tile is a tip-of-the-cap to traditional subway. The niche provides the storage necessary for showering supplies. It’s all so familiar—but at the same time, it’s all brand new.”

Entry Hall and Stairway
Designer: Camille Saum, Camille Saum Interior Design
The inspiration: “This timeless design with a hint of drama will set the stage for visitors to the 2014 Design House. A painted diamond floor greets guests in the entrance foyer with a classic statement of elegance. The shimmering beaded wall covering with a pesto-green accent continues throughout the open, three-story stairwell. The graceful lattice pattern complements the design of the beautiful circle-top window at the first landing. The focal point of the foyer is a dramatic mixed-media painting by Charles Dwyer, on loan from the Merritt Gallery of Chevy Chase. The two hallway chairs are slipcovered with orange linen. The foyer window is dressed with Camille’s signature crinoline-lined draperies in a shocking magenta-and-silver metallic fabric. On either side of the circle-top window are custom-built empire-style benches. Additional design features include Camille Saum’s signature bamboo covers for the radiators and a hostess table skirt featuring the DC Design House logo.”

Before photos by Jesse Snyder. All images courtesy of DC Design House.

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