This year’s DC Design House, a newly constructed, five-level home in Wesley Heights, designed by GTM Architects, opens to the public this weekend. It’s currently on the market for $14.9 million. Tours of the house are available Tuesday through Sunday until May 12. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite sights here, though there are many more. More information about tickets (20 percent of proceeds go to Children’s National Medical Center) and tour availability can be found at the DC Design House website.
America’s favorite design pair, Robert and Cortney Novogratz, are known for mixing flea market finds with contemporary design. They’re also known for starring in HGTV’s Home by Novogratz, managing their firm Sixx Design, authoring Downtown Chic, and raising seven children between the ages of 3 and 15. October also brings the launch of their debut furniture line with CB2 and a new book, Home by Novogratz. We caught up with Robert and Cortney to chat about upcoming projects, Washington’s style, and how they manage to stay grounded.
What makes Home by Novogratz different from other design books?
We break down the costs and budget for each project and give people a realistic look at things, as well as sharing great design tips. Some design books are just pretty pictures, but our book is filled with insider tips, fun interviews with various experts, and, of course, some humor.
How would you describe Washington’s style?
Robert: I grew up in Alexandria, so I know the area quite well. It’s sophisticated, conservative, and really preppy, which we love. In fact, the new hotel we’re working on is going to be really preppy.
Cortney: We had the privilege of filming with Tipper Gore, and her art is featured in our books, as well. We feel she personifies the classy Washingtonian woman.
I was immediately drawn to the bold blue in George Iso’s “Red Stone,” and was interested in the inspiration behind the work. The fact that he has a background in architecture suggests the impulsive lines could be representative of his past training.
What interests Iso is the exuberant throbbing of cities, channeled by the fluidity of his forms and color schemes. According to the artist's website: “The act of committing himself to the canvas by way of gestures, with no [preexisting] order, makes Iso’s abstractionism akin to the tradition of North American abstract expressionism. With no prior logical requirement, the canvas is the result of the artist’s immediate impulse as he directly faces the surface.”
“Red Stone” reminds me of a cozy library, with warm, rich leather, wood, stacks of classics, and the faint scent of a pipe. Curl up with a cup of coffee and bask in the feeling of being transported to another era.
As the former style director of Real Simple, Marcus Hay is no stranger to producing unforgettable magazine spreads and breathtaking interiors. The Australia native has worked with some of the industry’s most sought-after clientele, including Vogue Australia, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Design Within Reach, and West Elm. So when Kimberly Steward of Kess Agency gave Hay free rein to design a living/work space in Manhattan’s Financial District, he jumped at the opportunity. We caught up with the designer to learn a bit more about the decor choices he made.
After spending an afternoon out on the sunny patio at Napoleon Bistro this summer, I thought, Why not bring the French bistro feeling home? Put together your own European oasis right in your backyard with fun red and white stripes, bright yellow pillows, and, of course, a little bubbly.
Welcome to a new series called “Small Talk,” in which we’ll be chatting with Washington tastemakers about small-space style. First up is Caroline Verschoor of Ekster Antiques & Uniques, a designer and antiques dealer with an eye for one-of-a-kind finds with European flair. Her shop itself is one-of-a-kind—she hosts weekend sales in the 8,000-square-foot barn on her property outside Leesburg a few times a year. Catching her incredible selection of goods is worth setting a calendar reminder.
With her international background and love of travel, design, and style, Verschoor has truly created a beautiful shopping experience—we covet every single piece from her large collection of decor and furniture. Offerings range from rustic farm tables to glass chandeliers to marble-top consoles to brass lamps and more. We invited Verschoor to share her style tips and inspiration on the Open House blog.
By Meg Biram
Young artist Alexandra Chiou, a recent graduate of the University of Virginia, uses life and anatomy to inspire her work. “I aim to explore the complex parallels between human anatomy, geography, and organic matter,” she says. “I am especially interested in understanding and conceptualizing the common origins of life.” The playful colors in “Cave Study,” her acrylic-and-India-ink piece, made me think of a child’s imagination, with no limits to color and shape. This inspired a bright and cheery nursery where the artwork could jump off the walls; it could easily transition to more mature decor as the child grows.
We’re in the thick of summer, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s “Luncheon of the Boating Party,” perhaps the best-known work at the Phillips Collection, seems to hit just the right note. The leisurely scene of the artist’s friends enjoying an afternoon relaxing on a balcony at the Maison Fournaise along the Seine inspired this classic living room.
Ever since I moved to DC more than a year ago, I can’t help but notice all of the Federalist-style decor—it’s a popular, timeless look that mixes classic colors and patterns with items collected over the years and passed down through generations. This arrangement is a modern take on this idea. A blue couch might seem a little daring, but in this vignette it doesn’t feel out of place or overly trendy.
Do you love the neutral palette and effortless cool of Scandinavian design? This minimalist style has many components that are great for small spaces: light, versatility, brightness, and accessibility. Here’re a few ways to create the look at home.
By Natalie Grasso
“It’s such an exciting time to be in the design world,” Suzanne Kasler said, addressing a room full of design professionals as part of the spring Capital Design lecture series at the Washington Design Center. “It’s been a tough couple of years, but things are starting to open up. With all of the media and sharing, people are more interested than ever.” She added that more exposure creates more of a need for talented designers, because there is so much more out there to edit.
Kasler kicked off her talk by presenting photos of her own recently renovated home in Atlanta, Georgia, which was featured in the April 2012 issue of Architectural Digest. She confessed that during the house hunt she’d been looking for a Regency-style house and ended up with a Federal. “But that’s the great thing about being a designer,” she said. “You can change it!” Her first design move—one that has become a Kasler signature—was to paint all of the architectural elements white (Benjamin Moore’s White Dove and Bone White are her go-to hues). “This creates the architectural envelope,” she said. “If you get the architecture right, the rest is so much easier.”