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Stylist Naina Singla shares a glimpse inside her fun and functional Bethesda workspace. By Michelle Thomas

When you work from home, having a great office is practically a non-negotiable. So when stylist and medical consultant Naina Singla was renovating her Bethesda home, nailing the perfect workspace was a top priority.

“I have worked from home the past ten years in various roles and sometimes it feels like I spend countless hours at my desk,” says Singla. “So it's important that the space around me is not only functional but inspirational and fun.”

The first step in the quest for fun: That bold fuchsia rug. Singla’s a longtime fan of textile designer Madeline Weinrib, and her graphic Brooke carpet ended up informing the entire room’s look. Since the office is located right off the entrance to the home, Singla wanted to make sure its design worked with the rest of her first floor, which is decorated in a clean, minimalist aesthetic with a touch of glam modernism and a neutral color palette. So she countered the vibrant hue of the rug with airy white walls and furniture, working in hints of gold and black and mirroring the hot pink accent in the room’s artwork.

Singla didn't scrap everything from her old office, though. Turns out that chic white desk is actually an old brown wooden desk that Singla had been using for more than 10 years. It was functional, but didn’t have the right look—so she had the desk wrapped in white linen fabric and topped it with a glass surface. A pretty inspired choice, we say.

Take a peek inside this feminine office below!

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Posted at 11:48 AM/ET, 04/30/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
The Washington designer tells us about his favorite space. By Michelle Thomas
Photo courtesy of Christopher Patrick Interiors.

Washington-based interior designer Christopher Patrick—he’s the guy responsible for the gorgeously dramatic bedroom in this year's DC Design House—explains the story behind this kitchen’s transformation in a Kalorama home.

“The kitchen was originally designed with a large antique french butcher block table on one side, reducing the amount of usable countertop space. Around the corner, a custom walnut floor-to-ceiling cabinet adds much needed pantry space and speaks to the custom walnut hood. This space also appeals to my own personal design aesthetic. The client and I have very similar taste, so when we began to collaborate on the kitchen finishes it was as if we were one person. Lastly, one of my favorite pieces was the custom table base by Squareform metal working. They created a few different table bases for us to choose from to fit an existing marble table top the client already had. The end result of the kitchen is understated luxury and subtle sophistication. I love it.”

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Posted at 12:32 PM/ET, 04/28/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
The Maryland designer tells us about her favorite space. By Michelle Thomas
Photograph courtesy of Homewood Interiors.

With more than 20 years of experience under her belt, Stacia Smith has a fair share of projects in her oeuvre. The Baltimore-based designer explains why this room, in a historic property, is her personal favorite:

“This living room is all about striking a balance between the architectural elements of the past, with the modern eclectic furnishings of the present,” says Smith. “I particularly love the artwork and the splash of color it brings into this area and how the soft color palette in the walls and fabrics play off each other."

Posted at 11:54 AM/ET, 04/15/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Wardrobe stylist Jennifer Barger shares tips to maximize space and keep your clothes organized. By Jennifer Barger
Photograph by Tetra Images/Alamy

In addition to covering design, writer Jennifer Barger works as a wardrobe stylist and personal shopper for DC Style Factory, helping clients organize and spiff up their wardrobes. Even if you can’t add an entire dressing room to your home, you can keep your closet in top shape with her tips.

Get rid of wire hangers from the dry cleaner. Replace them with matching, slimmed-down ones—such as the velvet-covered hangers from the Container Store—to fit more clothes onto rods.

Think vertically. Use those often-wasted upper shelves for out-of-season clothing, luggage, or anything else you don’t need every day.

Keep things in view. It’s easier to get dressed if you can see most of your clothes and shoes. Hang garments by type and then color, from light to dark.

Don’t go overboard on organizing gear. Relying on too many bins and baskets hides your clothes and keeps you from knowing what you’ve got.

This article appears in our April 2015 issue of Washingtonian.

Posted at 08:55 AM/ET, 04/14/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Plus 12 more rooms from the annual design benefit, which opens to the public this weekend. By Michelle Thomas
All images by Angie Seckinger.

Each year, the DC Design House proves to be a major reveal, and true to form, when we last checked in with 2015’s selected home—a five-bedroom, eight-bath farmhouse-inspired estate that’s part of a new 12-property development in McLean—it was still under construction. Yesterday, the completed home debuted to the press, showcasing 28 spaces that have been reworked by more than 20 designers. The decorated home opens for public tours this weekend for a month-long display. Then it goes up for sale—at $4.895 million.

Read on to get the details on our four favorite spaces and see a few more snaps from the home.

Dining Room

Jeff Akseizer and Jamie Brown of Akseizer Design Group put a sophisticated spin on the formal dining room with layers of organic textures such as cowhide and wood juxtaposing glossy chrome and mid-century inspired Lucite. Custom-built china cabinets spotlight a selection of vintage and antique finds, and a modern chandelier adds drama. Our favorite part? The birch branches inset into the coffered ceiling—a truly inspired touch.


Nancy Twomey of Finnian's Moon Interiors gave this modern-traditional nursery a lift via Swedish inspiration and a serene color palette that pairs a hazy gray-blue textured wallpaper with a just-barely pink ceiling. The faux-fur chair, oversized fawn art, and neutral spotted carpet bring a dash of nature-inspired whimsy to the room.

Master Bedroom

For the home's largest bedroom, designer Christopher Patrick found inspiration in a drawing of a Cartier necklace once owned by Marjorie Merriweather Post. He chose a rich, dramatic slate hue—Benjamin Moore’s Anchor Gray—for the walls and beamed cathedral ceiling, then offset it with bits of cognac leather, emerald green, and metallics to create a masculine and feminine balance. A gold-leafed bar cabinet from Niermann Weeks is one of the room’s strongest pieces—as are the contrasting bookcases that Patrick lined with a very convincing faux-bois walnut wallpaper.


By Paul Lobkovich and Emily Neifeld of Lobkovich Kitchen Designs

Simple and elegant with a rustic flair, the kitchen combines a soft white palette with black walnut wood accents and farmhouse-style details. The room’s best details: A custom-made hood in blackened and stainless steel; the two-panel custom cabinets; and the inset walnut pantry, flanked by hidden refrigerators.

DC Design House. Saturday through May 10. $50 for Saturday admission; $30 for general admission starting Sunday. Ticket proceeds benefit the Children’s National Health System.

See 12 More Rooms

Posted at 12:24 PM/ET, 04/08/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
The seasoned decorator shares her favorite space. By Michelle Thomas
Photograph by Kip Dawkins.

Bethesda-based Kelley Proxmire has been designing interiors for more than 20 years. Here, Proxmire tells us about the space she’s most proud of—a versatile guest-house living room.

This guest house living room is among my favorite spaces because it illustrates my mantra of pretty and practical. Because the guest house is small, each room needs to be multifunctional. I accomplished this in the living room by incorporating two sleep sofas, adding ottomans that double as coffee tables and storage for linen, and creating a ‘wine-tasting’ style table for eating and playing games. This table folds up flat so it can be placed in front of window in order to fold out the bed!

I also made sure the color scheme of orange and gray was used throughout the three levels of the guest house, making it cheerful, uplifting and gender neutral. Living room fabrics include Travers's Coralie for pillows and Lee Jofa’s Fez on the dining chairs.”

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Posted at 01:17 PM/ET, 04/02/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
This room takes a chic turn with mixed metals, glossy subway tiles, and a marble-top vanity. By Michelle Thomas

As one of the area’s top wedding photographers, Abby Jiu hangs out in some pretty glamorous settings on the regular. So it should come as no huge surprise that she’d want her home to reflect an equally stylish aesthetic—and that includes in her master bath. Jiu recently paired with designer Joanna Abizaid of Cline Rose Designs to transform her Alexandria home's basic bath into a dreamy, vintage-inspired haven.

Top priority was incorporating a freestanding soaking tub—a must-have that ended up informing the entire project as Abizaid worked to blend Jiu’s love of clean lines with a feminine, vintage vibe. Abizaid chose a modern take on the classic claw-foot and combined it with white subway tile on the walls and a dark gray herringbone tile on the floors. Next, the pair added a chic mix of metals, pairing a soft aged brass hardware with glossy chrome fixtures. The finishing touches? A luxe Carerra marble-top vanity, French-inspired mirrors—only $159 each!—and a shimmering crystal mini-chandelier to maximize the room’s glam factor.

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Posted at 04:10 PM/ET, 04/01/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Sapna Mehta and Liz Kaiser dedicated entire rooms to beautifully housed wardrobes. By Jennifer Barger
Left, Sapna Mehta and Andy Grimmig's used dark hues in their his-and-hers closet to create an elegant space. Right, Liz Kaiser's wardrobe is light, bright, and cheerful. Photographs by Dan Chung.

Dark Glamour

Black paint and furniture can make spaces look bleak. But in this his-and-hers walk-in closet in a Kalorama rowhouse, dark hues add up to a moodily elegant backdrop for getting dressed—and getting organized. Architect Carmel Greer of District Design, who reimagined the entire 1911 home with owners Sapna Mehta and Andy Grimmig, says she aimed to create “the DC townhouse holy grail: a master suite with an attached bathroom and a big closet.”

To accomplish that for the couple—both lawyers—Greer did a down-to-the-studs renovation that included adding the roughly 8-by-13-foot closet/dressing area. The show-stopper is a chemistry-lab-cool brass light fixture with exposed bulbs from Los Angeles’s Park Studio. Mehta scored the ottoman from One Kings Lane—it serves as the perfect seat for putting on her favorite Miu Miu or Marc Jacobs shoes in the morning.

The black shelving and drawers come from California Closets. “I like that you can customize them,” says Mehta. “I’m petite, so the rods for my clothes needed to be lower than Andy’s.” Another thing that makes sharing the closet easier: “Andy lets me have about two-thirds of the space.”

Photograph by Dan Chung.
Photograph by Dan Chung.

Bright Ideas

Liz Kaiser’s Bloomingdale rowhouse features a full-size cow statue in the front yard, a jumbo print of Jackie O in the living room, and a stuffed-elk bust hanging over the stairs. But the element that draws the most attention from visitors is a closet.

Well, more of a dressing room, really.

When Kaiser, a real-estate agent, moved into the Victorian in 2012, she was frustrated by the lack of storage for her impressive wardrobe. So she worked with the Closet Factory to turn a 10-by-12-foot guest room into a walk-in boutique of sorts for her colorful cocktail dresses, neon bangles, and vintage furs, some inherited from her grandma. Hundreds of hot-hued stilettos and cowboy boots fill one entire wall.

“If a shoe doesn’t have a six-inch heel, it’s not going on my feet,” she says. “I put in floor-to-ceiling white shelves—I wanted functionality and a clean background since my clothes aren’t neutral.”

That might be the only understatement anywhere in Kaiser’s abode.

Photograph by Dan Chung.
Photograph by Dan Chung.

This article appears in our April 2015 issue of Washingtonian.

Posted at 03:00 PM/ET, 03/31/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Lots of marble. Zero clutter. By Michelle Thomas

You’d have to be a pretty devoted minimalist to live in this Georgetown condo. Über-contemporary with a super-slick design and exacting viewpoint, this austere one-bedroom penthouse was renovated by Schlesinger Associate Architects for owner Bruno Lassus a few years back, and the finished product spotlights sleek, cool expanses of Calcutta marble, clear and frosted glass walls, and rare wood accents, combined with sculptural architecture that includes a striking marble staircase and impressive biofuel fireplace. Top-of-the-line contemporary finishes complement the modern feel—the condo is outfitted with a Bulthaup kitchen, Alessi and Waterworks bath fixtures, Lutron lighting, and Bang & Olufsen audio. Our favorite part: That incredible glass-enclosed soaking tub. Check your modesty at the door.

1045 31st St NW is listed at $2.5 million. Look inside below, then go to TTR Sotheby’s for more details.

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Posted at 11:27 AM/ET, 03/24/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Furniture picks from local retailers and designers. By Jennifer Sergent

Furnishings in a small space have to be compact but comfortable, with slim profiles and multiple uses. Here are a few of our favorite picks from local retailers and designers:

1. "Huxley" secretary at Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams ($3,870)

Desk, drawers,and shelving all in one- a handsome focal point for a little living area.

2. "Scala" Chippendale mirror at Lori Graham Home ($4,200 and up)

DC designer Lori Graham uses big mirrors in small spaces to enlarge rooms visually.

3. "Butler" storage platform bed at Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams ($4,100 and up)

The mattress platform lifts up like a lid, revealing 22 cubic feet of storage space.

4. "Elixir" minibar at CB2 ($299)

The top of the slim end table folds down on both sides to reveal a bar; the foldouts also provide shelves for glasses.

5. Midnight-blue dhurrie ottoman at ($799)

Local designer Angela Healy loves this ottoman because it supplies a burst of color and can serve as extra seating.

6. "Pratt" table at Room & Board (Price varies by dimension)

Dining table, kitchen island, console table- you can customize this into whatever you need it to be.

7. "Janson" striped stool at ($1,210)

Small in size but big in personality, it can be used as a stool, an end table, or both.

8. "Hannah" sleeper sofa by American Leather at Urban Country ($2,699 and up)

Encloses your choice of mattress, including Tempur-Pedic; comes in a variety of colors.

Posted at 02:00 PM/ET, 03/19/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()