When Beth Stewart set out to redecorate her Logan Circle loft, she knew she needed help. She had a clear idea of the style she wanted to go for—assertive yet feminine—but the space presented some unusual challenges. The walls were white cement blocks, for one. The living room was a double-height space, but the bedrooms were much more petite. And huge, red-framed windows were the dominating feature. “They’re a great example of why I needed a designer. I see red windows, and my pedestrian instinct is to match them. I would have ended up with a nautical-themed apartment,” says Stewart. Enter designer Marika Meyer. “One of Marika’s great insights was to say, ‘No, we’ll just treat them as a neutral,’” Stewart explains.
Meyer also sourced items that would introduce additional pops of color and warm up the all-white space. She found a vintage armchair, which she had custom painted and reupholstered in a bold fuchsia velvet that reflects the hue of the window frames while neither matching nor clashing. She added a clear Lucite cocktail table to help retain a sense of space. It was important to Stewart that she keep some of her existing furniture, so the beige sectional and her ivory dining chairs stayed. Then the pair started sprinkling in some major statement pieces: Down came the boring track lighting, replaced by an oversize chandelier. A glam white lacquer table creates a dramatic moment just inside the door.
Upstairs, the bedroom offered similar challenges. “When I walked into this space, it just felt cold. And it was July,” says Meyer. “The concrete walls, all the windows—all those great interesting assets, but for the bedroom it was too severe. So it was about softening.” Panels of patterned curtains introduced texture and color to the room, and a linen-upholstered bed frame made the space feel inviting and soothing.
Click through the slideshow for a more detailed glimpse at this home.
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.
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.
Renovated and expanded in 2011, this four-story brick Tudor home on Belmont Road in tony Kalorama dates to the late 1920s. Situated on a third of an acre—a double lot—the 8,200-square-foot home features nine bedrooms and nine bathrooms, plus three fireplaces, a wet bar, a lower-level au pair suite with a second kitchen and laundry room, a massive backyard garden, a two-car garage, and a gated courtyard with parking for ten. Many of the original features were restored, including the hardwood floors and original leaded-glass windows. Here are few more of the high-end highlights: a Jennifer Gilmer-designed gourmet kitchen, steel and French doors opening to the flagstone patio, custom hidden storage panels in the dining room, his-and-her master bathrooms with heated marble floors, and a windowed dressing room with a marble vanity. It’s listed at $5.995 million. Scroll down for a tour, then head to Washington Fine Properties for more.
With four kids under the age of ten, Jackie and Nicholas Perrins found their townhouse was, understandably, beginning to feel a bit cramped. So they purchased a two-story Cathedral Heights home that would give them a lot more space—but also needed a lot more work.
Enter Lori Graham. The Perrinses enlisted the Logan Circle-based interior designer to help them carve out more open areas from a traditional Colonial layout and create a kid-friendly elegance that would be both functional and chic. Graham worked with the family to develop multi-functional spaces, including a mudroom/homework station off of the kitchen, a playroom, and a dining room that could stand up to both formal and daily use. A former sunroom next to the backyard pool became a poolroom and changing station. Throughout the house, Graham incorporated Asian design influences intended to reflect the heritage of the Perrinses’ South Korean-born children, and combined rich, deep wall hues with pops of vivid turquoise and cheery yellow for a look that blends modern trends with family-oriented style.
"We wanted the house to be practical and kid-driven, yet also have shimmer and feel glamorous," says Graham. "We worked to strike a fine balance between family-friendly and sophisticated."
Today, Long & Foster listed this eight-bedroom, seven-and-a-half bath Kent Island home, which they called “The Grand Manor at Bridgeview.” The 23,000-square-foot home sits on 16 acres of waterfront land and has commanding views of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Inside, there’s a theater, video game room, wet bar, gym, massage room, and a mahogany-walled elevator. Outside? A shooting range, gazebo with a kitchen, boat and jet-ski lifts at a private pier, pool, and garage parking for 25 cars.
According to Maryland property records, the home is owned by Gary and Sonia Mangum, owners of Bell Nursery, a flower-growing company that supplies Home Depot. The Magnums bought the property in 2006 for $2.7 million and built the current house in 2010. It’s assessed for $5.4 million.
Keep reading for a peek at the home, then head here for the full tour and complete details.
Thursday night, Logan Circle’s Room & Board store hosts a book launch party to celebrate the release of design blog AphroChic’s first book, Remix: Decorating with Culture, Objects, and Soul. The bloggers behind the site, policy-attorney-turned-designer Jeanine Hays and her husband, Bryan Mason, will be on hand to chat about their aesthetic and sign books, but here’s our favorite part: Turns out Hays’s sister, Angela Hays Belt, is Room & Board’s head visual designer right here in DC. Impeccable design taste must run in their genes: Belt’s Navy Yard apartment (which she shares with her husband, Leon, a videographer and graphic designer) is one of the five homes featured in the book, and it’s chock-full of inspiring design. Keep reading to see more of the Belts’ artistic-meets-midcentury-industrial loft, then swing by the 14th Street store tonight to meet both Hays and Belt in person.
AphroChic book launch party, Thursday 6 to 8:30 PM. Presentation at 6:30 PM. 1840 14th St., NW; 202-729-8300. RSVP online.
Not doing anything on Sunday afternoon? Now you are: For the 28th year, the historic Kalorama neighborhood allows guests inside some of the area’s most spectacular properties during its annual House and Embassy Tour, which is hosted by and benefits the President Woodrow Wilson House.
This year, Dupont Circle’s Beaux Arts Andrew Mellon Building, built in 1915 to house luxury apartments, joins the list of architectural sites included on the tour. Among the other participants: Peek inside the home of the Ambassador of Austria and the just-redecorated residence of the Ambassador of Portugal, plus the Slovenian Embassy, the Textile Museum, and four private homes, including that of graphic designer Supon, whose playful decor is pictured here.
28th Annual Kalorama House and Embassy Tour. Starts at Woodrow Wilson House, 2340 S St., NW. Sunday noon to 5. Tickets are $35 in advance or $40 at the door.
When information technology entrepreneur Frank Islam and his wife, Debbie Driesman, bought the two Potomac lots they would merge to build their new home, they let the local fire department knock down the existing houses. Just as a practice exercise. Islam and Driesman's 40,000-square-foot mansion, which they named Norton Manor—after the pocket of Potomac in which it's located and, presumably, because it's cool to give your house a name—features long colonnades, a reflecting pool, a tea house, and a 2,000-square-foot koi pond. And that's just the exterior. The interior is the subject of the second installment of the NowThisNews video series "DC Cribs," a takeoff on the old MTV celebrity house porn series Cribs. (It's also featured in a spread in the September issue of Washington Life.) Inside, Islam and Driesman, with the help of their decorator, are keen on presidential memorabilia, including busts of Washington and Lincoln, and throw pillows that are replicas of ones used in the White House. Islam is also quite proud of the desk in his library, a replica of the one in the Oval Office crafted from timbers of the British ship HMS Resolute. The real desk, gifted by Queen Victoria to President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1880, was first placed in the Oval Office by President John F. Kennedy. Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Gerald Ford opted for other desks. President Obama uses the desk, and of the last six presidents, only George H. W. Bush declined it. Of course, the actual Resolute desk is made from the remnants of a British ship that explored the Arctic until it got lodged in the ice and had to be abandoned. It was only recovered thanks to an American whaling ship that stumbled upon it in an ice flow. Islam and Driesman's desk is just a very convincing knockoff. And you can get one, too. A fake Resolute desk goes for $6,495 on Amazon.
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.
By Natalie Grasso
The Laird-Dunlop Coach House is abuzz with people finalizing its listing with Washington Fine Properties. Listing agent Eileen McGrath is on her laptop in the kitchen, interior designer Kelley Proxmire is putting the finishing touches on her staging job, and photographer Angie Seckinger has just arrived to document it all. We’re here for a tour with McGrath, and as we wait for her to complete paperwork our eyes drift to the ballroom. We begin to fantasize about the parties we might like to throw in the room, with its 14-foot ceiling and Palladian-inspired French doors opening onto a lush and secluded garden and views across the river to Virginia.