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.”
It would take years of gallery openings to see the crop of local work currently on display at the maze that is Artomatic, a pop-up gallery that has taken over an 11-story building in Crystal City. Camera in tow, we spent an entire afternoon exploring every corner, finding inspiration aplenty in gorgeous pieces from both emerging and established artists. If you can’t make it to the exhibition before it wraps on June 23, we’ve got a look at some of the artists who really stood out—though there were many, many more (there are more than 1,000 exhibiting). Whether you’re on the hunt for that perfect piece to add to your gallery or are just out for a little afternoon eye candy, we promise you’ll find something inspiring.
It’s hard not to smile when the petite Jonathan Adler bounces into a room in crisp white pants and a checkered shirt. But that’s to be expected; after all, the designer has made a career out of the words “happy chic.” Speaking to a nearly sold-out audience at the Corcoran on Tuesday, Adler set the tone of his talk by opening with a joke. Pointing to an image of a bearded, disheveled hippie on the screen behind him, the first words he spoke were, “Ohh, there I am!” Once the laughter fizzled out he launched into the story of his “improbable and accidental career.”
Adler spent his entire childhood dreaming of being a potter, and after taking courses at Rhode Island School of Design, he approached his professor to ask whether she thought he had what it took. The professor, whose name “begins with a J and ends with ackie Rice,” answered with a resounding “no” and advised him to pursue a career in law. Disappointed, he moved to New York and found a job in the movie industry.
It was love at first sight when we caught a glimpse last week of local craftsman Geremy Coy's latest piece: a decorative cherry blossom panel hand-joined from hundreds of pieces of Alaskan yellow cedar. So you can imagine our surprise when we learned that the man behind the panel had only been working with wood for two years. Two!
Photographs by Neil Alexander.
Using a cheerful palette of pink, yellow, and lime, Kelley Proxmire of Kelley Interior Design created a Rhode Island seaside retreat bursting with traditional yet playful touches. Inspired by the home’s sprawling 15-acre landscape, the designer mixed botanical prints with raspberry fabrics, sunny wallpaper, and pops of green. But it’s small touches like colored piping and monogrammed pillows that pull the whole look together. We asked Washington’s queen of prep to share her tips for creating a room Lilly Pulitzer herself would envy.
When we featured interior designer Lori Graham’s Dupont Circle rowhouse in our October guide to Dream Kitchens, we didn’t realize just how drool-worthy the rest of the home was. It’s now on the market for $2,749,900, and this photo tour left us with a serious case of house envy.
Higher prices in DC and the close-in suburbs have led some homebuyers to look at Frederick. “As long as you can keep up with the commute, the advantage of Frederick is lower prices,” says Tom Greeves, who sells homes in the area. The market held steady last year and has been picking up in 2010.
Frederick has MARC and Amtrak service to DC’s Union Station; a walkable downtown with shops, restaurants, and arts; historic homes; and a small-town feel.
Single-family homes range from $200,000 to $1 million. The historic district and Baker Park, near Hood College, are popular. While there hasn’t been much new construction in downtown Frederick, several nearby communities have new single-family homes and townhouses.
This 1870s Capitol Hill rowhouse had been converted into a three-unit apartment building. “It was an incredible house,” says architect Steve Lawlor, “and no one was touching it because it required so much work.”
Though he had helped design dozens of award-winning projects around Washington, Lawlor had never created something from scratch for his own family. He and his wife, Susan Ades, director of exhibits at the National Zoo, decided this was their chance.
When Kevin and Kelly Walker bought an early-1900s Victorian in Winchester, Virginia, their first mission was to overhaul the kitchen. The tiny space—160 square feet—hadn’t been renovated in 35 years. Kevin, an architect at Reader & Swartz Architects, and Kelly, a health educator, had a budget of $25,000. Kevin did the demolition himself, including tearing out a wall of built-in cabinets that closed the kitchen off from the dining room.
Architect Wayne Good’s kitchen is 15 years old, but you’d never know it. “I wanted to create something timeless,” he says.
His 100-year-old rowhouse in Annapolis required a top-to-bottom renovation, which Good did gradually over 12 years. The kitchen was the first room he tackled.