News & Politics

Feast for the Senses

One Woodley Park couple likes to treat friends to dinner—and a show.

Bold pieces created by gallery owner Rebecca Cross, a painter and ceramic artist, adorn homes throughout Washington. So it’s only fitting to find her work in the dining room of her own townhouse, which, she says, “is the opposite of tasteful understatement.”

The walls are painted silvery blue. A mural-size black-and-white photograph taken by her husband, architectural photographer Maxwell MacKenzie, hangs above eight of Cross’s vibrant ceramic pieces. Whimsical platters and sculptures bedeck the mantel.

When Cross and MacKenzie moved into their Woodley Park home 21 years ago, Cross and a friend painted the room’s hardwood floor in a green, red, and black pattern. The couple often changes the art on the walls: “The dining room is a place for us to try things and have fun,” she says.

It’s also where they host monthly dinner parties. Cross cooks, usually for about a dozen friends, and serves the food on her own ceramic plates and bowls. Friends settle in around the kaleidoscopic table, which Cross also painted.

After the first course, MacKenzie often shows his photographs—everything from panoramic aerials in Minnesota to tobacco barns in southern Maryland—on a retractable screen. If there’s another photographer there, they’ll show slides of the friend’s work too.

“People really have fun here,” Cross says. “The room sets the tone for not taking life too seriously.”