In 20-plus years of marriage, Anna and Dan Kahoe have rehabbed (and lived in) an Adams Morgan rowhouse, an American foursquare in Mount Pleasant, and an 1890s industrial laundry in Logan Circle. When they happened upon their current digs—a two-story 1887 carriage house in Blagden Alley—the building, like all the others, needed a fair amount of work. “It was on a swampy lot thick with weeds,” says Anna. “We toured it, and it was like a European wine cave crossed with The Silence of the Lambs.” Still, they saw the potential to turn the place—then a dusty workshop with an upstairs apartment—into a moody, romantic home.
The Kahoes bought it in 2010, living amid the construction while architect Shawn Buehler transformed it into a house suitable for both private life and the couple’s frequent parties. The first level now functions as an open kitchen and dining/living space; a bedroom suite occupies the second floor. The whole place keeps with the same retro, bohemian vibe you’ll find at GoodWood. “By using salvaged six-panel doors, antique light fixtures, and vintage bathroom sinks, we made everything look old,” says Dan.
In the kitchen, an 11½-foot custom chestnut dining table seats up to 14, while a leather banquette is ideal for smaller gatherings, such as one of Anna’s book clubs. Walls are exposed brick or covered in Farrow & Ball “Wisteria” paper—a deep gray, green, and gold—all set off by an ever-changing collection of vintage paintings and sketches. “We love boxing scenes, naked ladies, and fish,” says Anna. “Kind of a Hemingway thing.”
Upstairs, crisp white walls, tall windows, and a wooden floor painted with a blue-and-white herringbone pattern create a sunnier mood. Suspended from the ceiling, a floral Turkish textile and an oversize oil painting screen off the sleeping nook with its red four-poster bed. But the Kahoes spend most of their time in the adjacent living area, where a wall of black built-in bookcases—filled with design titles, novels, and such curiosities as a carved wooden skull—faces two weathered Scandinavian leather sofas. After long days at GoodWood or buying antiques at auctions, the couple relaxes by watching documentaries or snuggling with cats Electra and Paco. Says Anna: “We wanted it to feel like a bright hotel suite with a gypsy and circus spirit.”
This article appears in the December 2019 issue of Washingtonian.