Creating a house that was people-, party- and pet-friendly was designer Barbara Hawthorn’s challenge at John Jameson’s Capitol Hill house.
Because Jameson entertains frequently and is okay with dogs lounging on his furniture, Hawthorn sought out materials and surfaces for durability as well as style. Here are her ideas for furnishing a high-traffic home that is comfortable and easy to maintain.
Fabrics: Use fabrics made for use in commercial projects, such as hotels, offices or restaurants. They may cost more, but their workhorse performance will make up for it. She often uses manufacturers such as Knoll Textiles, Maharam or Arc Com. She likes the durability and stain-resistant properties of Crypton fabrics and washable “indoor/outdoor” fabrics that save on dry cleaning costs. She has had good luck with Chella Textiles, Sunbrella and Perennials Fabrics. There are even waterproof leathers, such as those used in yachts; one source is Spinneybeck Acqua Leather.
Floor coverings: Instead of installing wall-to-wall carpeting, choose area rugs made of wool or nylon that can be sent out to be washed or cleaned. Stains are less noticeable on colorful, patterned area rugs or shag. Consider carpet floor tiles such as Flor or Bentley Prince Street: If a floor tile is damaged, it can be replaced easily. Woven vinyl flooring, available from sources such as Bolon and Chilewich, is attractive in contemporary settings, cleans easily with a cleanser and brush and is mold- and mildew-resistant.
Paint: Specify washable flat paint. Eggshell and semi-gloss are not the only paint finishes that allow you to wipe off stains with a bit of soap and a sponge. Small touch-ups are easier with flat formulas also. Hawthorn used mostly Benjamin Moore Regal Flat.
Maintenance: Hire experts to apply protective treatments to fabrics and floor coverings. Consider a contract with a carpet and upholstery cleaning company for regular maintenance, as well as emergency cleaning. Hawthorn suggested Christopher’s Inc. in Fairfax to Jameson.
Home Front: Want to know more about Barbara Hawthorn’s renovation? Ask her yourself. She chats live with staff writers Jura Koncius and Terri Sapienza for the weekly Home Front chat at 11 a.m. Thursday.