DC Design House 2013

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the name and location of the company that created the media wall in the loft and media room. The company is Absolute Custom Solutions, not ACS Solutions. It is in Bethesda, not Rockville. This version has been corrected.

If a designer show house is part fantasy and part reality, then this year’s DC Design House, which opens Saturday for its month-long run, has both covered. As you amble through the massive five-floor, 14,150-square-foot new stucco and stone house at 2507 Foxhall Rd. NW, it might be hard to relate to the showy real estate.

The sheer size of the property made decorating daunting: Eight bedrooms, 12 bathrooms, a sauna, an exercise room, two kitchens and an infinity pool are on the market for $14.9 million.

“The size of most of the rooms forced us to create spaces that are intimate, with multiple seating groups to allow for conversation,” says Michael Hampton, a Washington designer who did a sitting room.

(Photos: Vote on your favorite room)

Instead of bold colors, designers used texture and shimmer to add interest. They layered Alpaca fabrics, hand-knotted rugs and gold-burnished metals, and installed walls of grasscloth, creamy lacquer and wallpaper printed on jute. There is a lot of taupe, gray and yellow.

This is a good place to get a taste of what some of the best-dressed rooms in Washington are wearing these days. Look out for the return of standing lamps, pole lamps and oversize mid-century metal light fixtures. In this house, you’ll find window seats, basketweave bathroom tiles, vintage teak chairs and credenzas, and plaid upholstery. In the living room, check out a fresh take on one design staple, the skirted table: Camille Saum created a romantic version of chartreuse silk taffeta puffed up with crinolines.

“It’s hard to make something so luxurious even more luxurious,” said Darlene Molnar, the Washington designer who did the master bathroom. “But I think we all did our best.”

If You Go

The DC Design House is at 507 Foxhall Rd. NW. It will be open Sunday-May 12. Hours are 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and noon-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. Tickets are $25 and benefit Children’s National Medical Center. Find more information here.

 

Design is in the details at the 2013 DC Design House. If you visit, pull up this checklist on your smartphone or tablet and see how many of these details you can spot.

Design is in the details at the 2013 DC Design House. If you visit, pull up this checklist on your smartphone or tablet and see how many of these details you can spot.


 

Past DC Design House Coverage


 

The Rooms
The Post’s Jura Koncius interviewed the designers of eight spaces
in this year’s DC Design House. Click on the photos below to read more about each.

The 2013 DC Design House The 2013 DC Design House The 2013 DC Design House 2013 DC Design House in Washington DC The 2013 DC Design House The 2013 DC Design House The 2013 DC Design House The 2013 DC Design House

 

A desk in the teenage boy's bedroom. (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

A desk in the teenage boy’s bedroom. (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

 

Teenage Boy’s Room
Designed by Regan Billingsley.

18-Teenage-Boys-Bedroom-Regan-Billingsley

Regan Billingsley of Regan Billingsley Interiors, LLC.

One word that describes your room: Fresh.
Concept: A room for a hip, urban teenage boy filled with new and vintage memorabilia.
Floor choice: Two rugs. One is a boucle sisal from Sisal Rugs Direct. The other is an old Turkish Oushak overdyed in lime green by Timothy Paul Carpets + Textiles.
Style choice influence: I often start with art to breathe life and personality into a home. Here I used vintage finds from D.C., like the 1990s go-go concert advertisement posters made by Globe Posters in Baltimore and the Cool “Disco” Dan graffiti screen print.
Least expensive item: The $20 pencil holder from Morocco made from recycled tires.
Design tip: Good design exists on any budget. A lot of things look cool and don’t cost much. If you are creative, you can take everyday things and turn them into great pieces.
Most difficult thing to find: A desk. I needed something long but narrow. I bought a white lacquer West Elm Parsons Console and cut three inches off the legs. McNamara Design, a company that specializes in furniture rehab, painted the table for me in an ivory/navy geometric pattern with charcoal legs.
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 The covered terrace. (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

The covered terrace. (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

The covered terrace
Designed by Ken Berry and Jen Chappell. Interview with Ken Berry.

Jen Chappell and Ken Berry of AmericanEye.

Jen Chappell and Ken Berry of AmericanEye.

One word that describes your room: Comfortable.
Concept: The outdoor space had slate floors and stucco walls with beadboard and a ceiling fan. Our idea was to have a place where you could enjoy the outdoors as much as possible, whether coffee in the morning with your newspaper or tablet, a quiet dinner or as a place for entertaining.
Innovation: How great it is to have swivel chairs outside. These are by Lee Industries and have slipcovers made of Sunbrella stripe fabric that is completely weatherproof. You could literally throw these into your pool and they would be fine.
Favorite piece: The 27-inch-round blue and green poufs, also by Lee Industries. We put three of them in here to act as extra seating or ottomans. They are great for beach houses, too.
What you covet from another room: I love the rug in Nestor Santa-Cruz’s dining room. (Editors note: The flat-weave rug was designed by Santa Cruz, who was inspired by Eileen Gray rugs from the 1930s. It was woven by Matt Camron Rugs & Tapestries.)
Design tip: Don’t be afraid to expand your living spaces to your outdoor rooms. Add a bar out there and make sure you have lots of very comfortable places to sit.

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The morning room. (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

The morning room. (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

The morning room
Designed by Iantha Carley.

Iantha Carley of Iantha Carley Interiors.

Iantha Carley of Iantha Carley Interiors.

One word that describes your room: Comfortable.
What influenced your style choices: Designer David Hicks is always an influence. He liked to mix patterns and textures.
Definition of “morning room”: I think there is some rule that any home over a certain amount of square footage must have a name and a morning room. It’s a bit “Downton Abbey”-ish. This is one of the best rooms in the house because of all of the natural light. I couldn’t imagine it being used only in the morning, and so I made it a combination sitting room and home office.
Design tip: Find something that belonged to your family and freshen it. I love to recycle furniture. There is a 1960s Danish teak armchair in my room that belonged to my parents, and I reupholstered it in a new plaid.
Least expensive item: The yellow “wasp trap” ($30) by Crate & Barrel on the shelf.
Favorite piece: The large white metal chandelier by Fine Art Lamps. I had to have it the minute I saw it.
Small-room wisdom: My advice is to go big. Use a great big light fixture. Use oversize art [instead of] lots of dinky little framed pictures. Go for something large that makes a huge impact.
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A portion of the media room and loft. (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

A portion of the media room and loft. (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

The loft and media room
Designed by Jeff Akseizer and Jamie Brown. Interview with Akseizer.

Jeff Akseizer and Jamie Brown of Akseizer Design Group.

Jeff Akseizer and Jamie Brown of Akseizer Design Group.

One word that describes your room: Serene.
Design tip: Contrast organic and modern. We mixed organic grasscloth with white lacquer cabinets. We have a Paul McCobb chair from the 1960s and a big custom sectional in off-white linen.
Favorite piece: We asked kids at Children’s Hospital to create some black-and-white paintings for us. We had five of them custom-framed and hung them in the space.
Coolest thing: The media wall by Absolute Custom Solutions in Bethesda. There is one 55-inch LED screen for movies. And there are three 32-inch screens we use for Facebook and Twitter feeds, a photo gallery and CNN.
Paint colors and wall treatment: We used Farrow & Ball’s Cornforth White, a very pale gray. The other walls are covered in a grasscloth by Philip Jeffries and glass tiles from Architectural Ceramics.
Style icons: Kelly Wearstler and Kelly Hoppen.
What you covet from your own room: The 180-gallon fish tank by Reef eScape that has more than 300 organisms, from sea anemones to snails to starfish and 20 fish.
Top-floor surprise: We used a very sheer netting window treatment called Charlotte by Donghia for the windows. This allows you to still see through to the National Cathedral towers in the distance.
Would you buy this house: Sure, why not, if all the great designers’ rooms were still here.
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A book shelf inside the master bedroom. (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

A book shelf inside the master bedroom. (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

The master bedroom
Designed by Susan M. Jamieson.

Susan M. Jamieson of Bridget Beari Designs, Inc.

Susan M. Jamieson of Bridget Beari Designs, Inc.

One word that describes your room: Elegant.
First thing you picked out: The glamorous metal bed with its burnished brass finish, a custom design by Mike Reid Weeks. It’s the focal point of the room. The fabric on the headboard and footboard is Pierre Frey’s Malawi Velvet in gold and cream.
Least expensive item: The ceramic succulents were $25 each from Etsy shop Waterstone Succulents. They are so cute and come in lots of finishes such as gold and white or silver and white.
Splurge: The gold ceiling light fixture is a 1960s piece called the Grand Nest that I got from 1st Dibs for $6,900. It originally came from Los Angeles and resembles a starburst. It reminded me of Kelly Wearstler’s light fixture at the BG Restaurant she designed at Bergdorf Goodman.
Would you buy this house: If I had $15 million, I would be in the Hamptons. But I would take my bedroom with me.
Style icons: Kelly Wearstler, Barry Dixon and David Hicks.
Design tip: When you have a big room, it really helps to layer a couple of rugs. I used a geometric print rug from Patterson, Flynn & Martin and
layered a Serena & Lily flokati on an angle on top to give the space some softness.
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The kitchen sitting area. (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

The kitchen sitting area. (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

The kitchen and butler’s pantry
Designed by Jessica Parker.

Jessica Parker of GTM Architects.

Jessica Parker of GTM Architects.

One word that describes your room: Welcoming.
Splurge: The table. I worked on finding the right rustic table to warm up the room. It’s a Century piece made of reclaimed chestnut planks.
Least expensive item: West Elm square Abaca placemats. They are $14.
First thing you picked out: The rust chairs. I knew I needed some color, so I found these faux suede chairs with nailhead trim at World Market.
Favorite piece: The twig chandelier by Deanna Wish Designs in Pennsylvania. I wanted to warm up the room and bring in a statement piece. Rather than a simple drum fixture or recessed lighting, I wanted the light fixture to draw the eye and be a focal point. It brings the outside in and softens the space. In a kitchen, your cabinet choices are often safer, but you can choose lighting that is unexpected and whimsical because it’s easier to change out.
Style icons: Jonathan Adler. I love his whimsical accessories.
What you covet from another room: I love the colors in Iantha Carley’s wallpaper. (Editors note: Iantha Carley’s wallpaper is the Imperial Gates pattern by Phillip Jeffries in yellow and white on jute.)
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The library. (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

The library. (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

The library
Designed by David Mitchell.

David Mitchell of David Mitchell Interior Design.

David Mitchell of David Mitchell Interior Design.

One word that describes your room: Livable.
Challenges of designing a brand new house: Giving it character. You have to put unusual mixes of pieces [together] so it looks collected over time.
Design tip: Don’t be afraid to mix things and edit.
How long you’ve been a designer: 24 years.
An aspect of the room people might be surprised about: I like painted furniture and wanted something large to anchor this big room so it didn’t look like a hotel lobby. I bought a 120-inch teak Restoration Hardware table on sale that was meant to be used outdoors. I took it to a paint spray booth and had it professionally sprayed sage green.
Splurge: The Oriental rug. It has wonderful color and texture. There is a huge trend back to exotic rugs and especially rugs with an ethnic feel and pattern.
What you covet from another room: Iantha Carley’s big, white metal light fixture. It is so cool. (Editor’s note: Carley’s fixture is a 39 inch-wide pendant lamp with a metal cage surrounding a glass shade from Fine Art Lamps.)
What will look dated in 10 years: Probably the wool plaid fabric on the bench.
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The twin's nursery. (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

The twin’s nursery. (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

The twins’ nursery
Designed by Nancy Twomey.

Nancy Twomey of Finnian's Moon Interiors.

Nancy Twomey of Finnian’s Moon Interiors.

One word that describes your room: Serene.
Challenge: To create a nursery for a boy and a girl that is truly unisex. We accomplished this with the color scheme of grayish-blue that wasn’t baby boy blue and paired it with taupe and buttercream. We layered different textures but stuck with our palette.
Favorite piece: The black iron Corsican cribs that are sleek but classic and will last for many generations. I like things that are very tailored, not fussy.
Most difficult thing to find: A mobile. I decided to have one crocheted to resemble four baby hats or umbrellas. I don’t really like mobiles because they are usually ugly. But I contacted a yarn store and they made it for me.
Best accessory: I bought two silver metal stump end tables for $139 each at HomeGoods. I had them professionally spray-painted light blue.
Least expensive item: The wooden signs I made myself that say “Shhh . . . my sister is sleeping” and “Shhh . . . my brother is sleeping.” I bought wood squares at Michael’s and sanded and painted them white. Then I wrote the words.
Style icons: Martha Stewart, Darryl Carter and Vicente Wolf.
Would you buy this house: That is so hard to picture. Did I mention I live on a cul-de-sac in Burke?
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Previous DC Design House coverage

 

Previous DC Design Houses
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2012: A showcase in Spring Valley
2011: A 1925 Tudor gets a makeover
2010: A 100-year-old country Georgian house
2009: A three-story Victorian mansion
2008: A onetime Schoolhouse in Georgetown