“We are proud of what we did, but getting enough volunteers to take leadership roles in this organization was getting more difficult,” says Skip Singleton, who along with his wife, Debbie Singleton, co-founded the first DC Design House in 2008. Another reason for the closing was the increasing difficulty of finding suitably large and appropriate properties that would be available for the month-long decorator showcase.
Originally, the Singletons’ idea was to do one show house to raise money for Children’s National Health System. In 2008, 7,500 people visited the first DC Design House, an 1842 former boys’ school in Georgetown transformed by 14 designers into a snapshot of 2008 decorating: acrylic vanity tables, slipcovered dining chairs and lots of apple green. The house drew so much interest that the Singletons decided to make it a tradition. The last group that had done this locally was the National Symphony Orchestra Decorators’ Show House, which ended its 34-year run in 2006.
The DC Design House featured homes including a 1905 Chevy Chase Georgian and a 1929 stone Colonial in Forest Hills. The 2015 show house, a brand new fieldstone home in McLean designed to be a modern Virginia farmhouse, was the most successful of all, Skip Singleton said. The final show house, in Potomac last fall, was a nine-bedroom house then on the market for $10.28 million and featured the work of 23 Washington-area design firms.
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