Bare Bones at the DC Design House

Walking through a designer showhouse before it’s been decorated really brings home the giant task designers have on their hands — and they only have a month or so to beautify it. The organizers of the DC Design House, which will benefit the National Children’s Medical Center when it opens to tours April 9 through May 10, held a Bare Bones Tour on Saturday so the public could see the “before” rooms. That tour, no doubt, will make us all appreciate the “afters” that much more.

But pictures will tell a better story than my blathering, so let’s start.

We start with the huge entry hall, which Shazalynn Cavin-Winfrey will design.

Shazalynn will apply this color and design scheme to the foyer. Niermann Weeks is loaning three huge chandeliers for the space, and David Iatesta is loaning a bench (in addition to lots of other pieces throughout the house).

The foyer has lots of ornate trim, and Shazalynn is papering the space between the trim with Farrow & Ball paper. "It's really going to make this feel a little edgier for a young family," she says. Farrow & Ball is donating all paint and wallpapers for the DC Design House, as it has for the last two years.

To the left of the foyer is the giant conservatory, which Barry Dixon will design. This picture does not even cover half of the room's area.

Here's Barry, standing on the giant hearth, with his presentation board above. He will be using all his own fabrics from his new line for Vervain.

A closeup of Barry's presentation board. The yellow and gray color scheme is similar to what he did in the great room of the CharityWorks GreenHouse, but where yellow was dominant in the GreenHouse, gray will be the dominant shade here. He took his color inspiration from the stone of the hearth and fireplace surround.

Andrew Law is designing the grand porch off the conservatory, using the color scheme above.

To the rear of the foyer is the baby-blue library, which Victoria Sanchez will turn into a vision in grays and soft yellows, making it compatible with the conservatory next door.

Here are the library details, including a beautiful rent table by David Iatesta.

... And the sketch of what the completed room will look like, by architectural artist Maria Morga.

To the right of the foyer is the, uh, rather unusual parlor, with an Egyptian themed ceiling. Nestor Santa Cruz will design this space, and he plans to keep the faux stone painting on the walls, I’ve heard.

A sketch of Nestor's vision for this small area, which serves as a transition between the foyer and living room.

Here's the "before" picture of the living room. Peachy, eh?

Here is Frank Babb Randolph's vision for the living room -- full of greens and natural materials.

Light at the end of the tunnel. The doors on the other side of the living room lead out to...

The sunroom! It's actually delightful just as it is, but Sarah Wessel will spruce it up even more.

Here's Sarah, talking about how she thought about changing the light fixture, but decided to keep the white chandelier in her new design.

Sarah's design board sings with soft greens, blues and creams.

Back inside, here is the dining room that Basha White will tackle.

What a shame she'll have to cover up all this decorative painting.

Here is Basha's presentation board for a fresh, updated look.

Clive Christian supplied this board of before pictures for the kitchen...

... So you could see how dramatic the change would be.

Upstairs, the master bedroom cries out for help.

Sally Steponkus is ready to provide it.

Sally's revision will be awash in neutrals, where texture and pattern, rather than color, will add variety.

Celia Welch will transform the master bath and closet. The wallpaper will have to go.

Here's Celia, with her design board of calming neutrals -- a nice accompaniment to Sally's designs.

This sweet little nursery will soon be a super-cool boy's bedroom.

Here's the hip new design for a lucky young man, by Lisa Adams.

Now for the girl's room. Not much to look at, at this point.

But Page Palmer will turn it into a space inspired by a friend's daughter.

Here's the dreamy design scheme,

and the custom headboard on the bed mimics the shape of the pediment over the home's front door.

Meanwhile, Michael Hampton will be handling the guest room.

The new design will trade bright fuchsia for soft tans and blues.

I love the texture and subtle patterns on the guest-room fabrics.

Next door to the guest room, Barbara Franceski will battle yellow harlequin to create a guest sitting room.

Here's the scheme for Barbara's new sitting room.

And here's Barbara, pointing out that the room will have accents of intaglios, pictures of Greek busts, and other details that make this room classic-chic.

And finally, the art studio. The baby blue art studio, which Tracy Morris will be doing something about.

Here's Tracy, discussing her ideas for the new room.

A closeup of the sketch for the new art studio.

As I was talking to Tracy, two extremely handsome men walked in. They are brothers, Brian and Preston Key, whose company, Delivering Design, specializes in delivering precious goods, such as designer furniture and art for the DC Design House.

Wouldn't you want Preston, left, and Brian to take care of your fine furniture and other valuable goods?

I was unable to get much detail on the outdoor landscaping by Cynthia Ferranto, the study by Rose DiNapoli, or the upstairs family living room by Kelley Proxmire. But they will all be in their “after” glory starting on April 9. For more information on the design house, check my previous blogs here and here.

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