DC Design House, Opening Sunday

The DC Design House is ready for prime time! I was at the media preview the other day, and I was impressed by how each designer transformed a blank slate of new construction into a space full of personality. And unlike many show houses, this one doesn’t give you whiplash as you move from one room to the other—the palettes flow nicely from one room to the other.

Here is a taste of what you will see there. I asked the designers what objects in their rooms that they loved the most, and the answers were often surprising. I hope you will go see it in person, especially the preview on Saturday from 1 to 5—the $50 admission goes 100 percent to Children’s National Medical Center. You can buy tickets right here (and scroll way down when you get to this page, because at first glance it looks like just a site map).

(All the NICE photos are by Angie Seckinger/ some detail shots are mine)

When you first enter, you see Camille Saum’s living room to the left. “I start with color, and then I move to the bones of the room,” she says. “I wanted a soft, functional room that is really soothing and appealing to the average person.” This average person approves.

The "Camille" wing chairs on the left are from Camille's new custom furniture line. Chandelier by Niermann Weeks.

The “Camille” wing chairs on the left are from Camille’s new custom furniture line. Chandelier by Niermann Weeks.

Camille’s favorite pieces are the pink sculptures on either side of the fireplace, by Brian Kirk, who teaches secondary art with Loudoun County Public Schools and is the fine arts department chair at Stone Bridge High School. He also teaches sculpture for VCU’s graduate art program in Northern Va. and metal sculpture at the Art League in Alexandria (whew!).

Camille was also thrilled by her new associate designer Whitney Hansen's design for the painted ceiling, using colors from Farrow & Ball.

Camille was also thrilled by her new associate designer Whitney Hansen’s design for the painted ceiling, using colors from Farrow & Ball.

Across the hall is the museum-like dining room by Nestor Santa-Cruz. His favorite detail is “that it doesn’t look like I’m in DC. People think of Washington in a very traditional way, and that’s not what I’m about. [The dining room] has the look as if the owners collected it over time.”

Space-10,-The-Dining-Room,-Nestor-Santa-Cruz-1

Antique chandy from Marston Luce Antiques; rug by Matt Cameron; PK-54 dining table designed by Poul Kaerholm; Scandinavian sofa from Annette Rachlin

Through a hallway off the dining room is Iantha Carley’s glorious morning room, which is misnamed, because I would want to use it all day long.

Jute wallcovering by Phillip Jeffries. Chandy by Fine Art Lamps.

Jute wallcovering by Phillip Jeffries. Chandy by Fine Art Lamps. Coffee table by Spectrum Litd; carpet by Stark; drapery fabric by Vervain

Her favorite piece is the mid-century chair, which she grew up with. “We would always slide through the back,” she says. Here’s a closeup:

iantha-chair

She recovered the chair with fabric by Kravet.

On the other side of the room is something I’m seeing more and more—huge pieces of art that come down from the wall and over the molding. I love the effect.

The vintage console and mod lamps are perfect here.

The vintage-looking console by Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams and the mod lamps from David Bell Antiques are perfect here with the art from Merritt Gallery.

It’s easy to slip from Iantha’s morning room into evening, with Andrea Houck’s hallway and bar just outside. I think I could easily spend all my time in this wing off the kitchen.

Space-11,-The-French-Modern-BarSide-Hall,-Andrea-Houck-2

Chandy by Nuevo through Ferguson Enterprises; Mirror by AmericanEye; bench by Michael James Furniture; rug by Galleria Carpets & Rugs

Andrea’s favorite element is something you don’t focus on right away, but you definitely notice it when it’s not there: the LED lighting behind the glass shelves, which lights up the space and “it makes the crystal sparkle,” she says.

Around the corner is David Mitchell’s handsome library, which he’s brightened up with all manner of green, my favorite color:

Photographs by Lynn Geesaman; rug by Galleria Carpets & Rugs; coffee of David Mitchell's own design through Salvations Architectural Furnishings; library table from Restoration Hardware; sofa by R. Jones through the Hines & Co. showroom at the Washington Design Center; small vintabe Christian Liagre club chairs through David Mitchell Interior Design.

Photographs by Lynn Geesaman; rug by Galleria Carpets & Rugs; coffee of David Mitchell’s own design through Salvations Architectural Furnishings; library table from Restoration Hardware; sofa by R. Jones through the Hines & Co. showroom at the Washington Design Center; small vintage Christian Liagre club chairs through David Mitchell Interior Design.

David’s favorite piece is the lamp that’s made from a vintage fish-catching basket. And it’s already been sold! Here’s a closeup:

david-lamp

 

In the nearby family room Victoria Neale created a calming, seren space to hang out while dinner’s in the oven.

Wooden wing chair by Formations through Holly Hunt; Etagere by David Iatesta through Holly Hunt; Sofa by Lee Industries through AmericanEye; Drapery fabric by Cowtan &  Tout

Victoria’s favorite piece is actually the firewood box. “One of the things that makes me happiest as I look across the room is the wood basket,” she says. “If you took that away, if you had a bench there, it wouldn’t be the same thing.”

Here’s what she’s talking about:

Log basket by Holly Hunt; Art by Douglas Freeman through Niermann Weeks

Basket by Holly Hunt; Art by Douglas Freeman through Niermann Weeks

Downstairs, Lorna Gross’ lounge is fantastic, with the bold, high-gloss Drawing Room Blue by Farrow & Ball (all paint and some wallpaper throughout the house was donated by the company, as it does every year for the DC Design House).

Curved sectional by Century; Woven-back wing chair by McGuire through Baker; Drapery fabric by Lee Jofa; area rug by Stark; chandy by Julie Neill through J. Lambeth & Co.; coffee table through AmericanEye

Curved sectional by Century; Woven-back wing chair by McGuire through Baker; Drapery fabric by Lee Jofa; area rug by Stark; chandy by Julie Neill through J. Lambeth & Co.; coffee table through AmericanEye

Lorna tried out some new design elements, which she loved—a nailhead-and-tape trim on the accent wall, and patterned grass cloth wallpaper inside the shelving.

Lounge chair through AmericanEye, hand-printed wallcovering by Stroheim through J. Lambeth & Co.; tape trim by Calvin Klein through Kravet.

Lounge chair through AmericanEye, hand-printed wallcovering by Stroheim through J. Lambeth & Co.; tape trim by Calvin Klein through Kravet.

Adjacent to this space is the lower-level dining room by Scott Cooke, who combined informal elements such as the hand-painted rug with formal antiques:

Tabletop by Niermann Weeks; stone table base through J. Lambeth & Co. Candelier by Niermann Weeks; antiques through Hollis & Knight. Custom sisal rug hand-painted by Billet Collins Studio

Tabletop by Niermann Weeks; stone table base through J. Lambeth & Co. Candelier by Niermann Weeks; antiques through Hollis & Knight. Custom sisal rug hand-painted by Billet Collins Studio

“The way some of the sisal shows through [under the paint], it’s almost like denim,” Scott says. Add to that the texture of the stone table base, and “it brings it down a touch, and makes it more casual.”

Upstairs, on the master-suite floor, you are immediately enveloped by Clair Schwab’s gracious design:

Antique Chinese import table through Abaca Imports; Lamps through Wisteria; garden stool through Random Harvest; prints by by W. King Ambler; wallpaper by Kravet

Antique Chinese import table through Abaca Imports; Lamps through Wisteria; garden stool through Random Harvest; prints by by W. King Ambler; wallpaper by Kravet

Step into the master bedroom, and oh my goodness—Richmond designer Susan Jamieson should come up the road more often!

Custom iron bed by Mike Reid Weeks; Headboard and footboard by Pierre Frey; cube ottomans by Baker; Grand Nest chandy through Kerson Antiques in New York on 1st Dibs; rug by Patterson Flynn & Martin; flokati accent rug by Serena & Lily

Custom iron bed by Mike Reid Weeks; Headboard and footboard by Pierre Frey; cube ottomans by Baker; Grand Nest chandy through Kerson Antiques in New York on 1st Dibs; rug by Patterson Flynn & Martin; flokati accent rug by Serena & Lily

The most expensive thing in this very expensive room is something you don’t see: the $30,000 mattress by Savoir Beds. Wow. I wonder what it’s like to sleep on a $30,000 mattress.

I’ve got to skip over some rooms here, as I’m running out of time, but you can find MANY more images and coverage over at The Washington Post, right here. And, Susan Jamieson was on today’s online chat with Post writer Jura Koncius, here.

I’ll end with two more spaces by designers whom I really admire. The first is Michael Hampton, who did the sitting room next to the master:

Cocktail tables by Dessin Fournir through Hines & Co.;  daybed by Lee Industries through AmericanEye; chandy through Michael Hampton Design; carpet by Patternson, Flynn & Martin

Cocktail tables by Dessin Fournir through Hines & Co.; daybed by Lee Industries through AmericanEye; chandy through Michael Hampton Design; carpet by Patternson, Flynn & Martin

Michael’s favorite element—and mine too!—are these pole lamps by Circa Lighting. I think they totally make the room:

Bookcases by Kerry Joyce through Hines & Co. Michael had his paper hanger cut the wood-themed Nobilis wallpaper into squares and hang it in alternating patterns to make the room more modern. If left to look like regular, vertical tree trunks, he says, the effect would have been more traditional and "cottage-y."

Bookcases by Kerry Joyce through Hines & Co. Michael had his paper hanger cut the wood-themed Nobilis wallpaper into squares and hang it in alternating patterns to make the room more modern. If left to look like regular, vertical planks, he says, the effect would have been more traditional and “cottage-y.”

On the third floor, Jeff Akseizer and Jamie Brown of Akseizer Design Group did the media room, which includes a 180-gallon fish tank and multiple flat screens for TV, games—even social media.

Lighting by Boyd; custom cabinetry by ADG Millwork; aquarium by ReefeScape; media wall by Absolute Custom Solutions; accent table by Edward Ferrell + Lewis Mittman

Lighting by Boyd; custom cabinetry by ADG Millwork; aquarium by ReefeScape; media wall by Absolute Custom Solutions; accent table by Edward Ferrell + Lewis Mittman; artwork in stairwell by Lisa Tureson

Jeff’s favorite element here—and again, mine too—is the vintage Paul McCobb chair, paired with a modern acrylic desk:

Jeff and Jamie also asked the young patients at Children's to create black and white prints to hang around the room; you can see one of them over the desk. How cool! Wallpaper by Phillip Jeffries

Jeff and Jamie asked the young patients at Children’s to create black and white prints to hang around the room; you can see one of them over the desk. How cool! Wallpaper by Phillip Jeffries

For more, go to see the house at 2507 Foxhall Road, preferably on Saturday for the special preview to raise money for Children’s, from 1-5 p.m. Tickets, here, are $50—and don’t forget to scroll way down the page for them!

“From the outside, the design house can seem almost superficial, but it’s not a superficial event at all,” says Randie Reilly, who’s on the design house’s executive committee, and whose daughter, Celia, received spinal surgery there when she was a teen. “Children’s has been fantastic. If it had been a different hospital, it would have been a different experience.”

Kathy Barker, left, is president of Childrens' Health Center board; and Reilly.

Kathy Barker, left, is president of Childrens’ Health Center board; and Reilly.

Kathy Barker’s daughter had less traumatic surgery years ago, but still remembers the amazing staff and how they put her 6-year-old at ease. She was there for hernia surgery, but Jordan was concerned about other things: she asked surgeon Kurt Newman (now the President and CEO at Children’s) if she could get her ears pierced while she was under. “Of course!” he said. And with that, a happy Jordan got to choose the flavor of gas that would put her under (Kathy can’t remember what she chose, but I would have gone for bubble gum).

And this is the great thing about the doctors there: A supremely talented surgeon such as Newman can converse easily with a 6-year-old, yet switch to a laser-focus (as he did) and lead a team in saving the 13-year-old sniper victim Iran Brown back in 2002—one of the only people to survive John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo’s monthlong rampage.

One thing I found out that I hadn’t realized: It doesn’t matter who you are or whether you can afford it—Children’s will take all comers. That’s why they need your help. And what a beautiful way to donate, by going to the DC Design House. Enjoy.

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