Designer Dolly Howarth: From Billiards to Baubles

I have a story in today’s Washington Examiner about how designer Dolly Howarth made Lisa and Martin Standiford’s new house in Alexandria into their dream home. She served both their needs, from Martin’s love of pool to Lisa’s home office, where she designs jewelry under the name Lisa Latham.

“We wanted it to be so many things, but we just couldn’t make that first step in realizing our vision,” Lisa says in the article, right here. She adds: Dolly “is an amazing listener, and she just got it.”

The examiner only had room to use a single picture each of the billiard room and office, so here you can see all the other pictures of these spaces, which Dolly had photographed by Angie Seckinger and Morgan Howarth. I also have photos from the rest of the house, which illustrate the way Dolly extended Lisa’s love of jewelry into the living and dining rooms, and how she translated the couple’s mutual love of Italian villas in their contemporary kitchen.

Dolly took the existing Oriental rug as the color inspiration for the room, and chose a non-traditional felt color for the pool table to match. She also designed the fireplace surround and built-in shelving. Photo copyright Morgan Howarth,

Dolly had a faux finisher paint the medallion on the ceiling. The art is a reflection of Martin's Art Deco taste. The floating demi-lune table and bar tables are all custom, topped with zebra wood. Photo copyright Morgan Howarth,

The billiard room was the first room to be completed, and is a favorite of the couple’s guests, Lisa says. Martin liked it so much that it gave Lisa the license to decorate the rest of the house, starting with the office.

The chrome-and-glass sawhorse table by Williams-Sonoma Home allow Lisa to see all her semi-precious stones on top and her tools below. Dolly cose lighting so she could see everything clearly. Photo by Angie Seckinger,

Lisa's desk sits across the room. Blu Dot desk in ivory lacquer, chair by Room & Board. Photo by Angie Seckinger,

"The lamp is where this all started," Dolly says of thd cobalt murano-glass lamp by Donghia. That, and fabrics by Bethesda textile designer Camilla David, dictated the jewel-tone colors on the accent walls. Note the tiny glass bead trim on the window treatments, which match the lamp. Photo by Angie Seckinger,

Color fills the corner of the office meant for sitting and reading. Lisa wanted white on the walls where she works to provide a neutral backdrop for the jewelry. Rug by West Elm. Photo by Angie Seckinger,

The rest of the house is filled with color, too. Every room contains a note of luminescence that echos Lisa’s jewelry.

Italy was the inspiration for this kitchen, but "I didn't want your typical rustic Italian," Dolly says. Think the sleek modernity of Milan, rather than the old-world influences of Rome or Florence. Photo by Angie Seckinger,

I love this detail with the green glass pendants, which pick up the colors in the mosaic backsplash from Renaissance Tile. The one rustic element -- the stone column -- is something you might see in the Italian countryside, but in just the right (tiny) dose. Photo by Angie Seckinger,

The dining room glows with color, anchored by commissioned works from Laura Edwards, whose studio is in the nearby Torpedo Factory, and lush window treatments with fabric by Duralee.

The rug is by one of my favorite designers, Thomas O'Brien, for Safavieh. Photo by Angie Seckinger,

The Standifords chose the chandelier by Porta Romana specifically because it looks like jewelry. The table and chairs are from another Italian company, the family-run Giorgio, which Dolly found in New York. Photo by Angie Seckinger,

The living room is a smooth take on mid-century modern. The riot of colors isn’t overwhelming — an effect we amateurs shouldn’t try at home!

Dolly chose an ebony stain over the purple-cast heartwood to give the shelving a deep aubergine color. The cognac-colored leather sofa is from Italy through Cliff Young Ltd. The floor lamp is from West Elm. Photo by Angie Seckinger,

Dolly chose these Blu Dot chairs and upholstered them in blue velvet. She found the New Moon rug at the J. Asher showroom at the Washington Design Center, which pulls everything in the room together. The painting is another work by Laura Edwards. The big dog is another nice accent! Photo by Angie Seckinger,


  1. Beautiful Decor elements and choice of colors!! Job well done by the Designer Dolly Howarth.

    By the way, we carry here at our Morocco Premier Showroom the exact same rug that you see on the picture. I am talking about the Beige and brown one! Please contact us if you are still looking for something like that as we have a wide selection of High-end Home decor accents and rugs! We are located in the Dulles Design Center, in Sterling VA.

  2. Bummer that West Elm rug is not available any more. Just what I need for a client!!

  3. Beautiful home in one of my favorite places, Alexandria! Sometimes it’s the details and I love what she did with the ceiling medallion in the billiard room. Nice job.