Sally Steponkus Creates Contemporary Cool in the West End

My friend, Designer Sally Steponkus, just sent me pictures of a gorgeous condo in the West End, filled with pieces from some of my favorite companies. Take a look.

The airy living room is furnished with custom pieces and a vintage acrylic cocktail table. All photographs by Angie Seckinger

Sally’s clients, an Obama appointee and his wife, wanted a contemporary/mid-century modern look embellished with vintage pieces. In addition, she says, “The wife is extremely fashionable, and she wanted something fashionable.” Sally delivered.

Sally mixed a West Elm console and Crate & Barrel lamps with vintage Chinese Chippendale chairs from Circa Who in West Palm Beach, FL.

The wife’s fashion sense is apparent the minute you steps through the door, where you see a vintage bench underneath a bone mirror on one side — and my fav’s — a nailhead chest from Worlds Away with dazzling silver lamps by Shine across the way. The wonderfully graphic grasscloth wall covering by Phillip Jeffries sets it all off.

This couple entertains a lot, so they requested a dining table for eight. In keeping with the mid-century aesthetic, Sally gave them a Tulip table but updated the look with Ghost chairs, which also keep the space airy and open.

The West Elm barstools are perfect here, and in a nod to tradition (and fashion), Sally had the couple’s linen napkins embroidered with their first initials by Leontine Linens, a New Orleans company I adore.

The couple’s Leontine monogram is repeated often in this space, as you can see it writ large across the headboard and bedding in the master bedroom,

The guest bedroom,

Headboard and side tables by West Elm; lamps by Bungalow 5

And guest bath.

Sally gave the dog-loving couple an appropriately themed wallpaper by Thibaut.

The last picture, from the master bedroom, includes a gorgeous lacquered Chinese alter console from Circa Who in West Palm Beach, topped with a vibrant Christopher Spitzmiller lamp.

And here’s Sally herself, who totally fits the look of her own designs. Have a great weekend.


  1. Jennifer, I’m so excited to see your blog!

  2. Love this apartment! Also love that some of the choices are not crazy-expensive but still look chic.

    That studded white piece of furniture with mirror top is begging for an Ikea hack. Love it.

  3. Can anyone tell me where to find an acrylic cocktail table like the one in the first picture? Thanks!

  4. I really loved the living room, loving the console with chairs and lams behind the lounge. Also, love the monogram idea. Must try one day. It really does add a touch of personal and simple elegance.

  5. I love it. Such a nice space. And really like the blouse Sally is wearing.

  6. Just Stunning.

  7. Beautiful, fun, crisp interiors. I’m moving in!

  8. Sally rocks!

  9. Rick, the cool thing about design in DC, I’m finding, is that there are so many styles — and talented designers — to choose from. We’re emerging from our reputation as a traditional town, but that aesthetic is still very much alive, if designs like Sally’s don’t suit. Thanks very much for writing.

  10. This decor, which all seem to be mad about, I find in places trite (doggy-wallpaper, overuse of the monogram), elsewhere rather derivative, with the exception of the living room seating, which looks comfy, if a bit formal for my taste and for the modernity in the lines of the space. I find this designer’s decor choices surprisingly cold-looking/feeling. Sorta sad, given the volumes of LIGHT that brings so much warmth into this home, along with the warmth of the wall color. And puleeez, enough with the Leontine monogram all over the place! Do these people suffer from “folie-a-deux amnesia” as to who they are? Give the letters a rest already. Given the volume of glass (a shiny surface) there is in this home, along with the sheen/shine of the hardwood floors, the (to my eye) overuse of super-lacquered thus shinyshiny pieces (in WHITE, no less) contributes to what I percieve as a cold feeling throughout, aided and abetted by those insubstantial-looking dining chairs (also shinyshiny). Everywhere one looks there is something SHINY. For me, too much SHINY SHINY SHINY….I fear that even in the dark of night, all that shinyshinyshiny stuff would keep me awake.

  11. She rocked the place (as she always does). Thanks for sharing her talents. xo

  12. Gorgeous blog and so glad I stopped in for a peak. You have impeccable style.

  13. I love the way she mixes high end pieces with retail finds. It’s not always easy to do yet she does it seamlessly.

  14. I love the blend of Hollywood Regency with West Elm — what a wonderful high/low combination that feels perfectly modern and on-trend. Thanks for sharing!

  15. Love it. These condos are right across the street from me and I’ve been dying to get a peek at how they are being decorated. I love how Sally managed to tone down the very contemporary look and make it feel like a real home.

  16. **No need to publish**

    I only know this because a friend went to high school with the woman who started Leontine. They are a Kentucky company. Maybe they have a store in New Orleans?

    • Thank you for the comment — yes, they are in KY, but their flagship store is in New Orleans, so I was a little confused myself. Thanks for the clarification. At some point I want to do a post dedicated entirely to Leontine — they do amazing work!

  17. Wow! Thank you so much for sharing these pictures. They are beautiful!

    I’m so happy to see you blogging, too. I already miss Washington Spaces. 🙁

  18. I feel as if I have watched Sally grow up and come into her own, almost the same as a parent does. Met her years ago at a benefit showhouse I participated in when she and her mother came through. We immediately hit it off when they were so complimentary on my space and after speaking to them for a bit I urged her to pursue her dream and get into the business. I am so happy she decided to take the ball and run with it. Now I am anxiously awaiting the revealing of her Master Bedroom for this year’s Children’s Hospital Design House…… I know it will be a show-stopping crowd pleaser! Besides all of that she is a lovely young woman!
    Be sure to mark your calendars for the 2010 DC Design House. April 10 – May 9, 2010. TUES-FRI: 10am to 3pm. SAT- SUN: 12pm to 5pm event schedule. 3911 Bradley Lane …

  19. I, too, love everything she does. Her designs are so fresh and hip, yet livable looking. Glad to have found your blog…I just started my own last week and am enjoying it so far. And, I lived in Stuart in 1-5th grade…small world…never met anyone who had even heard of it!

    • Someone else from Stuart — awesome! I’m thrilled to learn about another local blog, which is gorgeous, by the way — I love the burlap background you’ve got. I will be following it now!

  20. Oh, what a divine way to start the weekend – with such beautiful inspiration. Sally is definitely one of my new favorites – this space is perfect case in point. It is beautiful, whimsical, soothing, youthful, yet also elegant. While very pulled together, with splurges here and there, many of her purchases are attainable, such as the items from Worlds Away and West Elm.

  21. I’ve been admiring Sally’s work for awhile now. I really love her use of color and graphic pattern. It was such a pleasure to see her home featured in the February issue of Southern Living!

  22. I just love everything she does!!!


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