A Taste of This Year’s DC Design House

With a house this huge, how do you even begin?

This year’s crop of designers who are already busy planning their spaces for the DC Design House in Potomac, Maryland, have shared their inspirations for its enormous rooms—teasers that have me excited to see what the finished product will be this fall when the house opens to the public on Sep. 30.

This is the first of two posts, because there are too many rooms to go over in a single session. Today, we’re exploring the main floor.

The tour starts outside, right at the front door.


Lauren Fisher of Clinton and Associates plans to use these vibrant plantings around the front door:

“The leaves are so autumnal without being overtly so, plus the texture and colors are phenomenal,” Lauren explains.

Just inside the front door, Margery Wedderburn will be designing the living room. Here’s the before picture:

“A huge ‘aha moment’ for me was a contemporary and fun fabric from Kelly Wearstler for Lee Jofa,” Margery says.

“The architecture of this home calls out to the past, but wants something new and contemporary. The Living Room will reflect this style with a French Modern twist while still remembering the past,” she explains. This fabric will go onto chair-seat cushions and pillows.

Next up, this settee from Niermann Weeks: “The Toulon Settee expresses not only today but yesterday’s classicism as well. We are using it between the two front windows in the Living Room.”


Across the huge foyer from the living room is the dining room, where Susan Jamieson is using wallpaper from her own Bridget Beari collection.


The walls will be covered in Roux, a new grasscloth pattern. The color—apt for a space on this scale—is called Bling Bling.

She’ll be overlaying a contemporary chintz from Designer Guild as a key fabric:

Samantha Friedman is designing the adjacent kitchen, which in my opinion will be the biggest feat of the whole house:



Samantha plans to bring this kitchen into order with Vervain’s new fabric, Amerini in the color Autumn.

I love the soft water colors in the design of the fabric and how they are so unique and different. The pinks are rich and mature, and blend so nicely with warm browns and greens. Also, the pattern is one that can lead to a traditional design, or a more transitional design as it is so soft. … All of the other fabrics, rug, wallpaper and paint were driven by this beautiful fabric.

Next, Samantha plans to use this lovely pendant light by Tracy Glover:

In the gallery, a large corridor beyond the foyer, Cindy McClure of Grossmueller’s Design will invoke Pink Floyd’s “Shine on You Crazy Diamond.”


“The inspiration for our space was the architectural simplicity of the double barrel vault in the gallery. In a house with moldings that are over the top and there is visual stimulation everywhere, we are creating a space that will ask the individual to take a moment and look up!” she says.

She’ll install LED lighting to illuminate this shimmery paper by House Decor Interiors:

Next, this fixture by Circa will go onto the ceiling just outside the home theater (to the right of the large salon you can see above):


This powder room is just off the gallery.

Mary Amons says she will let its existing marble floor take the center stage, with Tom Ford’s “Nocturnal Animals” inspiring the mood:

Here’s how Mary describes the inspiration:

As Tom Ford has done so brilliantly in fashion and film making, he creates a mood and a point of view by using color in the simplest and boldest of form by offsetting it with a direct contrast to allow the color/s to speak. In the case of inviting the marble flooring to be the featured star of the space, we have been inspired by a specific scene in the film. A main character of the movie [Amy Adams] has a moment with herself in a mirror. The mood is dark and mysterious. The mirror is dark with a contrast of white frosted glass sconces. The woman’s green dress sets the tone and mood for the scene and it speaks just as loudly as the dialogue in the scene.

Finishes: Textured black wallpaper, black trim, contemporary sink fixtures, poured concrete sink countertop, dark wall mirror, frosted white sconces above sink, contemporary Sputnik-style frosted white lighting fixtures, brushed gold accents, contemporary style chair with textured green fabric, brown textured lumbar accent pillow and table with decorative accessories in the powder room entry.


Kelley Proxmire is taking on the two-story library, below, where she’s channeling the famous red library that Albert Hadley designed for Brooke Astor.


For reference, here’s Hadley’s famous red-lacquered library:

Kelley is using the same fabric you see on Mrs. Astor’s sofas and club chairs—La Portugaise by Brunschwig & Fils. Only this time, she’ll be using the pattern in blue:


Just outside the first floor of the library is a sprawling home office, which Lorna Gross will be tackling. There’s a lot she’s got to work with here:

Lorna will swathe the room in royal-blue velvet by S. Harris:

“The color is so rich and striking that I decided to design the whole room around it,” Lorna says. I can’t wait to see how she uses it.


On the opposite side of the library from the office is another large room, which Marika Meyer will be decorating as a lady’s retreat.

“The Lady’s Retreat provides a restful and inspired oasis away from life’s hectic pace. The room was inspired by textiles that are reminiscent of the homeowner’s extensive travels,” Marika explains.

The room is grounded by a gracious conversation area. A neutral sofa with dressmaker detailing is framed by drapes and vintage side tables filled with treasures. A custom Lucite cocktail table flanked by vintage velvet Milo Baughman chairs present the right balance of modern and traditional. A large secretary provides a quiet location for personal correspondence. On the far side of the room, a game table and bar cart create an ideal spot to host friends.

Here are those gorgeous Baughman chairs:

She’ll also mount hand-printed fabrics of her own design on the ceiling and as window treatments:



“These fabrics envelop the room and create a sense of intimacy,” she says. “The lacquered walls provide a chic backdrop that offsets a collection of framed Hermes scarves.” Wow — can’t wait to see the finished product!


Next, Josh Hildreth is taking on the enormous Grand Salon:

“The Grand Salon is inspired by Hubert de Givenchy’s Château du Jonchet, where grand architecture is channeled into a living experience both chic and relaxed,” Josh says.

Here’s the reference:



In that vein, Josh explains, he chose this antique Coromandel screen from Hollis & Knight in Kensington.


“The screen’s exceptional palette of ebony, terracotta & silken gold, placed among the highly textured and varied neutral foundation that we have chosen, inspires all of the other elements that create contrast and interest in the space,” he says.


To the left of this central Grand Salon is a niche off the gallery, which will be a small lounge. J. Allen and Michelle Borden of Perceptions Interiors are taking inspiration from PPG Paints’ 2018 color of the year, Black Flame:

“While the color black will certainly make a statement, we intend to showcase the understated elegance of this saturated tone by incorporating a chiaroscuro effect contrasting light and shadow throughout the space,” the designers say.

Sherwin Williams is the paint sponsor of the DC Design House, so they have chosen Tricorn Black SW 6258 for the space:

Against this dark backdrop, they’ll be using a pair of vintage French Louis XV gilt arm chairs as a sculptural art statement:


Just past this lounge as you keep walking toward the left is the family room, which designers Susan Nelson and Todd Martz are decorating as “the family room we all wish we had—where electronics are checked at the door and where family members can talk, play games or read.”

Our goal: mix old with new, creating an energetic space to stand up to the home’s graciousness. Our first decision was to use modern China Seas, Sigourney Wallpaper Yellow on White. Blue and white porcelain throughout the room adds a sense of tradition.



The family room has a fireplace flanked by two entry ways that lead into a “Little Jewel Box Sitting Room” by Camille Saum .

The room will be filled with Camille’s characteristic bursts of color, which in this instance are inspired by a geometric rug from Doris Leslie Blau:

Tomorrow we’ll explore the upstairs spaces and the pool area.

Here’s a full list of this year’s designers: 
Outside Entry – Lauren Fisher / Clinton and Associates
Living Room – Margery Wedderburn / Margery Wedderburn Interiors, LLC
Dining Room – Susan Jamieson / Bridget Beari Designs
Gallery – Cindy McClure / Grossmueller’s Design Consultants
Powder Room – Mary Amons / Mary Amons Design
Library – Kelley Proxmire / Kelley Proxmire, Inc.
The Study Royale – Lorna Gross / Lorna Gross Interior Design
Back Office – Marika Meyer / Marika Meyer Interiors LLC
Grand Salon – Josh Hildreth / Josh Hildreth Interiors
Bedroom 1 – Keira St. Claire-Bowery / Anthony Wilder Design/Build
Guest Bedroom – Caryn Cramer / Caryn Cramer Interiors + Textiles
Second Floor Family Room – Erica Burns / Erica Burns Interiors
Bedroom 2 – Romain Baty / Romain Baty LLC
Bedroom 3 – Karen Snyder / Interiors of Washington
Laundry – Paula Grace / Paula Grace Designs, Inc.
Master Bedroom – Dennese Guadeloupe Rojas / Interiors by Design
Lounge – J Allen & Michelle Borden / Perceptions Interiors
Sitting Room – Camille Saum / Camille Saum Interior Design
Family Room – Susan Nelson & Todd Martz / Home on Cameron
Kitchen – Samantha Friedman / Samantha Friedman Interior Designs
Bar – Allie Mann / Case Design/Remodeling, Inc.
Family Foyer – Lisa Tureson / Studio Artistica
Poolside Oasis – Kimberly Asner / Country Casual Teak

This year’s boutiques include:
Ibhana Creations by Meena Tharmaratnam
Whyte House Monograms by Debbie McCarthy Whyte
Jeff L Designs by Jeff LiaBraaten
Coco Blanca

You’ll be able to shop the boutiques in the home’s garages:


  1. Jennifer Sergent says:

    Thanks Quintece!

  2. Great Article!