DC Design House 2015: A Preview

We’re just days away from the opening of this year’s DC Design House, which this year is in McLean, off Georgetown Pike just beyond where I went to high school at Langley! It was great to drive by my old school, and then to see this house, designed by Harrison Design and built by Artisan Builders, with landscapes by Charles Owen of Fine Landscapes. I’ve covered this same team in the past, so it was cool to see another of their projects—a $4.895 million project at that.


I was so moved this year by how personal some of the room inspirations were, from Nancy Twomey’s sweet baby deer photography for a little girl’s nursery:

Photograph by Angie Seckinger

Photograph by Angie Seckinger

to Scott Cooke’s reverence for Bill Blass’s color palette,


to Christopher Nutter’s desire to honor the late Virginia grande dame Bunny Mellon.

Christopher, a native Virginian himself, exploited the "Bunny" theme with this painting by Hunt Slonem, and a mirror by Bunny Williams—another Virginia native. He commissioned Gary Goldberg of Potomac to paint the landscape mural on the walls of his upstairs hallway.

Christopher, a native Virginian himself, exploited the “Bunny” theme with this painting by Hunt Slonem, and a mirror by Bunny Williams—another Virginia native.

Christopher Patrick was inspired by a Cartier drawing of a custom necklace for Marjorie Merriweather Post, which he saw at the recent Cartier exhibit at the Hillwood Museum. “It had blues, golds and pearls. I took those colors and pulled them together in this way,” he says of the master bedroom. You’ll have to see that space on the tour, but here’s his dramatic master bath:


Courtney Cox and Alex Derringer of 2 Ivy Lane showed off their shop’s monogrammed linens, but I was captivated by the nightstands:


Hunt Slonem makes another appearance here, too:


And then Jeff Akseizer defined his dazzling dining room by cladding the ceiling with 350 birch poles from Aspen. Wow.


Down the hall, Michael Hampton was inspired by a dramatic silk chinoiserie panel he found at John Roselli, and his library followed suit.


The footstools in the foreground (with the Greek key accents on the bases) are among the first pieces for Michael’s new collection for Salvations Architectural Furnishings.

A powder room around the corner, done by artist Lisa Tureson, speaks to her reverence for abstract expressionist Helen Frankenthaler, “one of the greatest painters of the 20th century,” she says. Tureson created works of art inspired by Frankenthaler’s “Mountains and Sea,” which hangs downtown at the National Gallery of Art.


Lisa also does custom work for Salvations, and she chose this console from Michael Hampton’s new Salvations collection for the space. She modified it so it would be skinny enough to fit. 


Sarah Wessel took the home’s American farmhouse style to heart, as both her grandfather and great grandfather were farmers. She found a pastel drawing of a 1930’s WPA photograph that reminded her of her lineage, and also set the tone in the breakfast room. You can see the artwork in the rear.


The Currey & Co. pendants are reminiscent of jars that kids use to capture fireflies. And this I love—she took a Lee Jofa fabric (Tidewater Block), which costs $500 per yard no less, and used it ON THE REVERSE. It’s hand-blocked, so the dye bleeds through the fabric. I like it so much better this way.


There are 28 rooms, so this blog post won’t do justice to all of them. Here are some more of my favorite scenes, and I hope you’ll go check it out starting on Sunday to see it for yourself.


My all-time favorite desk by Thomas O’Brien for Hickory Chair.  I once did a blog post just on this desk.


Another desk built in to a downstairs hallway by David Benton, who works with architect Jim Rill.


Annette Hannon’s stunning living room, above and below, with hand-embroidered silk wallcovering by Fromental. How appropriate to see during cherry blossom season!


Instagram photography by DC photographer Michael Wilkinson, at the bottom of the stairs on the lower level. (by David Benton)


The upstairs hallway, above and below, by Pamela Harvey. I love the metallic details in the wall fabric by Beacon Hill.



The lower-level bistro by Joanne Fitzgerald of Gatega Interior Design


Cole & Son Wallpaper in the rear stairwell (David Benton)


The rear porch by Nancy Colbert

and the custom dining gazebo by Skip Sroka

and the custom dining gazebo by Skip Sroka

The house is located at 956 Mackall Farms Lane in McLean.

Tickets are $30 to tour the design house, which is open from this Sunday, April 12 (12-5) through Sunday, May 10.

If you want your own preview, pay $50 for a ticket on Saturday, when chef Bryan Voltaggio will be on hand to sign his new cookbook, Home: Recipes to Cook with Family and Friends.

Hours: Tuesday-Friday, 10-3; Thursday evenings, 5-8; Saturday-Sunday, 12-5. Closed Mondays.

All ticket proceeds benefit Children’s National Health System.



  1. Such a great review of the house! Thanks, wonderful seeing you.
    All my best,

  2. The house is beautiful! Congratulations to all the designers!

  3. We are on the same page i.e.loving those nightstands and the Thomas O’Brien secretary has long been a favorite.

  4. Lovely overview! Hope to see you at the Vendor Preview tomorrow night.

  5. thank you for all those gorgeous images; what a wealth of talent! I see that Michael has already set the record straight on our beautiful Michael Hampton Starburst console shown in Lisa Tureson’s space. Michael and I are excited about our collaboration and have more beautiful designs coming up.

  6. Jennifer Sergent says:

    Thanks for the clarification Michael!

  7. Hi Jennifer,

    Great seeing you yesterday! And thank you for including your photo of the Library. I just wanted to point out that I had actually designed the Salvations console you feautured and Lisa had it modified to fit within the powder room. The console is part of my new collection as well.

    Thanks and look forward to seeing you again soon.



  8. Great post and images of the fabulous interiors, Jennifer. Amazing wall coverings from Fromental and Beacon Hill, and loved the cool art choices too.