Several cities across the United States host annual home-makeover showcases. Architects and designers are given a short amount of time to redo a room in the house, giving the designers a chance to show their chops while also fashioning an aesthetic that changes from room to room.
Washington, D.C.'s version, D.C. Design House, opens in an upscale neighborhood abutting Rock Creek Park this weekend. This neighborhood is the kind with sprawling lawns, spotty sidewalks, and few street lane dividers. The six-bedroom stone house was built in 1929, and has lots of delicious old-house detailing, like an exposed stone wall off the kitchen and basket-weave tile in a guest bathroom.
Jim Rill, AIA, and David Benton, AIA, of Bethesda, Md.–based Rill Architects selected to paint the front door and entry bright blue, which Bethesda-based Camille Saum contrasted with lime green on the ceiling of the foyer and interior stairwell. Saum selected the green (she referred to it as chartreuse) based on a color in the 3D-beaded wallpaper from The Romo Group. "This is what I'm known for—how I do color," Saum said at a press preview on Tuesday.
D.C.'s Marika Meyer emphasized indestructibility in the dining room, because it's the only formal eating place in the roughly 8,000 square foot house. She used indoor/outdoor fabrics on the chairs and a distressed table.
An existing load-bearing masonry wall between the breakfast room and the kitchen was removed to create a more open space. For the kitchen, Nadia Subaran of Bethesda's Aidan Design used Wood-Mode cherry cabinets, Virginia soapstone countertops from R. Bratti Associates, and a slim slab porcelain backsplash from Architectural Ceramics.
In the breakfast room adjacent to the kitchen, an exposed stone wall was kept intact and a shelf was added above it. Victoria Sanchez of Alexandria, Va.–based Victoria at Home used a hand-blocked pattern on the breakfast room's ceiling as well as on some of the sectional's throw pillows, creating a subtle cohesion between the two surfaces.
Kelley Proxmire of Kelley Interior Design, based in Bethesda, designed the formal living room immediately to the left of the front entry. Unlike the entry and foyer that precedes it, this room is quieter in greys and whites. Proxmire says that in the design, she wanted to pretend it had evolved from when the house was built, in 1929.
D.C.-based Nestor Santa-Cruz designed the library off the family room. Santa-Cruz, who is also a design director at Gensler, painted the walls to mimic wood and placed a Hans Wegner table against the far wall.
The first floor also includes a playroom, designed by D.C.'s Katherine Vernot-Jonas, complete with a climbing wall, rope net, and a trapeze.
The design for the first-floor pool dressing room and bath began with an etched glass door found in the house that designers Christopher Cahill and Kerry Ann Rodriguez of Olney, Md.–based Cahill Design Build re-imagined as a backlit art piece.
Dennese Guadeloupe-Rojas of Interiors by Design, based in Silver Spring, Md., and Diane Taitt, Assoc. AIA, of D.C.'s De Space Designs collaborated on a water-inspired design for the second floor sitting room.
Nancy Colbert of McLean, Va.–based Design Partners created the master bedroom on the second floor. Cindy McClure of D.C.'s Grossmueller's Design imagined a subtle beach theme in the master bath, and covered a wall section in a title patterned with seashells.
In one of the most daring design choices in the house, Anne Wenzel of Chevy Chase, Md.-based Anne Walsh Design covered the walls of a third floor bathroom with a patterned fabric from Manuel Canovas.
Cheryl Lynn Doyle of D.C.-based Doyle Interiors created a pale green and cream guest suite on the third floor.
Preview day for the 2014 D.C. Design House takes place on Saturday, and the house officially opens to the public on Sunday and runs through May 11. The event is a fundraiser for Children's National Health System. The house also goes on sale Friday for $3.85 million.