The DC Design House will be open to the public this weekend after a month of hard work by carpenters, painters, heavy lifters and of course, the designers. Patrick Sutton is one of the masterminds who turned a room that was originally a formal reception hall into a space where a family could hang out and live without worrying about breaking anything. "I wanted the room to be feel warm and relaxing. It doesn't get a lot of natural light so we brought in furniture that was mostly light colors and we hung mirrors in the right places," said Sutton.
"The biggest challenge was getting the scale right. It has very short walls with a soaring ceiling, like a tall guy with short legs. So what you do in that situation is put longer pants on him and give him an interesting shirt."
"We had to hang the draperies higher than window level to bring the eye up along the length of the walls. Yet, we also had to have tall bookcases against the end walls to bring the eye down from the soaring ceilings. Both those features make the sight line meet in the middle, so it feels like the right scale. We had to have the bookcases custom-built, in part so they would be the right height for the room."
Before any designing could take place a whole team had to work for a week to turn the room into something workable. That meant stripping the layers of paint that had accumulated since 1925 (when the house was built) and uncovering what turned out to be a concrete fireplace. "One thing we didn't have to do anything with was the balcony that looks down from the master bedroom. It was already cool, so why change it? There are rumors that during parties they used to have a band play in the sitting room off of the bedroom and the music would fill the whole room down below."