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50 photos inside this year’s D.C. Design House

See how 27 designers came together to refresh a formerly drab home into a wall-to-wall stunner

With benefits to the Children’s National Health System, the ninth annual D.C. Design House has begun with a bang. The annual event allows top area interior designers to showcase their talents by renovating different sections of one home. Since the showcase began in 2008, the event has raised over $1.5 million with over 70,000 visitors.

This year, the D.C. Design House is located at 2509 Foxhall Road NW in the Wesley Heights neighborhood. Listed by Nancy Itteilag of Washington Fine Properties, the $10.8 million residence comes with five stories, seven bedrooms, eight full bathrooms, and two half bathrooms. It also features three kitchens, a sauna, wine cellar, and infinity pool.

Gibson Builders constructed the property in 2010 on a three-quarter acre lot. According to the D.C. Design House website, the home was the former temporary residence of a French Ambassador, whose name has yet to be disclosed.

Artworks created by Children’s National patients and high school volunteers were sold at this year’s D.C. Design House. The event was presented by Studio Artistica and The Creative & Therapeutic Arts Services at Children’s National Health System. The three sections were titled: "The Healing Garden," "Garden with Wings," and "Happiness Is ..." There were approximately 60 painted canvases throughout the space.

If interested in getting an up close look at the home, the showcase is open from October 1 through 30. General admission tickets are $35.

For a look at last year’s D.C. Design House, go to this Curbed DC article.

Front Garden and Porch

Right before visitors enter the front doors of this year’s D.C. Design House, they are welcomed by a front garden with a flagstone lead walk. Elegant planters flank both sides of the front door. This space was designed by D. Blake Dunlevy and Gina Palmer.

Entry, Hall, and Back Stairs

Eve Fay, colour consultant and manager of the Farrow & Ball showroom in Washington, D.C., designed three spaces with wallpaper designs like "Enigma," "Strong," and "Dimpse." For the entry, Fay focused on creating a delicate neutral template as opposed to the bold, dark colors found in the back staircase.

For the back staircase, she was inspired by the architecture of the room, how rectangular and wide it is. More so, the room can be seen from multiple areas of the house, so she decided it would be a good place to create some drama. She did so with dark colors and a lighting fixture from Circa.

For the front staircase, she wanted it to look glamorous and elegant, but not overpowering. With this in mind, she used neutral colors throughout the room with Enigma wallpaper and Circa light fixtures. Other additions included a handcrafted walnut writing desk crafted in Maine as well as a teak bench from Bunny Williams.

Dining Room

Whether or not you’re a Francophile, you can’t help but say, "Wow," when you enter the dining room of this year’s D.C. Design House. The big surprise in the room—as well as the main inspiration for Jonathan Senner of Atelier Jonathan Senner—was Schumacher’s "La Cité" wallcovering. The wallcovering features a reproduction of a 1739 Turgot map of Paris.

The dark walnut and ziricote dining tables from Keith Fritz Fine Furniture contrast the creamy Stark carpets. Throughout, there are vintage armchairs, an Art Deco-style faux-malachite credenza, a 1970s mushroom lamp, and even an antique Louis XVI-style settee in a black-and-white silk stripe. As an extra dose of fun, Senner also included a marble-and-brass bar by Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. All of the light fixtures are from Circa.

China Pantry

The residence’s Butler’s Pantry was transformed into a China Pantry, a space to store and celebrate one’s favorite dishes, glassware, and linens. Inside, the custom vintage aqua Wood-Mode cabinetry is paired with Farrow and Ball’s "Ranelagh" wallpaper on the ceiling. As an added touch, there is also an antiqued, mirrored chandelier from Circa.

Nadia N. Subaran and Megan M. Padilla said that they didn’t want to create a space that could appeal to everyone; instead, this space truly is for china lovers. "It’s about designing for your needs," said Subaran.

Powder Room

Lena Kroupnik created what might be the most moody, most dramatic powder room in the entire home. Originally, the space was pretty drab, but now it offers an eccentric animal print wallpaper by Farrow and Ball and dramatic "Russian Sconces" from Niermann Weeks. Inside, there are also paintings by Nurieh Mozaffari and Maryanne Pollock.

Other gems include a crystal faucet, custom soft rug by Carpet Creations, and small octagonal marble table.

A Cozy, Coral Family Room

Let’s address the massive, coral elephant in the room: the custom "Abstract Leaf" wallpaper is by Schumacher, installed in order to mimi the leafy greenery right outside the doors with its grass-like texture.

The room, designed by Kelley Proxmire, was inspired by Schumacher’s chinoiserie toile design and brought together with bright blues and vibrant corals. The fabric on the wing chair and the pillows are Schumacher’s "Plaisirs De La Chine," while the draperies are in a Clarence House fabric.

According to Proxmire, "I wanted to mix the good with the not so good." In order to do this, she topped $140 tables from Wayfair with approximately $1,500 lamps from Vaughn. While it looks new, the blue ultrasuede sofa is also seven years old.

"We’re a big dog family," said Proxmire, who added a custom dog bed to the room. The dog is from Walmart.


Kimberly Asner of Country Casual Teak wanted the terrace to have as much seating space as possible. Inspired by the function of the room, she filled it only with Country Casual Teak furniture as well as a casino bar cart with stainless steel fittings and two removable trays. Approximately eight people can fit in the space.

The Library and Whiskey Bar

As the haven of the home, the wood-paneled library is sophisticated and dark with a cedar-toned jute wallcovering, celadon ceilings, and a Baltimore-artisan chandelier.

One of the biggest wow factors of the room is its circa-1760, French verdure tapestry hung on the wall, concealing a garage-door-like feature. Other artworks feature artists like Tucker Nichols and Francis Denney.

The real show stopper, though, is the "secret whiskey bar," hidden behind a closet.

Josh Hildreth and Victor Sanz, the designers of the room, said that it used to look something like a Bank of America board room before it was renovated. Now, it offers little surprises like seventeenth century Italian paintings, horns, rabbit statues, and a vintage French roulette.

Living Room

When it came to the structure of the living room, Pamela Harvey had a lot to work with. According to her, the room has "great bones" due to how symmetrical and long it is as well as how it includes design highlights like crown molding.

To contrast the white walls, sofa, and carpeting in the room, Harvey added a black desk, baby grand piano, statues, and draperies. In order to freshen up the space, she also added "fresh green" elements, found in the stools, pillows, and greenery.

The Mitchell Black butterfly sconces are made of acrylic with a linen backing. The photography (not pictured) inside is from Washington, D.C.-based artist Fritz Gibbon.

Master Bedroom Suite

Let’s venture into a quieter part of the house. Victoria Sanchez of Victoria at Home wanted the Master Bedroom Suite to absorb sound in order to become a tranquil retreat for the homeowner. She did this by upholstering the walls with linen.

The blue and cream color scheme continues the peaceful nature of the room with additions like an antique French chaise lounge and a light fixture from Farrow and Ball.

Sanchez also designed the foyer and bathroom sections of the suite. When she first started designing, she said, "There wasn’t so much inspiration as problem solving." Originally, everything was white and drab. She felt challenged to warm up the space, but not make it busy. In both spaces, she continued the blue and cream color scheme and also added paintings.

Bedroom #2

In case you couldn’t tell from the photos, the main inspiration for this bedroom is the color orange. Charles C. Almonte designed the room, inspired by sunrises and sunsets.

In order to add some visual flare, Almonte also included drapery with a Chinoiserie-inspired pattern. Other additions include a custom Moroccan rug and a pair of Art Deco-inspired side tables with green porcelain table lamps. The final touch of elegance is found in the antiqued brass finishes on the chandelier, lamps, and étagère. The wallpaper is orange strie, made by Farrow & Ball.


Despite the dark Navy blue walls, pillows, and ottoman, the loft is very light and airy, thanks to a skylight, white couch and rug, and clear, glass side tables. The wallpaper is meant to mimic a grass cloth texture.

The designers were Melanie Hansen, Steve Corbeille, and Pooja Mittra of Yardstick Interiors. The space is meant to be an area for reading and general relaxation.

According to Hansen, her favorite piece in the space is the Fornasetti plates. The plates were arranged symmetrically above two white chairs and a glass table.

The designers also had to utilize a small nook. While not large enough for a seating piece, it allowed for a bold printed grass cloth wall covering.

Vintage Cabana/Roof Deck

With a refreshing botanical wall covering, the cabana allows visitors a space to grab a drink at the dry bar before heading to the roof deck.

The designer, Quintece Hill-Mattauszek of Studio Q Designs, was inspired by the vintage Hollywood glam of the Beverly Hills Hotel. She incorporated this inspiration into the design with a custom canopy over a slip-covered split-back sectional, pineapple finials, and the bold contrasting palm-leaf drapery.

Chic Retreat, Dressing Room, and Bathroom

"I think this is the quirkiest, oddest space of the house," said designer Barbara Brown. Despite the challenge of designing three spaces, Brown was able to accomplish her mission to create a getaway for business, reading, and relaxing.

With hand-painted walls, the attic space comes with chinoiserie-inspired custom furniture, found through the cabinet, desk, and custom, hand-painted wall motif. The chandelier and chair in the room are by Niermann Weeks.

In the dressing room, there is a peony wallpaper from Farrow & Ball.

For the bathroom, Brown used a bold Farrow and Ball wallpaper design, called, "Tessella."

Mademoiselle Chambre

Andrea Houck created this oh-so cute, oh-so pink room with Paris in mind. Having spent her childhood in France, Houck wanted to share her love for the country through sparkle and shine.

The bedroom is meant to look timeless for a "between-two-worlds teenager." The headboard combines faux leather with crystal tufting. The white armoire furthers the femininity of the room with a geometric and flower motif. The flower motif is also found in the linen window panels and the wallpaper.

According to Houck, her favorite piece in the room has to be the fluffy footstool. The gold-colored feet that poke out from the bottom were painted with a pink fingernail polish to match the other pops of pink in the room.

The Chic Laundry Room

Before Allie Mann or Case Design/Remodeling got her hands on this laundry room, it was so blah. The walls were paper white, and the cabinetry was a dull, light brown color. To liven up the space just a bit, Mann used a neutral palette with a tile backsplash and custom, white cabinetry.

By creating an often visited space into an area that is fresh and gorgeous, Mann is able to transform an area of the home into a perfect retreat for the aesthetically-minded homeowner.

Lady Lair

Men may have Man Caves, but, thanks to Rachel Dougan of Vivi Interiors, ladies can have their own piece of Heaven right in their homes as well. At this year’s D.C. Design House, Dougan created an ideal getaway out of a long, narrow room with two powder rooms. The walls are hand-painted with a Malachite finish.

According to Dougan, the space reminded her of a Pullman car. With that in mind, she designed the space with the image of a first class ticket on the Orient Express in mind. The motifs found in the room range from the Far East to Europe when it comes to the finishes, fabrics, and fixtures.

In a tucked away section of the room, visitors will find the cocktail closet, custom made from Ikea components with the addition of an LED light from Le Deun. Inside the closet, there is a bold, striped wallpaper from Cole & Son.

Kitchen/Breakfast Room

This spacious, comfortable area of the home is now as beautiful as it is useful, thanks to Betsy Barmat Stires of Frog Hill Designs. Stires continued the neutral color palette found in the cabinetry, millwork, and stone, while adding a soft teal from the outdoors.

For the ceiling, Stires used a Farrow and Ball wallpaper to suggest clouds, while for the walls of the room, she had them hand-painted by Pluntke Decorative Painters. The fabric used for the seating was tough and stain-resistant. The dramatic fixture over the island is from Niermann Weeks.

Sitting Room, or La Salon Del Celebrity

When walking into the sitting room, visitors are greeted by images of Prince, Marilyn Monroe, and Elvis. On the walls, there are caricatures of a myriad of celebrities, hand-painted by Ali Nassari Atelier. According to Camille Saum, she wanted to incite a big smile out of the visitors of the room with this feature.

For an extra pop of color, the fireplace comes with a pearlescent tile supplied by Best Tile Rockville. The furnishings are from Beverly Furniture and Hollis & Knight, layered in neutral tones with a variation of textures. The shades and textural burlap draperies, embellished with fringe from Everett Design, are from Hartmann & Forbes.

Lower Garden, or Formal in the Woods

The last impression of this year’s D.C. Design House can be found outside in the lower garden, or the "Formal in the Woods," as coined by Stephen Wlodarczyk and Joshua Dean of Wheat’s Lawn & Custom Landscape.

The formal space is designed with clipped hedges bordering a lawn panel in contrast to the natural wooded area behind it. There are sights of granite cobblestone and a fountain that serves as the focal point with a curved teak bench beside it.

[UPDATE 10/3: A previous version of this article stated that the wallpaper in Bedroom #2 was from Cole & Son. It is actually from Farrow & Ball.]