The Washington Design House opened April 14 on one of DC’s earliest and finest spring days. The balmy air caressed humans and flowering creatures, making us all feel happy, a feeling augmented by the lovely rooms in all four floors of the showhouse.
As usual, all proceeds from the showhouse will continue to support the Children’s National Medical Center. This facility has grown from very humble beginnings in 1981 in a rented rowhouse into a national center for best practices in children’s health. Last year’s showhouse generated almost a quarter million dollars, so let’s hope we can beat that amount this year. See more on the hospital at www.childrensnational.org.
For 2013 the interior designers mostly presented spaces of serenity, although there were several zingers. However, let’s start with the serenity in Camille Saum’s Living Room, as calming as her outfit was not. The ever flamboyant Camille posed underneath Niermann Weeks’ new Trieste Chandelier, with my daughter Eleanor Niermann standing in the background. Camille swathed herself in fuchsia silk outfit, from the top of her signature hat down to her well-shod toes. Pulling my eyes back to the room itself, the wide and gracious open spaces in our chandelier let my eye take in the entire space with its tranquil palette. For more about Camille herself, please go to www.camillesaum.com.
In the Family Room, Victoria Neale returned our eyes to peacefulness, and she dressed accordingly. Too bad you can’t see the magnificent black pearls in her necklace and earrings. Vickie let our Ashanti Mirror dominate the fireplace, while a pair of painted panels by Douglas Freeman augmented the tan and celery tones of her design. This room would be a wonderful retreat after a tough day, and Vickie can work the same magic with your home. Visit and imagine at www.victorianealeinteriors.com.
In the Morning Room, Iantha Carley created a sunny ambiance in the morning room using a palette of yellow, taupe, and white. The orange pet bed gives just a little eye-pop. Niermann Weeks also thanks her for using an acrylic coffee table from the Spectrum Collection, whom we represent in our Washington, DC and New York City showrooms. Iantha here embraces her husband, and they are both dressed to enhance this space. You can enjoy her portfolio at www.ianthainteriors.com, and see more of the Spectrum designs at www.spectrumcollection.com.
The last calming space I’ll share with you is the Dining Room on the lower level, designed by Scott Cooke. Playing off the rounded molding in the tray ceiling, he repeated the circular motif in his center table, chairs, and even the painted sisal rug. The round form of our Iron and Crystal Chandelier contributes to his theme. Scott and Mary Douglas Drysdale posed here with me. I really need to remember to tuck my shirt in, but you must remember to see more about Scott at www.scottcookedesign.com.
Let’s now transition to less tranquil spaces. Charles Almonte, who is both an AIA architect and an ASID interior designer, says he can enhance a client’s space according to their lifestyle and taste. The client for his powder room loves bold graphics, with fabulous wallpaper from Farrow and Ball. Charles is standing in front of a tall spray of punk blossoms, the only color in a black and white room. I love the exuberant graphic on the wall but do wonder how a tipsy person would respond. Anyway, you owe it to yourself to visit www.charlesalmonte.com.
Terri Hartwell Easter and her partner Ashleigh Bradshaw handled a similar space very differently. In the hallway leading into another bathroom, they lined the walls with a collection of mixed-media, sculptured heads entitled Thinking About Men by the artist Theresa Knight McFadden. In the relations between the sexes, I am sure we’ve all made faces like on these statues. Terri’s chartreuse jacket just added to the zippiness of this space. She and Ashleigh work together as The Maris Elaine Gallery, www.mariselainegallery.com.
A newcomer to the DC area, Ms. Regan Billingsley gave vibrant stripes to the teenaged boy’s bedroom. Regan is moving here from NYC, and her Facebook page shows lots of images of her creativity. As she conceived this bedroom, no kid could long enjoy an attack of sullenness in this very alive environment. To learn more about Regan, visit www.rbhomedesign.com.
Finally dragging ourselves away from all this stimulation, Eleanor and I walked back to our car. En route, I enjoyed a mass planting of Virginia Bluebells, a delicate plant that goes entirely dormant at the first hint of hot weather. In my yard, my clump of Virginia bluebells is tiny, but maybe over the years it will expand like this one. I sure hope so.
Going home, we passed the US Capitol and enjoyed seeing citizens engaging in their right to peaceful protest, even though we never got close enough to see what the yellow shirts were protesting. Too bad the creepy bombers at the Boston Marathon didn’t engage in peaceful protest for whatever their cause is.
And finally we drove home at twilight on Highway 50, which the State of Maryland keeps beautifully planted throughout the year. In the spring, flowering pear trees outline both sides of the highway.
Thanks for reading my blog!
PS: It’s eating at my craw that one of the show house rooms featured a knock-off of our Loire Bed, fabricated by a person who should know better. Just so you recognize the original, here’s how it looked in our natural steel finish in Home & Design (Winter 2011).
In 2008 we finished our Loire Bed in a silver leaf finish for a customer.
OK, enough of me being snarky, and thanks for your patience!