DC Design House 2012

Each year I anticipate the DC Design House like children look forward to Christmas. Oh the suspense! Then, in mid-April, it arrives!

Benefiting Children’s National Medical Center, the DC Design House 2012 showcases the talents of 23 area interior designers and is open April 14 through May 13. If you are in the DC area make a special effort to visit. More information about the Design House and Children’s National Medical Center can be found here.

Built in 1956 and located at 4951 Rockwood Parkway, NW in the stately DC neighborhood of Spring Valley, this year’s home is a stunner.

{photo by  Angie Seckinger}

The DARLING John Matthew Moore created this spectacular foyer. I first met him last year at the 2011 Design House where he created a breathtaking  painting for my dear friend Lauren Liess‘ room. Though we only talked a short while last year, I was so flattered he remembered me!

John Matthew Moore and his painting, Three Swans

Upon remarking on the beauty of this fabric, I learned he designed it himself! Does his talent have no end???

Next is the refined creation of Annette Hannon. Her parlor, designed as an inviting and comfortable space in which to linger, stands out as one of my faves this year.

{photos courtesy of Annette Hannon Interior Design, Ltd}

A bar is concealed behind those spectacular doors. CarrMichael Construction made Annette’s vision come to life. Wow. And the pattern on the chair (not the back of the chair, but the chair back. Follow me?) is an applique’. Wow again.

Notice how she resisted the urge to pile pillows on the sofa.

From Annette’s serene parlor you enter Kelley Proxmire’s L’Orangerie. Just feast your eyes on this treat….

In what was once a formal ballroom, Kelley created a classic take on a modern sunroom. With her signature use of color, emerged this tangerine fantasy. The orange grasscloth is inspired!

Kelley masterfully blends the traditional with the unexpected. Love it! Another fave for me.

I cannot wait to show you more so come back to visit soon.

Rug Shopping in NYC

My friend and sorta-client Catherine and I took the train from DC to New York not long ago.

She has been searching exhaustively for a dining room rug. Hours and hours have been spent on this project. Even her husband has been sucked in. He, while visiting California, conducted intense negotiations with an oriental rug dealer, snapped a number of pics with his phone and then aborted when they could not figure out if the color was right.

Poor Catherine. Who thought purchasing a rug would be so stressful.

She is not demanding or even remotely unreasonable. She just knows what she wants.

When I was in High Point this spring, I met a man from NYC  who was displaying the most beautiful array of Tibetan hand-knotted rugs.
After a short visit, I was convinced this was what Catherine and I had been searching for – wonderful quality with fair prices.

So a rug shopping trip on the train was scheduled and we were SO excited! Not only were we convinced we would find the perfect rug for Catherine, but we were also going to visit the Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse! (More on that very soon.)

Here she is surrounded with 2′ x 2′ samples and trays and trays of wool and silk yarns.
This particular company specialized in fully custom Tibetan rugs. You can select from among their vast array of designs, or even offer a sketch of your original ideas. Select your colors – and voila´! Custom rug. Sounds simple, no?

NO!  It’s overwhelming.
More trays of poms. Color overload!

(sorry for the photo quality – my phone is all I had with me)
Which to choose? We had some fabric samples with us and had hoped they would bring inspiration (see them hanging on the rolled rugs in the background?)

Feast your eyes on these designs! The ground is wool and the star burst detail, silk. So yummy.

This one is all silk and all of the rugs are 100 knots per square inch. Very nice!

These are both wool with silk detail. I love the geometric designs the best.

Are you able to see how the silk changes color and becomes so luminous as the viewing angle changes? That is what makes these rugs so extraordinary. And breathtaking.
So finally, Catherine makes a decision…..

The beautiful geometric, shown left above, in her dining room and the rug on the right for the foyer. (But, not in these colors)

This process with Catherine has been amazingly instructional and I’ve acquired a profound respect for the ancient art of the hand knotted rug.

I would love to say that Catherine’s rugs are being lovingly produced in Tibet as we speak, but we had a bit of a set back as pricing negotiations ensued. Perhaps it is all my fault and I badly misunderstood that part of my pre-trip phone conversation with the NYC rug dude. (Not!)

Catherine’s search continues…..

DC Design House, The Final Chapter

The DC Design House is entering it’s final week, so those of you lucky enough to be in the Washington, DC area need to check your calendars and make time to get there by May 8.  Money raised benefits Children’s National Medical Center and tickets are available at the door.

Here now is a particular favorite of mine, The Hideaway done by Lauren Liess of The Pure Style.

Inspired by the home’s numerous rooms – perfect for a child to explore – Lauren created a relaxing space designed to inspire the imagination. It is a space to which one can retreat and read or catch up on correspondence.

I have visited the Design House several times, and every time I’ve see people drawn to this window seat and plopping right down! What bigger compliment is there than that?! Lauren refers to it as the Princess and the Pea window seat. The 3 custom mattresses, done by Paul David Johnson, are – for me – the center piece of the room.

Lauren has also created a line of custom upholstered furniture and this Mad Hatter chair is one of her favorites. The ikat fabric used for the window treatments you see in the background is also her original design.

I wish I had a better photograph of the art, but I don’t! Above you can see a partial view of renowned artist Matterw Moore’s over-sized grisaille of boxwood gardens done for this room. His work is INSPIRED! You can see more of it if at the Design House as he has a mini gallery set up there.

I attended press day at the Design House with my dear friend, Catherine Funkhouser of CWF Communications. Catherine is a very talented writer who has many published articles including numerous pieces with Capital File and Washington Spaces magazines.  She is standing with designer David Mitchell of David Mitchell Interior Design in his ‘One for the Guys’ bedroom.

David’s room is his signature combination of comfort and tradition – a mix of old and new, ordinary and luxury. He wanted to be sure that men were represented in this year’s Design House by creating a masculine space. It’s terrific, isn’t it?!

Barbara Franceski of Barbara Franceski, LLC imagined a family room where everyone can come together to talk, read, relax or socialize. Above you can see the wonderful curved sofa from William Yeoward – my favorite piece in the room.

This teen girl’s bedroom was designed by Samantha Friedmna of Samantha Friedman Interior Designs. Isn’t it charming?

Here is Samantha standing next to the swing she had installed in the dormer of this room. I truly loved the burnt orange and purple combination in this space.

I’ll leave you with some additional photos of the Design House. Pure eye candy, each one.

Love your comments!

DC Design House, Part 2

Here are a few more images of the 2011 DC Design House benefiting Children’s National Medical Center.

With so many beautiful rooms to see, you really need to make a visit. The house is open now through May 8 so you need to hurry!

The front portico was transformed by James Rill of Rill Architects, PC. The next photo is a before. Pretty amazing, huh?

Seriously! Can you imagine stepping into your home and being greeted with this? Liz Levin of Liz Levin Interiors wowed everyone with her foyer and stairs transformation.
Liz took what was previously dark and heavy and carefully chose elements that lighten and brighten. Look closely at the walls. The space was inspired by a Moorish motif in the form of hand painted graphics that span the first floor and lead up the stairs. The ikat rug and more contemporary chandelier were certainly unexpected – but brilliant!

This vignette near the stairs is centered around local artist Susan Noyes work comprised of razor blades on canvas. Cutting edge, No?

The pool kitchen (doesn’t everyone have one?) is a contemporary, sleek space. Nadia Subaran of Aidan Design transformed the seriously dated and, dare I say, UGLY (wish I had the before pic!) kitchen into what you see above. And Nadia is also a delight! See the stools on the left? She really loves those things and had a terrific time demonstrating how to adjust the height – and then she would take the free ride down.  Charming!

Here is Nadia in front of the farm sink and showing off the soapstone counter. She sought to bring the outdoors in by selecting a charcoal gray plank porcelain tile that smoothly transitions from the exterior slate patio.

Ahh! The delightful Camille Saum astride a chair in the FABULOUS dining room she created. THIS is what a show house room should be! – one part inspiration, one part astounding talent, and one part ‘Over The Top’ execution. You must visit the house for this room alone!

And apparently if you dine with Camille, you also get to enjoy the company of Matthew McConaughey. I accept!
See the center piece? It is sitting under the spectacular Palissy Lantern from Niermann Weeks and is from Pier 1. Cool.

But the part of the room that, for me anyway, put this in a category all it’s own is the moss covered mantel. Note, too, the bamboo covered radiator under the windows.

Live moss. Painted floors. Yellow patent leather chairs. Bamboo covered radiators. Taffeta.
In Camille’s words, “The room’s elegance and whimsy is punctuated by the unexpected.” I’d say.

Another favorite space is from the very talented Iantha Carley of Iantha Carley Interiors.  The master bedroom and dressing room are light, restful and inviting. Take a look….

Everything about these rooms read modern, elegant, sophistocated and whimsical.

That wallpaper (by Nina Campbell)! And note the framed print? It is from artist Anne Harwell. You need to visit her Etsy store and her blog Annechovie. Hurry, what are you waiting for?
Iantha you inspire me! (And she is really sweet too.)

In my next post on the DC Design House I am very excited to feature the wonderful, amazing, spectacular ‘Hideaway’ by my friend Lauren Liess. Boy oh boy is that girl talented!

Please visit again! And your comments are always welcome!!!!


There’s a new online shelter mag in town.
Yesterday, the editors of Lonny and Traditional Home magazines launched the newest entrant in the world of virtual mags,

As most of you know, Lonny Magazine was launched by Michelle Adams and Patrick Cline in the wake of the closing of Domino. TRADHome is a c
ollaboration between Traditional Home magazine and Michelle and Patrick and it looks promising.

So what is TRADHome about?  They want to redefine our ideas of traditional decor. Online magazines have one distinct advantage over their glossy counterparts (aside from the fact they are free) – they can utilize video. So in an effort to help us on our redefinition journey (can I say that?), they paired Jonathan Adler and Charlotte Moss (I KNOW, that’s what I thought!) in a short video.

Click HERE to watch – it really is worth your time:

And finally, a few pages from the premiere issue of TRADHome:

Not exactly your mother’s idea of traditional.

But look at the other end of the same room. Wonderful!

So have you begun to look at traditional design differently?
It’s starting to work for me.


DC Design House, Part 1

Each year I think the designers selected for the DC Design House reach new heights. And this year is no exception.

The Design House, which benefits Children’s National Medical Center, opened this weekend and remains open through May 8.

Before the frenzied design work begins, the public is invited in for a dramatic Bare Bones Tour.  If you visit the Design House website you can see a few of these ‘before’ photos, making the ‘after’ even more stunning.

Then the designers had only 30 days to transform this 1925 12,000 square foot English Country Tudor in the Forest Hills area of DC.
(In case you are in the market, it is currently for sale and listed at $4.9 million.)

Feast your eyes on the 2011 DC Design House:

Patrick Sutton of Patrick Sutton Associates had what was almost certainly one of the biggest challenges in this house – the living room.
Its dimensions are cavernous yet he did a masterful job of creating inviting conversation areas throughout. Although I genuinely loved many of the rooms, this one took my breath away. I think its transformation, and Patrick’s command of space planning, is what struck me most.

Here is Patrick standing in front of the amazing stone fireplace. Originally covered in layer after layer of paint, he and his team spent countless hours scraping away the years until finally revealing the original stone. However, what you see in the photo is not exactly what they found that day.

He told me that he was finally able to achieve the gorgeous patina you see by — wait for it —  rubbing it down with steel wool! I don’t know if this is how it went down, but in my imagination someone whipped out some steel wool and went to work after Patrick said ‘something’s not quite right.’ So the subtle gray movement and tone you can now see is a result of that mysterious steel wool process. Oh, and also a rub down with some good ol’ paste wax. Perfection!

The Pool Room, done by Erin Paige Pitts of Erin Paige Pitts Interiors is a cool and inviting space. Since the house has no porch and this space leads to the pool, Erin wanted to create the look and feel of one. She cleverly hung two love seat sized swings facing one another and then filled the room with cool airy textures and beach references.

Gary Lovejoy of Gary Lovejoy Associates, Inc created a modern and inviting sun room.

Gary cleaverly used a screen in place of more traditional window treatments. The chairs above are facing the chaise shown in the previous pic.

The library, done by Nancy Colbert of Design Partners, LLC was originally one of the darkest rooms in the house. She transformed it into this beautiful light filled space. New bookcases were added for balance and symmetry and the entire dark wood panneled room was given life with Farrow and Ball #241, Skimming Stone and a decorative paint finish.

More to come…….


Decor Love

I have loads of inspiration photos saved. Wiith no specific theme in mind, here are a few….

(via Decorpad)

(via Decorpad)

(via Houzz)

(via Decorpad)

Hugs,  Roxanne

Split Personality

Recently our family stayed at The Gaylord at National Harbor in D.C.

We had a great time and the place is amazing. Go if you are ever in the area.

When we entered our room, this is what we found:

Crazy, right?

Here’s the living room. Big.

Sitting room.

View of the atrium. Ya, those little houses you see are INSIDE the atrium. They don’t do things small here.
And those cute heads are my girls!

So here is what I was struck by; the room’s decor was predictable given our location in the Nation’s Capital. Traditional. Dark leather and heavy upholstery. Very conservative.
Pretty, but just a bit tame.

Then we walk into the Old Hickory Steakhouse, located in the atrium, for dinner and are greeted by this eye candy!


As you enter the bar, you can see all the way back through the restaurant. The window at the far end overlooks the Potomac River.

See what I mean about the split personality? These spaces are all at the Gaylord National Harbor.

This would be more ‘wow’ if I had taken the photo when the bar was actually open. But still, can you see how amazing it would be to sip a cocktail here?
(I came back the morning after dinner for better lighting and to be certain there were no customers.)

Notice not only the striking chandelier, but also the wavy glass in the windows.

Martini anyone?

Oh yes, and the food was pretty darn good too!



Project Complete

It is exciting yet a little melancholy to bring a project to conclusion.

My client, T, and I worked hard together for more than 18 months.

I am excited to share the result of all that hard work.

Here is T’s living room.

It was a blank slate. They had just moved into their new home  and were starting this room from scratch.
(Sorry for the photo quality. Professional photographers are ‘spensive!)

The upholstery is all custom.
Our jumping off point was the red and ivory floral on the chairs. Everything else flowed from there.

The sofa is covered in a very textural velvet-like chenille. Yum!

The chair in the fore ground was found at an estate sale and recovered with this beautiful nubby velvet.

In the background, you can see just a bit of the new stair runner we had installed. Luscious!

Again, bad photo quality, but shows how well the stair runner works. LOVE it!!

I’m gonna miss working with you T 🙁


Paralyzed by the Possibilities

It is, perhaps, a little known fact that most interior designers have a near impossible time decorating their own home.

Sadly, I am not an exception.

For nearly 6, yes SIX, agonizing months I’ve done my darnedest to come up with a fabric and color scheme for our family room.

Here is what it looks like now:


(longer, deeper sigh) BTW, there is plywood under the cushions. (another sigh)

Designers have no difficulty making wonderful selections for our clients. We ask questions. Do lots of listening. Then execute a beautiful plan.
Not so for ourselves.


We get distracted by the next new shiny thing we see. We LOVE so many different fabrics. Looks. Styles. Colors. Actually, this is part of the reason we are good at what we do. If a client wants a style that differs from our personal preferences, we still get excited about it and have a great time putting it together.

But back to my dilemma….

The compter armoire  (yes computer armoire – how sad is that)  currently housing the TV will go. The TV will move to above the fireplace (the room is TINY & I need the floor space). Everything in the photo will go – except the TV remote. Did I mention how much I hate this room?

Weeks ago I started sorting through fabrics. Memo after memo of yummy beautiful fabric.

Not quite right.

Still not it.

Time to seek help.

Anne from  Dwellings By Design offering her professional opinion.

And Michele from My Notting Hill working a little magic.

Still, no decision.

I finally decided to go back to my favorite inspiration photos to gain new focus.

And here is the one that spoke to me the loudest.  (Photo: Traditional Home  Designer, Amy Bergman)

What I love most: oodles of texture, soothing neutrals, interesting yet subtle patterns.

So finally,  the fabrics for my new family room:

They are all very tactile – raised velvet detail on all but the sofa fabric. For the sofa, a textured velvet with lots of shine and movement. Add to all of this some shiny nickel nail head detail here, a contrasting welt there and exposed wood trim on the upholstered pieces in a soft white painted finish. New occasional tables, lighting, rug, built-ins (gee, I sure hope my husband is not reading this – he thinks we just need furniture).

Next up: choosing the furniture. Ugh! See you in another 6 months. But seriously, I hope to have everything ordered within the next week and will be back to you in 6 – 8 weeks with an update.


If you would like help choosing the perfect fabrics for your project – which really can be done in a more speedy fashion – send me a note!