1 House, 20 Designers, 30 Days, 1 Great Cause The 4th Annual DC DESIGN HOUS

Mad Hatter Chairs within the DC Design House
Mad Hatter Chairs within the DC Design House

By Punch Pad Correspondent Sarah Aburdene

Don’t Miss the DC DESIGN HOUSE!!!

If you have not had a chance to visit this year’s DC Design House, make sure you go before it ends May 8th. You don’t want to miss this rare opportunity to peak into one of Washington’s most stunning and historic estates—a 1926 English Country Tudor home situated on an acre of land in Forest Hill (who knew anyone had an acre of land inside DC?)  Area designers submitted conceptual designs, and after the best submissions were selected, designers had one month to transform the visions into reality. Now you, the public, are invited to view their creations.

My two favorite rooms are Lauren Liess’s “The Hideaway Bedroom” (below) and David Mitchell’s “One for the Guys Bedroom” (below). Nadia Subaran’s “Pool Kitchen” came in a close third.


david mitchell bedroom

I absolutely LOVE the “Hideaway Room” designed by Lauren Liess.  She dramatically transformed the orange canopy room into a sanctuary to escape and relax.   She felt the room was tucked away from the rest of the house so she decided to accentuate that element. Liess playfully incorporated color, texture, pattern, and scale; successfully combined fun, eclectic, and unexpected elements; and seamlessly blended old and new.

Lauren Liess shows a visitor her Rick Singleton lamp in her Hideaway bedroom

Lauren Liess shows a visitor her Rick Singleton lamp in her Hideaway bedroom

Liess removed the existing wallpaper and replaced it with Michael DiGuiseppe hung grasscloth by Seabrooke on both the walls and ceiling to create a feeling of warmth.  She added Stark’s diamond-patterned sisal rug to add texture and softness.  To prevent the space from feeling too serious, she incorporated unexpected, happy elements such as a glass lamp with a green metal shade from Stray Dog Designs and green parrots (I want these!!) from John Rosselli.

back mad hatter chair

The Back of a Mad Hatter chair

What impressed me most was that she designed the chairs in the room herself.   Her “Mad Hatter Chairs” are humorous, but at the same time sophisticated.They are definitely Alice-in-Wonderland-esque. She covered the front of the chairs in a taupe velvet, and added an unexpected element by upholstering the back with a dramatic, over-sized print by Michael Smith called Jasper linen floral. I adore these over-sized leaves.

She created a window seat that two people can comfortably lounge and relax on.  This seat added to the feeling of relaxation in the space. The gorgeous and incredibly soft throw blanket is by local designer D.Bryant Archie.

Lauren collaborated with local lighting artist Rick Singleton to design the quirky floor lamp. The quality of the details and finish is beautiful and it is a perfect custom piece for this room.  I also loved her eclectic mix of prints, painting and frames.  Liess really did not miss a detail in creating the perfect hideaway room.





David Mitchell’s “One for the Guys” bedroom is another standout room. Vintage prints of birds wrap around the space and add dimension in this room which has simple architectural details. He combines traditional and industrial pieces to create a comfortable and masculine atmosphere. He painted the eight-foot ceilings with Farrow & Ball’s Pavilion Gray to make the room feel lighter and larger. A practical, narrow bench paired with sneakers is a fun decorative element and adds a pop of color in this perfect room (I love the shoes, but was informed they are not for sale).

Liz Levin, Stuart McCormick, Jim Rill, Nadia Subaran

Liz Levin, Stuart McCormick, Jim Rill, Nadia Subaran

Nadia Subaran made the most of limited space in the pool kitchen. She chose sleek Italian lighting, soapstone counters and a small walnut butcher-block table. The walls are painted with Dove Tale by Farrow & Ball. I love the incorporation of artwork and the absence of cabinets—it makes the kitchen feel almost as if it were another room in the home and not a traditional kitchen.  The open shelves create a feeling of openness and add a slight industrial touch.

Aidan DC Design Hs -113 low res

Nadia Subaran’s “Pool Kitchen”

The following designers created spaces in the Design House: Scott Brinitzer and Jeff Potter (outdoor spaces), Iantha Carley (master bedroom and dressing area), Nancy Colbert (library), Barbara Franceski (family room), Samantha Friedman (bedroom), Jason Hodges (bathroom), Liz Levin (foyer), Lauren Liess (bedroom), Gary Lovejoy (sunroom), Allie Mann/Case Design (bathroom), Cindy McClure (bathroom), David Mitchell (bedroom), Erin Paige Pitts (pool room), James Rill/Rill Architects (front exterior portico), Camille Saum (dining room), Whitney Stewart (garden room), Nadia Subaran/Aidan Design (pool kitchen), Patrick Sutton (living room) and Denise Willard (powder room).

Front Portico by Rill Architects

Front Portico by Rill Architects

Also part of the festivities is an array of boutiques with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Childrenʼs National Medical Center. Boutiques include: John Matthew Moore Fine Art & Home by Matthew Moore, who set up an art gallery space in the main kitchen, with other boutiques For Ewe by Edie Adelston, Fran Spaeder, Ibhana Creations by Meena Tharmaratnam, Insiders by Diane Zutant, Jeff L. Designs by Jeff LiaBraaten, June B, Lifeʼs A Beach by Mary Magner, and Whyte House Monograms by Debbie McCarthy Whyte set up in the carriage house/garage areas.

The DC Design House is at 3134 Ellicott St. NW. It will be open through May 8.

Hours are Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday and Sunday noon to 5 p.m. Tickets are $20. Find more information at www.dcdesignhouse.com.

All proceeds raised are donated to Childrenʼs National Medical Center.

***Punch Pad Correspondent Sarah Aburdene is a professional in the design world. You can often catch her in Cady’s Alley or on one of her trips around the world, where she gathers much of her inspiration***

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