A Capitol Hill Beauty

January 14, 2013



Made another visit over to Capitol Hill over the weekend and snapped a photo of one of my favorite exterior projects. It usually takes forever for things to get wrapped up and tweaked to “perfection” but my client had finally replaced a light fixture and refinished her beautiful mahogany door (with marine varnish). The entry, completed:





Before (tired, peeling, blah…blah):








And after (Benjamin Moore Dorset Gold  HC-8 on the body/ Dark Walnut BMCC 1358 as accent):













Oh how I adore the eclectic architecture in this neighborhood.  Many of these  “pressed brick” townhouses date from the late 1800’s and  have “Italianate” ornamentation.  The paint treatments are all over the map, some more traditional and others really funky and irreverent.














And there is the lively Eastern Market, in full swing on weekends. Check it out, enjoy the stroll and… and be sure to look up while you’re walking!







Eastern Market




Nantucket Gray and Paula Broadwell

November 16, 2012



Ha!  Did that get your attention?  Couldn’t resist. Headed over to the historic Mt. Pleasant neighborhood in Washington, D.C. yesterday to photograph one of my latest exterior projects.










Yes, this historic row house was ready for a major facelift. After testing numerous gray/greens we settled on Benjamin Moore’s Nantucket Gray for the brick body.  Take a look at the slate tiles on the upper portion- yes, they had been painted  a dreary BROWN.  We chose a medium gray (like the real thing) for that surface – Rock Gray 1615 and a darker version, Cheating Heart 1617 for the shutters.  A warm off-white — Grand Teton White AC-42 brought the trim back to life, especially on the dentil detail above the porch.








The porch ceiling on this house is a prominent surface because the house is elevated  with the ceiling very visible from the street.  A soft silvery gray with just a hint of blue was chosen- Pelican Gray 1612.  Steps and porch floor were repainted with a darker khaki River Gorge Gray 1537.   There is heavy stonework near the front entrance (not shown) which inspired some of the neutral palette.





We debated about removing all shutters but the owners wanted to keep them.  The addition of shutters on the lower level might make the house a bit more balanced… perhaps a future project.

Which brings me to…….. Paula Broadwell





So  yesterday, while photographing this project,  I encountered the media stakeout of the above.




Apparently, Paula has been holed up in her brother’s Georgian Revival mansion in Mt. Pleasant–all week.  Of course, I took note of the cheery yellow color and wasn’t wild about the porch ceiling treatment- a stained natural wood (blue would have been better). Just saying.




A few other snaps of neighboring beauties:







So… I hope Paula gets out of the house (and town) today and lets the neighborhood return to normal.  Just another interesting day in our nation’s capital. Take a stroll through Mt. Pleasant  this weekend … great history, eclectic architecture, color, and, for now, lots of cameras.


Happy Weekend!




Feathers and Rainbows

June 6, 2011


‘Tis the season for dress up–weddings, grad parties and ….. prom.   Just had to share a few of the photos I snapped last Saturday of my daughter and friends heading out to their senior prom.   The dress code this year was simple, classic and elegant.  But there were a few little surprises.



FEATHERS.   Apparently... feathers are IN. As in hair. As in boys’ hair.





And in corsages (so sweet that they still do the flower thing).





And in boutonnieres. Actually, these fellow art students embellished ones from the florist with feathers to coordinate with their outfits. Could you just die?





Of course, the girls were  totally in charge here. The boys were instructed to stand back as they arranged themselves “in a rainbow” for the ultimate photo opp.  The girls who dared to wear black, white or  prints were exiled off to the side. : )





And the evening was capped off by a limo ride through Georgetown and Washington, D.C.






Back to “feathers”.   I first noticed this trend while visiting Boulder last summer.  Lots of  college kids were wearing feather hair extensions. They were often very subtle.  Seems to be just catching on in Washington, D.C.  At first,  there was a stampede of local high school kids to a certain hair salon for  “feather tipping”; now the kids are buying them on Etsy .


Wanna be 18 again?  Actually, I think Steven Tyler wears them in his hair but who knows how old he is.



Have a happy  and  ~colorful~ June.




“Shades of Gray” in Georgetown

April 18, 2011

Washington, D.C. is a conservative, somewhat buttoned-up town. Anyone can tell you that the thousands of starched men’s business shirts hanging on the spinning racks at the drycleaners all look Brooks Brothers same– oxford cloth, white, pale blue and pink, striped, maybe some tattersall thrown in.  Some march to a different beat for sure, but things on the exterior here are pretty East Coast classic, neutral and...safe.


Brooks Brothers






Which brings me to the appeal of a little shop in Georgetown called Random Harvest .  This shop, with additional locations in Old Town  Alexandria, Arlington and Bethesda, is a local gem and go-to store for new, antique and vintage home furnishings.  The store has thrived here for 25 years- its combination of updated classics and eclectic accessories offers just the right mix.



The stores are styled simply with walls painted in a soft gray green- Benjamin Moore Clarksville Gray.  Floors are covered in a warm textured natural sisal– a perfect backdrop for showcasing furniture  upholstered in creams and pale neutrals.  The look is calm and soft. Accessories provide pops of color such as coral, blue  and yellow.




Clarksville Gray, Seattle Mist, Vanilla Ice Cream, Coral Bronze

Benjamin Moore Clarksville Gray, Seattle Mist, Vanilla Ice Cream, Coral Bronze



The furniture is scaled beautifully–  perfect for the smaller rooms of city apartments and townhouses.






And after Washington finishes up its “neutral” shopping  in buttoned- down shirts and loafers, there is always a little room for some pink flair.  About as wild  and indulgent as we get here.



Georgetown Cupcake


Happy shopping DC!

DC Design House 2011

April 6, 2011

The 4th annual DC Design House , benefiting the Children’s National Medical Center opens this Saturday, April 9.  The  stately Tudor manse, located at 3134 Ellicot St, NW was built in 1925. I had the opportunity to tour the house last week and chat with the designers about their inspiration and color choices.   Much to my delight,  Farrow & Ball is an official paint and wallpaper sponsor this year.  All twenty designers worked with the elegant and historically- referenced Farrow & Ball palette and as a result, the rooms flowed beautifully.  Complex and nuanced off-whites, soft grays, smoky greens and chalky plums predominate and the result is ~ sublime.



Light Gray, Dutch Pink, Pointing, Babouche

Light Gray, Dutch Pink, Pointing, Babouche

“Elegance and whimsy, punctuated by the unexpected”….I’m guessing that would be these  patent leather yellow/ linen dining chairs!  This dining room, by designer Camille Saum, was one of my favorites. Walls are covered in F&B Light Gray and the ceiling in Dutch Pink.  The floors are checked in F&B Babouche and Pointing. Oh, and there is the live moss covered mantel. Pops of peach and chartreuse  complete this lively palette.



Cornforth White, Skimming Stone, Charleston Gray

Cornforth White, Skimming Stone, Charleston Gray


The inspiration for the Grand Foyer, designed by  Liz Levin Interiors, came from a large scale moorish motif.  Two Farrow & Ball colours,  Skimming Stone and Cornforth White, were used to create a subtle tone on tone hand-painted graphic wall pattern spanning the first and second floors of the entry.  Charleston Gray was used as a third accent color. A global/ ikat inspired Timothy Paul carpet anchors the space.




Designer, Erin Paige Pitts,  transformed a formerly dark and dreary Pool Room into a light and airy white cloud using Farrow & Ball All-White in a high gloss finish on the paneled walls and ceiling.  Her aim was to create an elegant, porch-like space.  She succeeded!





On to the main living room, by Patrick Sutton Associates.  The walls and sloping ceiling in this grand room were covered in a white-on-white damask Farrow & Ball wallpaper (Versailles  BP 2601). The extensive wood ceiling beams were stripped and treated with a liming wax finish.  Textured neutrals, punctuated by turquoise, saffron and purple create an inviting and relaxed atmosphere.  These chairs, covered in a handmade Indian crewel, stole the show.



Dimity, Oxford Stone

Dimity, Oxford Stone


In this Family Room by Barbara Franceski,  a “purposeful mix of contrasts engages the senses” and  blends classical with contemporary . Barbara chose the soft, warm backdrop neutral of Farrow & Ball Oxford Stone to allow accents to pop.  A lively rug by Kelly Wearstler adds pattern,  and speaking of pop…. don’t you love these “modern ancestor portraits”?  A wink to the past, indeed.



Calke Green, Saxon Green, Red Earth

Calke Green, Saxon Green, Red Earth


Designer Whitney Stewart, widely recognized for her exquisite sense of color, used more saturated Farrow & Ball greens in this elegant Conservatory, evoking both tradition and a bit of whimsy. Modern botanicals, fabrics and a whimsical hanging “bird’s nest” fixture bring the outdoors right in.



Oxford Stone, Calluna, Mizzle, Brassica, Charlotte's Locks

Oxford Stone, Calluna, Mizzle, Brassica, Charlotte's Locks


I must admit, when I got a peek at  the color boards for this room,  with several of the newest additions to the Farrow & Ball palette, including the bravest of all- Charlotte’s Locks, my heart went pitter-patter.  The result, in this “Secret Garden” bedroom designed by Samantha Friedman,  did not disappoint.  A subtle, warm neutral on the walls allows accents of orange and purple to pop.  Can you spy “Charlotte’s Locks”?   It was used on the adorable swing that appears to fall from a tree in front of the window seat. In the adjoining bath area, designed by Jason Hodges,  texture, sparkle  and the same palette  of spring colors add to a sense of playfulness.



Pavilion Gray, Slipper Satin

Pavilion Gray, Slipper Satin


And here is “One for the Guys”, a masculine gentleman’s bedroom by David Mitchell.  Farrow & Ball’s Pavilion Gray on the walls creates a warm and cozy atmosphere.



Dimity, Churlish Green

Dimity, Churlish Green


In  this “Hideaway”, designed by Lauren Leiss,  the  textures of grasscloth wallpaper, natural woven roman shades and  a diamond pattern sisal rug combine to create a relaxing, earthy ambience. Lauren Liess– designed wing chairs are upholstered in a Michael Smith floral and brown-green velvet . Black and white ikat curtains (a new Lauren Leiss fabric) are hung at the ceiling.








Strong White, Charleston Gray

Strong White, Charleston Gray


More green!!  In this master bedroom,  Iantha Carley uses a David Hicks geometric print to bring in a sense of crispness and whimsy. Farrow & Ball Charleston Gray, an elegant mid-tone smoky purple-gray, is used on the walls.  In the adjoining dressing room, Charleston Gray complements an elegant Nina Campbell wallpaper and a touch of vibrant pink on the tufted wing chair adds a splash of spring.



Out the back door, Jeff Potter and Scott Brinitzer of J&G Landscape Design, Inc. have  created a playful interpretation of a classic parterre garden.



So this wraps of my post on color at the DC Design House.  This is just a sampling of the rooms of the twenty participating designers. The Design House opens Saturday, April 9 and runs through May 8, 2011. For more information and tickets, see  the DC Design House website.




Happy Spring !