DC House Tour: Polly’s Pomander Walk House

This is from DC finalist, Hilary. Comment away!

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Name: Polly E.
Location: Georgetown
Size: 580 sq feet
Years Lived In: 2

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We’ve always loved Pomander Walk, a secret alley of tiny, pastel-colored rowhouses in Georgetown. But even in our fantasies, it seems impossible to imagine where everything would fit. So we were delighted when Polly invited us into her 11-foot-wide, two-bedroom house. Although originally covered with “horrible 60s hairy rugs in lime green,” Polly knew she could “open it up and keep it very simple.”...

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Polly moved from a large house, and kept only her bed and the long table with a slate top, cut from a West Virginia quarry (the other is on the two urns in the garden). Although her narrow front door meant she had to buy a small couch, she advises that people living in small spaces “can have large furniture, just not very much of it.”

Paring down her possessions was difficult—especially her large book collection—but Polly now displays all her important pieces, such as the first artwork she and her late husband purchased. The maritime oil painting had a large frame, which overwhelmed the bedroom, and so she removed it and painted the wall instead. She also enjoys her William Nicholson alphabet prints, now rearranged several times: “You have no idea how hard it is to hang 26 prints—you can see all the holes if you look closely!”

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We were especially charmed by her use of the garden as an extension of the house. Although she hated gardening as a child in England, she thinks “having your own makes all the difference,” and now changes the plants with the seasons. Polly knocked down the back wall and put in glass doors, giving her a bright space where she can to pursue her painting and enjoy a secret garden in the heart of Georgetown.

RESOURCES

Painting above the sink from Baltimore’s American Visionary Art Museum

Mirrors behind the couch from Ballard Designs

White table from Random Harvest

Custom-cut rug from Georgetown Rugs [no website, 2208 Wisconsin Avenue, 202-342-2262]

Pomander Walk has inspired a children’s book, The People in Pineapple Place.

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- Hilary

(Thanks, Hilary!)

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Maxwell left teaching in 2001 to start Apartment Therapy as a design business helping people to make their homes more beautiful, organized AND healthy. The website started up in 2004 with the help of his brother, Oliver.

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