Eileen's Elegant & Airy Townhouse

House Tour

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Name: Eileen McGrath
Location: Georgetown; Washington, DC
Size: 2,700 square feet
Years lived in: 13 years; Owned

It's no surprise that Eileen McGrath's place is so inviting. As a real estate agent for Washington Fine Properties, the top residential firm in DC, she's a pro at making beautiful houses look like great homes.

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"I do this for my clients all the time," she says, straightening a stack of magazines here, moving flowers there, plumping a pillow on the sofa. "Should I move the dog bed?," she asks, but we decide that it humanizes the space, so to speak, and the dog bed stays. (Oakie, her Norfolk Terrier, approves.)

Elegant and light, Eileen's home has that hard-to-achieve "polished but lived-in" vibe. Her furniture is a mix of finds from local antiques stores and flea markets, while most of the textiles and upholstery came from Haute Fabrics in nearby Marshall, Virginia. The lightness and calm of the color scheme is intentional: "Life can be hectic," she says. "I wanted this to be a peaceful place to come home to."

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Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: A blend.

Inspiration: Light and airy — Paris, but comfortable.

Favorite Element: The fabulous light that streams in all day long. I have a full southern exposure, with a park across the street and skylights throughout the house.

Biggest Challenge: Mine is that everything is always in transition. I seem to enjoy the "nesting" process more than most, so I am always changing things around a bit! But it keeps things fresh and I suppose that's why I've lived here so happily for 13 years.

What Friends Say: They are always so kind about saying nice things. Usually they comment on the soothing, calm and serene themes.

Biggest Embarrassment: That it took me three renovations of my kitchen to get it right.

Proudest DIY: I tend to take most pride in my lower-priced "finds" — either something that I have repurposed or a piece that has been reclaimed.

Biggest Indulgence: This probably relates to my "Best Advice" and "Biggest Embarrassment" answers: I have made decorating mistakes and corrected (most of) them. It wasn't free, but the end result does make me happy.

Best Advice: Don't be afraid to make mistakes! You can never make too many nail holes when hanging art. You can always return or resell or recover or repaint — it's an art, not a science. Don't rest until it you get the result you want.

Dream Sources: Well, I do love Niermann Weeks! That being said, I recently decorated an entire beach house in HomeGoods merchandise, and it was a huge success and a very fun project.

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Resources of Note:

PAINT & COLORS

  • Living room walls – Benjamin Moore Navajo White
  • Living room ceiling – Benjamin Moore Grey Cashmere
  • Dining room – Benjamin Moore Soft Chamois
  • Kitchen – Benjamin Moore Monterey White
  • Office – Benjamin Moore Classic Grey
  • Master bedroom – Benjamin Moore Sea Foam

LIVING ROOM

  • Sofas – Haute Fabrics
  • Pillows – Haute Fabrics
  • Fabric on table in window – Haute Fabrics
  • Lamp on table in window – Jean Pierre Antiques
  • Mirror over fireplace – Jean Pierre Antiques
  • Coffee table – Georgetown Flea; Custom slate top
  • Andirons – Estate sale
  • Glass tables – Jean Pierre Antiques
  • Striped chairs – Haute Fabrics
  • Painting over side sofa – commissioned, by Jock Davis
  • Curtains – Haute Fabrics
  • Rugs – Fibreworks for sisal and Haute Fabrics for cowhide

DINING ROOM

  • Table – now closed antique store in Georgetown
  • Big mirror – client gave it to me, French, early 1800s
  • Chandelier – Peyton's Place in Plains, VA
  • Paintings – commissioned, by David Bell
  • Sideboard – Jean Pierre Antiques

KITCHEN

  • Sofa – from a former used furniture store, recovered by Haute Fabrics
  • Pillows – Haute Fabrics
  • Coffee table – Jennifer Convertibles
  • Rug – Cowhide from haute fabrics
  • Bar stools – overstock.com
  • Marble – Calcutta gold

OFFICE

GUEST BEDROOM

  • Headboard – Custom; fabric by Haute
  • Lamps – HomeGoods
  • Bolster/curtain fabric – Vintage Cowtan and Tout from Shaggy Ram in Middleburg, VA
  • Side chest – Georgetown Flea
  • Tall chest – Antiques store in Frederick, MD

MASTER BEDROOM

  • Headboard – Peyton's Place in The Plains, VA
  • Curtains – Haute Fabrics
  • Lamps – HomeGoods
  • Bedside tables – Random Harvest in Georgetown
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Thanks, Eileen!

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(Image credits: Natalie Grasso)