Sneak Peek, Part I: The CharityWorks GreenHouse

McLean, Virginia

For all of you quick to equate "showhouse" with "ho-hum," take heart! Today we skipped over the river to the much-anticipated preview of the CharityWorks GreenHouse where we swooned over the work of the 19 designers who decked out the first carbon neutral house this side of the Mississippi. Energy efficient and bursting with creative energy...

While each designer certainly brought their unique style to their respective spaces, all desired to communicate the notion that sustainable design is more than what chairman, Mark Lowham, termed "concrete and felt." With that in mind, the designers sought to represent a range of styles from ultra-traditional to ultra-modern. Many times I hear contemporary traditional design described as simply the shuffling around of bunch of old tricks. Because of this, I found the more trad-leaning rooms in the GreenHouse particularly inspiring. Forms remained familiar, but the creative re-purposing often found lacking in traditional design was at an all time high.

There were too many inspiring details of the house to fit into one post, so today we're taking you through two gorgeous entryways.

• 1.-6. Miriam Dillon and Rebecca Foley of Custom Design Concepts Architecture + Interiors, created a fascinating mudroom, powderoom, and laundry reflective of the energy in the contemporary handmade movement. Their are many notable elements throughout the spaces, but I couldn't take my eyes off the lighting fixtures. My favorite was Bobo Intriguing Objects' inverted Wine-barrel pendant which added a rustic refined note to the family friendly space. However I also spent a great deal of time swooning over the recycled glass bottle pendants from Cisco Brothers as well. I also loved the herringbone pattern paneled created with the same reclaimed pine found on the floors throughout most of the home.

• 7.-11. We've featured the inspiring eclecticism of Raji Radhakrishnan before, and we were thrilled to see her work gracing the entrance, foyer, and front stair galleries. Her signature, yet ever-new, mix of refined old world and bold contemporary was apparent throughout. A salvaged banister from a French balcony found a new home as the decorative mirrored console in the front hall, a perfect example of the abundant recycled design throughout her spaces. While many people tend to think of Green design as expensive design, Raji sought to show the more economical side, which comes in large part through creative re-imagining. One console was made from old tupperware-like containers stacked and covered with one of her old, exquisite saris. Scavenged Ikea cabinets were grouped for her eye-catching "OH" sculptural installation on the upper wall of the staircase.

Stay tuned for part II of the sneak peek, and in the mean time, be sure to reserve your tickets to tour the CharityWorks GreenHouse, open to the public this Saturday, October 10- October 30.

For more information about the sustainability aspects of the house, visit the CharityWorks GreenHouse website.

(Images: Leah Moss)