Maggie’s Cutest House in Georgetown

published Feb 27, 2014
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(Image credit: Natalie Grasso)

Name: Maggie Handel
Location: Georgetown, Washington, DC
Size: 1,024 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year; Owned

“Nothing says 19th century like three exterior gas lamps,” said Maggie, who moved in to this mid-19th century home last year and promptly installed the lamps out front and in the side garden.

(Image credit: Natalie Grasso)

Though historical documentation is limited, Maggie has read that the house was financed and built by a woman, which would have been considered pretty progressive — if not scandalous — for the time. And indeed the house has a hard-to-explain but easy-to-sense feminine vibe; Maggie refers to it as “her” and that feels right. The house is also completely free-standing, a rarity along Georgetown’s rowhouse lined streets.

Inside, she’s infused the space with a sort of practical whimsy: CB2 next to heirlooms next to friends’ artwork. Biscotti, her happy Peek-a-Poo
rescue, lounges on a vintage chair. The home’s previous owners turned the main floor kitchen into a library; Maggie has turned the library into a home office and wet bar. The only kitchen now is in the basement, though one day Maggie hopes to re-convert the office to a small kitchen and perhaps rent out the basement unit.

Notable “smart moves” include a
motorized TV lift that she’s tucked into her bookshelves (see slideshow): “It’s so simple to install,” she said. “Basically, secure it to the back of a cabinet, and the TV emerges from a hinged door on the top surface.” And while she waits for the right time to fully renovate the bathrooms,
these IKEA sink shelves make the perfect pinch hitters, providing extra storage and style for under $20.

(Image credit: Natalie Grasso)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Minimal eclectic.

Inspiration: The house, it’s all about her.

Favorite Element: Versatile entertaining and guest spaces, potential income space, and of course: location, location, location!

Biggest Challenge: The heat system on the lower level. Updating with hydronic floor heating would constitute a seriously “big indulgence.”

What Friends Say: Let’s meet at Maggie’s for HH!

Biggest Embarrassment: Dreadful tiles in the lower level present an opportunity to experiment with new materials. Chilewich in Purl Silver speaks to me and it’s saying, here’s your next DIY project!

Proudest DIY: Hanging the anaglypta embossed wallpaper in my bathroom. Shout out to my dear dad for passing down the family skill from his pop to me.

Biggest Indulgence: Nothing says 19th century like the 3 exterior gas lamps… worth every cent!

Best Advice: Get the best bang for your renovation dollar by pairing quality craftsmen and personal sweat-equity. Roll up your sleeves, grab the wood putty, sanding block, paint brushes, and get ‘er done.

Dream Sources: Eric Mitchell, carpenter extraordinaire; Helen’s whimsical vintage what-nots at Georgetown Emporium on P @ 27th; Roxy’s treasure trove of textiles at Haute Fabrics, Marshall VA; Leang So Upholstery, Silver Spring MD; and WWW! Honestly, there’s no design dilemma you can’t solve on Google.

(Image credit: Natalie Grasso)

Resources of Note:


  • Living room – Benjamin Moore Classic Grey
  • Dining room – Benjamin Moore Classic Grey
  • Master bedroom – Benjamin Moore Blue Lace
  • Guest bedroom – Benjamin Moore Great Plains Gold
  • Media room – Benjamin Moore Classic Grey



  • Pewter Chesterfield Sofa – West Elm (online only)
  • Bucket chairs & throw pillows – Haute Fabrics
  • Narrow console –; Hooker Furniture
  • Tamile Horse Table Lamp – Zin Home
  • 1880s Painted table – Red Schoolhouse Antiques
  • Motorized TV lift – eBay; Touchstone Whisper Lift II
  • Puff Stool – West Elm
  • Quilted heated dog bed – CozyWinters
  • Dog crate cover – Crate Covers & More
  • Lions head bishop’s chair – Inherited
  • Dog head hooks (on front door) – Ballard Designs
  • Sisal rugs – Crate & Barrel
  • Tempered glass fireplace screen – Pottery Barn
  • Biscotti’s portrait (over fireplace) – Photo by Maggie; Printed and stretched by
  • Botanical mushroom prints – Christine Andreae
  • Stockholm Ink – Ink Cities by Sidney Lawrence
  • Paris and Washington, DC Ink – Ink Cities by Sidney Lawrence
  • Vintage 1969 Salvador Dali French railway prints – Georgetown Flea
  • Native American Portraits – Atitlan, Guatemala
  • Yellow lamps – HomeGoods
  • Acrylic nesting side tables – CB2



  • Slim line reading lights – Restoration Hardware
  • Custom closet – California Closets
  • Church window headboard – Leesburg Antique Emporium
  • Floor mirror – NYC Flea Market; Old Good Things
  • Victorian table – Georgetown Emporium
  • Melo sofa bed – BoConcept
  • Chandelier –
  • White cowhide rug – Prua
  • Tibetan platform bed – Pottery Barn



  • Burlap fleur shams and bed skirt – Ballard Designs
  • Wall sconces – Restoration Hardware
  • Velvet curtains – World Market
  • Louis daybed – Ballard Designs
  • Wicker bedside table – Georgetown Emporium



  • White leather sofa bed –
  • Wild hibiscus curtains – World Market
  • Gray shag rug –
  • Black lamps – HomeGoods
  • Round nesting side tables – Crate & Barrel outlet
  • 1850s Georgetown waterfront print – Christ Church Thrift Shop


(Image credit: Natalie Grasso)

Thanks, Maggie!

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