Darlene and Brian’s Clean, Pure Lines

published Sep 13, 2013
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Names: Darlene Molnar, interior designer, and Brian Haney, VP at Deltek
Location: Friendship Heights; Washington, DC
Size: 680 square feet
Years lived in: 2.5 years; Owned

Darlene is the director of design at her eponymous DC-based design studio, and her industry know-how is apparent at home: decisions are deliberate, color and texture dance, style defies square footage.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
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The apartment’s clean, mid-century inspired lines are offset with a few well-placed vintage finds, rough-hewn touches and DIYs. Darlene and Brian share an appreciation for typography; the piece that hangs above the kitchen table is an old DC metro area bus stop scroll found on Etsy. Darlene collaborated with her father, a leatherworker, to create the custom Bertoia chair in the bedroom. The “What time is it clock” in the kitchen is a spin-off of one she first made for a segment on HGTV, using old house numbers and a battery-powered clock movement (more on that here).

Elsewhere, simple touches — like the fuzzy yellow throw draped over a linear Hee Welling chair — make the place feel homey. Even the latest addition to the décor, Darlene’s sea green Townie, feels considered: it adds subtle movement to the angled entryway, heralding guests inside.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Our style is a mashup of sorts. We like mid-century modern pieces and clean lines, but we also like a few rustic touches. Typography and graphic prints are our go-to’s for art. We also like things that have a story behind them, like a flyer Brian got while on a tour in the Philippines which we’ve framed, and a canvas print of a site in Ethiopia we visited last year.

Inspiration: When we moved in we were hooked on Mad Men and were inspired by the tailored mid-century style on the show. We mixed in some of our favorite finds from a variety of styles and origins that complemented our original inspiration.

Favorite Element: Our unit’s tiny balcony that overlooks the building’s courtyard. For a home that is on Wisconsin Avenue (one of the city’s busiest streets), this type of quiet outdoor space is coveted.

Biggest Challenge: Storage space, or lack thereof rather.

What Friends Say: “Stylish modern home with a nod to mid-century,” and “great for informal entertaining.”

Biggest Embarrassment: The closet! It’s a clothes avalanche waiting to happen.

Proudest DIY: The “What time is it” clock. This was a spin-off of a clock Darlene first did for an episode on HGTV, using old house numbers. See it here.

Biggest Indulgence: The Mies van der Rohe side chair reupholstered in a large-scale plaid wool fabric by Paul Smith for Maharam. We love iconic mid-century modern pieces, and having this one reupholstered in a modern fabric makes it unique to us.

Best Advice: Be a little brave. The black and white stripes in the bedroom aren’t for everyone, but we love them. Originally, we were going to do just one wall, then two, and then ended up doing all four. If you love something, then it will work for you.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Resources of Note:


  • Benjamin Moore Smoke


  • Sofa – Room & Board
  • Rug – Restoration Hardware
  • Red throw – Loopy Mango
  • Throw pillows – Design Accents
  • Side tables – Room & Board
  • Barcelona chair – Design Within Reach
  • Yellow vase – Ikea
  • Telephone – Pottery Barn
  • Framed wallpaper – The wallpaper came from a wallpaper sample book dating back to the late 1940s that we found at Housewerks, a salvage shop in Baltimore.
  • Light fixture over sofa – House of Troy
  • Plaid chair – Brno tubular chair by Mies Van Der Rohe reupholstered in Exaggerated Plaid by Paul Smith for Maharam
  • Artwork behind plaid chair – Print by friend and local artist, Nicole Bourgea
  • TV console/chest – Restoration Hardware
  • Artwork near window – Brian brought this back from a trip to the Philippines. A local guide had given it to him during a tour through Old Manila.
  • Chess set in front of TV – Umbra
  • Decanters – Crate & Barrel with labels from Salisbury Pewter
  • Wooden candle holders – made by Darlene


  • Stools Bo Concept
  • Ceramic “book” vase with green flowers – Seletti
  • Kitchen table- West Elm
  • Chairs at table – Designed by Hee Welling, a Danish designer I was introduced to while studying in Denmark.
  • Yellow throw – Target
  • DC bus stop scroll – Vintage find on Etsy
  • Fruit bowl – Karim Rashid for Umbra
  • Colored bottles – Container Store with candle toppers made by Darlene
  • Round ceiling light fixtures – Artemide
  • Green tea kettle – Target


  • Wallpaper – Ferm Living
  • Bed – Design Within Reach
  • Bedding – West Elm and Room & Board
  • Light fixtures over bed – House of Troy
  • Bedside tables – MUJI
  • Desk – Room & Board
  • Desk chair – Hee Welling
  • Stacked boxes on desk – Container Store
  • Green vases on window sill – Ikea
  • Mirror – HomeGoods
  • Door stop – West Elm vase
  • Chair against wall – Harry Bertoia wire chair from Design Within Reach woven with Edelman leather.


  • Wall covering – Wall decals found on Etsy
  • Artwork over toilet – gift from Baltimore-based artist Natalie Steinebrunner
  • Hand towels- Legacy Home
  • Red table – Kartell
  • Wooden shower mat- Umbra
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Thanks, Darlene and Brian!

(Images: Natalie Grasso)

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