Jackie and Sam’s Prep-clectic DC Charmer

Jackie and Sam’s Prep-clectic DC Charmer

Natalie Grasso
Apr 23, 2013

Name: Jackie and Sam Hiersteiner
Location: Shaw; Washington, DC
Size: 1,200 square feet
Years lived in: 3 years; Owned

Usually, friends drop by Jackie and Sam Hiersteiner's place for some of Sam's home-cooking, followed by a nip from his collection of small-batch bourbons; today I'm there to snap photos, and in Sam's absence — he's at work — Jackie has prepared a simple, lovely spread of fresh bread and cheeses. Beside it, champagne chills. The couple's Maltese mix, Pappy Van Winkle (named for Sam's favorite whiskey) hops into my lap. Their 1,200 square foot home in DC's Shaw neighborhood is flush with warmth and hospitality.

Part of it comes from the way the house is layered with things representative of the couple's wide range of interests and talents. Sam is a vice president at the Glover Park Group, a strategic communications firm, and moonlights as a food writer (follow his adventures @SamsGoodMeats). He's helped to make the house a home with the stacks of cookbooks, curious kitchen accoutrements, and swine-inspired knick-knacks that dot the décor. Jackie, a former art gallery director, is pursuing a master's degree in interior design at the Corcoran College of Art + Design, and works as an independent art and design consultant. She's used her designer's eye to make bold color choices, and to select paintings and other artwork to punctuate their long, narrow space.

The result is an elegant combination of color and texture, gourmandise and art; a preppy, eclectic (prep-clectic?) mix that's traditional without being stilted, and modern without being too smooth. It's a pitch-perfect example of the thoughtful things that can be done in a small house in Shaw, one of DC's most talked about up-and-coming neighborhoods.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style/Inspiration: I would say that we have an eclectic sense of style, as the hobbies and interests we have dictate the things that we have in our home. When thinking about how to design our house, I wanted it to be very DC, so there are references to colonialism, L'Enfant, patriotism, and jazz. It sounds disparate, but it's subtle.

Favorite Element:  We have a nice little stretch of backyard that has mature apple trees, lavender beds, and hydrangea bushes where we entertain from the moment the weather warms until October. I use a lot of color on walls typically, but in this house I opted for a white bedroom, which is incredibly relaxing and refreshing.

Biggest Challenge:  Our house is quite small and narrow, so creating spaces that suit our needs has been a challenge. The dining room doubles as my studio, as does the guest room.

What Friends Say:  Friends love coming over to our house. They say they love the toile wallpaper and how cozy our home is, although I'm fairly certain that they really just like coming over for Sam's cooking or his delicious selection of small-batch bourbons.

Biggest Embarrassment:  Between the cheap vanity that is too short for us to lean over, to the strange tile with the grout that my dog pulls up, to the medicine cabinet that I have to stand on my toes to see myself in, I would say that our upstairs bathroom is the biggest embarrassment. I'm looking forward to renovating it.

Proudest DIY:  We redo most of the furniture that comes into our house, however, I would say that our proudest DIY is the garden that we plant every spring. We grow four different types of English roses, twelve different types of hot peppers, fruit, berries, and tons of herbs each year. Come June, it is so lush and we're harvesting every day.

Biggest Indulgence:  The XL Big Green Egg. 

Best Advice: Get a tankless hot water heater if you have a small home! They only take up about 6 x 12 inches of wall space, compared to a regular water tank which takes up at least 36 x 60 inches. It is also more energy efficient, as you're not heating an entire tank of water all day long. Also: Invest in good contemporary art from your city. Focus on emerging artists. They have the best prices points, and they are the ones shaping the community.

Dream Sources: I dream about overhauling our bathroom with Waterworks everything, and I'd love to have a new Samsung transparent flatscreen.

Resources of Note:


  • Sofa - Mitchell Gold Bob Williams, Liam Sofa 

  • Pillow on sofa - Thomaspaul Luddite Man Dove Pillow 

  • Vase with white tulips on coffee table - Vintage store find, tulips from Trader Joe's 

  • Coffee table/trunk - Purchased from a neighbor in my first apartment and re-stained

  • Curtains - Pottery Barn

  • Dalmatian print pillow - Furbish Studio

  • Chest of drawers with "X" pulls beside sofa - From my mom's garage, it was my grandmother's from back in the day. It has been repainted many times.

  • Zebra head – Anthropologie


  • Lemon painting - I did a series of about 30 paintings that were all quick studies of lemons. This is one of them.

  • Bar cart - Society Social, The Sedgewick

  • Curtains - Pottery Barn

  • Dining room table - Miss Pixie's, Farm table

  • Dining room chairs - Ikea

  • Horse prints - Nell Hills in Kansas City


  • Pig salt and pepper shakers - gift from a friend


  • Green ladder artwork - Joshua Wade Smith, Baltimore artist and Hamiltonian Fellow

  • Red owl pillow on bed - Yves Delorme

  • Hydrangea paintings - My great Aunt Coca painted these

  • Topiaries - Nell Hills in Kansas City

  • Green velvet curtains - World Market 
  • White chest of drawers between curtains - I picked it up at an antique store in Roanoke, VA. 

  • Bedside lamp - Ikea

Thanks, Jackie and Sam!

(Images: Natalie Grasso)

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