Potomac Fever: The Washington Design Center’s Fall Design House

Location: Federal Center, SW
Size: 8 rooms

As a native Washingtonian in love with the distinct characters of DC’s neighborhoods, I have been especially excited for the unveiling of the Washington Design Center’s Fall Design House. Each of the eight rooms reflects the designer’s luxurious interpretation of a specific historic district in Washington. We’re taking notes on how to use the deep, rich color palettes used throughout to usher in the cozy glamor of a DC autumn.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

It’s easy to get carried away with a theme no matter what type of home one is designing, and so perhaps the most admirable aspect of the fall design house is the designers’ collective use of restraint when creating spaces intended to convey a specific concept. The rooms are certainly reflective of the designers’ vision of their respective neighborhoods, however, for the most part they stop short of becoming unrealistically theme-y — and that’s a good thing! Karen Mitrano’s Embassy Row Bedroom suite is a notable example. She could have easily gotten away with drowning the room in pretentious swathes of fabric to convey the extreme luxury that many associate with the neighborhood, but instead she highlights the refined classic taste of the area by focusing on what she calls, the “undeniable warmth” of the residents. Rather than scads of heavy silks, she chose beautiful, vaguely ethnic-inspired accent fabrics to convey an appreciation for craftsmanship as well a sense of ease.

While none of the rooms focus on the city’s modern tastes, most convey the historical nature of each neighborhood in a contemporary light — something exceedingly common in many real homes throughout the city. For example, Brooke Stewart’s expansive Georgetown Living room conveys both the image of classic glamorous couples sipping brandy in their clubby Georgetown lairs as well as an upbeat picture of chic nightlife on the waterfront.

Though the styles of the rooms vary according to their neighborhood, all evoke a clear love for a city rich in history and filled with modern life.

For more details about the specific rooms, check out the descriptions in the gallery tour.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)


Ledroit Park Foyer:

  • Chandelier, Lighting: Beverly Claiborne Designs

  • Chair, Center Table, Console: Niermann Weeks

  • Sofa: Ferguson Copeland with Robert Allen Fabric

  • Carpet: Galleria

U Street Artist Studio:

  • Sofa: Edward Ferrell + Lewis Mittman with Schumacher Fabric

  • Chandelier, Art, Shelving Units: InDesign

  • Floor Lamps: Vintage American Eye

  • Console: Palazza Cappioni Console, Niermann Weeks

Wesley Heights Dining Room by Christine Hecht Payne:

  • Chandelier, Dining Table, Dining Chairs, MIrror: David Iatesa

  • Fabric, Side Chairs: J. Lambeth & Co.

  • Sideboard: Robert Allen

Embassy Row Bedroom by Karen Mitrano:

  • Bed: Charles Ray

  • Sette: Ebanista

  • Bench, Table Lamps: Julia Gray with Pindler and Pindler Fabric

  • Table Lamps

  • Carpet: J. Asher

Georgetown Social Living Room by Brooke Steuart:

  • Alchemy Stools, Antique Column Side Table, Barware, Built-ins, Silver Leaf mirrors, Ottomans: Brooke Steuart Interiors

  • Campaign Chairs: J. Lambeth

  • Fountain: Brooke Steuart Interiors and City Arts

Kalorama Vestibule and Parlor by Dana Tydings:

  • Loveseats: Barbara Barry for Henredon

  • Armoires: Fendi Casa for LUXE studio

  • Chandelier: Niermann Weeks

  • Vestibule console: J. Lambeth

Capitol Hill Congressional Quarters by William and Katharine Tarleton:

  • Sofa: Hickory chair

  • Rug: Galleria Carpets

  • Drapes: Fabricut

  • Desk Chair: Henrendon

  • Desk : Hines & Co.

Navy Yard Sports Lounge by Debbie Wiener:

  • Chairs, Chaise Lounges, Ottomans: Slob Proof! with Cryton

  • Fabrics: Crypton

  • Bookcase: Pugrant Associates

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

(Images: Leah Moss)