Bold Architecture Meets Eclectic Style in a Stunning D.C. Home

published Oct 2, 2014
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(Image credit: Caitlyn Cartlidge)

Name: Sophia and Sebastian Black
Location: Washington DC
Size: 3,000 square feet
Years lived in: 28 years owned

The Blacks have the type of house that engages even the passersby. Sophia and Sebastian built their house in the late eighties on a beautiful and coveted piece of land overlooking a valley; the house itself has as much artfulness as the spaces inside. [Even while I was there for this house tour, two pedestrians happened to stop and tell the homeowners how much they loved the house!]

(Image credit: Caitlyn Cartlidge)

The outdoor spaces are like the rest of the house: thoughtful and unique. Planted beside the house and only a bit removed from the road is a banana grove the homeowners planted themselves, a rare sight in the Mid-Atlantic (even if it doesn’t produce fruit). The house meets the front yard with a carved wood door and brass fox knocker, a piece found on a weekend trip to the coast.

Inside, you see shoji screens, custom-built by craftsman James Misner. They’re in most rooms, from the dining room to the master bedroom, a serene alternative to standard closets. They also serve to close off the dining room from the otherwise open living space. Something else you can see everywhere are the fabric structures by Mar Ricketts, adding a light touch to rooms full of art and furniture from around the globe.

Surprises, from a gong in the dining room to a library ladder in the bedroom, find you everywhere at Sophia and Sebastian’s, a place where sophisticated giraffes graze, colorful kites fly, and banana trees sway in the breeze on a crisp fall day.

(Image credit: Caitlyn Cartlidge)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Eclectic.

Inspiration: The view and the light inspired us to build our house here; music and art inspire our interior space as well.

Favorite Element: The custom shoji screens. They’re beautiful, and useful as a way to create space and hide storage.

Biggest Challenge: Tiling.

What Friends Say: “No blue ducks!” One of our friend’s said this when she found that our house has no tchotchkes or trinkets.

Biggest Embarrassment: Nothing out of the ordinary.

Proudest DIY: Our banana grove. We planted it ourselves, and kept it going in spite of our less than ideal climate for banana trees.

Biggest Indulgence: The shoji screens.

Best Advice: If you undertake a construction project, check out your subcontractors carefully, and use quality dimmers with your lighting.

(Image credit: Caitlyn Cartlidge)

Resources of Note:


Benjamin Moore Cloud White


Brass fox door knocker purchased from a brass shop near Chincoteague Island, Virginia


Fabric Structures made by Mar Ricketts


Gong Stand made by James Misner

Cushioned Stool purchased from the National Building Museum


Brass Valley Quail Faucets found in a home and garden catalogue in the late eighties.

(Image credit: Caitlyn Cartlidge)

Thanks, Sophia and Sebastian!

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