DC House Tour: Barb's Condo, Collections and Rotating Gallery

DC House Tour: Barb's Condo, Collections and Rotating Gallery

Rachael Grad
Jul 16, 2008

Name: Barb
Location: Washington, DC
Size: 1270 sq ft, 2 bdrm loft condo
Years lived in: 3.5 years

Barb is an an artist, art dealer and collector who moved from a 3600 sq ft house to her current condo, which is 1270 sq ft. When downsizing her living space, Barb sold many antiques and artwork but kept her favorites. The result is a space filled with artwork, artifacts and lots of cozy seating. Barb considers her art collection to be her pension plan. In her 20's, she bought artwork by Calder and Miro. Then occasionally when she wanted to travel, she sold a piece to finance her trip! More below the jump...

Barb's huge abstract acrylic paintings are mixed among the antique Japanese woodblock prints, African jewelry and retro pieces. Barb designed both the white bookcase and gray cabinets in her living room to stock her collections. All of the art and artifacts are for sale and it's difficult to leave Barb's apartment without taking something home. If you'd like to schedule an appointment to see Barb's collection, contact her at barb@colemancollection.com

AT Survey

Style: A lifelong accumulation of good ideas. My style has changed over the years. After a while, you know that anything I pick is going to be fabulous and dynamic!

Inspiration: Drama! I wanted nice, neutral colors on the walls so that the art would look beautiful. When moving to this smaller space, I was worried about seating. There is not much room to mill about in this apartment but I've created a warm home.

What do friends say about your place? They are just blissed out! They want to see everything at once, then realize that beautiful things require time to savor, particularly some of the intricacies of the art, or the detail of an exquisite Indonesian necklace or carved jade ring.

What was your biggest indulgence in decorating? The charcoal credenza. I designed it and fabrication began 8 weeks before I closed on the new loft, so I would have it on Day One. With 12 great drawers, it provides excellent storage for trays of jewelry and various business papers, gift boxes and wrapping papers.

Best advice you've given or received? Advice given: Your fortune should be on your walls! Art brings cachet to your life and provides a constant pleasure for the eye. And ultimately, your collection can become a part of your portfolio as many artworks increase in value over the years. Want to go to Barcelona? Sell off a Calder or Miro lithograph.

Proudest achievement: Getting all the track lights installed. I didn't have those in my last place and could only show art and antiques in the afternoons. Now, I can be out until 2 am and still be able to show work to friends after. There were no electrical boxes in the middle of the room and the exposed ceilings made lighting difficult. Also, I'm proud of getting the baby grand piano inside. The move-in had to be done in stages.

Biggest embarrassment: I can't rid of the boxes of papers, fabrics and artifacts. I even store art in the showers. When you get to be my age, it's too hard to give away some things.

Favorite thing about your home: Watching the sunset and the changing sky. I also love extending my breakfast until noon, just enjoying breakfast, especially in the winter, and watching the changing light.


- White coffee table and dining table are 1970s Parsons tables.
- Off-white down-filled sofa from Urban Essentials
- 1970s beige and white sofa - fabric from G Street Fabrics in Rockville, MD
- White chairs by credenza & black dresser in the bedroom from Bloomingdale's
- White desk - Pottery Barn
- Custom charcoal credenza & tall white shelves from Wood Wise Interiors, Bethesda, MD

Paint: Sherwin Williams

Persian Rugs: Manoukian Bros Rugs, 7814 Georgia Ave NW, Washington DC

Piano: Schafer & Sons Baby Grand, Jordan Kitt's Music, College
Parks, MD

Bedding: Laura Ashley comforter & bed skirt; Ralph Lauren sheets

Fabric: Calico Corners, Friendship Heights, Washington, DC

Framing: PICF, 750 17th Street NW, Washington DC

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