Saturday, May 2, 2009

Urban Elegance: as defined by eight DC designers.

Old news at this point, but seems to be my style as of lately to report after the fact. Now, it has recently been brought to my attention that I have been slipping into a bout of bitterness. So, attempts to report on pretty things or ugly things but with a positive spin have been futile.

Having said this I'll try to remain completely diplomatic and nonjudgemental about WDC Spring 2009 show house and it's ridiculous "Urban Elegance" theme.

the foyer: Annie Elliott of Bossy Color
The entrance to the show house and arguably the most disjointed of all the rooms, the foyer.

the dining room: Samantha Friedman of Samatha Friedman Interior Design
The blue wall covering is nice.

the media room: Matt Costigan of Costigan Design
Matt designed a nice media room. I think that he chose colors and artwork well. He placed a large sectional in the center of the room in the shape of a V... I thought that was little odd and awkward. Overall it was nice albeit a little too decoratory.

the bar / lounge: Nestor Santa-Cruz
I think that it goes without saying, but I will - Nestor is a remarkable designer. He is absolutely one of my favorite local designers. I first fell in love with his work when his DC apartment was shown in Elle Decor. He's got fantastic taste - impeccable. This room, to me, was the most comfortable and well designed. The room looks collected and like it has been developed and built over time. He used a lot of antiques - the low table housing stacks of books is a vintage daybed. Perhaps my favorite part of the room is Nestor's nod to a plasma television - artwork that looks like a vintage television hanging on a pair of painted french doors.

the children's room : Shazalynn Cavin-Winfrey of SCW Interiors

I got the feeling that this was a room designed for a little boy. OH, if I could have been that lucky as a kid! I have no doubt that this young lad will most definitely grow to be quite a dandy. Well done, Shazalynn!

the family office.... another area where the idea of "Urban Elegance" was forgotten. Sandra Meyers of Sandra Meyers Design Studio, LLC (Why is every decorator so witty when it comes to naming their company?)

the grandmother's bedroom (Just kidding! It's simply and elegantly titled "bedroom") Jennie Curtis of Material Differences ( I'll bet you thought she would be with Jennie Curtis Designs, or Jennie Curtis Interiors, or perhaps J.C. Interior Design Services)

One of my least favorite rooms, not that it's not pretty. But, in typical DC fashion this room seemed to be a big hit during the opening night party. Well done, Jennie Curtis!

Lastly, the living room : Gloria De Lourdes Blalock of Blalock Interiors LLC
Gloria did a nice job. Generally not a fan of faux painting, the walls were done beautifully and subtly. She chose a lot of really pretty things, and I think that it's safe to assume that a nice looking room full of attractive furniture can sort of hold it's own. I thought that the sheers hanging from giant hooks in the center of the room were unnecessary. But the room was good.

Anyway, if you're in DC visit the show house to discover it for yourself.


  1. Great post. As long as it's not bitterness AND despair, you're o.k. ;)

  2. The spaces look beautiful....maybe a little "safe".....your photos were great. Thank you for posting this!

  3. That childs room is totally my cup of tea! To die for...

  4. "it has recently been brought to my attention that I have been slipping into a bout of bitterness."

    Tell that person to suck it. Never reign in your tone or your language. I like this blog because you speak your mind.

  5. I agree, Allie! I died!

    ha ha, thanks anonymous!

  6. How safe and utterly boring! I thought that eventually, one spectular star would shine as I scrolled through your blog! Nope, never happened. Ummmm, maybe your D.C. comments are 100% true

  7. Glad you covered the Design House. Could I ask for clarification, though? When you said the foyer was "disjointed," did that mean the design, or the fact that it has 3 entrances and a fire door to contend with? I'd love the feedback, honestly. (The picture is of the "entry," not the "foyer" - I agree that it's ridiculous to even try and make it a separate space, but that's what was assigned.) Thanks.

  8. Mr. B -My pleasure. It is nice/safe. It could have used a room designed by you!

    Tai -Sorry to disappoint - there were no "stars". The showhouse seemed to reflect todays state of economic depression - drab, sad, and broke.

  9. Annie-
    Thank you for visiting my blog. I did post a picture of the "entry" as opposed to the "foyer" because I thought that the "entry" that you designed was nicer than the foyer, and seemed to flow better. I truly don't mean to offend you, not that my opinion should matter to you. I have visited your website - and your blog and can tell from some of your photos of previous projects that you have talent. I can't imagine the challenges faced by a designer brave enough to participate in a show house. What I meant by disjointed is that the foyer didn't seem, in my opinion, cohesive in design with the rest of the house.

    I do hope to see more of your work in the future and wish you much success!

  10. The design world is such a positive place, it could use a little sarcasm :) Appreciate these pics since I won't make it to the house this year, much to my sadness. I will say in support of a little darkness that the show house I went to in 06 (I think it was) included a 2-story foyer with gold leaf and burgundy and those fake columns thrown in - it was GHASTLY.

  11. I'm a fan of moody colors, but these are just grim, in the way that interior decor stories in Washingtonian always come out looking sort of dingy.

  12. I love the high drama of comments!!!

  13. Checking back in - no offense taken, Scott, and thanks for responding! I just wanted to understand your comment. I agree with you, actually, and to be honest, I'd HOPED the bossy color spaces would stand apart from the others. Shockingly, there's no grand plan for most show houses: if there's a consistent palette room to room, it's by coincidence. Crazy, right? I suspected that most of the other designers would interpret "urban elegance" with neutrals, so I wanted to go a different direction. If a gold foyer REALLY led to a navy blue dining room, I'd either jump out the window or reach for my pom-poms. Blech. In any event, I'm glad you covered the Design House, and your points are well taken. Thanks again.