Take a Seat: Designers transform ordinary chairs into works of art for a cause

Bill Gardner of William John Gardner Design Studio transformed old maple boards found in a garage into a chair inspired by Mid-Century design. © BOB NAROD

Bill Gardner of William John Gardner Design Studio transformed old maple boards found in a garage into a chair inspired by Mid-Century design. Photo © BOB NAROD

OCTOBER 1, 2014—The Washington Chapter of the International Furnishings and Design Association gathered at Room & Board in DC for the unveiling of 15 very special chairs. Fifteen local design teams reimagined ordinary chairs or upcycled materials into one-of-kind creations for this charity event. The chairs will remain on view at Room & Board until Wednesday, October 15th, when they will be auctioned off at a gala reception from 6 to 8:30 PM that evening. Will Thomas of DC Fox 5 News will serve as emcee.

Proceeds benefit Team Red, White & Blue—a nonprofit that enriches the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity. Home & Design was a media sponsor of the event.

This is IFDA’s second annual Take a Seat event; four other chapters around the country launched simultaneous Take a Seat events to support charities of their choice.

To purchase tickets for the auction on October 15, visit ifdadc.com —Sharon Jaffe Dan

The DC Design House Returns


The front facade of the house, designed by Rill Architects.

The front facade of the house, designed by Rill Architects.

 On Tuesday—a perfectly crisp and sunny early spring day—the 2014 DC Design House opened its doors to the press. This year, 29 spaces were transformed, and the results are stunning. Many designers played off the era of the home, built in 1929, to create rooms that reflect the period while embracing a fresh, modern sensibility. Visitors will find inspiration throughout the house, which showcases some of the latest in wallcoverings, paint treatments, furniture, fabric and

This year’s design teams are Camille Saum, Marika Meyer, Nadia Subaran, Victoria Sanchez, Joanne Fitzgerald, Jeff Akseizer and Jamie Brown, Naseera Moore-Lawrence and Nicolette Powell, Katherine Vernot-Jonas, Tracy Morris, Nestor Santa-Cruz, Kelley Proxmire, Susan Donelson and Sharon Bubenhofer, Allie Mann, Dennese Guadeloupe-Rojas and Diane Taitt, Cindy McClure, Nancy Colbert, Deborah Broockerd, Chad Alan, Melissa McLay, TJ Monahan, Cheryl Lynn Doyle and Anne Wenzel, Beth Boggs of C2 Paint, Christopher Cahill and architects Jim Rill and David Benton. Landscape designers include Blake Dunlevy and Gina Benincasa and Stephen Wlodarczyk.

The three-level, six-bedroom house is located at 4600 Linnean Avenue, NW, in DC’s Forest Hills neighborhood. The house will be open April 13 through May 11; admission is $25 and proceeds benefit the Children’s National Health System. Visit dcdesignhouse.com for more information. And for complete coverage of the Design House, see the July/August issue of Home & Design. —Julie Sanders

The master bath, designed by Grossmueller's Design Consultants, Inc.

The master bath, designed by Grossmueller’s Design Consultants, Inc.



The Georgetown Jingle decks the halls of the Four Seasons Hotel

A lucite tree, carved to hold ornaments, was designed by Julie Shanklin and Marielle Shortell of Syzygy Events.

A lucite tree, carved to hold ornaments, was designed by Julie Shanklin and Marielle Shortell of Syzygy Events. © Kevin Allen

At last night’s press preview for the Georgetown Jingle, holiday cheer abounded in the public spaces of the Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC—all conjured by top area designers, who created 18 innovative trees and vignettes for the December 15 event. On view until December 16, they are for sale and available to take home before Christmas.

Now in its eighth year, this popular fundraiser benefits Medstar Georgetown University Hospital’s pediatric oncology programs. It has raised more than $1.5 million since its inception, and on this occasion, several designers marveled at the spirit of giving that drives the event. “It’s such a sense of community,” commented Elizabeth Krial, whose tree, Christmas Stories by the Fire, features more than 30 pairs of old wire-rimmed glasses, donated by a Lions Club member who collects them for those in need.

The theme of recycled and found materials was popular, with a tree by Camille Saum decorated with repurposed fabric from her workshop and whimsical ornaments made from soda cans. A vignette by artist Lisa Schumaier depicts papier maché figures made from newspaper and twigs, with raku-fired ceramic faces.

A tree by Camille Saum boasts repurposed fabric and ornaments fashioned from soda cans.

A tree by Camille Saum boasts repurposed fabric and ornaments fashioned from soda cans. © Kevin Allen

Lisa Schumaier created a vignette out of hand-built raku-fired ceramics, papier maché and found objects.

Lisa Schumaier created a vignette out of hand-built, raku-fired ceramics, papier maché and found objects. © Kevin Allen

Other highlights include a tree by Boffi-Maxalto celebrating Italian style (it comes with a trip to Tuscany); a sculptural tree by the Corcoran School of Art + Design covered in 1,000 aluminum-tape rosettes; and Venetian Fantasy, a tree by Barry Dixon ornamented in blown glass.

On December 15th, the Jingle will take place in two parts: In the afternoon, Holiday Wonderland—a family-oriented celebration from 1 to 4 pm—features craft-making with help from design teams including Claire Schwab Interior Design, Inc., Darlene Molnar LLC, Iantha Carley Interiors, Niermann Weeks, Case Design/Remodeling and Regan Billingsley Interiors. Appearances will be made by Santa Claus, Frosty the Snowman, Captain America and treats will be provided by Georgetown Cupcake.

During adults-only festivities from 7 to 11 pm, guests will enjoy live entertainment by Pamela Stanley and sample cuisine from some of the areas top restaurants including Bandolero, Proof/Estadio, Paul, J. Paul’s, Old Glory and Bourbon Steak. A silent auction will offer items from the following categories: great escapes, signed memorabilia, must-have toys, luxury gifts and indulgences and dine & unwind. A raffle drawing will land one lucky winner a Toyota Corolla S, courtesy of DARCARS Automotive Group. For tickets and more information, visit georgetownjingle.com —Julie Sanders

Zoe Feldman's tree was inspired by the Carolina Herrera wedding gown she wore at her wedding. Its skirt is organza.

Zoe Feldman’s tree was inspired by the Carolina Herrera wedding gown she wore at her wedding. Its skirt is organza. © Kevin Allen

Alexa Hampton's mantel vignette showcases an array of antique pieces and  is selling for $30,000.

Alexa Hampton’s mantel vignette showcases an array of antique pieces and is selling for $30,000. © Kevin Allen

Darlene Molnar was inspired by Jama Cocoa's truffles for her tree made of green and glittery gold paper.

Darlene Molnar was inspired by Jama Cocoa’s truffles when she designed her tree using green, red and glittery gold paper. © Kevin Allen

This year’s design directors are Shazalynn Cavin-Winfrey and Joe Ireland. The following designers are participating in the 2013 event:

Alexa Hampton, Mark Hampton, LLC

Andre Wells, Events by Andre Wells

Andrew Law, Andrew Law Interior Design

Barry Dixon, Barry Dixon, Inc.

Bill Enright, Edge Floral

Brian Fell & Julia Walters, Boffi-Maxalto

Camille Saum, Camille Saum Interior Design

Darlene Molnar, Darlene Molnar LLC

Debra Nicholas, Debra Nicholas Studio with Erickson & Ripper Gallery

Elizabeth Krial, Elizabeth Krial Design LLC with Chemetal | Treefrog | Interior Arts

Julie Shanklin & Marielle Shortell, Syzygy Events

Lisa Schumaier, keenthings

Michael Roberson, Michael Roberson Interior Design

Rachelle Roth & Terri Johnson, Urban Country

Tricia Huntley, Huntley & Co Interior Design

Whitney Osterhout + Ramzah Khan, Corcoran College of Art +Design

Yvette Freeman, Foundry

Zoe Feldman, Zoe Feldman Design, Inc.

Salamander Resort & Spa opens its doors in Middleburg

Grand Lawn Sunset

August 29, 2013—After more than a decade in the works, Salamander Resort & Spa finally opened its doors today as hundreds of locals, government officials, dignitaries and members of the press clamored to get a look inside Sheila Johnson’s long-awaited endeavor.

“No more hard hats, no more steel-toed shoes,” Johnson declared to her guests. “Today, we go from vision to reality.” The entrepreneur, who co-founded Black Entertainment Television, produced the film The Butler and is part-owner of the Washington Capitals, Wizards and Mystics, explained how she moved to Middelburg and “fell in love with its charm and natural beauty.”

After she purchased 340 acres of rolling countryside, Johnson’s dream to open a resort there began to take shape. “I had a vision of creating a unique destination resort that would be remarkable, rare and true to Middleburg,” she said. “I want people to feel at home the minute they cross the threshold…and when they leave they should be truly replenished and uplifted in body, spirit and mind.”


An equestrian class at Salamander Resort & Spa.

Inspired by Johnson’s nearby farm, the 168-room, LEED-certified resort was designed to reflect the Virginia vernacular. Located in the heart of Loudoun County’s Horse Country, it’s only fitting that it is home to an equestrian center with miles of trails to explore. Its tranquil, full-service spa pampers guests with an array of treatments; its locker rooms feature soothing whirlpools, aromatic steam rooms, stone Tepidarium chairs and experiential showers.


Salamander Resort’s two-acre culinary garden.

Culinary director Todd Gray of DC’s Equinox restaurant oversees the resort’s dining options, which include Harriman’s Grill and the Gold Cup Wine Bar. A spacious cooking studio facing the open chef’s kitchen will host daily cooking classes. A two-acre culinary garden supplies many of the kitchen’s herbs and vegetables.

Site of the Opening Ceremonies.

The main entry courtyard welcomes visitors on opening day.

The resort’s design architect is WATG of Irvine, California, while the architect of record is Architecture Inc., of Reston, Virginia. DC interior designer Thomas Pheasant provided conceptual inspiration; Kent Interior Design of Atlanta completed the interiors. And the landscape architect is Don Hoover of Oculus in DC. Rates start at $425 per night in September and October. salamanderresort.com —Sharon Jaffe Dan

Kitchen 101: Tips and Trends from the Pros


Poggenpohl Georgetown’s Elizabeth Cosby designed this sleek, modern kitchen using Poggenpohl’s Teak Lava Décor cabinetry, Caesarstone countertops and Miele appliances.

Poggenpohl hosted a seminar called “Kitchen 101” in its Cady’s Alley showroom on Thursday, June 20th. Speakers from Poggenpohl along with other high-end brands including Sub-Zero and Wolf, Gaggenau, Ann Sacks, Cosentino (makers of Silestone) and Illuminations offered insights into the latest in kitchen design and kitchen-related products. Homeowners, architects and designers all learned a thing or two from the discussions. A few of the highlights follow…


Plinth drawers are the perfect place to store cookie sheets and trays.

1)  The Plinth Drawer.  Modern kitchen cabinets bring storage and efficiency to every square inch, especially through features such as Lazy Susans and Magic Corners, says Elizabeth Cosby of Poggenpohl. Many of her kitchens also incorporate plinth drawers—shallow drawers installed along the toe kick and under the main cabinetry. These drawers are perfect for storing cookie sheets and trays. “They are also quite a good place to hide things if you’re going on vacation,” Cosby adds, “because no one would ever think you’d have any storage in the plinth drawers.”

2)  Handle-Free Ovens.  According to Charlie Morgan of Gaggenau, the German manufacturer will unveil new hands-free ovens this fall that open with the touch of a button. Designed to satisfy consumers who want a streamlined, minimal look, the models do offer optional handles for those who prefer to get a grip.

3)  Smooth Surface.  Silestone—a low-maintenance quartz material—is available in 65 colors and polished and suede finishes. It is often paired with sleek, modern kitchen cabinetry and appliances. According to Brian Cordell of Cosentino, Silestone is available in one-, two- and three-centimeter-thick slabs. While one-centimeter slabs work best as shower or bath surrounds, kitchen work surfaces should be installed in two- or three-inch thicknesses, he says. He adds an interesting bit of trivia: “In our part of the country, most people want three centimeters. Most of the two-centimeter market is on the West Coast, and parts of Florida, Texas and Canada.”

4) Seeing the Light.  According to Paul Dorsey of Illuminations, the biggest change in kitchen lighting is the advent of LED tape—strips of tiny, low-energy LED diodes that light under-counter spaces. He estimates that the lights last up to 15 years—a vast improvement over their cumbersome, short-lived fluorescent counterparts. “The LEDs have literally revolutionized lighting in the kitchen. At 4.4 watts per foot, they are very low energy, bright and dimmable,” he says. “I cannot remember the last time we sold fluorescent, xenon or halogen under-counter lights.” Illuminations offers LED tape products from Senso and Lumen. —Sharon Jaffe Dan

All American House: A design house event at historic Woodlawn glorifies past and present

Historic Woodlawn Estate originally belonged to Mount Vernon. The land on which it  lies was gifted by George Washington to his nephew in 1799; the house was built on the site in 1806.

Historic Woodlawn Estate originally belonged to Mount Vernon. The land was gifted by George Washington to his nephew in 1799; the house was built on the site in 1806.

On a recent, cherry blossom-scented spring afternoon, Home & Design attended the press preview for All American House at picturesque Woodlawn Estate near Mount Vernon. Sponsored by MADE: In America—a non-profit that fosters American industry in a global economy—the event is the first in a series that will pair interior designers with historic house properties; the goal is to create show houses that offer an updated design aesthetic against the backdrop of history.

Woodlawn’s designers bring a particularly fresh and youthful perspective: They’re students from George Washington University and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. With oversight by New York designer Alexa Hampton and McLean designer Barbara Hawthorn, each team participated in a juried competition, designing a total of eight rooms in the house. Meanwhile, students from the Corcoran College of Art + Design virtually re-imagined the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Pope-Leighey House, which is located on the same grounds. Their concept boards are showcased at Woodlawn.

The student designers encountered plenty of challenges—and they definitely rose to the occasion. The rooms deftly combine original furnishings with new, interesting pieces by a list of American furniture companies that includes Century, Hickory Chair, Edward Ferrell + Lewis Mittman, Niermann Weeks, Duralee and Keith Fritz. Paul Montgomery Studio provided custom triptychs. There were constraints as to color choices (they were made by the National Trust for Historic Preservation) and care had to be taken not to alter the walls. “It was so valuable for the students because it’s exactly what they’ll be doing for clients. Working around an already existing situation is how it happens in the real world,” Hampton commented.

“The objective was to blend the historical furniture and still create something fresh and up-to-date,” Hawthorn added. “They succeeded beautifully.”

All American House is open for tours through June 16. Contact woodlawnpopleighey.org/events for more information. —Julie Sanders

The juried competition was chaired by Alexa Hampton (right), who is a designer and author based in New York. Designer Barbara Hawthorn (left) lent her years of experience to the role of  advisor for the students.

The juried competition was chaired by New York designer and author Alexa Hampton (right).  Designer Barbara Hawthorn (left) served as advisor for the students.


The dining room combines old and new with a gold-framed painting that’s original to the house, and a gold-finished chandelier and fireplace screen by Niermann Weeks.


Professor Nancy Evans of George Washington University is flanked by students Jasmine Callender and James Michaud, who designed the dining room: ; both are currently juniors at GW.


Designed by students from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, the winning room was the parlor, which pairs a bust of Washington—original to the house—with modern architectural photography. A stencil was added that reflects the Federal period when the house was built.

The music room includes furnishings by Edward Ferrell + Lewis Mittman against a sage-green backdrop. An animal hide rug from Century modernizes the space while the marble fireplace is original to the house.

Update from Paris: Design Trends from 2013 Maison & Objet

By Rose Winston

January 24, 2013—For the past month, Paris has been awash in protests, both for and against the government’s gay-marriage law (which passed on February 12th). As I arrived in Paris to attend Maison & Objet, the renowned annual interior design show, I had the good fortune to witness history in the making as citizens took to the streets to voice their views.  It was fascinating to watch France’s “democracy in action.”

Likewise at Maison this year, many companies were doing their part to “democratize” home styles by bringing well-designed and innovative products to the masses.  Here are a few of the hot trends and fabulous finds I discovered at the show.

No.9 Thompson Grand Vizier

One of Jim Thompson’s Turkish-inspired prints in terracotta paired with turquoise blue.

In the Jim Thompson showroom, artist Richard Smith introduced his latest No. 9 collection, inspired by Turkish motifs. Smith’s Grand Paisley fabric pairs a wheat-colored linen foreground with forsythia, light pink, chartreuse and turquoise-blue accents. A perfect spring bouquet!

Color trends
Gray is still popular this season. In shades ranging from light dove to taupe to dark charcoal, it provides a neutral canvas upon which many vibrant colors can be paired.

A profusion of pink permeated the show this year, from light rose to warm coral and deep mauve.  The chromo-meter was also turned high with bright shades from forsythia yellow to Chartreuse green. Fabulous shades of blue were also omnipresent.  Below, Belgian company Charrell combined a serene blue linen sofa and chairs with lightly distressed wood furniture and a stunning crystal chandelier.

Maison-Chavrell-blue room

A vignette by Charrell combines a blue linen sofa and blue dining chairs.

London’s Designers Guild displayed an alcove of chairs upholstered in all shades of blue, from indigo to sky blue.

Miason blue chairs

Shades of blue: Designers Guild’s chair collection.

And a guest room by Pierre Frey was enveloped in a bold, modern graphic fabric that covered the walls in bold forsythia and ivory.

Maison-yellow room

Upholstered walls by Pierre Frey.

Tabletop Style
Theresienthal Crystal introduced a new collection this year called Amundo, with designs based on the Asian temples of Angkor Wat. Each piece can serve as a vase, a tea light, a candle holder or a centerpiece bowl.  The colors of amber, indigo and plum impart a sense of serenity.


Versatile new vases by Theresienthal were inspired by temples of Angkor Wat.

One of the most innovative lamps I found at the show is from a small French company called Verveine Menthe.  Drum-shaped lampshades in its nature-inspired collection come in a variety of vibrant colors and display a whimsical cut-out where a faux canary is perched.

Miason Neo DKO Concept-lamps

Vibrantly colored lamp shades by Verveine Menthe.

As Jules Renard once said, “add three letters to Paris and your have “Paradise. ” It is so true that Paris, the capital of decorative arts, has the ability to inspire great creativity in all of us.

Rose Winston is pursuing a second Masters in Interior Design at the Corcoran College
of Art, where she was awarded a Fellowship.