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Local Designers Selected to Make Over D.C. Design House

Annual event raises money for Children's National Medical Center.

Great Falls-based designer Susan Nelson, of Susan Interiors (pictured with design student Jacob Oxford), will design a girl's bedroom.

Great Falls-based designer Susan Nelson, of Susan Interiors (pictured with design student Jacob Oxford), will design a girl's bedroom. Photo by Robert Radifera

Local Designers

Some of the local designers who were selected to make over the home offer a preview of their plans.

Potomac-based designer Sharon Kleinman of Transitions will decorate the master bedroom. “The room is architecturally challenging with many doors and minimum wall space," she said. "The focal point in the room becomes the sliding glass doors that look out into the garden. I use the garden view as my inspiration. Choosing fabrics in lush greens and warm browns, I brought the colors of the garden indoors. I believe master bedrooms should be serene so I used lots of different textures and very little pattern.”

Great Falls-based designer Susan Nelson of Susan Nelson Interiors designed a teenage girl's bedroom. "I combined a variety of block and geometric prints in greens, yellows, pinks, brown and cream to create a cozy haven. By using a mix of new and repurposed furniture, the room has the quality of changing along with the girl," she said. "For instance, the coverlet fabric is a sophisticated fabric with a water color quality to the flowers on it, but the club chair is slip covered in a fun confetti print in pinks and purples that she might have had as a child.”

Shazalynn Cavin-Winfrey of SCW Interiors in Alexandria is charged with transforming the dining room. “I anticipate wonderful parties and celebrations in the dining room I will be creating this year and my use of color and pattern is a play on this celebratory mode. I am thrilled to help people who see the space take away some element in the design that might fit their home or their lifestyle,” she said.

Victoria Sanchez of Victoria Sanchez Interiors in Alexandria is creating a teenager's retreat. “I have chosen a very lively, colorful design scheme from Missoni and will be using Mid-Century modern furniture,” said Sanchez. “This room is designed to be a perfect hangout for teenagers and will reflect the energy teenagers create.”

Nancy Twomey of Finnian's Moon Interiors in Alexandria will design a boy's bedroom. “I love good design, but I also know children. Children's rooms are messy places, so it is best if there is an inherent order in the design elements, starting with the palette,” said Twomey. “My 2012 D.C. Design House room has a serene quietude in its bones, but it isn't sleepy. It has timeless, classic ingredients such as menswear fabrics, juxtaposed with modern, playful ones.”

Elizabeth Krial of Elizabeth Krial Design in Reston will create a modern nursery. “The most afforded luxury in my space is the natural sunlight that washes the room," she said. "As a designer, I have added luxurious layers of softness and comfort through textiles. The modern nursery has a lightness that will remind you of the hope and joy that a new baby brings.”

Matthew Moore of John Matthew Moore Fine Art in McLean will decorate the foyer and staircase. “My design philosophy is clean, classic spaces. My favorite period in design is the late fifties and sixties,” he said. “I feel that that is the time when American design came into its own. I've chosen this style for the entrance and reception hall [because] the home was built in that period. It's a sophisticated design that would be as much at home in the fifties as it is now in the present.”

Shanon Munn of Ambi Design Studio in McLean will decorate the master deck. “My concept for the space is to have an outdoor retreat,” said Munn. “I chose pieces that are scaled similarly to indoor pieces and provide a great lounging spot. We chose patterns that are interesting and bold. We plan to take the existing railing, currently an eyesore, and make it a highlight of the deck with a long row of custom benches and pedestals strategically placed to create focal points and to hide the dated metalwork.”

Annette Hannon of Annette Hannon Interior Design in Burke designed the parlor. “The [parlor] is the first living area a visitor will enter,” said Hannon. “My goal was to create a comfortable, luxurious space someone would want to linger in long after the party's over. I felt it was essential to add layers of interest in the room.”

Some of the Washington area's top interior designers are unleashing their creative talent all in the name of charity. Organizers of the 2012 Washington, D.C. Design House announced the designers who will make over the 2012 D.C. Design Home.

“The selection [was] open to all area designers who wanted to apply,” said Susan Hayes Long, chairperson of D.C. Design House. “They started by coming to a design walk-through to get a feel for the space, and then [submitted] up to three proposals for rooms, with at least one presentation board. The board [included] their floor plan, color selections, and finishes they would use. Our design team selected the final 23 designers. We had more than 80 proposals this year, and so many fantastic presentation boards. The competition was really tough.”

The D.C. Design House serves as a bellwether of local design trends. “Being selected to design for the show house is a bit like being crowned homecoming queen then having to run a marathon in your ball gown while collecting items for a scavenger hunt," said Shazalynn Cavin-Winfrey of SCW Interiors in Alexandria, who was one of the designers selected. "It is the most prestigious invitation. .. For a committee of veteran designers and industry leaders to select a designer is truly one of the highlights of one's career."

With no paying clients to please, the designers unleash their creative talent. "I love participating in show houses for the freedom it allows me," said Annette Hannon of Annette Hannon Interior Design in Burke, who was also one of the designers selected. "For each house I've had the opportunity to engage in, I've gotten to conjure up an imaginary 'perfect' client and design according to their needs and desires. It's a bit like celebrating one's birthday and getting to create your perfect party.”

The Washington, D.C. Design House, a nonprofit entity, began in 2008 as a design event in which some of the region's most sought-after designers decorate a luxury home to raise funds for a local charity. After completion, the home is opened to the public for tours. Now in its fifth year, the D.C. Design House has attracted more than 30,000 visitors and raised nearly $600,000 for Children's National Medical Center (CNMC). Proceeds will go to CNMC again this year.

Built in 1956, the 2012 D.C. Design House is located in Washington, D.C.'s Spring Valley neighborhood. It is currently on the market for $3.9 million.