2013 DC Design House, Opening Sunday

Published in DCbyDesign. See full article with pictures here.

The DC Design House is ready for prime time! I was at the media preview the other day, and I was impressed by how each designer transformed a blank slate of new construction into a space full of personality. And unlike many show houses, this one doesn’t give you whiplash as you move from one room to the other—the palettes flow nicely from one room to the other.

Here is a taste of what you will see there. I asked the designers what objects in their rooms that they loved the most, and the answers were often surprising. I hope you will go see it in person, especially the preview on Saturday from 1 to 5—the $50 admission goes 100 percent to Children’s National Medical Center. You can buy tickets right here (and scroll way down when you get to this page, because at first glance it looks like just a site map).

On the third floor, Jeff Akseizer and Jamie Brown of Akseizer Design Group did the media room, which includes a 180-gallon fish tank and multiple flat screens for TV, games—even social media. Lighting by Boyd; custom cabinetry by ADG Millwork; aquarium by ReefeScape; media wall by Absolute Custom Solutions; accent table by Edward Ferrell + Lewis Mittman; artwork in stairwell by Lisa Tureson.
Jeff’s favorite element here—and again, mine too—is the vintage Paul McCobb chair, paired with a modern acrylic desk. Jeff and Jamie asked the young patients at Children’s to create black and white prints to hang around the room; you can see one of them over the desk. How cool! Wallpaper by Phillip Jeffries.

For more, go to see the house at 2507 Foxhall Road, preferably on Saturday for the special preview to raise money for Children’s, from 1-5 p.m. Tickets, here, are $50—and don’t forget to scroll way down the page for them!

“From the outside, the design house can seem almost superficial, but it’s not a superficial event at all,” says Randie Reilly, who’s on the design house’s executive committee, and whose daughter, Celia, received spinal surgery there when she was a teen. “Children’s has been fantastic. If it had been a different hospital, it would have been a different experience.”

Kathy Barker, left, is president of Childrens’ Health Center board; and Reilly.

Kathy Barker’s daughter had less traumatic surgery years ago, but still remembers the amazing staff and how they put her 6-year-old at ease. She was there for hernia surgery, but Jordan was concerned about other things: she asked surgeon Kurt Newman (now the President and CEO at Children’s) if she could get her ears pierced while she was under. “Of course!” he said. And with that, a happy Jordan got to choose the flavor of gas that would put her under (Kathy can’t remember what she chose, but I would have gone for bubble gum).

And this is the great thing about the doctors there: A supremely talented surgeon such as Newman can converse easily with a 6-year-old, yet switch to a laser-focus (as he did) and lead a team in saving the 13-year-old sniper victim Iran Brown back in 2002—one of the only people to survive John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo’s monthlong rampage.

One thing I found out that I hadn’t realized: It doesn’t matter who you are or whether you can afford it—Children’s will take all comers. That’s why they need your help. And what a beautiful way to donate, by going to the DC Design House. Enjoy.