“It’s all in the details….DC Design House- Pool Room…”

by Erin Paige Pitts

I am excited and honored to be among the talented group of designers participating in this years DC Design House to benefit Children’s National Medical Center. The show house runs through May 8th and is in the former estate of the founders of Woodward and Lothrop department store. The home, currently owned by the Wasserman family is located at 3134 Ellicott Street, NW Washington D.C. in the Forrest Hills neighborhood just off Connecticut Avenue. The house is a 1925 English Country Tudor. It boasts 12,000 square feet and has a pool and koi pond on its grounds. Over the years the home has hosted events for many dignitaries, politicians and celebrities. I envisioned my room, the “Pool Room” as a “porch-like” space, or a aerie retreat from the more formal areas of the home. The house does not include any porches despite its grand size. The “Pool Room” is located between the main living room and the grounds where the pool is located and has two large windows and a set of french doors overlooking the pool and a large bay window looking out to Ellicott Street. In keeping with my love of elegant coastal interiors, I filled the room with all the things I love. To start, I painted the existing dark wood panelling in 5 coats of Farrow and Balls “All White”. I used their 40% sheen on the walls and their 90% sheen on the trim, beams and doors. By using a high sheen on all surfaces, it made the room very light reflective and bright. The original flooring was a dark brown poured terrazo floor. I enlisted my favorite faux finishers “Twin Diamonds Studios” to paint the floors in a faux bois floor pattern, giving the room addittional “porch like feel”. I then added a diamond patterned sisal rug from Stark to define the seating area. I chose white or taupe fabrics all from “Jim Thompson Fabrics” in natural linens to give a breezy porch like feel. Despite the neutral color palette, you will notice a subtle layering of patterns and textures that give the room depth and interest without a lot of color. The swings are my subliminal way of giving the room a relaxing overtone. I love being on a swing and it is difficult to be stressed out while on a swing!! I chose all the furniture in a light finish from a local Maryland based furniture manufacture, David Edward. David Edward’s products (www.davidedward.com) are entirely made from sustainable materials and since they are local, keeping down the carbor footprint. I achored the back of the room with a large round skirted table. I just love the table skirt and envision it blowing in the breeze on a warm summer day. The table skirt is in a semi-sheer fabric called Mosaica and has a large taupe border at the bottom. On top the large round skirted table are a collection of my favorite design books and a murano glass vase designed by my dear friend Thomas Fuches with Otium-NYC. The murano glass vase on the skirted table has “rostri” detail in the center that reminds me of sea urchin, another subtle coastal element. I then filled the room with shells, bone, starfish, natural woven baskets, lanterns etc… The starfish hanging sculpture is something I designed and made myself to create a beautiful sculptural backdrop to one of the swings. I especially love how the starfish spin and turn, creating shadows and plays of light, it is truely magical and one of my favorite aspects of the room. Flanking the large bay window are four marine intaglios which were custom made for me by an artist from Florida. Each intaglio is a different sea creature, sea horse, starfish, sand dollar etc…. it is a very subtle and elegant way to reaffirm the coastal feel. I also feature the work of Maryland artist, Pamela Phillips. She captures the beauty of shells as still life. You can see two of her paintings in the room, a small one on an easel in the bay window and another hanging on the wall over the slipcovered chair. I just love the detail in Pam’s paintings! The comment I hear the most as people enter my room is that it is like a “breath of fresh air” and that is exactly what I wanted to achieve. I hope you get a chance to visit this years DC Design House (www.dcdesignhouse.com). There are so many amazing spaces designed by many of the areas most talented designers, Patrick Sutton, Liz Levin, Lauren Liess, Barbara Franceski, just to name a few. If you have a porch or any other space you would like to transform, please feel free to contact me at erin@erinpaigepittsinteriors.com or www.erinpaigepitts.com