Inside D.C. Design House

In its 10th year, showcase home raises money for charity.

For the 10th anniversary of the D.C. Design House, 23 designers transformed the Potomac, Md. home which includes nine bedrooms, nine full bathrooms, four half bathrooms, a cinema, two-story library, a pool and a pool house. Visitors will have the opportunity to walk through the 27,256 square-foot estate to view the latest in home design trends. Tickets are $35 and proceeds from the event benefit the Children’s National Health System.

It was actress Grace Kelly and the movie “To Catch a Thief” that inspired Designer Marika Meyer’s creation of the lady’s retreat. “I thought of her elegance and her scarf blowing in the wind,” said Meyer.

A collection of framed Hermes scarves line one of the room’s walls.

Much of the room’s furniture, including two vintage, velvet chairs and a neutral sofa, surround a Lucite cocktail table, creating a balance between modern and traditional styles.

“When designing the room I thought, ‘who would live in that room and what would she be like?” said Meyer.

Meyer used custom-designed, hand-painted fabric from her own collection for the room’s drapes, pillows, stools and other accessories. One of her biggest obstacles was making the large room feel intimate. “I designed it to make it beautiful and functional, she said. “I created different destinations so it doesn’t feel so overwhelming.”

Among those destinations are a large secretary, a game table and a bar cart.

Dubbed A Study in Blue, the library by designer Kelley Proxmire draws inspiration from the library of New York socialite Brooke Astor. “I knew it was a classic and I had seen a recent picture and I knew it was a classic,” said Proxmire. “Her books were probably antique, leather-bound and I knew that I wanted something neat and tidy like that.”

The room’s dark wood paneling is brightened with natural lighting and accessorized with blue and white porcelain and painted books in varying shades of blue.

The designer’s goal was to create a technology-free zone that allowed for uninhibited conversation. “Families need a place to sit and talk to each other without being on the telephone and watching television,” said Proxmire. “I want all my rooms to say, ‘Come and sit.’ I don’t want them to be too standoffish.”

Marrying modern and traditional design elements, Alexandria-based design duo Todd Martz and Susan Nelson created a family room that is both energizing and relaxing, and is meant to be an electronics-free zone.

“The scale of the house is formal, but we wanted to created a room that is family friendly,” said Martz. “We wanted to incorporate children’s art, but display it in a way that’s elegant.”

The walls are covered with bright yellow wallpaper that provides an energetic backdrop for blue and white porcelain accessories. To accommodate the lives of a modern family, the white sofa is covered in Crypton fabric, which is stain-resistant and easy to clean. Other furniture in the room, which includes two faux leather chairs are centered around a handmade, wooden coffee table.

Children’s artwork hangs inside the bookcases among blue and white ginger jars. “It makes the book cases a little less serious,” said Nelson.

The poolside oasis created by Kim Asner of Country Casual Teak allows visitors to be transported to a luxury spa. Lush greenery and teak lounge chairs surround the pool. An abundance of seating, a cabana and a pool house make the space ideal for entertaining a crowd or enjoying the space’s serenity.

“The area is large so we needed substantial furniture,” said Asner. “The cabana looks grand and impressive, but it’s also comfortable.”

The D.C. Design House, located at 9004 Congressional Court, Potomac, Md. The home, which is listed at $10. 28 million by Long and Foster Real Estate, is open through Oct. 29. Tickets are $35. For more information, visit

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