Home & Design
Living room wall of plaster frames the concrete fireplace surround; a sculpture by Rana Begum makes a minimalist statement.
Living room wall of plaster frames the concrete fireplace surround; a sculpture by Rana Begum makes a minimalist statement.

In the living room, a wall of plaster frames the concrete fireplace surround; a sculpture by Rana Begum makes a minimalist statement.

Overmyer's stair design, with its custom “bar code” rail, leans modern; oak risers are a nod to the farmhouse vernacular.
Overmyer's stair design, with its custom “bar code” rail, leans modern; oak risers are a nod to the farmhouse vernacular.

Overmyer's stair design, with its custom “bar code” rail, leans modern; oak risers are a nod to the farmhouse vernacular.

Family room with Muuto sofa, carved side table from Timothy Paul and Four Hands chair.
Family room with Muuto sofa, carved side table from Timothy Paul and Four Hands chair.

Shirk furnished the family room with eclectic finds, including a Muuto sofa, a carved side table from Timothy Paul and a Four Hands chair.

Kitchen poured-concrete countertops with rusticated knotty-pine cabinets.
Kitchen poured-concrete countertops with rusticated knotty-pine cabinets.

The kitchen scheme pairs poured-concrete countertops with rusticated knotty-pine cabinets. A Lacanche range anchors the island, which is offset by a “rug” of mosaic tile.

Hugh Newell Jacobsen’s original egg-crate bookshelves, painted pale sage green, line the library walls.
Hugh Newell Jacobsen’s original egg-crate bookshelves, painted pale sage green, line the library walls.

Hugh Newell Jacobsen’s original egg-crate bookshelves, painted pale sage green, line the library walls.

Pierre Frey wallpaper in the powder room, equipped with a honed-limestone sink and Franz Viegener fittings.
Pierre Frey wallpaper in the powder room, equipped with a honed-limestone sink and Franz Viegener fittings.

Pierre Frey wallpaper sounds a playful note in the powder room, equipped with a honed-limestone sink and Franz Viegener fittings.

Walls painted in Farrow & Ball’s Pelt in primary bedroom.
Walls painted in Farrow & Ball’s Pelt in primary bedroom.

Walls painted in Farrow & Ball’s Pelt set the tone in the primary bedroom.

Bright-green Timorous Beasties wall covering animates the dining room; trim is painted in Farrow & Ball’s Emerald Green.
Bright-green Timorous Beasties wall covering animates the dining room; trim is painted in Farrow & Ball’s Emerald Green.

Bright-green Timorous Beasties wall covering animates the dining room; trim is painted in Farrow & Ball’s Emerald Green.

Bold Moves

Nature and a rich design legacy inform an exuberant Cleveland Park makeover

When a newly renovated Cleveland Park home was first built in 1910, the neighborhood was a semi-rural outpost connected to downtown Washington by streetcar. Fast forward 63 years and the lauded architect Hugh Newell Jacobsen (who passed away in 2021) updated the home in his signature Modernist style.

Both eras came into play when new owners tapped architect Dale Overmyer to orchestrate a 21st-century makeover. “It’s a handsome farmhouse that had been completely reworked,” he relates. “The first iteration Jacobsen did in the ’70s went a long way towards opening it up. We wanted to take it even further and bridge the gap between mid-century and the historic house—and imbue it with personality.”

The clients, already Cleveland Park residents, had long admired the home. “We loved the space, the light and the yard,” says the wife. After acquiring it in 2019, she and her husband envisioned “modern yet comfortable interiors with gracious proportions.”

Though he retained the existing footprint, Overmyer seemingly injected volumes of space into the center-hall dwelling. He elevated the cramped entry and gutted the closed-off kitchen and family room to unveil an open, informal hub devoted to cooking, dining and gathering. And he efficiently tucked a new coat closet, powder room and walk-in pantry into the main-level plan.

On the second floor, the enlarged owners’ suite claimed adjacent bedrooms—one is now a wardrobe and another a luxurious bath. Two kids’ bedrooms are also on the second floor while the third level houses a pair of guest rooms and a loft finished as a teen hangout.

During construction, the owners hired Georgetown decorator Paige Shirk, who forged an instant connection with the home and its quarter-acre landscape. “I loved the floor-to-ceiling windows and the vibe of the outside coming in,” she observes. “My family had a farmhouse near Fallingwater and I recall how the furniture worked with the architecture. That was a big inspiration for me.”

As she collaborated with Overmyer and the wife, Shirk honed her vision for the interiors. “I wanted to combine old and new, modern and a bit more classic,” she remarks. “I didn’t dive into one aesthetic.”

Nature plays a starring role, beginning in the entry. New windows and a reimagined, open stair bathe the space in light and establish sight lines from the front door to the rear garden. With its randomly placed pickets, Overmyer likens the stair rail he designed to a bar code. “There’s an organic nature to what you’d expect to be more regimented,” he explains. “It’s an unabashedly contemporary move in the center of the house.”

The center-hall plan aligns the living and dining rooms and library to the right of the foyer with the kitchen and family room on the left. The team preserved Jacobsen’s tall windows in the living room, but recast his mid-century brick fireplace wall in plaster—a fresh take on a classic material. Clean-lined seating surrounds a 1970s travertine coffee table Shirk found on 1stdibs; a burnt-orange velvet sofa adds a burst of color.

In the facing dining room, fields of green botanical wallpaper commune with foliage visible through a trio of tall windows. “I like bringing the outside in, as we did with that shade of green,” Shirk reveals. “My client really wanted color.” Indeed, the wife drove the palette in exuberant directions, from a pool-bathroom wall covering emblazoned with cobalt palm fronds to the primary bedroom painted a deep aubergine.

Shirk tempered these bold moves with neutral furnishings and subtle textures. “I love mixing wood and leather and velvet and nubby materials,” she asserts. Case in point is the spacious family room, where the decorator mingled a velvet lounge chair, a concrete cocktail table and pillows in an array of textiles atop the cozy window seat. An adjacent table provides a perch for reading or morning coffee.

Overmyer is most proud of this “informal heart of the home,” encompassing the family room, bright and airy kitchen and breakfast area. “It’s nice to subtract, open up a space and enjoy the drama of a really generous room,” he says.

The architect played up the indoor-outdoor connection in the kitchen with large-format porcelain floor tile that reads as limestone; he repeated the material on the backsplash. “Around the island,” he points out, “we incorporated mosaic tile in the floor to suggest a sense of antiquity.” Poured-concrete countertops and custom cabinets in knotty pine reinforce the organic palette.

Avid cooks, the family members enjoy preparing and sharing meals in the convivial space. “We love to have friends over and it’s nice to be able to cook and socialize at the same time,” says the wife.

In the first-floor library, the owners and their design team preserved Hugh Newell Jacobsen’s egg-crate bookshelves, crafted during the late architect’s 1973 renovation. “They’re beautiful, with elegant lines, and very functional,” says the wife.

The stark white shelving was painted sage green—a shade “sympathetic to colors the original farmhouse would’ve had,” relates Overmyer. Ornate elements added over the years were removed and big picture windows installed. The architect notes, “We created more light, more space, more simplicity.”
It’s a mantra that relates to every room in this newly burnished home—one that celebrates its past with bravado.

Renovation Architecture: Dale Overmyer, AIA, Overmyer Architects, Washington, DC. Interior Design: Paige Shirk, Paige Shirk Design, Washington, DC. Renovation Contractor: Cecchi Homes, Arlington, Virginia.

 

SOURCES

DINING ROOM
Wallpaper: timorousbeasties.com. Paint Trim: Yearbridge Green by farrow-ball.com. Chandeliers: globallighting.com. Table: 1stdibs.com. Chairs: neuvolighting.com. Cabinet: fourhands.com. Stool: article.com.

LIVING ROOM
Light Fixture: apparatusstudio.com. Drapery Fabrication: theshadestore.com. Sofa: trnk-nyc.com. Rug: starkcarpet.com. Table: 1stdibs.com. Side Tables: vintage. Wall Paint: White Dove by benjaminmoore.com. Fireplace Treatment: hydeconcrete.com. Side Chairs: noirfurniturela.com. Console: vintage. Sculpture over Fireplace: Rana Begman.

KITCHEN
Stools: meadowblu.com. Paint: White Dove by benjaminmoore.com.

STAIRWAY
Rail Design: custom through overmyerarchitects.com. Rail Fabrication: northeastironworksinc.com.

KITCHEN
Cabinetry: custom. Cabinetry Fabrication: asticks.com. Countertops: hydeconcrete.com. Mosaic Tile: countryfloors.com. Faucets: calfaucets.com. Hood: ventahood.com. Hood Fabrication: custom by overmyerarchitects.com. Refrigerator & Microwave: subzero-wolf.com. Range: frenchranges.com.

FAMILY ROOM
Sofa & Sofa Fabric: muuto.com. Carved Table: timothypaulcarpets.com. Rug: starkcarpet.com. Cocktail Table: fourhands.com. Chair & Ottoman: bludot.com. Pillow Fabric: zakandfox.com. Window Seat Table: anthropologie.com. Window Seat & Window Seat Pillow Fabrics: Lee Jofa through kravet.com. Pillows: brookperdigontextiles.com. Window Seat Sconces: alliedmaker.com.

LIBRARY
Paint: Drop Cloth by farrow-ball.com. Light Fixture: beataheuman.com. Table: Owners’ collection. Leather Chairs: vintage. Desk Chair: noirfurniturela.com. Art: Owners’ collection.

BEDROOM
Paint: Pelt by farrow-ball.com. Shade Fabric: hinescompany.com. Shade Fabrication: rockvilleinteriors.com. Rug: annieselke.com. Ottoman: fourhands.com. Corner Chairs: Owners’ collection. Table Lamp: circalighting.com.

POWDER ROOM
Mirror: trnk-nyc.com. Sconces: alliedmaker.com. Wallpaper: pierrefrey.com.

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