Phillip Jeffries wallcovering lines the living room, with a scene-stealing coffee table from Lorts.
With design help from Kirsten Kaplan, empty nesters take on a new life and a new home in Northwest DC.
Sconces and mirrors from Hudson Valley Lighting pop against navy wallcovering in the dining room.
Designer Kirsten Kaplan, owner of Haus Interior Design (hausinteriordesign.com), says she was approached by “the most delightful, interesting empty nesters” about helping to create a space for their new life in DC. They were relocating after many years of raising a family in California and found a rowhouse” in Northwest DC.
Downsizing has its monumental challenges, and that was definitely the case with this project. “Even though moving from 10,000 to 2,500 square feet required a lot of downsizing, it also gave the couple and my team the opportunity to reimagine their aesthetic without having to incorporate too many legacy pieces,” says Kaplan.
“The overriding principles that guide my approach are integrity, hard work and respect for the client,” says Kaplan. “First and foremost, I do what’s right for the client, being mindful of the fact that they’ve trusted their homes to me. The creative part is fun and easy, but I think the careful management of time and resources is paramount.”
Designer Kirsten Kaplan conveys casual elegance in every room.
Kaplan says the clients wanted a previously sterile space to feel like home, especially for this next phase of their lives as they explore DC and beyond. “Ralph Lauren was the inspiration for this home—both the clients and I love rich plaids, warm textures and touches of leather mixed with interesting metals,” says Kaplan. “We wanted this home to convey the feeling of a much-loved cashmere sweater, worn jeans and Gucci loafers.”
Because, like most DC rowhouses, this home is fairly narrow, Kaplan says she wanted to create the illusion of something much more grand than its dimensions. “My mantra was something beautiful at every turn, and I tried to create a variety of really beautiful, intimate moments in the house,” she says. “I used bold navy wallcovering, oversize mirrors and richly textured grass cloth to delineate the spaces and provide visual interest.”
THE LIVING ROOM
The living room lacked a focal point, and the home didn’t have a ton of storage. So, Kaplan tackled both issues by enlisting Stephanie Fried of Jack Rosen Custom Kitchens (jackrosen.com) to collaborate on built-ins that would anchor the area, create a focal point and provide enough space to tuck away household items. “Taking away floor space from an already narrow room might seem counter-intuitive, but I felt confident that it would work,” says Kaplan. To go along with navy paint on the built-ins, Kaplan added a thickly textured natural woven rug from Four Hands (fourhands. com). She also chose woven Phillip Jeffries (phillipjeffries.com) arrowroot grass cloth for the walls to warm up the other smooth surfaces. “The leather and metal club chairs from Universal (universalfurniture.com) added the perfect modern edge to the furnishings, without looking brand new,” she says. Other decor standouts include side tables from Vanguard Furniture (vanguardfurniture.com), a coffee table from Lorts (lorts.com), table lamps from Arteriors (arteriorshome.com) and library lights by House of Troy (houseoftroy.com).
The home’s blue wallcovering scheme extends into the master bath.
THE DINING ROOM
“The clients were hesitant to use the dark-blue wallcovering in the dining room; they worried that it would make the space feel smaller,” says Kaplan. “I persisted, and they’re thrilled with the way the color in the dining room refers back to the built-ins in the living room. Sconces and mirrors from Hudson Valley Lighting (hudsonvalleylighting.com) add layers of visual interest to what would otherwise have been a boring wall. We designed a custom china cabinet with Jack Rosen, with glassen-cased space to display barware.”
Kaplan notes the home’s aesthetic embraces the feeling of a much-loved cashmere sweater, worn jeans and Gucci loafers—revealed perfectly in the master bedroom with bedding by RH.
THE MASTER BEDROOM
The home’s bedroom, which is partially below ground level, is cozy. “Making things feel warm and inviting was a key priority,” says Kaplan. “Again, painting a dark wall seems counterintuitive, but it really emphasizes the bed, and it grounds the space. Bright artwork repeats the colors in the plaid pillow. The earthy texture of the lamps and gentle casual wrinkles of the bedding make the space feel inviting.” Bedding is from RH (rh.com) and the bedside lamps are from Currey & Company (curreyandcompany.com).
A cozy but efficient office space is complemented by a spot for lounging.
“I love [how] launching kids to college and beyond opens up a whole new life of exploration and adventure,” says Kaplan about helping the couple. “It’s so much fun to imagine how city living can be energizing after raising kids in the suburbs. Who doesn’t love finding a cool city bookstore or a hidden speakeasy bar around the corner? I hear from these clients often, and they’re thrilled to be able to enjoy their new urban home so close to the heart of DC. There are comfortable spaces for entertaining a few friends or family.”
The white- and cream-colored kitchen is perfect for quick meals.
Haus Interior Design
Wallcovering, living room
Leather and metal club chairs, living room
Side tables, living room
Table lamps, living room
Hudson Valley Lighting
Sconces and mirror,
Bedding, master bedroom
Currey & Company
Bedside lamp, master bedroom
Photography by: Photos courtesy of Robert Radifera;