Home Entertainment


Masterfully Modern Custom Installation

March 5, 2010 By Brooke Lange

Click the images below for bigger versions:
Masterfully Modern Custom Installation
The main kitchen overlooks the great room so the homeowner can converse with guests while cooking.
Theater seating ranges from a custom velvet-covered sectional and ottoman set-up to leather chairs by Bass Industries.
The sconces add a touch of glamor, while the interior designers’ custom pillows add a splash of color.
The headboard of the Parsons-style four-poster in the master suite is upholstered in Cheyenne Firebird fabric; the bed is from Interiors by Beverly.
Masterfully Modern Custom Installation
Interior designer Gail Winn spent a full day arranging each glass ball of the custom “Mr. Bubble” chandelier, just outside the catering kitchen.
Masterfully Modern master bath
Masterfully Modern kitchen
Masterfully Modern master bath

A contemporary home with 11,500 square feet of indoor/outdoor living space is built for entertaining.

Interior designers Sam Ewing and Gail Winn discuss the details.

 Masterfully Modern Custom Installation

Home Entertainment: From the outside, this home’s architecture reflects that of a museum—bold, modern and minimalist. On the inside, the home is also gallery-like as it showcases a serious contemporary art collection. I understand that the house was also built and designed for grand-scale entertaining. How would you describe the overall look you orchestrated for this D.C.-area home?

Sam Ewing: This house is all about casual entertaining. The client’s whole world is about having people over. For example, he has about two dozen lockers for pool and cabana guests and we probably had—and I’m not lying—about 100 monogrammed towels made for him. The home also has a large main kitchen and a catering kitchen. There’s a playroom downstairs, complete with a bar and a home theater. So, yes, the entire house is about entertaining.


Did you design each room around a specific piece of art?

SE: I refer to “matching artwork to a room’s design” as art bleeding into a room, and I just don’t feel that art needs to bleed all over a room. The artwork stands on its own, the architecture stands on its own, and the furniture stands on its own. They work together but they play different roles within the room and take on their own importance.

This house is architecturally strong on the outside and inside, so nothing was designed around the art alone. But I think the unexpected arrives in the artwork itself—and not in matching it to the specific room. The owner’s art collection and things are all about not taking life too seriously, and it’s all very colorful. So nothing was planned around any specific painting. First we installed the furniture and then we decided where to hang the art.

Gail Winn: Yes, we started with the furniture and floor plan—making the layout make sense first.

SE: The client has serious art—he owns several Warhols, as well as pieces by Sam Francis and Keith Haring.  They’re very serious artists, but the design of each respective space helps make the subject matter of the rather serious artwork a little more light-hearted. He owns Warhols that depict the Kennedy assassination, and those pieces aren’t light-hearted.

 The main kitchen overlooks the great room so the homeowner can converse with guests while cooking.

The home is dotted with whimsical, fun element—such as a potted palm tree and a gold shag rug—as well as playful, sometimes political art. It seems that this homeowner’s personality plays a huge role in the home’s design.

SE: We’ve designed four houses for him—this is the fourth house—so we know him pretty well. This client pretty much starts over with a new design slate each time he builds a new home. He’s very interesting—he’s a lot of fun and he doesn’t take himself or life too seriously. So we have a good time with him. I think as often as he changes houses, he doesn’t see any [home’s design] as a lifetime commitment.

That’s his approach. It’s a “more to come” sort of thing. The main living area is very expansive—just a simple trick like putting that palm between the kitchen and the living area really separates the spaces. The foliage makes a huge difference. We had always planned it that way. It separates the two activity areas well. In answer to your earlier question, I guess the paintings follow us around from home to home, but they find themselves in different rooms each time.



This is a beautiful modern design. The lighting in the images is fantastic.

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