Interior Design Magic
BY JENNIE NUNN
PHOTOGRAPHS BY GREG POWERS
The living room of a home designed by Abel
By the time Jana Abel was just six years old, she was already sketching elaborate floor plans adorned with parlors, indoor roller-skating rinks and libraries with secret doors. “When I was a little girl, I recall sitting on my bedroom floor in our Miami Beach home with an enormous drawing pad,” she recalls. “I had drawn and labeled each room, from a grand parlor to a servants’ hallway and nursery. Maybe I was inspired by the nursery in the movie Mary Poppins or the von Trapp mansion in The Sound of Music. Whatever it was, I knew at that age that I found something that really excited me. I would always want to go shopping for furniture for my dollhouse, and walk into a home or a hotel and imagine what I would do if I could decorate it.”
Decades later, Abel—now based in Potomac, Maryland, and outfitting everything from a three-story penthouse in DC’s Residences at the Ritz-Carlton to a Midcentury Modern home in Bethesda—has turned a childhood hobby into a full-fledged profession. Most recently, she completed a project on a brand-new 8,500-square-foot stucco home in Northwest DC for a prominent local family with two children. “They are a modern, fashion-forward family, and the couple has a strong design sense. They love to entertain,” says Abel of the inspiration for the resort-like home. There’s a children’s reading nook, defined by a giant custom daybed and pillows by John Robshaw; a glamorous bubblegum-pink-hued girl’s room, with a shiny black chandelier and Queen Anne mirror by Jonathan Adler; and an indoor basketball court. “They wanted a contemporary, clean-lined, luxurious home,” she explains. “On the other hand, the house had to be livable, unfussy and spill-proof for the children. It’s virtually indestructible.”
Celebrating the White House Correspondents’ Association’s annual dinner at Carnegie Library.