By James Servin | April 21, 2014 | Home & Real Estate
Tech executive Goldy Kamali channels Coco Chanel in Chevy Chase.
French antique sconces and vintage furniture set the scene for Goldy Kamali’s romantic Chatsworth home.
As a tech queen, Goldy Kamali might be expected to live in the domestic equivalent of an iPad—sleek, ultramodern, and cutting edge. Instead, Kamali, founder and CEO of FedScoop, a leading government IT media company and events producer, resides in a stylishly romantic three-story Chatsworth manse. With its classic, regal furnishings, sophisticated color palette, and luxurious accents, the 4,200-square-foot, five-bedroom home gives full expression to Kamali’s alter ego, a Chanel obsessed fashionista.
“I definitely have been influenced by Coco Chanel,” says 37-year-old Kamali. “I have such a love for Chanel design—and for Coco Chanel as a special woman in history.”
Gifted with a work ethic that would have made her iconic heroine proud, Kamali frequently clocks in 20-hour days, taking meeting after meeting (as many as 32 in eight hours), overseeing FedScoop’s extensive and up-to-the-minute website, and organizing government IT community events with industry leaders, such as Arianna Huffington, Ben Fried, CIO of Google, and Nigel Ballard, Intel director of federal marketing. Some of those receptions and dinners—usually flooded with white orchids—are hosted at her abode, a feat Kamali says she was unable to accomplish at her former address, a much-loved but too-small condo in Alexandria.
Kamali’s airy, bright kitchen boasts a Carrera marble-top prep island.
“Being social is a very important part of my job,” Kamali says. “Having a home that lends itself to elegant entertaining was something that I was looking for. The challenge with homes in DC is that they’re often very narrow. I wanted a house that had space for lots of people.”
A two-year online search ended when Kamali viewed a home in Northwest DC that had been well maintained (if not updated) since its 1970s construction by its previous owners, former Congressman Harold Ford Sr. and his wife. Among all the retro elements, like yellow floral wallpaper in the dining room, a classic centerpiece stood out—a spiral staircase similar to a mirrored version in Chanel’s atelier at 31 Rue Cambon in Paris.
“When I saw that, I said, ‘Yes, it’s my Chanel staircase,’” Kamali recalls. “It was definitely a selling point.”
The Georgetown home’s star attraction is a spiral staircase.
Collaborating with developer-builder Brook Rose (877-325-7673), whose clean-lined, classic homes she had been admiring during her search, Kamali requested a total gut job (save for the spiral staircase), offering in its place a “fresh, youthful, subtle glamour—not blingy glamour.”
Rose added moldings to every room, conferring classic patina on the mid-century modern structure. Expanding the entrance between the second-floor living and dining areas and adding French doors to both rooms “made a huge difference in their grandeur,” Kamali says. The adjoining kitchen, streamlined and outfitted with a Carrera marble-top prep island, gives Kamali, an avid cook (her specialties include potato salad with fresh dill and chicken salad with slivered almonds), space to prepare dinners for as many as 20 guests.
“Opening your home and life to people is a nice way to build deeper relationships with them,” says Kamali, who at least once a month invites groups like the March of Dimes and its Heroines in Technology program to party at her place. “I love being a host,” she says. “I pride myself in bringing the right people together and being a connector.”
As expected, the iconic French designer makes her presence known from room to room: In the second-story library, a framed photograph of a container filled with flowers outside the Chanel boutique in Paris hangs above the sofa, while in the dining room a wrought-iron chandelier by Currey & Company (877-768-6428) references Coco’s militaristic flair. On the third floor, next to the master bedroom, a room that once belonged to Congressman Harold Ford Jr., was converted into a walk-in closet with Chanel-inspired black and white wallpaper.
The sleek, modern bathroom.
Very little on the surface of Kamali’s home speaks to the occupation of its owner, but a closer look reveals that it’s turbocharged with technology. “I can’t work my TV without my iPad because there’s an app for it on the iPad. If it’s out of juice, I’m out of luck,” Kamali says. “Everything in this house is done with an app. For TV, it’s Harmony Link; for music, it’s a Sonos app. I control my thermostat with a Nest app, which I love.”
In Kamali’s private world, traditional style is enhanced by technology—no conflict exists between the new guard and the classic. “Technology makes life easier, but I don’t think technology is pretty. That’s why you don’t see screens in my house,” says Kamali. “At the end of a day, I can feel Kung Fu Panda’d—karate-chopped—but once I’m home, it’s all about beauty and comfort.”
photography by tony brown
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