Design team Julie Weber and Joe Ireland had a serious challenge. The co-owners of J.D. Ireland Interior Architecture & Design in Dupont Circle usually work with long timelines—they’re accustomed to at least a year or two to transform high-end living spaces and restaurants. But for this project, a traditional Logan Circle row house renovated in the late ’90s and divided into two condominiums, the homeowner wanted the renovation done in mere months. Five months actually. And the project would require replacing nearly everything from lighting, kitchen, and bath features to furniture and the wooden railing that ran through the three-floor space.
“Our client purchased the condo and realized that what was existing wasn’t going to meet his needs,” Weber explains. He often entertains and fundraises for local charities and wanted the modernized space—the home already featured wood floors, granite countertops, and stainless steel appliances—to have an even more sleek feel that would showcase art well.
Weber and Ireland started by replacing the main floor’s clunky gas fireplaces with swanky fireboxes and fire ribbons. They also removed the original accents and added two ash storage compartments with Eucalyptus doors, smartly camouflaging the homeowner’s television and DVD collection. “We built the firebox up so it actually floats above the floor,” Weber says.
The entertaining space also earned an upgrade with sculptural sofas and a cozy wool and jute rug set up in a square formation to encourage conversation. “We were trying to create an intimate space in this grand room,” says Weber. “Because the backs of the sofas are a little higher, when you’re sitting in [them], you feel like you’re in a little nook.” Codesigner Ireland worked with Sightline Art Consulting to add special pieces that would appeal to the homeowner’s refined aesthetic.
The kitchen, at about 12 x 15 feet, is small but functional, so the design team focused on finishes that would make it sleek and sexy. They left the granite mostly unaltered but painted the wood cabinets taupe, added an inset stainless steel microwave to free up more counter space, and mounted a petite flat-screen television into the granite backsplash.
The team then upgraded the three-level railing. “We put in the glass panels and took out the wire mesh. It’s cleaner and it gave more stability to the space,” Weber says.
A walk to the second level reveals “a lovely little retreat,” Weber says, complete with a cozy sitting area/study, ample closet space, two calming bedrooms, and two baths. The team’s color and fabric choices were inspired, in part, by the homeowner’s business suits, so they developed ideas based on the tailored stitching and muted gray tones.
Outstanding features in the master bedroom include a built-in custom closet and striking floor-to-ceiling cherry wood panels against the far wall. (“It’s not the wood-paneling from the ’70s,” notes Weber.) The team also updated a walk-through closet between the kitchen and master bath by widening the hallway and adding shallow storage components. The bedroom features fine Sferra sheets as well as linens made by the firm, and two sweet portraits of darling whippets frame the bed.
“His master bedroom is one of the most luxurious that I’ve ever seen. It’s masculine, but very soft and extremely comforting,” says Weber, pointing to the decadent wall-to-wall carpet, closets that eliminate clutter, and elegant paneling. “It’s very quiet. It’s a space where your mind can be very open.”
The guest room features warm floor-to-ceiling drapes in a modern damask fabric, which obscures the cold view of a neighboring brick building.
The third level is home to an inviting wet bar and sitting area that leads to a private rooftop terrace with trees in oversize red boxes. “It is quite delightful,” Weber says of the terrace. And, in fact, the word “delightful” applies to the entire project.