I recently had the opportunity to meet one of my favorite designers, Jim Beebe Hawes of the McLean, Virginia based design firm Caldwell-Beebe (Jim is the designer who created the magnificent interior of the Chespeake Bay house that I posted about in December). We hit it off immediately! The next day I was thrilled to get an email from Jim with pictures from a recent design project he had completed in the West End of Washington, DC, and permission to create a post using these unpublished photos.
Jim's clients for this project had always lived in a traditional houses (one was featured in the magazine Traditional Home in 2001), and were moving out of a traditional house in Charleston, South Carolina. When moving to DC, the 'young at heart' empty nesters were ready for a change. Jim's challenge: to make both the husband (a lover of contemporary style) and the wife (an avid traditionalist) happy. In other words, to create a marriage of styles.
The entryway sets the tone. A signed 18th century French fauteuil and antique tole plant stand look right at home next to the Saladino 'Platinum' console and subtle contemporary art. A few carefully chosen accessories are on the console - a blanc de chine Chinese dog and silver boxes. The space, already filled with light because of the architecture, looks ethereal with the beautiful light floors. The organic form of the branches is the perfect touch for this space. The paintings are by David Bell, owner of David Bell Antiques in Georgetown. His store is one of the 'go-to' places in DC for antiques (the antique tole plant stand in this picture is from his store) and his reputation as a painter is growing. He mainly paints on commission, and will create contemporary masterpieces to the exact color specification of his clients.
The glass walls make the space quite contemporary and fill the room with light, but how is privacy maintained with no visible window treatments? Jim said that the ceiling is recessed and privacy solar shades are mounted in the space created by the recess (this can be seen in the picture below). The shades can be pulled down when there is a need for privacy or to block the sun, and when pulled up the shades are invisible due to the room architecture. Jim said that his clients enjoy the view so much that they rarely lower the shades!
The sofa is Saladino's "Cape Sofa" upholstered in J. Robert Scott's Silk Tapis, with two pillows, one in Fortuny fabric and the other in Jim's signature diamond quilted ultrasuede.
I am particularly enamored with the antique Swedish armoire. It is circa 1800, and when opened reveals the initials of the couple who received it as a gift on their wedding day in 1819. What a history this piece must have! A flat screen TV is mounted within. The ottoman/bench is the Randolph Minor bench by Niermann Weeks, upholstered in a Great Plains nubby linen. (By the way, when checking the Niermann Weeks website for this post, I noticed that they have a brand new blog. It looks very promising!)
The coffee table is one of Jim's favorites, the Saladino three-legged coffee table with marble top. The paintings on either side of the armoire are by David Bell. I love to see symmetry on either side of an armoire, but usually I see this achieved with sconces or framed prints. The look of a set of four unframed paintings is quite beautiful.
Another one of Jim's favorite pieces is the Ellington wing chair by Dessin Fournir. He says the chair is not only beautiful, but also incredibly comfortable. The Ellington wing chair is upholstered in a sophisticated Classic Cloth linen. A custom Tibetan rug is on the floor.
The library/study is a cozy little room, with walls covered in ultrasuede. I love the contemporary piece of art set in a Baroque frame; the elaborate frame is the perfect contrast to the abstract art. The art is by Maxine Wright, and is from the collection of Vincent Price. In this picture, the subtle window sheer (described above) can be seen.
Jim's design challenge was to combine contemporary style with an element of the traditional; if the intent of the project was a 'marriage of styles', the resulting union is incredible! The contemporary is brought in with the architecture, the streamlined furnishings, and the art; the traditional is present in the antiques, the beautiful hand crafted Tibetan rug, the soft styling of the many of the upholstered pieces, and the classic fabrics. Jim also notes that many of the accessories add to the traditional element (many of which are not seen in these pictures); silver boxes, horn boxes, blanc de chine, a sweet Chinese table or two, balustrade lamps, a crusty French window frame, antique tole planters, and Redouté engavings are but a few of the treasures throughout the home.
I am not sure whether I have ever seen a home that has Swedish antiques, contemporary art, and Saladino furniture all under one roof! The wife took a big leap of faith and a major step in moving to a 'glass box', but was so thrilled with the results that she called her husband at work after the furniture was installed and thanked him for giving her such a beautiful place in which to live. Jim said that there is no better feeling than having his clients so delighted with his work.
In an interesting follow up, the couple received an unsolicited offer substantially over their purchase price just 90 days after moving in. What a great testament to the power of beautiful interior design.
To see another amazing project by Jim, please see my post on the home on the Chesapeake Bay.
All photos used with permission from Caldwell-Beebe.