House Beautiful’s “Small Spaces” July/August issue is packed with big ideas. I admit I fall a little in love with every project I write about, and Mary Douglas Drysdale‘s work in a tiny-ish Georgetown townhouse in this issue is no exception. First of all she is so lovely. Her genteel charm so infuses her interiors that they almost seem to smile at you from the page. I can’t think of a nicer compliment.
No wonder I identify her with the color yellow. It’s a happy color. “But why do I think of you with those yellow and white checked curtains?” I asked her. She did them for a show house years ago, then brought them home to her own house, which was later on the cover of Veranda. Ah-ha! Yes! The beauty and freshness of them has lingered in my tiny mind ever since. I am not alone, she tells me, and every now and then–as here–she reprises them for a client.
I love the old Venetian chair by the door. It’s like a piece of sculpture–and a place to put your pocketbook and keys. Every front door needs that.
Look closely at the living room walls and floors, both of which received special paint treatment. That kind of visual layering is how you pack so much style into 500 square feet. I love the snappy Madeline Weinrib rug with the traditional damask upholstery, don’t you? And do you have a pretty set of china somewhere you might dust off and arrange artfully in a bookcase? Just for a change of pace?
Here’s the dining area from above. A simple gate leg table and chairs painted white. Multi functional and not obtrusive.
These small row houses were originally built around the turn of the 20th century to accommodate the folks who worked in the big houses a few blocks away.
The two rooms upstairs were re-purposed into a bedroom and closet/dressing area. The owner wanted to use childhood furniture that had been painted by her grandfather. Mary Douglas repeated its delicate floral motif on the walls and bed. Aww. Another family piece, a rather imposing mahogany secretary, works beautifully as a linen press. A custom painted cotton rug gives a light, contemporary touch.
Pick up the July/August “Small Spaces” issue of HB while you still can. It’s one of our most popular issues of the year.
Photos by Björn Wallander for House Beautiful.