- - Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Blue House, at 4951 Rockwood Parkway NW in the District, provides the setting for the 2012 DC Design House, but it’s the interior designers who add the pizzazz.

The DC Design House, a benefit for Children’s National Medical Center founded by Debbie and Skip Singleton, showcases the talent of some of the city’s most experienced interior designers. This year’s home, built in 1956, belonged to Dr. Francisco Aguirre and his wife, Gladys. They raised six children in the 10,000-square-foot, seven-bedroom home and entertained numerous prominent Latin American political and business figures.

The nickname, “Blue House,” stems from the family’s decades-long tradition of adorning the residence with thousands of blue lights during the holidays.

While the formal spaces for entertaining offer splashy spectacles, some of the most appealing rooms in the Design House are those meant for quiet and private family moments. Annette Hannon, owner of Annette Hannon Interior Design in Burke, transformed a bland parlor into a warm yet sophisticated space by adding architectural details.

“This space had very little interest to it and tended to be a room that people could pass through on their way to the adjacent ballroom,” Ms. Hannon said. “We narrowed the entrance from the parlor into the next room a little to make it cozier, than added a ‘soft’ coffered ceiling without a lot of depth. To bring the eyes up we added panels above the fireplace mantel and details across the top of the curtains.”

Ms. Hannon replaced a closet with a custom-designed cabinet equipped with a wet bar and four narrow paneled doors for additional architectural interest.

“There’s a fine line between serene and boring,” Ms. Hannon said, “so we kept the color palette neutral while adding layers of interest in the ceiling, the moldings and the cabinet doors.”

The master suite, including the bedroom, a private deck and the master sitting room, each have a different style yet blend elements of traditional and modern taste.

Sharon Kleinman, owner of Transitions in Potomac, said the master bedroom was a boxy space with too many doors and not enough architectural interest.

“I took my inspiration for the color scheme from the garden outside, because one of the best features of the room is the view of the garden through the sliding glass doors,” Ms. Kleinman said. “The walls are a rich brown shade with a touch of aubergine for drama.”

The luxurious-looking bedding in shades of green is actually made of durable fabrics that can be cleaned easily, while underfoot is a fluffy white mohair rug. Ms. Kleinman added architectural interest by installing extra trim separated by an inch of paint to the crown molding, an inexpensive way to make the molding look more luxurious.

The master sitting room, designed by Tricia Huntley, owner of Huntley & Co. Interior Design in the District, offers an eclectic mix of traditional, luxurious styles and mid-century modern touches.

“I chose this gem of a space to design because I love the symmetry of the built-in bookcases, the windows on either side of the fireplace and the luxury of the elaborately carved fireplace mantel and intricate moldings,” Ms. Huntley said. “I like the idea of this being a luxurious space for both the morning and evening, a place that is quiet but also a little bit flirty and sexy.

“I like adding tension to a space with contrast, so you notice the carving of the mantel more because above it is a very sleek and modern op art mirror from the 1970s.”

Ms. Huntley designed her own round leather ottoman, which doubles as a table in front of two curving couches that fit the space perfectly while softening the edges of the room.

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