Inside a Traditional Washington Depot Home with Surprising Interiors
A masterful mix of periods and styles fills a Washington Depot residence.
Just inside the entrance of a traditional Washington Depot residence predictably composed of wood and stone, there’s a pair of vintage carved wood chairs not so predictably upholstered in leather and cowhide. A few steps down the hall, the living room hosts a quartet of chairs with formal profiles gathered around a contemporary Lucite coffee table and an abstract painting perched against a country-style, stacked-stone fireplace. More unexpected pairings occur in the kitchen, where the outsized white chandelier composed of resin flowers is suspended from a rustic wood ceiling beam, and in the primary bedroom where an antique bench with a gold finish gets cozy with a clean-lined leather bed. According to interior designer Donna Benedetto, such juxtapositions were all part of the plan. “When you have traditional elements like moldings and paneling as a backdrop, combining periods and styles in surprising ways keeps things feeling current, interesting and multidimensional,” she explains.
It was the structure’s classic elegance and simple materials palette that first attracted her clients, Jennifer and David Yedid. “I grew up in a stone Colonial, and this house felt like it had a sense of history,” says Jennifer, who with her husband sought the perfect weekend country home to share with their two young sons. As for Benedetto’s appeal, she adds, “I liked that Donna thought every room should have some friction and not everything should be matchy-matchy.”
Accordingly, Benedetto handily melded refined custom pieces with vintage items, adding in modern art and eye-catching wallcoverings along the way. About the pervasive role of the latter, the designer says, “Jennifer has great style and a good eye, and she was drawn to strong wallpapers, so we used those to establish the overall tone.”
When the homeowner fell hard for a Designers Guild paper featuring an abstracted feather motif, for example, Benedetto used it on the wall panels in the study to bring color to the otherwise neutral space. An Hermès design depicting a jungle enlivens the powder room, and a wallcovering illustrating a Miami street scene rendered in pinks and pastels brings an intentional feminine vibe to the laundry room. “I live with three males, and I needed at least one girly space,” shares Jennifer.
Pastels aside, the prevailing color scheme of mink brown tones, creams, whites, blues and greens was established by a scarf from the homeowner’s collection. About the Hermès textile framed in the dining room, Benedetto says, “It was the inspiration for everything.” Utilizing her natural flair for mixing materials, the designer rounded out the space with a glass table on a brass base surrounded by high back white lacquer chairs with a combination of a green velvet spotted leopard motif and a chinoiserie scene on the seats. “For texture, I added a white twig chandelier, an animal hide rug in a herringbone pattern, and a subtle silver-backed grasscloth to the walls.”
Insisting that a girl can never have enough animal prints (“They are even in my son’s room,” says Jennifer, referring to the cheetah print rug), the entry floor covering and steps to the second-floor landing feature an antelope pattern. Along with the animal-hide floor covering in the living room, they are all part of a thread that tie the spaces together. “I generally like things calm overall but with a little bit of pop,” adds the homeowner. Items like the “I had to have it,” spindle chair poised beside a black lacquer faux-horn side table in the family room, and a burl wood chair upholstered in luscious lemon velvet in the aforementioned study handily check the pop box.
About the end result, the homeowner says, “There are different vibes going on but they work beautifully together.” The designer concurs, “The continual mix that runs through the entire house creates continuity, and makes everything come together.”
The print version of this article appears with the headline: Winning Combinations.