A design team instills a 200-year-old Georgetown gem with elegant style and a cheerful spirit

A robust discovery phase yielded copious insights as Fabiola Martens set out to reimagine an 1820 Georgetown row house for its new owners. “I always like to get a lot of information in the beginning about my clients’ lifestyle, hopes and dreams—what they are looking for at this time in their lives,” the designer explains. As she recalls, a single nugget the wife shared with her established a framework for the entire project: “I want to smile when I walk in.”

The couple previously lived in a rambling Potomac home set on several acres. Having launched their two adult children, the empty-nesters were looking to downsize and move closer in, where they could enjoy Washington’s walkability. The 5,500-square-foot, Federal-style abode situated in the heart of the Georgetown Historic District, which they discovered in 2013, aligned

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