The modern makeover of an historic Georgetown row house respects its architectural past

Traversing the streets of Georgetown, even harried passersby can’t help but pause to admire the neighborhood’s charming homes. Row houses steeped in period detail harken back centuries. But today, there’s no telling what awaits behind those quaint façades. While district regulations protect exteriors, many Georgetowners take their interiors in entirely new directions.

Consider, for example, the new owners of an historic 1820 row house. The couple with three grown children decided to leave their long-time residence in DC’s Wesley Heights in favor of Georgetown, where they could walk to restaurants, movies and the riverfront. Avid art collectors, they were drawn to the Federal-style home’s generous proportions. “The high ceilings and great wall expanses created space for larger-scale art that we never had before,” explains the husband, a real estate executive.

But the property also presented conundrums. The

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Bernice and Christian Nadeau bring the beauty of recycled leather to interiors around the globe

On EcoDomo’s factory floor, free-form platforms in light-gray, hand-stitched recycled leather are spread out like giant puzzle pieces. Once complete, they’ll be installed as raised seating in a Watergate office designed by Gensler; 150 columns and a reception desk will be covered in the same material.

Gaithersburg-based EcoDomo has long been a go-to source for commercial clients such as Marriott, Starbucks and Cartier; in fact, EcoDomo leather wraps bar fronts in 2,500 Starbucks worldwide. But DC-area designers and architects are just beginning to take notice of the company’s products—from flooring and wall and door panels with nail-head trim to countertops and headboards designed for hotels, restaurants, spas and private homes around the globe.

As Christian Nadeau, who founded EcoDomo in 2005, avers, “Whatever can be done with wood, we can do with leather.” The only

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Celebrity designer Michael Berman has teamed with Kravet on the Michael Berman Modern Furniture collection—a line of living and dining pieces inspired by curvilinear forms and a mid-century aesthetic. Pictured: Rounded brass legs and a tufted seat distinguish the Encanto bench. Available at Kravet in the Washington Design Center.

Ligne Roset introduces Clam, an easy-to-use sofa bed conceived by French designers Léo Dubreil and Baptiste Pilato in chic, clean-lined style. The seat and back are filled with polyurethane mattress foam and the sofa back drops down into a bed. Available at Ligne Roset in Upper Georgetown in a variety of fabrics.

Inspired by the Louvre’s curved dormers, the Andre Nightstand is part of the Milling Road Originals collection for Baker. Boasting textured-bronze feet and a range of finishes, it’s available at Baker Furniture, which plans a move from

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These homes make the most of their compact layouts – each one is smaller than 50 square meters in size, yet packs an abundance of unique personality. Whether you’re dreaming of a small home to call your own, or just want to make the most of what you already have, these spaces demonstrate how creative constraints can lead to inspiring breakthroughs. In fact, many adventurous souls who could otherwise afford spacious abodes are opting for a more streamlined lifestyle by choosing cozy apartments like these. It goes beyond practicality – the tiny home movement is part minimalism, part environmentalism, and part genuine curiosity. Use these ideas next time you need to spruce up a small space.

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An opportune facelift takes a Bethesda kitchen from frumpy to fabulous

A French Country look dominated a Bethesda home when it was purchased by owners who fell in love with the house—but definitely leaned toward a more modern sensibility. They hired Arlington Home Interiors for a cosmetic redo that included the Provençal kitchen, which featured cows tripping along the backsplash. “The previous owner had customized everything, so the kitchen was high quality,” recounts principal Suzanne Manlove, who worked within the existing space to transform its look. “Our clients preferred to keep it intact.”

First on the agenda: a thorough paint job. Manlove selected shades of pale gray from Benjamin Moore to cover the peripheral, cherry-hued cabinets and yellow walls. Faux paint company Artifice, Inc., concealed the cows, replicating the existing white-and-taupe ceramic tile.

Trusses accented the vaulted ceiling; Manlove removed their fussy corbels to create a cleaner profile, then painted

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