Color and patterns mix in this designer's Georgetown home
David Herchik isn't one of those designers whose signature style asserts itself as loquaciously as a Louis Vuitton logo. Look carefully at his work, though, and certain themes emerge. "I'm a big advocate of mixing strong pieces of furniture together, with each piece having its own bold lines that are a blend of both curves and rectilinear motifs," he explains. Proof of that approach is his recent design of a venerable Georgetown home overlooking the Potomac.
Built in 1911 for the two sisters who founded the Georgetown Garden Club, the house has aristocratic bones that demand their due. "The design had to be fitting for the grandeur of the architecture," David confirms. His floor-to-ceiling draperies, rich silk damasks and cut velvets, custom rugs, and oversize lighting, along with a few well-edited antiques, all honor the architecture. "At the same time, I wanted spaces to feel really soft and elegant," he says.
The best means to that end was color. "The palette of yellow-gold, cream, and slate-gray gives the design a soft sophistication," explains David, who used the colors to weave together the large formal living room and the adjoining dining room, repeating the living room draperies' embroidered silk on the dining room walls.
Yet however beautifully executed, color isn't too reliable for revealing whether a design is David's--he is as comfortable wielding intense, saturated hues and jewel tones as he is the softer classics that he used in this home. (One look at the rich garnet walls and bright accompanying hues of the lobby he designed in last year's Washington Design Center Showhouse proves his attitude toward color--it's all about what's appropriate for the location, client, and even his own mood. And BTW: He's contributed to 13 showhouses.)
Because of its articulation of the fluid and the linear in tandem, neoclassical, not surprisingly, is David's favorite design period. "I love it because the pieces really relate to a mixing of the genders--they're not too hard, they're not too fluffy." Neoclassical references appear not only in his residential work, but in most of those 13 showhouse rooms, as well as in his Capsule Collections furniture.
Still, a period purist? Not really. David knows when to let a design chill in the moment, out of 18th-century reach. This home's casual family room is proof. The master bedroom's jazzy, overscale rug motif and its beautifully funky painted-mirror chest reveal yet another truth: David also knows how to let go and just have fun.
Photography: Gordon Beall
Architect: David Jones Architects, 1739 Connecticut Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20009; 202/332-1200, davidjonesarchitects.com.
Interior design: David Herchik, JDS Designs Inc., 528 8th St. N.E., Washington, DC 20002; 202/543-8631, jdsdesigns.com.
"I always mix the male and the female form together--the yin and the yang," David Herchik says. The living room's ivory-lacquered armchairs, whose arms sweep out in graceful curves from their rectangular backs. And there's good news for admirers: The chair is available through the first of Edward Ferrell+Lewis Mittman's Capsule Collections, a new launch, with David as the debut collection's designer. The armchairs are only one example of his affinity for a yin-yang combo. "Even the living room coffee tables combine male and female shapes," says David, noting that their rectangular bleached-oak tops feature a counterpoint of inlaid circles.
In the living room, a custom mirror crowns a Rose Tarlow table.
A nailhead-trimmed chair in Old World Weavers fabric stands near a circa-1865 French cabinet.
A pair of Donghia "Saratoga" sofas covered in green "Oxytone" from Donoff Textiles makes the family room--part of an addition by the current owners--invitingly comfortable. The "New Leaf" area rug from The Rug Company was custom-colored.
Holly Hunt chairs and a custom table are lit by a custom Venini chandelier. Walls sport a Fadini Borghi fabric. A Donghia mirror hangs at the fireplace.
An antique lantern from London illuminates a David Iatesta table. The area rug and stair rug are both from Stark Carpet. The painting is by artist Richmond Burton.
In the master bedroom the custom "Rosettes" carpet from Stark injects dynamic movement into the serenity created with custom-painted walls by Donald Kaufman Color. An antique French chaise is covered in a Pollack fabric. The painted-mirror bedside cabinet is from Mitchell Yanosky Custom Finishes.
The master bathroom's floor by Renaissance Tile and Bath is laid in a custom mosaic design by David, who re-covered the vintage chair and ottoman in periwinkle "Tides" from Perennials. Architect David Jones executed the redo, including the new vanity.
Washington, D.C., designer David Herchik.