Tenleytown Arts and Crafts-style home gets eclectic makeover

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Real Estate,Merlisa Lawrence Corbett

Interior designer Shanon Munn infused a Tenleytown couple's eclectic taste into a jazzy living and dining room space for their Arts and Crafts-style home.

"The house feels eclectic, and that's just the way that the couple is," said Munn, principal of McLean-based Ambi Design Studio. "That is the way their furniture is, the art; it's pretty much a blend throughout."

Built in 1922, the home underwent a major renovation in the 1980s that included an addition to the back. When Julie Coons and her partner Lisa Curry purchased the house eight years ago, they decided to redesign the addition to reflect their more casual, modern lifestyle.

Resources
fabricut.com
ambidesignstudio.com
jamescummingsaia.com
bolierco.com

First they hired architect James Cummings, who incorporated the Frank Lloyd Wright interpretation of Asian Arts and Crafts. This included Shoji sliding doors and Japanese-style horizontal wood railings on the stairs and second-floor landing overlook.

"I've been fortunate to do a lot of travel and I just candidly bought a lot of things that I like," said Coons, who lived in Japan for four years and has traveled extensively through Southeast Asia and Africa. "I suppose all the things coalesce because one's taste kind of has a common theme."

Munn's challenge was to merge Cummings' architectural design with furnishings, art and artifacts that Curry and Coons had collected. "We wanted everything too look very cohesive but very Julie and Lisa," Munn said.

A large wall served as a canvas to display Curry's collection of New Orleans Jazz Festival posters. Ironically, that wall had been a design dilemma that frustrated the couple for years. The eight colorful jazz posters now create the cadence for a space brimming with color, texture and style.

Wide and tall, and next to a floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace surround, the wall seemed to diminish everything until they hung the posters on it.

A believer in repurposing objects, Munn noticed the posters, in different frames, hung on walls in halls and other rooms throughout the house. "They were all framed differently," she said. "It's perfectly fine just because that is the way this house is. The house is fusion. The artwork is fusion."

Without changing the frames, Munn spent an hour arranging the posters on the floor before hanging them. "Because we worked really hard at balancing the colors, balancing the sizes, where the different sizes went, it looks harmonious," she said.

The posters complement, instead of compete with, the fireplace. "You have to respect that," Munn said about the prominence of the stone fireplace.

She installed sliding horizontal bamboo shelves beneath the wall-mounted television and placed the television like it was a piece of art.

An armless sectional from West Elm is positioned opposite the television and fireplace. Those seated at the sectional can peer through the railing separating the step-up dining area from the living room.

A gorgeous Neoclassic dining table from Bolier & Co. anchors the dining area. A tufted Bolier bench-style daybed with eco-friendly fabric from Fabricut "serves as a bridge between the spaces," Munn said. "I think color, scale and form, which are the basis of design, bring a space together."

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Merlisa Lawrence Corbett

Special to The Washington Examiner
The Washington Examiner