Washington, DC-based interior designer Zoë Feldman is intimately familiar with historic homes. She even describes her distinctive style of decoration as rooted in modernized classicism. When a client reached out about a thorough renovation of her pre-war two-bedroom, one-bathroom condo in the Kalorama neighborhood of DC, Feldman jumped at the opportunity to transform the space into a “well-appointed and functional” space that still retained the style of the homeowner.
“She has a warm and lively personality”, says Feldman. “We wanted to add pops of color and pattern, but still make sure the design remained sophisticated.”
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Feldman and her team had to get creative with space and budget planning. 70% of the total was set aside to create outstanding architectural elements – such as curved plasterwork details and a plasterboard hood in the kitchen – which increased the space and allowed the designer to work more cheaply elsewhere.
The kitchen and bathroom were “horrendously laid out,” says Feldman. “They felt like they were breaking in.”
Opening the galley to the dining room encouraged good flow and mingling. Paris Ceramics floor tiles and an Arteriors wall light tie it all together.Stacy Zarin Goldberg
With the help of general contractor Fine Point Construction, Feldman opened up the galley to allow it to flow into the dining room, a necessity for the client who loves to entertain. She had to install custom cabinetry due to the room’s unusual shape and size, and cites the tile as another luxury. But the team saved on furnishings, a faucet and a light fixture from Etsy, and by repurposing the client’s own pieces.
The materiality of the curved plaster architecture and hood add texture, but the shape helps soften the space. And Feldman added antique stone to give the kitchen a lived-in feel that feels both “cozy and accessible,” she says. “People can more easily relate to and be inspired by a smaller kitchen in a way they can’t with some of the designs seen on social media.”
Feldman actually later modeled one of the door profiles in her cabinet line with Unique Kitchens & Baths after the kitchen cabinets in that house because, as she says, the Feldman team “obsessed over how it turned out.”
“High style doesn’t always mean high spending.”
In the dining room, they installed simple upgrades like paint, lighting, and wallpaper, while sourcing other elements like the ceiling light and dining room chairs from vintage suppliers.
Feldman mixed hues in the pantry for added dimension, using Benjamin Moore Ceiling White on the ceiling, Farrow & Ball Dimity on the walls and crown molding, Farrow & Ball London Stone on the window frames, and Farrow & Ball Railings on the ceiling cabinets. She used the same white marble in the kitchen as in the bathroom and added fixtures from Etsy.
Stacy Zarin Goldberg
The team had to be particularly creative in the bathroom, where limited space meant every detail was important to both form and function. Without enough space for a double vanity, Feldman designed one with a console-supported shelf that extends across the toilet for things like makeup and hair paraphernalia, and added a recessed, full-height drywall medicine cabinet on the opposite wall around the countertop to keep clear. An open vanity with legs also makes the room appear larger.
Feldman reclaimed storage space by converting the hall closet outside the bathroom into a built-in closet with a vanity, mirror, and additional drawers and cabinets for storage. “That way, one person can get ready while another is in the shower,” Feldman explains. “And it eliminates clutter and makes bathroom organization so much easier.”
By reconfiguring the layout, Feldman was able to optimize the house’s limited space. “Now the spaces flow beautifully and the house feels fun yet elevated,” says the designer. “It really feels like her own and perfectly showcases her aesthetic and lifestyle.”
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