Home Dealers Calendar Articles Fine Art Database About AFA Login/Register
Home | Articles | Designer Style: Designing with Antiques & Fine Art

Featured design firm:
Brown • Davis
1 Persimmon Court
Bethesda, MD 20817

This is the living room of a Washington, D.C., house once owned by entrepreneur and collector Paul Mellon (1907–1999). The interior space with classical architectural elements was left intact and given a contemporary feel with the addition of modern art and furnishings. A neutral woven wool rug unifies the large room and seating areas. An eighteenth-century Waterford crystal chandelier contrasts with chairs custom made in the Art Deco style, and with an ottoman and round “sociable,” both of Brown•Davis design. The art work pays homage to Mellon’s collecting interests. A 1957 painting by Lee Krasner (1908–1984) hangs over the fireplace. Krasner was the wife of Jackson Pollack, and in her own right was a major figure among twentieth-century New York abstract artists. A painting by Spanish surrealist Joan Miró (1893–1983) draws attention to the corner of the room.

The annex in the Mellon house is set up as a library off the living room. To emphasize the verticality of the space, the curtains were mounted high and the crown moldings were painted the same color as the walls. The curtains are made of faux fur to add whimsy to the room. The sofa, upholstered in chocolate mohair, is a Brown•Davis design, as is the chair beside it. The English style coffee table is made of rosewood. The back stools with gilt legs are in the William Kent (1685–1748) style. The blown glass lantern is a reproduction. Contemporary bronze sculptures accent the room and complement the neutral color scheme.

This dining room is in Hollerith House in Georgetown, D.C., home of Herman Hollerith (1860–1929) one of the founders of IBM. This space combines objects from different periods to create a formal, yet relaxed feel. An early nineteenth-century English girandole mirror is placed over a mid-nineteenth-century Biedermeier bureau, which displays a Flight, Barr & Barr covered tureen. A set of six English chairs in the manner of London cabinetmaker Giles Grendey (1693–1780) surrounds the dining table. The play of vertical striping on the walls and the horizontal lines of the window sheers add a contemporary flair.

The guest bedroom in Hollerith House has been given a comfortable country aesthetic. Two windows overlook floral gardens, and French doors beside the bed lead to a balcony overlooking the grounds. A toile fabric of French design is used for the bed and for the Roman shades, which dress up the windows without covering the view. A modern glass chandelier and antique brass sconces with hand-blown glass globes provide soft lighting. Centered between the sconces, a gilded eighteenth-century style looking glass with Prince of Wales feathers hangs above a mid-nineteenth-century Biedermeier cabinet that has been finished with black lacquer. The stool at the foot of the bed is in French Louis XIV style and is playfully covered in a leopard print. The botanical prints from the early twentieth century and the sea grass carpet unify the interior with the gardens outside.

In this issue, we feature Brown•Davis Interiors, the design team of Robert Sidney Brown and Todd Dyer Davis. Their projects have included President and Senator Clinton’s two residences and one Senate office; the Washington, D.C., British Embassy residence for Sir Christopher Meyer and Lady Catherine; and the Columbia Country Club in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Their selective use of art and antiques allows them to create glamorous and current spaces that reflect each client’s interests.

Antiques and Fine Art is the leading site for antique collectors, designers, and enthusiasts of art and antiques. Featuring outstanding inventory for sale from top antiques & art dealers, educational articles on fine and decorative arts, and a calendar listing upcoming antiques shows and fairs.