Modern Design Meets the Center-Hall Colonial: A Washington D.C. House Gets a Bright New Guise

It was a case of strange bedfellows: an Italian couple based in Washington D.C. approached local architecture firm Fowlkes Studio with a 1980s brick Colonial and an impressive collection of pedigreed European modernist furniture. How to combine the two into a family home?

Fowlkes, which is run by husband-and-wife team, VW and Catherine Fowlkes (they studied architecture separately—he at Harvard, she at MIT—while living together), rose to the challenge by deftly streamlining both exterior and interior. Out went the window shutters and the center hall. In came the Poul Henningsen front door light, the Finn Juhl sideboard, and the  custom cabinetry in place of partitions.

It’s a makeover that transformed the house from the kid next door to international sophisticate. Let’s take a tour.

Photography by Jenn Verrier, courtesy of Fowlkes Studio (@fowlkesstudio).

the new looks begins at the entry. the italian owners—she’s  12
Above: The new looks begins at the entry. The Italian owners—she’s works for an international organization; he’s in tech—are confirmed modernists, hence the painted brick (it’s Blackened from Farrow & Ball at 50 percent tint), new Marvin casement windows, orange steel stair rail, and aforementioned Poul Henningsen copper sconce. “On a block of buttoned-up red brick [it’s in Spring Valley], these details help the house stand out,” says Catherine. (Scroll to the end for a look at it Before.)
“the furniture is almost all well known pieces from a mix of italia 13
Above: “The furniture is almost all well-known pieces from a mix of Italian, French, and Danish modern designers and architects. Every home our clients have lived in has incorporated these pieces, even their parents’ house,” says Catherine. The Vico Magistretti Chesterfield-style Raffles sofas and circular Sen tables are available from De Padova, a Milan-based company with a showroom in downtown NYC.