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Moving on up – heritage townhouse remodel by Therese Baron Gurney

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Heritage townhouse remodel by Therese Baron Gurney

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Townhouses in historic city precincts have invariably been altered many times over the years, with each family putting its own stamp on the interior.

This townhouse in Georgetown, Washington DC had been through many such renovations by different owners, including Senator John Edwards and his wife. But the latest project has made the most dramatic transformation.

The owners commissioned architect Ankie Barnes of Barnes Vanze Architects and interior designer Therese Baron Gurney of Baron Gurney Interiors to substantially remodel the interior – a job that entailed removing numerous old renovations on the principal floors.

In remodeling the interior, Barnes opened up the hallway to create a large, double-height volume with a dynamic, sculptural steel and wood staircase. Plaster accumulated over more than 100 years was stripped from the spine wall to expose the original brick.

A series of living spaces on the first floor was reconfigured and openings realigned to create an enfilade of rooms with a seamless flow.


Baron Gurney says the design team worked closely with the owners to create an interior well suited to formal and informal entertaining.

"It's a classically modern interior in terms of the symmetry and layout, but the look is softened by the spice tones and earthy finishes. And although each living space is different, you can move a chair from one room to another and it will look right."

In keeping with the modern feel, Baron Gurney introduced key furniture pieces from modern designers, including Wendell Castle, Dakota Jackson, Ted Boerner and Matt Decell.

Other key features include area rugs custom designed to accentuate specific architectural elements. Suspended ceilings were also specified, to bring an intimacy to the formal dining room and kitchen, and to accommodate lights.

First published date: 25 October 2011

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Credit List

Architect Ankie Barnes, Barnes Vanze Architects (Washington, DC)
Interior designer Therese Baron Gurney
Structural engineer Robert Silman and Associates
Builder Recom Services
Flooring All heart American walnut
Wallcoverings Maharam Textiles; Knoll Textiles; faux painting by Jen Reyes, Elements Designing Interiors
Paints and varnishes Benjamin Moore
Lighting Lightolier
Heating Minnicks Mechanical
Drapes Twill Textiles
Area rugs Tufenkian Carpets
Home automation and audiovisual equipment Gramophone