Color and Pattern Turn This Historic Home into a Fresh and Functional Cottage

White living room with a marble fireplace and a flatscreen tv.
Photography by Stacy Zarin Goldberg, Design by Pamela Harvey

Text by Bethany Adams

Nearly a century old and with a history that includes residents like Barbara and George H. W. Bush, the Formants’ Washington, DC, home was certainly a space worth preserving. So, when homeowners Kelly and John Formant decided it was time for a change, they opted to build onto the existing home rather than start fresh. “They were really excited,” says interior designer Pamela Harvey. “They had lived in the house forever and really wanted a more functional space in the back of the house.”

A blue and white living room.
Photography by Stacy Zarin Goldberg, Design by Pamela Harvey

They brought on George Myers, president of GTM Architects, to design the updates, while senior associate Tamara Gorodetzky worked alongside him to bring the details to life. The design included creating an open kitchen and family area behind the original structure for easy flow. “We restructured the house, so it now functions as a center-hall Colonial, with a nice wide staircase and windows going up all three floors,” says Tamara, noting that bringing light into and throughout the home was a priority.

A living room with blue and light pink accents.
Photography by Stacy Zarin Goldberg, Design by Pamela Harvey

The redesign resulted not only in a more functional layout with unobscured views to the garden, but it also offered unique character in the form of extensive trim work, paneling, and arched doorways. “I actually loved drawing all the trim,” notes Tamara, who worked closely with the millworker to get the details—like the extra-wide casings that frame many of the home’s openings—just right.

A breakfast nook with white chairs, a blue-and-white rug, and contemporary light fixture.
Photography by Stacy Zarin Goldberg, Design by Pamela Harvey

The delicate elegance of the detailing laid the groundwork for Pamela to come in with subtle colors that would highlight the home’s inherent charms. “[Kelly] has a really clear love of the color white, and I have kind of a thing about blue,” Pamela says. Pulling both hues together, the design team used Farrow & Ball paints in muted blues and gray-blues throughout, while performance Sunbrella fabrics satisfied Kelly’s love of white in a practical way.

A white kitchen with blue-and-white bar stools.
Photography by Stacy Zarin Goldberg, Design by Pamela Harvey

The serene palette finds sophisticated highlights in the gold accents brought in with hardware and light fixtures, balancing the softer spirit alongside touches of rich wood tones. “We did a more modern twist with the light fixtures, but overall, our design style in the house is very classic and clean,” Pamela says.

A dining room with a dark wood table and blue-and-white furnishings.
Photography by Stacy Zarin Goldberg, Design by Pamela Harvey

Augmenting those classic charms, Pamela expertly mixed patterned textiles and wallpapers, combining contrasting styles like block prints, animal patterns, and Eastern-inspired motifs without allowing any of them to overpower the others. “That was really our goal for this particular project: to have that really quiet and subtle feel and introduce a lot of color and pattern, but in a very neutral way,” she says.

A bed with blue-and-white bedding.
Photography by Stacy Zarin Goldberg, Design by Pamela Harvey

From the embroidered fabric that covers the walls of the dining room—where a powder blue performance material on the chairs ties in the painted ceiling—to the Greek key wallpaper that backs the paneling in the master bedroom, every choice deepens the home’s personality. “I feel like the house really has a lot of charm, character, and elegance,” Pamela says. “And that was really our goal—keeping it that way and bringing in accessories that also spoke to that.”

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