Decorating a home is one of life’s simple pleasures for anyone who loves the build a nest. But, for some people “there’s no place like home” has to include lots and lots of color. For a Washington D.C. family they’ve taken their Federal style home to the next level in terms of both color and style. From bright walls to interesting artifacts and works of art this home is a one-of-a-kind must-see.
Deb Waterman Johns is a former editor for Vogue magazine and has an eye for art and design. Johns lives in what is known as a telescope house, a home where the oldest portion of the house is at the back, with larger additions added to the front over time. This architectural style is usually found in parts of New England and the Northeast.
Johns has added color and whimsy to absolutely every single corner of this historic home from the grand foyer to the green parlor room adorned on one wall with a kaleidoscope of artworks created by her 4 children.
A colorful resin art interpretation of Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz is a centerpiece in the foyer, as is a secretary filled with seasonally-rotating collectables that include a formidable trove of trinkets related to the British royal family.
Her own family is also well-represented in the silhouettes of her kids hung together on the wall and the antique wooden bakers rack painted with important names and dates of her family’s past.
She also has a collection of animal print items, including a leopard tea set. But, Johns has small collections all over her home in every room. She says that items, “…might have belonged to someone else initially and then they become part of your DNA.” She’s also a huge fan of patina as it’s a unique aspect of most older objects.
As one might expect from a former fashion magazine editor and a collector Johns also has a ton of art books lying around which she sometimes color-coordinates with the art or paint colors in a room.
The dining room is painted in a vibrant shade of periwinkle with a massive antique cabinet housing her large assembly of cake stands. On the other side of the room she has a gallery of dog paintings that honor the pets the family has loved over the years.
Everywhere you look there are hanging lanterns, Christmas ornaments, porcelain hands, tea paraphernalia, and works of art. Even the Tiffany-blue powder room is covered floor to ceiling with art and other objects. Another of her mottos is: “put a gold frame on anything and it’ll look fabulous” and true to form her home is filled with gold frames of every imaginable size, shape, and design.