Erin Paige Pitts



Coastal Style Design Editor Erin Paige Pitts swings into action at the D.C. Design House

Written By: | Photographer: Geoff Hodgdon, Portrait of Erin by Daniel Swartz

I am excited and honored to be among the talented group of designers participating in this year’s D.C. Design House to benefit the Children’s National Medical Center. The show runs through May 8th and is in the former estate of the founders of Woodward and Lothrop department store. The home, currently owned by the Wasserman family, is located at 3134 Ellicott Street NW, Washington D.C., in the Forest Hills neighborhood just off Connecticut Avenue. The house is a 1925 English Country Tudor. It boasts 12,000 square feet and has a pool and koi pond on its grounds. Over the years, the home has hosted events for many dignitaries, politicians and celebrities.

I envisioned my room, the Pool Room, as a porchlike space or an aerie retreat from the more formal areas of the home. The house does not include any porches despite its grand size. The Pool Room is located between the Main Living Room and the grounds where the pool is located and has two large windows and a set of French doors overlooking the pool and a large bay window that looks onto Ellicott Street. In keeping with my love of elegant coastal interiors, I filled the room with all the things I love. To start, I painted the existing dark wood paneling in five coats of Farrow and Balls All
White. I used their 40% sheen on the walls and their 90% sheen on the trim, beams and doors. By using a high sheen on all surfaces, it made the room very light, reflective and bright. The original flooring was a dark-brown poured-terrazzo floor. I enlisted my favorite faux finishers, Twin Diamonds Studios, to paint the floors in a faux bois pattern, giving the room additional porchlike feel. I then added a diamond-patterned sisal rug from Stark to define the seating area. I chose white or taupe fabrics — all from Jim Thompson Fabrics — in natural linens to enhance and give a breezy, porchlike feel. Despite the neutral color palette, you will notice a subtle layering of patterns and textures that give the room depth and interest without a lot of color. The swings are my subliminal way of giving the room a relaxing overtone. I love being on a swing; it is difficult to be stressed out while on a swing.

I chose all the furniture in a light finish from a Maryland-based furniture manufacturer David Edward. David Edward’s products ( are entirely made from sustainable materials, and since they are local, it keeps the carbon footprint down. I anchored the back of the room with a large round-skirted table. I just love the table skirt and envision it blowing in the breeze on a warm summer day. The table skirt is in a semi-sheer fabric called Mosaica and has a large taupe border at the bottom. On top of the round-skirted table is a collection of my favorite design books and a Murano glass vase designed by my dear friend Thomas Fuchs, with Otium in NYC. The Murano vase has “rostri” detail in the center, which reminds me of sea urchins, another subtle coastal element. I then filled the room with shells, bone, starfish, natural woven baskets, lanterns, etc. The starfish hanging sculpture is something I designed and made myself, to create a beautiful sculptural backdrop for one of the swings. I especially love how the starfish spin and turn, creating shadows and plays of light.

It is truly magical and one of my favorite aspects of the room. Flanking the large bay window are four marine intaglios, which were custom-made for me by an artist from Florida. Each intaglio is a different sea creature: sea horse, starfish, sand dollar, etc. They are a very subtle and elegant way to reaffirm the coastal feel. I also feature the work of Maryland-artist Pamela Phillips. She captures the beauty of shells as still life. You can see two of her paintings in the room, a small one on an easel in the bay window and another hanging on the wall over the slipcovered chair. I just love the detail in Pam’s paintings.

The comment I hear the most as people enter the room is that it’s like a “breath of fresh air,” and that is exactly what I wanted to achieve. I hope you get a chance to visit this year’s D.C. Design House ( There are so many amazing spaces designed by many of the area’s most talented designers, such as Patrick Sutton, Liz Levin, Lauren Liess and Barbara Franceski, just to name a few.

Editor’s note
: Erin Paige Pitts is an interior designer who owns and operates her namesake design firm, Erin Paige Pitts Interiors, from her studios on Gibson Island and Bethany Beach. Recently named as one of the “Top 20 Young Designers to Watch in 2010” by Traditional Home magazine, Erin serves as the Design Editor for Coastal Style Magazine and will share her talents and insight in every issue. Email Erin with design inquiries at

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