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PHOTO: Gordon Beall



Designer Shazalynn Cavin Winfrey had an enviable challenge: to freshen up a Washington D.C.-area home that once hosted debutantes and presidential balls. She turned to chic gray stripes on the walls, modern art, and a jolt of hot pink — and kindly told us how the project came together.

Q: We love this space! What was your inspiration?

A. The inspiration came from old photographs of women standing on this stairwell in ball gowns.  The house has an actual ballroom that hosted an inaugural ball back in the day.  I envisioned a space that would feel welcoming and could be used for both formal and informal entertaining.

Q. That striped paper! Dish.

A. All of the mouldings were original and it was essential to create some unity in the space by running the stripe between all of these intricately carved details.  The chandeliers are just the perfect tipping point because they are light and graceful as the beaded crystal applied to the frame is just a little different from the faceted crystal pieces hanging by the dozens you typically see in houses of this age.

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PHOTO: Gordon Beall


Pink and gray are a classic combination. To add pink to an adult space, keep everything else in the room ultra-sophisticated.

Q. This is a classic room with modern art. How did you come to such a brave (and rockin’) pairing?

A. I think art creates an experience for the audience.  It is so rare to see people take risks with art in more traditional settings, and I wanted to demonstrate that when it is well composed, the space can handle such large statement pieces. It makes  it less predictable.  Interiors should make you think and these paintings really took center stage in this space.

Q. What’s your favorite thing about this foyer?

A. The thing that I like best about this space is that it is grand and somewhat formal but it doesn’t feel pretentious.  I can envision kids riding trikes through here, a dog perched on the bench in the front window and I can see girls dressed in debutante gowns gathering for a picture on the stairs.  It feels fresh and unencumbered by rules or traditions.


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PHOTO: Gordon Beall


Make the art in your home personal by framing family heirlooms. We love Winfrey’s take: christening gowns in thick Lucite frames from Erickson & Ripper Gallery in Alexandria, VA.

Q. Where’s your favorite place to find modern art?

A. I have been looking at paintings since I was a little girl and dreaming of spaces in which to enjoy them.  I will never forget a painting by Anne Packard that I fell in love with right out of college, and I can still remember the way that painting made me feel.  Probably my favorite gallery for modern art is the Nuart Gallery in Santa Fe. Artists like Erin Cone, Santiago Perez and Juan Kelly are represented here, and they serve as a constant source of inspiration for me.   Artists that I have recently fallen in love with are Ben Steele and Greg Murr. I  keep images of their work on hand, waiting for the perfect room to come along (an open minded client is also a big bonus).

Q. Where’s your favorite place to get inspired? 

A. My favorite places for inspiration are typically outdoors.  I have a cottage in Pennsylvania and the lichen, misted ferns, and blue starry nights provide sources of inspiration. But I am from the Southwest, and nothing could be quite as inspiring as the sunsets followed by the clearest night sky in which to view the Milky Way.


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Artist: Ruth Bolduan. Lucite frames: Erickson & Ripper Gallery. Wallpaper: SCW Interiors.

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