Monday, January 10, 2011


When architects Hugh Newell Jacobsen and son Simon took on the task of renovating an 1815 historic Georgetown townhouse, they didn't expect to rebuild 85 percent of the dwelling.

Dr. Tina Alster and Paul Frazer own this history laden home in Washington. Clean lines and a pristine interior make a great home for the couples decorative and fine art collection.

The history behind this home is a must read.  ENJOY!

This beautiful home can be found in the February issue of Architectural Digest. 

We are under a state of emergency and winter storm watch as I prepare this post at 7 PM Sunday, with everything closed, including the roads, so I will hopefully see you back here Tuesday!  Just in case, I have prepared several posts that will post each day.
I also start back to school this week, and my daughter and I are going to her grandmother's house for the weekend.  Whew!
See you soon,
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Anonymous said...

Oh, I hope the winter storm doesn't affect your electricity. I love the exterior, reminds me of Nantucket a bit. xo

Design Elements said...

love the exterior too. Have a wonderful new week!

Design in the Woods said...

The wood floors go a long way to warm up all that white. Lovely! I saw that you are interested in sculpture, you might enjoy this blog, Stay warm and safe!

Anonymous said...

Hi Teresa..hope the storm has passed over and everything is well again...
Love the home..I could move right in...
have a super Monday..

quintessence said...

Haven't heard the news so don't know how badly you were hit by the storm - but your semi-southerners aren't as used to this weather so I'm sure it causes a lot of issues. Although Jacobsen is not quite my aesthetic he does provide a great background for art!

The Photodiarist said...

Most of all, I want a shoe close like that one. How divine!

The Ancient said...

Why oh why did these people want to live in Georgetown? Are there no lofts in Washington, no empty lots in Potomac?

A beautiful Federal house with a historic interior has been completely destroyed. What a terrible waste.

The interior is a charmless mash-up of "contemporary modernism" (complete with Jacobsen's bookcases), and the exterior is in obvious violation of the village's historic preservation guidelines. I wonder who managed that?

I see the house nearly every day. When Herman Wouk and his wife lived there, it was a considerable house. Now it's something that I shudder to look at (as do all the neighbors).

(I suppose the bright lining is the interior will now be gutted again by the next owners, since there's nothing much worth keeping.)

Marianne - Style For Living said...

Love the exterior! I wouldn't mind that shoe closet either! Be safe out there.

Val said...

Gorgeous!! I heart the shoe closet!

Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking said...

This home is so pretty. I love the closet and the space for the shoes. Glad I found your blog.

Teresa at Splendid Sass said...

That is what is wonderful about having so much to choose from. There are many that love the modern look. I like a mix of traditional and modern.
I read this piece in AD, and it didn't appear to have any legal issues. I did find the history behind the home very interesting, so I understand how you could feel this way about the renovation.
Thank you for your comment.

Luciane at said...

This is so interesting, isn't it? Looking from outside you'd never think it would look that inside! Shocking and beautiful!

Have a wonderful week, T!


Luciane at

Julie said...

Lovely and clean interior Teresa. Thank you for posting them.

The Down East Dilettante said...

Absolute bull manure to say that Jacobsen and son had no idea that they'd renovate 85%, as in fact, there's nothing they like to do more. I love the modern, and I love the old, but I don't think one trumps the other. Here we see ego untrammeled, and something in itself fine and unique destroyed in the name of making one's own statement. Shame on all involved. Ancient, often wise, is so correct here. There must have been a nice loft somewhere else that these people could have hired Mr. Jacobson to provide his seven standard design cliches for.

Cristina said...

Such beautiful eye candy! Thanks for sharing!! :)

Cristina from

Anonymous said...

"This beautiful home can be found in the February issue of Architectural Digest."

Well, there ya go. I had higher hopes for Margaret Russell than this. The interior's been stripped of memory; indeed, the exterior appears as though every inch of patina has been sandblasted, as well. But by God, they live in Historic Georgetown.

Angela Duke said...

The juxtaposition of old and new, traditional and modern, is so refreshing in this home. I am a lover of all things traditional, but it is important to not get lost in your ways all of the time. This is a wonderful example with perfect execution.

Bravo, Ms. Russell. The magazine editors' game of musical chairs has seemingly ended well, as this is a perfect example of ARCHITECTURAL achievement.

Great post!

{av} said...

I know EXACTLY where that house is! I lived in Georgetown (in DC) while in school there and passed it all the wonderful to finally see inside! Love love love those bookshelves. Sigh. xoxo {av}

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