Everyday Minimalist Living Room

Designer J Allen creates a stunning contemporary living space with elegantly curved furniture, simple light fixtures and abstract artwork.

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When designer J Allen took on this Washington, D. C., project, she knew it involved a major remodel. She was transforming four separate rooms into one large open space after all. Even with the addition of a brand new ceiling on her to-do list, Allen achieved a cool, minimalist living space that embraces the view of the city.

Describe the homeowners' wishlist.

The homeowners were downsizing from a more traditional style home and wanted an open floor plan that was clean, simple and elegant. They wanted a great space to entertain where everyone has a front row seat to the spectacular view.


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What were the homeowners' design problems?

This space was originally comprised of four separate rooms, so knocking down the walls was just the beginning. Defining each area without walls can be a challenge as it requires consideration of traffic patterns, anchoring pieces and creatively separating each area while keeping it open to others without the space appearing cluttered or disjointed.

What was your biggest obstacle in this space?

Lighting was the biggest challenge in this project since taking down the walls required redefining the space and key areas using light. Since this is a condo, electrical access is limited above the unit by a number of factors. We had to add drop the ceiling for additional fixtures and create a tray for the dining area chandelier.

How does the end result match up with your original vision?

This space is exactly what I envisioned: clean and simple.

What lessons did you learn?

There are always surprises in a renovation project. Anytime I have to go into walls or make structural changes, I prepare for the absolute worst possible scenario. I would have never guessed that we'd end up having to drop the ceiling to change the lighting plan in the space. Something as simple as adding a light fixture can become quit the production.

What are the "hidden gems"?

The movement created by the stone fireplace transitions right into the carved wave pattern in the rug and creates this tranquil mood. This really sets the tone and directs you through the space. The use of mirrors throughout the space is key in extending the outdoor view to every angle and reflecting the light to create natural pin spots throughout the day.

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