Art Is Everywhere in This Maryland Home

See how you can blend artwork with your home design by following the lead of this unique Hyattsville, Maryland townhouse homeowner.

March 02, 2020

Photo By: Rachel Crouch

Photo By: Rachel Crouch

Photo By: Rachel Crouch

Photo By: Rachel Crouch

Photo By: Rachel Crouch

Photo By: Rachel Crouch

Photo By: Rachel Crouch

Photo By: Rachel Crouch

Photo By: Rachel Crouch

Photo By: Rachel Crouch

Photo By: Rachel Crouch

Photo By: Rachel Crouch

A Haven for Creativity

Educator by day, artist by night, Rachel Crouch has a unique style that shines through in her Hyattsville, Maryland home. As principal of a preparatory school, and owner — along with her twin sister, Rebecca — of RDC Art Gallery, Rachel knows the importance of art to education and personal expression. Her four-story home is also part gallery space with an ever-growing collection of art that can be experienced in each and every room.

A Renovated Dream House

Rachel's home was an undeniable find. Her four-level townhouse features four bedrooms, and each bedroom has its own private bathroom. It's a dream for families and houseguests alike, but it wasn’t always a marvel. "I bought this house as-is, so the previous owner walked away without doing any repairs," she recalls. The process of rehabilitation took years, and included everything from replacing faucets to building a bar. Three years after taking over, however, Rachel feels the moment of completion is in sight. "I only have a few more spaces to hang paintings before I'm completely out of space," she says.

Gallery Wall

One surefire path to great design is to lean into your strengths. For Rachel, it wasn't hard to figure out what the main focus of her living room would be. "The living room was the easiest area to design," she remembers. "I knew the paintings would take over the space so I chose furniture that added to the space but didn't take away from the paintings." This clarity of focus let Rachel remain understated in her furniture choices while the art says everything. "After that, the room pretty much designed itself," she says.

Building a Collection

Art runs in the Crouch family. Rachel and her twin sister were both introduced to painting by their mother, Diane. While both went on to become educators and principals of different schools, their passion for art has created a large catalog of respective works.

Making Space

As central as painting is to Rachel's life and her family, it's no wonder that it plays such a large role in the design of her home. "My artwork defines my home," she says. "It's the first thing you experience when you walk in. Every single wall has art on it — mostly black art. I want to tell a story on every floor and in every room."

Open Plan

The dining room epitomizes Rachel's approach to her open plan living and dining area. Modern streamlined furnishings like the rope dining chairs around a solid concrete table add a textured feel to the space while making it clear that the real visual attraction is the art on the wall. The walls carry all of the color, pattern and energy of the room, while the furniture offers a comfortable respite from which to take everything in.

Statement Art

In the hallway landing a feature wall commemorating the landmark Brown v. Board of Eduction Supreme Court decision is one of Rachel's favorite moments in the whole house. Rachel's collage wall is a pastiche of moments surrounding the integration of American schools. Her clippings profile the March on Washington, examples of resistance to school integration and even political cartoons outlining the arguments for change. The papier-mâché of historic events is a backdrop to a colorful portrait Thurgood Marshall. "This space is so important to me," remarks Rachel. "I have dedicated my whole life to educating Black and Brown children and I wanted a space in my home that spoke to my passion."

Mood Indigo

In the master bedroom, Rachel opted for a restful color palette. The color blue, that's first seen in the living room, also comes into the master, but in a much deeper tone. The darker blue promotes rest and relaxation. Art also makes an appearance, with a collection of paintings that complete the retreat-like feel.

Play Room

As one might expect from an artist's home, Rachel has many favorites among her collection. These range from a painting by famed artist Elizabeth Catlett to a yarn blanket that she inherited from her mother. But when asked about her favorite room in her home, Rachel's immediate answer is, "The fourth floor." Describing it as her, "getaway," she calls out the childlike themes, the toys and skateboards on the walls and the collection of artwork by Hebru Brantley as reasons why this room is her favorite space.

Curatorial Eye

The vivid display on the fourth floor, comes together through a combination of fun, eye-catching primary colors. Rachel decided to paint the feature wall gray and white in this space. The stripes in a calm palette take on a neutral feel behind the shades of bright red, purple, neon green and yellow that make up this striking Pop Art-style gallery wall.

Raising the Bar

The bar on the fourth floor features one of Rachel's crowning achievements for the space — a major DIY moment gone right. "I knew that once I owned a home, I wanted to have a bar and for the surface of the bar to be decorated in bottle caps. Even before I bought my home, I spent years collecting bottle caps. Once I placed each bottle cap where I wanted it to go, I finished it with resin. I love that I get to share my artwork with so many people. My dreams have literally come true."

Shades of Blue

The final room in the home is the guest bedroom. Rachel wanted it to be colorful but relaxing, an intentional effort reflecting one of her overall goals for the home — to create a place where family and friends can come and find rest. Reflecting on the design she says, "I consider my home a refuge. My dream was to create a space where people can come over, relax, take a nap and be comfortable while doing so. A space to come lay your head if only for a weekend."

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