#1 Capitol File, Summer 2009


Green Glamour: A local interior decorator embraces being green without going granola.


A lesser-known fact about McLean-based designer Barbara Hawthorn is she did a stint at the EPA fresh out of graduate school.  She refers to the experience as a detour that stayed with her.  Barbara’s signature style blends classical beauty and modern comfort, creating rooms suited to today’s lifestyles.  To these timeless spaces, she always adds something green. 

Capitol File: What is your design philosophy?

Barbara Hawthorn: It is all about balance.  To design with a classic aesthetic, yet everyday practicality.  I call it functional opulence.  I am also a longtime advocate of incorporating environmental design.

CF: Can you share your formative influences?

BH: I grew up in Europe, Paris and London.  There, the beauty of classical design is imprinted on you, the art and the architecture, all of it.  Also at the EPA, I worked in the field of air pollution, both outdoor and indoor.  All of this became integral to my vision.

CF: When did you first try green design?

BH: In the early 1980’s, I helped a client with an allergen-free bedroom for her son who suffered from allergies.  Since, I have always designed with a conscience.

CF: Where do you think interior design headed in the DC area?

BH: People still want the beauty and values that exist in classicism, but they also want to use new products and take advantage of innovative technologies that respect the environment.

CF: This space is clearly in your signature style.  How do you pull off green—and glamorous—so well?

BH: Green does not mean you cannot have all the elegance of traditional design.  In this foyer, the classicism is in the beauty of the hand-carved molding, which is every bit as magnificent as old architectural detail.  The modernity comes in the dark and light palette, the sisal carpeting, as well as in the balance of antique and new furnishings, including the chaise I designed.  It also uses low VOC Benjamin Moore white paint, energy efficient low voltage lighting, and windows free of heavy drapery to let in natural light. 

#2 Washingtonian, April 2009


You've go to Try: Five resident experts--including a top chef and Alexandria's mayor--talk about their favorite places in Old Town

Cute Shoes and Ghost Tours:

Mary Cook is the director of the tiny Target Gallery in the Torpedo Factory Art Center (105 N. Union St.; 703-838-4565).  Since 2006, she has hosted traveling exhibits by contemporary artists.

-"I like the Union Street Public House (121 S. Union Street; 703-548-1785).  They know exactly what I want: cheeseburger—medium-well, no lettuce—with a Star Hill beer on the side." 

-"I also enjoy going to the Momo Sushi & Café (212 Queen Street; 703-299-9092) with girlfriends.  I get the Philly Roll with salmon and cream cheese."

-"I go to the Glynn Jones Salon (720 King Street; 703-549-4000), the one with the Union Jack outside.  They do a great clear glossing treatment for curly hair and make my miniature dachshund, Ralphy, feel welcome."

-"I’m on an art salary, but I love The Shoe Hive (115 S. Royal Street; 703-548-7105).  My last buy was a pair of brown leather sandals with wooden heels.  They were on sale."

-"When I have family visiting, especially with kids, we do a ghost tour starting at Ramsay House (221 King St.; 703-838-4200).  It’s a fun way to show off the town’s history."


Artistic Inspiration:

Morou Ouattara opened his highly regarded restaurant Farrah Olivia (600 Franklin St.; 703-778-2233) in 2006.  He does creative cooking in the back while his wife, Heather, welcomes guests in the front.

-"I find the Torpedo Factory inspiring.  People weld, paint, design jewelry, and make pottery.  I like to see things being made…I start to think about food."

-"I go to the professional-cook store La Cuisine (323 Cameron St.; 703-836-4435) for rare cookbooks, terrine molds, and assorted cutters. If I miss an issue of Art Culinaire, I buy it there."

-"When I need last-minute flowers—birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day—I run across the street to Bloom Fresh Flowers (625 S. Washington St.; 703-299-9929).  They put together organically grown arrangements." 

-"Sometimes I need to get away from caviar and foie gras. I like Five Guys (107 N. Fayette St.; 703-549-7991) for an old-fashioned messy burger.  I especially love the peanuts; I can’t eat them at home because one of my daughters has allergies."


A Taste of Europe:

Hungarian-born Erika Szuprics and her husband, Nandor, are co-owners of The Sugar House Day Spa & Salon (111 N. Alfred St.; 703-549-9940).  In a large historic townhouse, the full-service spa has pampered Alexandrians for ten years.

-"I like Asian Bistro (809 King St.; 703-836-1515) for ethnic food.  You can eat healthy.  I get the Asian Lettuce Wrap and the Rock ‘n’ Roll sushi is good." 

-"When my son was little, I took him to play in the sandbox at Windmill Hill Park (501 S. Union St.) down by the river.  Now he’s twelve and we go to Aftertime Comics (1304 King St.; 703-548-5030) on King Street for new and vintage comics."  

-"I enjoy Arts Afire (1117 King St.; 703-838-9785), a gallery and gift shop for pretty things made of glass.  I bought a hand-blown glass plate in purple, my favorite color.  It sits on my buffet at home."

-"Bittersweet Bakery 9823 King St.; 703-549-2708) has a great Bavarian fruitcake with whipped cream that reminds me of Eastern Europe."    

-"When the weather’s hot, Nandor and I get ice cream in waffle cones at Pop’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream (109 King St.; 703-518-5374) —I’m plain vanilla, he’s a chocolate guy—and then we walk around the marina."


The Right Fit:

Former Washington Post staffer John Harris started Politico with fellow journalist Jim VandeHei to cover the national political scene.  Politico is available in print four days a week, though it reaches its widest audience 24/7 online.

-"Hank’s Oyster Bar (1026 King St.; 703-739-4265)is a great addition to Old Town.  I like the seafood ceviche."

-"In the summer, I sometimes go to the farmer’s market at City Hall (301 King St.).  I like to cook, and I pick up fresh produce there.  I make blueberry pie."

-"My wife, Ann, and I take the family to Nana’s Sunday Dinner at the Majestic (911 King St.; 703-837-9117).  They serve food family-style on communal platters.  We went just after Thanksgiving with the kids."

-"I always get my running shoes at Pacers (1301 King St.; 703-836-1463).  They seem to know what kind of shoes should fit your feet.  You get a level of service unlike that in a big chain."

-"We have a new puppy, Elsa, a Bernese mountain dog.  She had great training at the Olde Towne School for Dogs (529 Oronoco St.; 703-836-7643). "

-"I surf the web at Buzz (901 Slater’s La.; 703-600-2899)or just have coffee there with a friend.  When I feel decadent, I have a cupcake."


A Place to Think:

A native of Alexandria and graduate of T.C. Williams High School, Mayor William D. Euille became the city’s first African-American mayor in 2003.  Reelected in 2006, he is now running again.

-"Joe Theismann’s Restaurant (1800 Diagonal Rd.; 703-739-0777) has been home base for me since it opened.  I’m a sports fanatic.  I go there after work to relax, dine—the wings are good—and watch whatever is on TV." 

-"I go to Mai Thai (6 King St.: 703-548-0600) for a quiet dinner.  It’s close by at the foot of King Street.  They do a nice pepper beef dish."

-"I had David M. Martin at Gold Works (1400 King St.; 703-683-0333) design the first-ever medallion for a mayor of Alexandria using the city seal.  I recently bought a pair of gold cuff links with a diamond setting from him." 

-"When I can, I look around Decorium Gift and Home (116 King St.; 703-739-4662).  I usually walk out with a thing or two.  I last bought two five-foot wrought iron candleholders for my recreation room."   

-"If I need to think, I go to Oronoco Bay Park (Madison St.; 703-683-3560).  As a kid growing up in nearby public housing, I used to play there.  Then it was industrial; now it’s an elegant park.  I still go to the water and skip a pebble or two."