Attorney Ted Hammerman had long imagined a new home office in the basement of his Chevy Chase, Md., midcentury split-level, where he and his wife are raising their two children. “I’ve got shelves of books on midcentury-modern architecture and design, like George Nelson and Charles and Ray Eames” he says. “I love that design; it’s just something I’m drawn to.”
Hammerman ultimately found the right man to realize his vision for an office that would make Don Draper proud: Georgetown architect and designer Ernesto Santalla. But before Santalla could install his client’s Eames lounge chair or Florence Knoll credenza and table, he had to tackle the walls and windows. He chose grass-cloth wallcovering for a seamless background that highlights the golden tones of the Calacatta marble table and desk surfaces. He then hired Andrew Greene of Potomac Woodwork to fabricate custom black-walnut cabinetry and desks that hang on vertical brackets to visually heighten the space. Finally, Santalla hung sheer draperies to admit light but hide the window well outside. “We designed it in such a way that you don’t have a sense you’re in a basement,” he explains, “and that’s really important.”
Main image: The custom marble desk surface match the Florence Knoll originals, and the Phillip Jeffries grass cloth is a nod to ’50s trends—as is the terrazzolike Fritztile that lines the floor.
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