A Designer’s Diamond in the Rough

The only thing I love more than a home tour is an interior designer’s personal home tour. Sara Swabb is a principal designer and the founder of Storie Collective, a boutique design firm that specializes in creating sophisticated and timeless interiors. After searching for four years, Sara discovered a run-down row house in the coveted Georgetown neighborhood of Washington D.C. that she immediately recognized as a diamond in the rough.

With a passion for breathing new life into historical spaces, Sara saw the potential of this property and began a transformative renovation that resulted in a stunning family home filled with curated pieces, bespoke finishes, and unexpected details. Through her design process, Sara found a way to balance modern and classic elements and highlight the home’s historical charm while creating a warm and welcoming environment for her family. In this article, we’ll explore the thoughtful details and unique features of this beautifully restored Georgetown row house designed by Sara and the team at Storie Collective.

designer kitchen by Sara Swabb

Making the Heart of the Home

Sara’s design process began with the kitchen, which she carefully sketched by hand. This led to her first product partnership, a cabinetry collection curated with bespoke cabinetry maker Tanya Smith-Shiflett of Unique Kitchens & Baths. Sara opted to keep the backdrop easy and uncomplicated, using a simple and subtle stone application to keep the room feeling open and effortless.

The single marble ledge runs along the entire length of the wall, serving as both storage for everyday items or as a means to exhibit artwork. The marble extends to the backsplash and countertops to create a seamless and timeless feel. The unexpected star is the smooth brass sink. Sara loves to accentuate kitchen islands in her designs by contrasting with color or wood tone, stone, or through functionality. As a final touch, the oversized pendant symbolizes the unity and balance she has created in the home.

spacious designer eat in kitchen in washington dc

Mixing Old and New

Sara’s home is a testament to her design philosophy of blending old and new elements to create a unique and timeless space. From the moment you enter the home, you are greeted by a period light fixture that belonged to Sara’s grandmother, which sets the tone for the vintage and European-inspired lighting fixtures throughout the home.

The home is dotted with beautifully curated antiques and a combination of custom pieces created by designers who sustainably source their materials, mixed with accents from Sara’s own design shop just a few blocks away on Wisconsin Avenue.

Commissioned artwork from notable local and national artists is mixed with finds from the market stalls of France, for an art collection I fully covet. The wide pane doors bring in natural light and unify the indoor and outdoor spaces, with mixed metals between the brass and iron creating contrast and depth.

One of the most striking features of the home is the new, spacious powder room, where Sara juxtaposed a modern marble sink and antique brass and opal glass wall light with a milky lime wash wall treatment. The result is a perfect balance between old and new, creating a sophisticated and timeless feel.

victorian designer bathroom design by storie collective

Sara’s design philosophy of blending old and new elements continues throughout the home, as seen in the vintage Swedish antique sconce in the bedroom, the custom vanity from her own cabinet line with Unique Kitchen and Baths in the bathroom, and the cozy reading corner in her daughter’s bedroom.

designer living room tour

designer home tour modern victorian washington dc

marble fireplace in modern designer victorian home

designer victorian kitchen in washington dc

designer kitchen by Sara Swabb

pale pink kitchen cabinetry

spacious designer eat in kitchen in washington dc

neutral designer home tour bedroom with upholstered bed

victorian designer bathroom design by storie collective

cozy reading nook in childrens bedroom

The Inside Look

I’ve always admired Sara’s design philosophy and signature style from afar. She seamlessly blends old and new, creating a cohesive and timeless look. Her use of natural materials and sustainable sourcing practices demonstrate her commitment to responsible design. Her attention to detail, from the carefully curated furnishings to the thoughtfully placed lighting, creates a peaceful and sophisticated mood in each space. Sara’s ability to strike a balance between contrasting elements, to find beauty in unexpected places, and to create unexpected moments of joy in her designs make her a standout in the world of interior design. Her dedication to creating spaces that evoke a sense of warmth, comfort, and beauty is truly inspiring. It’s no wonder that Sara’s work at Storie Studio has garnered so much attention and praise.

BY: ANASTASIA CASEY

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