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Dupont Circle House Tour to Show Vintage & Modern Living and Art Throughout

By Joel Lawson*

[Note: Photographs accompanying this news story in the print edition can be viewed in the full PDF copy in the Current & Back Issues Archive.]

The 41st annual Dupont Circle House Tour takes place October 19th, offering a peek inside some of the neighborhood’s most intriguing residences. The Dupont Circle Citizens Association (DCCA) has offered this glimpse inside notable residences since 1968.

The self-guided walking tour will be held Sunday, October 19, from 12 noon until 5 pm and will feature 10 unique, historical and fun spaces in the Dupont Circle area. House tour participants also will enjoy a Tea running concurrently with the tour, held at the Perry Belmont Mansion, which now serves the international headquarters of the Order of the Eastern Star.

The Belmont Mansion covers the unique wedge-shaped block formed by New Hampshire Avenue, Corcoran, 18th and R Streets. Built between 1906 and 1909 at the then-extravagant cost of $1.5 million, and designed by a famous French architect who had designed many grand homes and chateaus in Europe, the mansion includes many of its original furnishings; Tiffany vases, 37 oil paintings, Louis XIV and Louis XV furniture, china and oriental rugs are still on display. All the marble in the house was brought from Italy, all of the carved wood from Germany, and all the metal fixtures from France. Chandeliers throughout are gold gilt and hung with hand-carved rock crystal drops, some with amethyst as well.

Today, the mansion houses the offices of the General Grand Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star and also serves as the residence of the Right Worthy Grand Secretary.

The Gilded Age majesty of the Tea site is counterbalanced by the eye-popping modernity of a very different property on the tour. Featured in national interior design magazines and showcased on HGTV, the residence presents some of the latest and most innovative design concepts. The “wow” factor is real, with different rooms reflecting the owner’s favorite spaces in cities from London to Miami to the Far East. The living room exudes the feel of a modern lounge somewhere in a hotel in Miami. The outdoor deck is both exotic and serene, with a spa-like feeling, and serves as a comfortable sanctuary reminiscent of the owner’s Thai heritage. The owner’s home office is another award-winning space in its own right.

Another stop on the tour offers a rather formal Georgian exterior, yet an interior filled with an ever-expanding collection of folk and “outsider” art, much of it created by self-taught African-American artists from the South.

Nearby, another residence will surprise tour participants by transporting them to a “Colorado cabin in the city,” with exposed rustic wooden rafters and soaring vertical four-by-fours defining the interior.

Apartment living in a grand style is also featured on the tour, with an apartment entranceway that measures 25 feet in length, and artwork throughout the residence from Russia, New Guinea, Japan, Malaysia, Africa, India, Iran, Lebanon, Pakistan, Italy, and Turkey.

Art collections fill another stunning home that friends have come to term a “comfortable museum,” including pottery from around 930 BC, a mounted piece of the Berlin Wall, and fine paintings and sculpture created by the owner.

*The writer serves as president of the tour’s sponsor, the Dupont Circle Citizens Association (DCCA).

How and Where to Obtain Tickets

Advance tickets are $25 and may be purchased via PayPal on the DCCA Web site (www.dupont-circle.org) or at the following: Axis Salon (1509 Conn. Ave.), Design Within Reach, (1838 Columbia Rd.), Goodwood (1428 U St.), Home Rule (1807 14th St.), Java House (1645 Q St.), Trio Restaurant (1537 17th St.), True Value Hardware (1623 17th St.), and Urban Essentials (1330 U St.). Tickets on the day of the tour are $30, available at the tea site — The Order of the Eastern Star (Perry Belmont Mansion, 1618 New Hamp. Ave.), and at the Dupont Circle Freshfarm Market (Sunday mornings, 20th St., bet. Mass. Ave. & Q St.).

Copyright (c) 2008 InTowner Publishing Corp. & Joel Lawson. All rights reserved.