The acclaimed renovation of a mid-19th-century row house and carriage house created a stunning new studio and retail store for renowned interior designer Darryl Carter.

Following a comprehensive building assessment, the design team created a strategy to blend the old with the new, involving the careful salvaging of timbers, a limestone arch, and architectural remnants. The award-winning, 4,875-square-foot adaptive use project has contributed to the revitalization of the Shaw neighborhood, one of Washington, DC’s, oldest commercial and cultural districts.


  • Conversion of a historic, two-story commercial building and a carriage house into a new studio and retail store
  • Meticulous restoration work including reuse of salvaged timbers and granite blocks, architectural remnants, and a reclaimed limestone arch
  • All new MEP systems, restoration of the exterior façade and roof, and a new storefront to display merchandise


  • Award of Merit in Architecture, Washington, DC, Chapter, AIA


Renovation of the deteriorating, pre-Civil War commercial building first required a detailed building assessment. Extensive rehabilitation was needed, including window replacements; rebuilding of the floor; and all new mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems. All exterior renovations, including façade repairs, were approved by the Historic Preservation Review Board. The two main programmatic components, the showroom and the design studio, are located in separate buildings to allow for independent operations. The showroom, featuring a new contemporary glass and metal storefront, occupies the main building while the studio is set within the carriage house. 


The client sought to retain as much of the historic character of the building as possible. Numerous salvaged and reclaimed items were incorporated into the project, including old timbers and a limestone arch from the façade of a Tudor-revival structure, which now provides a dramatic focal point in the main lobby. Arched glass doors were salvaged from the recently restored Dumbarton House museum, and flooring was milled from the reclaimed wood of a nearby embassy renovation. Sink basins from the 1920s were mounted on custom-designed frames to comply with current accessibility standards.  

“The rebuilding is painstaking, using architectural remnants and salvaged timbers to restore the structures.”

– Jura Koncius, The Washington Post


“We are crafting something, not just building a drywall structure.”

– Darryl Carter


The showroom and studio were designed to be open and inviting, hosting art shows and serving as a neighborhood gathering space. The design achieves a delicate balance between old and new, with artful, historic references in the materials complemented by clean, crisp drywall partitions that define new spaces. The design studio overlooks an outdoor courtyard with a fireplace that also accommodates special events as well as display space.  


“Darryl Carter to Open Studio and Store in Shaw” 
The Washington Post, March 28, 2012