Designer Supon Phornirunlit pulls off an eclectic mixture of styles in DC's Kalorama

By Chord Bezerra
Photographed by Todd Franson
Published on May 27, 2004, 12:00am | Comments

Mix and match to your heart's content in this opulent yet reasonable 5 BR, 3 BA townhouse in Kalorama. Currently showcasing a fusion of traditional, modern and Asian influences, the home décor is subject to change at a moment's notice.

When graphic designer Supon Phornirunlit bought his Kalorama townhouse he wanted to create a décor all his own. Combining elements of modern and traditional Asian styles established a look that made him feel right at home. That is, until he decides to change it again. 

Supon: I've lived here for five years. The first time I actually saw this home my realtor called me up to say, "There is a house that is going to be on the market on Sunday but you can see it on Thursday." When I came here and saw it, I fell in love right away. I put the offer down that evening. I didn't expect to buy the house -- when I came back to my own home I was like, "Oh my god, what did I just do?"

I think that a good house has to fit you and your lifestyle. This house to me was modern with some traditional in it, which is what I like about it. The space in this house has been well designed -- in fact, the layout is original and has never been altered. But, of course, when you move in, you want it to be your own space, so I redesigned it fit my own taste. I like modern stuff and I am from Thailand, so I wanted some Asian culture in here too. Modern and traditional Asian culture didn't really go well together, so I had to figure out how I wanted to do it.

[On the deck] I redesigned the deck about two years ago. Before that I had a lot plants and I just didn't have time to water them. I wanted the new deck to be something unexpected, I wanted something dramatic. I got the idea for this reflecting pool when I was staying at a hotel in Asia. I actually travel a lot to Asia, which is where I found the flowers here in the reflecting pool. You should have seen me at customs when I opened up my suitcase with all these flowers -- the customs guy was looking at me like, "Why do you have flowers in your suitcase?"

The deck is a combination of a lot of elements. I believe that good design doesn't have to be expensive. Everything that I have on this deck is not really expensive -- it is just well put together. People always think you have to spend so much money, but if you put all the elements together well you can create your own space.

[In the kitchen] I collect almost everything. These are just a few of my cookie jars. There are a hundred of them sitting in the basement -- I don't have room for them all. Andy Warhol also collected cookie jars. The first ones I bought were very similar to some of the ones in his collection. Ten years later I don't know how many hundreds I have. I recently sold a lot on Ebay. At some point you look at yourself and say, "Why do I need this?"

[In the living room] This used to be one big, open space with the furniture placed across the room. But every time we had a party it seemed like people were sitting too far away from each other and I did not like that. I said, let's do something a little cozier and have a bunch of little sitting spaces instead of one big one. This way if we have a group of like twenty people, people don't have to be sitting around in a circle -- it's not a campfire. Sometimes you just want to break off into your group and talk. My office is also on this floor so it's nice to have sitting areas when clients come by.

[In the dining room] This cabinet is from a designer called Blue Dot. I like their style -- it is colorful yet simple. You're going to find most of my furniture is simple because I like to move things around so much. I want to make sure that the furniture can go in many different places. Every three to six months there will be a rotation. I want to do things differently, to be able to walk into the house and be excited. If I had my way I would buy a house every six months, but I can't do that. So I want [my house to be] something different and refreshing and to be able to call it my space.

Does your house, condo or apartment have a story to tell? Let Environs know about it. E-mail environs@metroweekly.com. To see more photographs from this week's featured space, visit us online at www.metroweekly.com/home.

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