Window blinds: Hunter Douglas; hangings: Fabricut; sconces: Generation Lighting; ceiling light: Rejuvenation; art: custom by artist Susan Cramer; chair: Madison Park; sofa: vintage, reclaimed in Maharam fabric; pouf: TOV furniture. Photo by Jenn Verrier Photography.
Steve Goldberg and Irene Cramer bought their Hill East condo in 2020. The couple, both retired lawyers — Goldberg is 68 and Cramer is 66 — were looking to downsize their home in suburban New Jersey and knew that he wanted to move into a DC condo in a building with amenities, janitorial service, storage, and parking (plus, he needed to be pet-friendly so Georgie, their 6-year-old Goldendoodle, could move in, too). Also important: find a location with a neighborhood feel, walking distance, and access to the subway. “This condo ticked all the boxes,” Goldberg says of the two-bedroom, two-bathroom, 1,300-square-foot spot.
The couple did a complete renovation of the unit before moving in and worked with their daughter, interior designer Hannah Goldberg of Hannah Charlotte Interiors, to create a new space influenced by their collection of art, furniture and of carpet. “The aim of the renovation was to create a neutral yet clean and contemporary backdrop to let our [things] really shine,” says Goldberg.
Here we chat with Goldberg about the condo:
What was your inspiration for the aesthetic of the house?
“Our daughter, Hannah, was inspired by our authentic Persian rugs to create the decor scheme for the unit. We paired creams, greiges and light blues with rich woods, dark stone and mixed metal hardware to accent and amplify carpet and furniture.
“When arranging the space, the goal was to create a layered and organized yet uncluttered feel by pairing our existing handcrafted, mid-century and East Asian furniture, rugs and artwork. to more contemporary sculptural pieces, such as the bouclé ottoman, natural steel living room bookshelves, and the new Crate & Barrel wingback bed in the master bedroom.
What’s the biggest splurge you’ve bought for your home?
“Custom window treatments. Our unit faces south and we get plenty of direct sunlight. We are also on the third floor across from a busy charter school. We love the flexibility of our top-down and top-down Hunter Douglas shades to create the right level of privacy, comfort and light. Additionally, the woven wood was an important, albeit subtle, added layer of texture to the space. Due to our high ceilings, we paired them with custom linen curtains from Fabricut to add softness to the space.
What’s the best deal you’ve ever received on an item for your home?
“The kitchen pendants were an amazing find. Hannah bought them at a sidewalk sale from another local DC design firm, Lisa & Leroy.
What renovations have you done at home?
“We treated the unit like a blank slate and basically underwent a gut renovation. We installed new wide-plank hardwood flooring: we removed a tricky transition from wood to tile in the kitchen and ran the wood lengthwise through the unit to visually expand the space .
“We also installed a brand new kitchen and updated cabinets, counters, appliances and backsplash tiles. We put a lot of thought into the layout of the space to maximize its usability: we enlarged the island to extend to the side wall and create a galley-style kitchen with plenty of counter space and room for guests, added height to the upper cabinets for additional storage and replaced the old pantry with cabinets.
“The renovation of our main bathroom was equally important. Previous finishes were dated and the shower was cramped. Hannah suggested lowering the knee wall and moving the frameless shower glass to create an integrated shower bench – that’s a big improvement. Using bright, oversized wall tiles with horizontal stripes helps make the bathroom look even bigger.
What crafts have you done at home?
“It’s not a DIY per se, but we incorporated a nifty Ikea hack into the renovation. Hannah worked closely with the building engineer to reroute several water pipes to take up space in the den and guest bathroom to dedicate to a built-in dresser.Instead of having expensive custom millwork and glass installed, we designed the unit using Ikea Pax cabinets framed with crown molding to integrate it in the space.
What’s your favorite part of the house?
“We love the gallery wall in the living room; it allows us to present works of art collected and commissioned over the years that mean a lot to us: an original print by Kiyoshi Saito from 1959 that Irene’s parents brought back from Japan when her father was stationed there in the service exterior, as well as a woodblock print of a mother and baby that we purchased at a craft fair from Baltimore artist Janice Cline to commemorate Hannah’s birth.
What is your favorite object at home?
“I would say my built-in wine fridge, but if my wife and I had to agree on one piece with more history, then it’s our Japanese Tansu chest. We purchased this antique at an estate sale while living in our home in Evanston, IL, and it has moved with us to several homes. As well as being a beautiful antique that adds richness to a space, it serves many purposes: a sofa side table, a display console, and valuable linen storage for the dining room.
What is your favorite activity to do at home?
“We always liked to cook, but we didn’t often have the time during our professional life. So we were able to re-explore our love of cooking and even started cooking. We really love discovering new recipes, using our double oven, and enjoying the variety and freshness of food from the amazing vendors at the nearby Oriental Market.
“Georgie says her favorite thing to do is grab our new lounge chair and watch the passing squirrels and dogs in the street below.
Who would be your three dream guests for a dinner party at your place?
“Ken Burns, Michelle Obama and William Shakespeare.”
This interview has been edited and consolidated for clarity.