An Old Town Home Given a Dazzling New Life

The master suite now encompasses the entire third floor. A mural in the bedroom depicts the view from the wharf of Old Town Alexandria, where the home’s builder owned warehouses.

Text by Lydia Somerville | Photography by Gordon Beall

When clients approached Maria Galiani to spearhead the renovation and decoration of a historic house in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, the designer leapt at the opportunity to bring the minimally updated home, built in 1854, into the new millennium.

The chandelier in the stair hall was original to the house. A houndstooth stair runner adds a modern touch.

Exquisite plasterwork, random-width heart pine floors, and Victorian details presented an irresistible opportunity for a makeover. Galiani went to work relieving the discomforts of the 19th-century home while allowing the majesty of its 176 years to shine. “We wanted to highlight and respect the history of the house while adding some modern elements to give it an updated feel,” says the designer. “We chose to step away from the typical traditional style you usually see in Old Town Alexandria homes, but we worked to avoid modernizing the home so much that it detracted from its amazing bones.”

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