Summer Cabin Style in Washington, D.C.

Living room in summer cabin style home.
The inviting living room gives a nod to menswear with its plaid check chairs and crisply tailored roman shades in cotton duck with grosgrain ribbon trim. Floating shelves that flank the fireplace display a rotating selection of seasonal plants and flowers from Mitchell’s large garden. The furnishings are a mix of special pieces he has collected over the years, including a French architect’s lamp, an André Arbus chair, practical items like easy-to-move garden stools, and a garden cart retrofitted with a galvanized steel top for a coffee table—all anchored by a dog-friendly chevron patterned rug.

Text: Alice Welsh Doyle | Photography: Angie Seckinger

Whether he’s hiking in Rock Creek Park, reading on his screened-in porch, taking a canoe ride, playing Frisbee in the backyard with his dog Andy, or simply taking it a little easier, summer is a special time of the year for interior designer David Mitchell. He has devoted himself to keeping the allure of the season going year-round at his personal residence—in metropolitan Washington, D.C., no less. “It’s an adult version of summer camp and has a masculine charm to it,” says Mitchell.”

Summer cabin style could easily cross over into the realm of kitsch, but Mitchell’s deft hand knows how to keep it refined and casual at the same time. His design scheme includes plaid fabrics, woven metallic bronze screen doors, wooden canoe paddles, and an eclectic mix of pieces gathered since his university days. Floating shelves on either side of the living room fireplace showcase a rotation of flora from Mitchell’s lush garden. Depending on the time of year, these can include tree limbs and hydrangea in an assortment of oversize vases.

“I like to include nature in my interiors,” says Mitchell. The understated palette of khaki, green, brown, and ivory is “neutral, not beige” and flows throughout the rooms, though it takes a turn in the TV room where a favorite color appears in artwork and pillows. “Orange can be a tricky color to decorate with, but I am still fighting the good fight,” he says with a laugh. Even the rug, which consists of sea-grass remnants from prior installations, is cleverly joined together with orange grosgrain ribbon.

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