From midcentury furniture to abstract art, David Bearden is a collector and his Langston Lofts condo is his gallery.
The two-story space on V Street NW, which Bearden bought in 2006, works well as the backdrop for his modern, minimal tastes: It has soaring windows, exposed ductwork and an open stairway made from steel beams.
"I was searching for that truly modern, loft-like space -- it's a different feel than a typical apartment space," says Bearden, an environmental policy analyst for the Congressional Research Service. "The purity of the lines of the space really spoke to me."
Bearden filled the space sparsely, so the artistry of each piece of furniture could make its own statement. He placed classic Eames armchairs in the living room, in ivory leather instead of the usual black, which he says is too serious. He added a 1956 Eames sofa, which is much more comfortable, he says, than those lumpy, overstuffed ones most people have.
He hung a George Nelson pendant light over the Zero dining table by the modern Spanish company Stua, with more Eames chairs surrounding it.
Upstairs, Bearden proudly displays a horsehide chaise by Le Corbusier.
"I definitely like as minimal ornamentation as possible," he says. The result is a soothing atmosphere that allows him to clear his head after hectic days at work.
"It allows me to recuperate and re-energize," he says. "It's a clutter-free space where the energy flows freely and you can relax."
Bearden moved into his condo with a solid grounding in midcentury-modern furniture design, but he needed help when it came time to hang art on the walls.
"David was already collecting art, but he was focused on photography," says D.C. artist Mike Weber, who consulted for Bearden. "He basically pulled me in to expose him to other forms of artwork and other forms of media."
"I've always been drawn to abstract pieces," Bearden says. "I like the whole concept of abstract painters moving away from trying to depict subjects in their realistic form."
Weber introduced him to the work of Judy Hintz Cox, an artist from Centreville, Md., whose imposing 8-foot vertical painting can be seen on the wall that's visible to both the upper and lower levels of the condo. Also prominent is an 8-foot horizontal work over the stairwell by Arizona artist Sarah Stockstill. Weber's own art is represented, too.
Bearden's art collection has grown to the point where he can store works and rotate them, Weber says. (And, indeed, he does: Bearden uses his office at work as "storage" for furniture and art he isn't using at home.)
"I wanted a place that could have that feeling like you're living in a gallery," Bearden says. "That's nurturing to me."
All photos by Sheila Reyes-Bunnag, Cathrine Sanders, Shirly Pezo, Brett Shipe, Ther Punggam, Dante Byrd and Kylie Faye, students in Morgan Howarth's class on architectural photography at the Center for Digital Imaging Arts.