Fostering a broad-based network of social and political connections, McElveen-Hunter says, is what led her to put down roots in Washington. “A friend told me there’s no way I could do the work of the Red Cross unless I was living here and part of the community.”
Her sister Dorothy Ann “Tweed” McElveen-Bogache, a designer based in Pawleys Island, S.C., provided key assistance even before the 2005 purchase. “I knew instantly when I walked in the door this was a ‘Bonnie house,’ ” McElveen-Bogache says. “Great bones, large spaces, open foyer, spiral staircase, and lots and lots of light.”
The sisters had previously worked together on decorating the Greensboro house shared by McElveen-Hunter and her husband of 29 years, lawyer Bynum Hunter. (The design of that home is based on Westover, the Virginia plantation built around 1730 by William Byrd. It was commissioned in the 1920s by Spencer Love, the founder of Burlington Industries.)
The O Street house similarly reflects a Georgian style in red brick and white trim. Just inside the iron gates at the street, two impressive eagles greet visitors as they climb the steps to the red-painted front door.