Brooke and Fritz Brogan employ bright colors, quality materials and plenty of nostalgia to create their dream home in Spring Valley.
The elements of a happy home are different for different people. For some, it may be rare antiques, for others, museum-quality art. At Fritz and Brooke Brogan’s Spring Valley residence, it’s a towering birch tree that the five-bedroom colonial was built around and its leafy green canopy that comes alive in spring. It’s Tilly, their neighbor’s Golden Retriever, who walks up and down the block, stopping by every so often to “check on things.” Special interior details and small luxuries also make the couple’s house feel like a home. Brooke glassware and Herend Rothschild Bird china they received as wedding gifts because, as she says, “What is the point of having it if you don’t use it?” Though they have nice things, the Brogans are adamant about visitors feeling comfortable. “I wanted to create a beautiful, timeless home,” Brooke says, “but never a place that was too precious for children to run around and play.”
This was the vision Brooke laid out in a letter, accompanied by orchids, that she sent to the former homeowners to move along the sale back in 2017. “This house – from the moment we first looked at it – felt like it should be ours,” she says. Having previously lived at Fritz’s bachelor pad at The Watergate (“think mahogany and lots of leather,” Brooke recalls with a laugh), they looked forward to building a home together, marking the beginning of a new chapter in their lives. Fritz owns Mission restaurant in Dupont, a new Mission location in Navy Yard and Hawthorne on U Street. Brooke is taking time off from her public relations business to complete a Master’s degree at Georgetown University. The pair first met at The Bachelors and Spinsters Ball in Georgetown when the event was in its heyday and, seven years later, they are three years happily married with a son Francis Brogan IV, who they welcomed in January. Their first date, which included stops at Old Ebbitt Grill and the W Rooftop, is representative of the home they have set out to create as a family – “a playful mix of new and old, high and low,” Brooke explains.
A special blend of nostalgia similarly applies chez Brogan. Their move conveniently coincided with Fritz’s parents selling his childhood home in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., which gave them dibs on furniture and other pieces of sentimental value. Most notable are the antique monkey sconces in the mirrored entrance way and a gilded leafy chandelier that anchors the dining room.
With key heirloom pieces to work around, they enlisted help from married design-duo Casey and Houston Sanford of Virginia-based Casey Sanford Interior Design. Houston and Fritz had initially connected as members of The Capital Club. Casey was excited to work with a knowledgable client like Brooke, whom she didn’t have to spend a lot of time “educating” about certain elements that are worth splurging on. As an avid reader of Architectural Digest, Brooke’s keen eye for design made the process fun and symbiotic, Casey notes, adding that she urged her to take certain risks, including painting the dining room ceiling Sherwin Williams “Lemon Twist.” Brooke admits it was a scary proposition at first, but ended up loving the finished product. The two, who have since become friends, are collaborating on rooms one-by-one until Brooke’s carefully considered vision is fully realized.
Brooke is from Utah and Fritz from Florida so being among trees and greenery was an important tribute to their childhoods. Their rear yard backs onto a neighbor’s large property, ensuring privacy. In warmer weather, they utilize their patio and screened-in porch for parties. When they are not entertaining, the couple spends most of their time in the library, where richly-colored walls painted in Benjamin Moore “Appalachian Brown” and a wall-papered ceiling add warmth and depth to the small sitting room. They enjoy being surrounded by books and photos they cherish, including one with both former Bush presidents. Fritz worked on former governor Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign and counts the Bushes as close family friends.
The couple explains that as Francis grows up, they never want to be the strict parents who treat their house like it’s a museum. “Home is important to us both,” Brooke says. “We wanted to find a space that was filled with the feeling of home and happiness.”
This article appeared in the March 2019 issue of Washington Life magazine.