From an opulent downtown Washington wedding, to royal-like nuptials in Sicily, photographer Abby Jiu, owner and principal of Abby Jiu photography, has been called the “queen of capturing magic.” Named a top wedding photographer by Martha Stewart Weddings and gushed over by countless brides for her signature aesthetic of “timeless, light-filled, and boldly romantic” images, Jiu’s career is surrounded by beautiful decor, rich textures and colors and grand setups.
From a design perspective, Jiu admits it’s been very inspiring. So, after buying a new six-bedroom, six full-bath residence in Pimmit Hills, she knew she wanted it to be chic and well-designed. It also had to be practical for a young family of three and their dog Penelope. In the spirit of collaboration similar to wedding teams involving couples, event designers and caterers to perfectly encapsulate the fluidity of that special day, Jiu was eager to collaborate with interior designer and stylist Shannon Claire Smith for a smooth, effortless interior design process.
“I know just how valuable it is for clients to have complete trust in me, and that’s exactly what I have in Shannon,” Jiu says. “She just gets me! I can articulate a few words and some pictures and she absolutely nails the design.” One of the first things Smith focused on was light. “Because Abby is a photographer, we really wanted the bones and the foundation of the space to feel light and airy. Not only because the home would be a backdrop for some of her photography, but also because she craves that light and bright natural light.”
To do that, and without making the modern and open house feel washed out, Smith layered in “cozy” texture and contrast, such as black accents, unlacquered brass, natural wood and tone-on-tone wallpaper patterns. An Eddy chandelier over the breakfast table by Schoolhouse Electric broke up the open concept plan. In the kitchen, pendant lights from circa lighting elevated the space. “Who says you can’t have bejeweled lights in the kitchen?” Smith quips. The formal dining room features a statement chandelier from Arteriors and is one of Jiu’s favorite pieces.“The room is so large that we wanted to really emphasize the tall ceilings,” Smith says. (There are 10-foot ceilings and 8-foot doors throughout the main and second levels.) She also added oversized accent lamps from Visual Comfort for a slight edge to a light and airy room. In Jiu’s home office, Smith added a white lacquer console for office storage that didn’t look too corporate and a tonal organic wallpaper from Anthropologie.“I took the approach of each space overall as if I was looking through a camera lens, [asking] what pops out in a really great photo? How can we layer in depth and texture to make the space feel multi-dimensional?” Smith says.
“We really leaned on a neutral foundation that most photographers gravitate towards. And in the end, I was mostly inspired by all of the fantastic natural light!”In this happily ever after, no filter is needed.