Although she was born in Bradenton, Florida, Arlington-based interior designer Anna Beth Eskridge of Making Room for Peace quickly acclimated to the Northern Virginia area during her youth.
“Moving here was quite a culture shock,” she recalls. “I was used to a much more laid-back lifestyle and being surrounded by nature. The energy and pace of the area took a minute to get used to, but I’ve since grown to love it!”
Eskridge still needs a nature fix from time to time, she says, which she gets by “taking a walk in a park or driving out to the Shenandoah mountains. That’s the beauty of this area — you can have it all.”
When she first moved to NoVA, Eskridge lived in Arlington’s Fairlington neighborhood, where she recalls sweet summer memories of “running barefoot to my friends’ houses close by, going to the community pool, and walking to get ice cream on Quaker Lane.” Stops in Alexandria’s Fort Hunt neighborhood and Marymount University followed, but it was at a local interior design studio and boutique in Williamsburg where she would truly begin to hone her professional talents.
“When I moved back from Williamsburg in early 2022, I knew I wanted to be in Arlington,” she says. “While I’m a nature lover, I equally love being in the city, walking around, appreciating the architecture, going to museums and restaurants. There is inspiration everywhere you look.”
Eskridge opted to rent a studio, which she now uses as both her home and office, in what was once The Virginian Suites hotel near Rosslyn. After an extensive refurbishment, the original 1950s-era structure reopened in 2020 as a 261-key apartment complex.
“One of the main things that attracted me to this apartment was the location,” Eskridge says. “It’s very close to the Rosslyn Metro station; within easy walking distance of Clarendon, with its fun boutiques and restaurants; and only half a mile to DC.”
Eskridge also liked that the 521-square-foot apartment was freshly renovated in a clean, contemporary style that suited her minimalist aesthetic. It features plenty of natural light and came with a layout that Eskridge could efficiently tailor into a home office. That decision, she says, was driven by budgetary considerations, workplace constraints in the wake of COVID, and the irresistible appeal of an artistic studio existence.
Upon entering the apartment, a short hall reveals a spacious room supplemented by a bump-out on the left side. This space allows for the ideal “bedroom,” especially since it also includes a walk-in closet and adjacent bathroom.
On the opposite side of the entry is a large window. “That became the natural spot for my desk,” Eskridge says. “I love looking out onto the neighboring buildings nestled among the trees. In the winter when the leaves fall, I can see the Potomac River and the airport.”
A tiny-but-efficient kitchen sits beside this area as well. But probably the most utilitarian space is an indented, rectilinear nook where Eskridge stores work items — vintage products, design samples, office supplies — in baskets and bins that rest on a series of rolling metal carts.
“Even though [the carts] are well-organized, I chose to cover them with white curtains to minimize the ‘visual noise,'” Eskridge says. “I didn’t want to be relaxing in bed at night and look across the room and think ‘work.'”
To that end, the uppermost shelves above the closed curtains hold a curated selection of Eskridge’s favorite decorative items.
Between the storage feature and her work desk, Eskridge keeps a pair of benches — client seating, as needed — and extra-large, linen-covered bulletin boards to use during presentations. The desk can also work with the bench seating to act as a dining table for guests, she says.
“Because it’s my home and workspace, I wanted to integrate the two in a seamless way,” says Eskridge.
Perhaps the largest unifier, aptly, is the room’s décor. Although Eskridge grew up here, the warmth of the Sunshine State never left her heart. Over time, new outside influences, such as frequent summer trips to visit her grandparents in San Luis Obispo, California, formed Eskridge’s self-professed “California casual” aesthetic.
“I can still recall the first time I went there,” she says. “The sunlight was surreal, the breeze carrying the scent of summer, the golden hills dotted with oaks, the ocean. It felt like home.”
The memorable vibe was something Eskridge sought to reflect in her home and office, as well as in her overall design philosophy, which is highlighted by a palette of light neutrals — cream, sand, white — interlaced with soft coastal blues and greens in accents, artworks, and the occasional textile.
“I also love to use natural wood and woven fiber elements to add warmth and that beachy vibe,” she adds. “I picked a textural jute rug to define my bedroom area, used old painted shutters for a unique headboard, and selected a variety of baskets for storage.”
One of her favorite pieces is a carved-wood console table, above which she positioned a recent abstract art acquisition. She makes the console a focal point in her space, not just by way of the art, but by using it as a place to display collected and cherished objects. A vintage basket trunk below and stacks of books on either side complete the casual but calculated look.
On the opposite side of the console, in the bedroom nook, a series of floating bookshelves provide another venue for displaying special items, including framed photographs.
“I love the hustle and bustle of this area, but I wanted my home to be my sanctuary from all the noise,” Eskridge says. “When people walk in through my front door, they often feel like they’ve gone on holiday. I think that’s because of that warm coastal style I carry in my heart and design.”
This story originally ran in our February issue. For more stories like this, subscribe to Northern Virginia Magazine.