Meet The ASPIRE HOUSE McLean 2020 Designers: An Exclusive Interview With Federica Asack

Federica Asack of Masseria Chic, who was born and raised in Italy, is designing the Powder Room Vestibule in ASPIRE HOUSE McLean, proving that an intimate space can have a prominent impact on the overall design of a home. Some of her past inspirations include spaces she designed in other new homes. The designer shares more insight into her room in an exclusive interview with Sherry Moeller.


Rendering of Federica Asack’s Powder Room Vestibule in ASPIRE HOUSE McLean. Rendering by Federica Asack.

Sherry Moeller: Describe your room at the show house. How did you come up with the concept and what’s the backstory?
Federica Asack: My room at the ASPIRE HOUSE McLean Show House is a Powder Room Vestibule on the terrace level. The elegant transition space is seven-feet-by-five-feet with an entryway from the main living area with doors to the powder room and a storage space. My challenge was to give this space an identity and inject enough style to inspire guests to pause for a moment.

To establish a sense of intimacy and a bit of magic and without guidelines from a client, I started the design process imagining this spot as a space where you could share a secret. A French antique statue in a vulnerable pose is my muse; she is laying at rest and infinitely comfortable as if hidden in the woods. To create style tension, I wrapped the statue in walls of flowers, even on the ceiling, and used a shape inspired by a traditional Indian pattern. A whimsical blue bunny from a contemporary artist and framed drawings of old Rome watch over her sleeping, while an antique chair and rug complete the setting.


In a bright new home in the Middle East, Federica Asack designed a living room with an extra wide, linen-wrapped console with three gold Asian-inspired panels above it. Photo by Federica Asack.

SM: What’s a favorite element you plan to incorporate into your space at the ASPIRE HOUSE McLean?
FA: The antique statue I chose for the ASPIRE HOUSE reminds me of the elegance of the Muse of Astronomy statue in Pisa. The reclining pose lends figurative perfection and has inspired artists across every medium for centuries. I wanted to celebrate the female body and this classic shape.

SM: What projects have you done in the past that most resemble or relate in some way to what you plan to design at the ASPIRE HOUSE McLean? Or is this a completely different concept?
FA: This is the first vestibule I have designed; however, I’ve been involved in brand new home designs that called for similar installations. For instance, in a bright new home in the Middle East, the living room needed to lend a sense of elegance and formal entertaining. So I used an extra wide, linen-wrapped console that had a great shape and finish and hung three gold Asian-inspired panels to conquer the height. A pair of glass lamps and painted pottery create balance and interest.

In another new home, the entryway needed a more casual, layered vibe so I played with texture and pattern. I used the homeowner’s vintage rug, reimagined the chairs with custom hardware and new upholstery, and complemented it with a small scale Indian console and huge brass plate.

For Côté Jardin Antiques, a shop in Georgetown, another female statue was the inspiration for my vignette. This time, in a classic contrapposto pose, the bronze Venus is the center of a perfectly symmetrical ensemble.


In another new home, Federica Asack designed a more casual entryway using the owner’s vintage rug, reupholstered a pair of chairs, and added an Indian console and brass plate. Photo by Federica Asack.

SM: Have you participated in other show houses and why?
FA: ASPIRE HOUSE is my first show house! This past December, I participated in the Holiday Fete at the Washington Design Center, another charitable design event benefiting the Children’s National Foundation. I love when the design community comes together to share talent, beauty and purpose.


For a Georgetown shop, Federica Asack added a bronze Venus statue in the center of a symmetrical ensemble she designed. Photo by Federica Asack.

SM: What’s next for you design wise—are there some projects you’re particularly excited about? Are there any projects you’d love to tackle, sort of a design bucket list?
FA: I have been working for the second time with a favorite client. For the past eight months, we organically moved from room to room, making a few design updates at times, as well as more in-depth remodeling and decorating work. I am super excited about a fountain arriving from Europe for the outdoor area and the prospect of having some parts of the home photographed. I would love to own a design studio/boutique one day where I would import one-of-a-kind furniture and décor from Italy and offer interior design services.

Proceeds for ASPIRE HOUSE: McLean will benefit the ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME Diversity in Design Scholarship Fund. Click here to learn more, and purchase tickets for the event; opening August 21 through September 14, 2020.


About the Designer | Federica Asack is an interior designer who founded Masseria Chic in 2015. Born and raised in Italy, Federica feels a great connection to her Italian Southern roots, but has also lived in many other countries in the world. Her lifestyle gave her a great appreciation for the value of home, as well as exposed her to other cultures and honed her sensibility toward aesthetics. Federica’s work is rooted in classic design with an eye for global influences. Her business’ name is a nod to a masseria, which is the traditional farmhouse in the South of Italy. It is a rather large self-sufficient residence nestled between green olive groves, fertile land, and wild crystal water beaches. Life in a masseria feels effortlessly chic.


Sherry Moeller is a contributing editor for ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME magazine.

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