Avowed Italophiles, the couple “contemporized” the structure, removing layer upon layer of paint and velvet brocade wallpaper to restore well-proportioned rooms to forgotten grandeur and display their own collections of eclectic art and classic contemporary furniture. Owners of a house built for major entertaining as well as patrons and benefactors of the arts, the Borks host social events both indoors and on the terraced gardens, one most recently for The Washington Ballet.
The driving force behind the Shigeko Bork Mu Project, which specializes in presenting contemporary art from Asia to the Washington area audience, Mrs. Bork has helped launch the U.S. careers of such well-known artists as Hiroshi Kobayashi, Zie Rong, and Ruijun Shen. Her husband serves as president of the Africa Society of the National Summit, an organization devoted to educating Americans about the African continent. As a director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art, he is dedicated to showcasing the works of new African artists as well.
Above the tree line, the house boasts sweeping views of Washington’s finest vistas: to the south, Georgetown, the Potomac River, Rosslyn, and Reagan National Airport; to the north, the Washington National Cathedral. This “grand ’ol home” is a cross-cultural fusion where history, power, scandal, and philanthropy meet.