In the spring of 1905, the Anderson House, in Washington DC, was completed and took its place as one of the capital city’s most fashionable mansions—a “Florentine villa in the midst of American independence.” The Anderson House was designed as the winter residence of Larz Anderson and his wife, Isabel. The home was used as a showcase for their extensive art collection and venue for high-society galas. The intent was a setting where they could entertain dignitaries and position themselves among the capital’s most sought-after hosts. Larz was an up and coming dignitary when this house was finished. His social standing and lavish affairs helped him solidify his position in DC culture. When Larz passed away, his home was gifted to the Society of the Cincinnati, an organization he was much involved with. The house is a National Historic Landmark and has been open to the public for over 100 years.
If you are hosting an event in Washington DC, such as a large cocktail party, a more intimate dinner, a birthday celebration, holiday party, or a wedding, the Larz Anderson House has so many great options. The walls are gilded which makes for a very elegant, festive, background. There is a stately ballroom that can seat up to 130 guests comfortably with a seated dinner and dancing. The ballroom features a floating staircase, spiral marble columns, and a musician’s balcony. Due to the layout of the ballroom, this is a fine option for micro-weddings. There is plenty of room to spread out, and it is just the right size as to not feel lost in the room.
Adjacent to this ballroom is a gorgeous winter garden. This space might be my favorite location in the whole venue. There is a large marble floor, and gilded mirrors lining the walls. This space can be used for elopements, intimate ceremonies, additional space for dining, and it is a perfect location for portraits. The windows and doors open out onto the walled, Hoyt Gardens. The meticulously manicured lawn has two beautiful stone terraces, classical and Asian sculptures, and a reflecting pool. The green and white striped awnings and the iconic look of the gardens are a lovely oasis in the middle of the city. If you can imagine, you may feel as if you have been transported to a courtyard in Europe.
Many guests will host a cocktail hour in the Hoyt Gardens. Should there be inclimate weather or you prefer an indoor option, the Olmsted Gallery is a great alternative. The Olmsted Gallery is also an elegant option for an intimate ceremony. The second floor of The Anderson House in DC is full of larger works of art including several sixteenth-century Flemish Tapestries. This space was originally a passage for the Andersons’ guests to stroll from the drawing rooms to the dining room. Your guests will access the second floor via the grand staircase which is always a great experience.
The Anderson House is wheelchair accessible and conveniently located two blocks from the Dupont Circle Metro station (Red line). There are four hotels within one block of Anderson House that offer public parking. I do encourage you to provide transportation for your guests, or suggest they ride share. The Anderson house is located in a residential area in Washington DC, and self-parking is hard to come by.
Should you be interested in the Anderson House for the historical nature, you can request a museum docent who will answer guests’ questions about the collections. The docent can also be commissioned to provide tours. This additional touch is always well received with guests during indoor cocktail hours. It is a great conversation starter and helps blend the various guests in attendance at your event.
I cannot wait until I am back at the Anderson House. This is definitely one of my favorite venues in DC. If you are planning an event in the city, I would love to chat.
Photos are by David Abel Photography.