Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Place for Us


By Beth Herman
In a warm, welcoming Gaithersburg, Md. foyer, spirited prints by French Fauvist Raoul Dufy flank a stairway, a few feet away from an equally spirited drawing by the homeowner's child. With themes of sailboats, beaches and animals dominant both in Dufy's coveted portfolio and in the child’s unfiltered repertoire, at first glance distinguishing one from the other may be a challenge. But that’s precisely what Owner/ Principal Cindy Griffin of CMG Interiors had in mind when creating the livable, seamless, family-oriented space.

Having made interior design for growing, active families a special kind of niche, Griffin is an active mom herself whose website espouses the value of fruits and vegetables, snow, blowing leaves and beach sand in her life. Accordingly, she factors in ideas and objects from both her clients and their children when reimagining their residences.

“They have very busy lives running their households, their jobs, their kids’ lives, school, volunteer work—they may have little time to focus on updating or even initiating a room,” Griffin said of her clients, adding everyone, including kids, feels differently about a space.

Accordingly, the designer makes it a practice to ferret out existing items like art (children’s and other), keepsakes, travel mementos and additional elements the family has acquired and/or developed over time, often making them features or focal points of her renovations. What’s more, Griffin said “shifting, relocating, reusing and seeing things in a new light” is the key to an effective, family-friendly, transitional redesign of a space, as is an unhurried approach — or developing that space over a considerable period of time if appropriate. In a thought, families grow and change and so do spaces.

Keeping it close
In the Gaithersburg foyer, a late 1960s high gloss white metal hand rail is something many designers would have jettisoned, Griffin said. Electing to paint it a more classic dark bronze, the designer added an elegant old world-style chandelier, chest of drawers with a raw antique feel and rustic metal handles, lush, leafy plants and an organic color palette to a space that might have otherwise been overlooked. “We added photos of the children and left the wood stairs unpainted and without a rug,” Griffin said. The addition of the Dufy prints and parallel child’s artwork makes the space more of a vignette, she added.

In the family’s living room, Griffin used “layering” to enhance and organize the space. Relocating a piano and retaining the sofa, coffee table and rug, the designer created a concentrated seating area, dedicating the room’s perimeter to less utilitarian, less used and more decorative objects. “You need to have a cozy conversation group that’s easily reachable,” she said of the space’s center, framing and displaying more children’s artwork as a focal point. Because the living room is a northern exposure, Griffin used a golden color on the walls to warm it up, and made sure to include lighting in all four corners. “Lighting this way goes for any room to make it feel even,” she said.

In the designer’s own child’s room, also in Gaithersburg and created when he was 3 years old, cherished family pieces yielded a bright, personal, comfortable and comforting space. A handmade quilt from his grandmother that includes Depression-era fabrics, a lamp that was a wedding gift to his parents—replete with a hand stamped moose representing his favorite tome “If You Give a Moose a Muffin,” and an end table that was a second grade project containing artwork from the entire class punctuated and personalized the room. A mural of a large, lush, verdant tree, painted by Griffin herself, symbolizes the tree of life and its positive energy, and a framed self-portrait from kindergarten along with an image of the child with his grandfather in a homemade life-sized train created a very special environment.

Over time (Griffin’s son is now 15), and though he elected to preserve his mother’s cherished mural and a few other childhood elements, furnishings like a bean bag chair and objects like a world map, and brown and white artwork—which is paper he made from plants, glue and water— accommodated his maturing interests and studies (the paper won a blue ribbon at the Maryland County Fair).
“The room has grown with him,” said Griffin, though it continues to nurture, retains his true character and connects him to childhood and family.
“A lot of the clients I work with are every day families. It’s important to express their style, home and family through things they’ve inherited, bought themselves and brought together through their relationships. You want things to endure.”

District Releases Stevens School Development Solicitation

The District government has released a solicitation for developers to further develop the Stevens school, a historic landmark, in downtown DC / West End. The District is seeking developers to renovate and expand the historic school, built in 1868 to educate the children of freed slaves, making use of the adjacent empty lot. The DC government does not specify a use for the building, but does note that the ANC has expressed a strong statement of support for an educational institution - and the School Without Walls in particular - to take over the space in a manner "consistent with its African American heritage."

The Thaddeus Stevens Elementary School at 1050 21st Street, NW, was closed by the Fenty administration during its school consolidation campaign, which issued a similar request for development proposals in late 2008, but later voided the winning bid. The District government selected apartment goliath Equity Residential as the winning bidder in 2009, but after 18 months of strong community opposition to its selection, the administration nixed the award and mothballed the building.

The school, "the first modern school in the District built for African-American students,” is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and even hosted First Child Amy Carter in the 1970's.

Washington D.C. real estate development news

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mount Vernon Triangle's Critical Mass

Mount Vernon Triangle may soon be a bit crowded. The small neighborhood, tightly encircled by L'Enfant's avenues, has been struggling for years to develop a critical mass of development, a moment that may now be at hand.

If all the projects currently in the pipeline for the neighborhood are built, Mount Vernon Triangle will more than double its square footage of office space, add 1,570 apartments/condos and 380 hotel rooms, and increase retail offerings by 157,500 s.f. Despite its shortcomings - no Metro stop, convention center, or arena within its borders, it can claim close proximity to each, a fact that continues to fuel development.

Case in point: two new projects by The Wilkes Company and Quadrangle, with preliminary designs by Hartman-Cox, and targeting a 2012 start date for construction: 400 K (300,000 s.f. office space, 12,500 s.f. retail) and 300 K (500,000 s.f. office space, 25,000 s.f. retail - pictured at left). Both are part of the larger Mount Vernon Place development that started with a pair of condominiums. Two additional buildings by Wilkes and Quadrangle are also in the works for the area: 440 K (planned as a 234-unit apartment with ground-floor retail, but that could turn into office space) and 255 H Street, a 400-unit apartment building.

Numerous other large developers have projects on the boards - Steuart, MRP Realty, Bozzuto, The Donohoe Companies, Kettler, and Equity Residential - but few have pulled the trigger just yet, and Bill McLeod, executive director of the Mount Vernon Triangle Community Improvement District said those who don't take action soon, "will end up missing out." McLeod, who has been with the MVTCID - created by Mayoral Order in 2004 - for the past five years, added that investors have been paying attention to the area of late.

Equity also hopes to start construction next year on the 170-unit apartment and historic restoration project "Eye Street Lofts", originally a vision of local Walnut Street Development that was iced in 2007. Equity - the largest publicly traded owner and operator of multifamily apartment complexes in the U.S. - bought the land fully entitled a few months ago. Equity will go before the Board of Zoning Adjustment on December 13th. With the area designated as a historic district in 2001, the project received HPRB approval in 2006 (as pictured below) to restore two circa 1880, 3-story townhomes, a 2-story garage/ warehouse, and a small former blacksmith shop in the alley. The building currently leased by BicycleSPACE will be razed.

Nearly a decade after Mount Vernon Triangle was first targeted for redevelopment by the Office of Planning and ten major property owners in the area in 2002, existing apartments are 96-percent leased, condos are sold out, 230,000 s.f. of office space is leased at 455 Massachusetts Avenue and, notes McLeod, only the top floor of the 392,000-s.f. office at 425 Eye Street needs a tenant.

The Meridian, at 425 L Street, a 390-unit apartment developed by Steuart Investments and Paradigm, is now under construction. The topping out of the 14th (and final) story occurred this past September, the project will begin leasing soon and should complete by next June. Phase II of the project will be a 300-unit apartment located next door at 400 New York Avenue.

Next in the queue in Mount Vernon Triangle is Kettler's $80 million, 13-story, 233-unit apartment with 7,000 s.f. of street level retail at 450 K Street (pictured right), under construction next spring and delivering in 2014.

Of great interest to those invested in the area is the timeline of the K Street Streetscape Improvement, the contract of which is currently being finalized by DDOT. The 18- month infrastructure project should be underway early next year, said McLeod, resulting in a mid-2013 completion date.

The long-anticipated $9m reconstruction of K Street between 7th Street and 3rd Street will bring new paving, sidewalks, streetlights, and plantings. Streetcars are also in K Street's future, though the District's focus is currently on funding other legs first, i.e. the H Street Corridor.

Driving much of the current wave of development regionally is the gradually opening financing spigot and Washington D.C.'s perch on the top of the national real estate market. But Mt. Vernon Triangle has something else more rare in downtown DC: empty space. The Downtown Business Improvement District (BID) notes that only about 5 million s.f. of unbuilt space remains available downtown, 2.5m of that at CityCenter and 2m of that above the Center Leg Freeway. That leaves the equivalent of only a few office buildings that could be built downtown before growth has to expand outward, and Mt. Vernon is the nearest spot.

Yet if all projects currently in the pipeline are realized, Mount Vernon Triangle will max out its 600-room hotel capacity, reach 93-percent of its residential capacity (4,250 units), 87-percent of its office space capacity (3 million s.f.), and 84-percent of its retail space capacity (335,000 s.f.). Of the 380 hotel rooms planned for the area, 350 of them are contained in what was once one of the most talked about projects for the triangle, "The Arts at 5th and I" a mixed-use development on the corner of 5th and Eye Street, still considered a "top tier" priority by Mayor Gray.

Donohoe and Holland Development won the right to develop the site in September of 2008, but couldn’t finance the project (pictured below) in the face of the recession. This fall, Deputy Mayor Victor Hoskins visited the ANC with a scaled-back, 250,000-s.f. building with two side-by-side hotels, one a 150 room boutique hotel and the other a 200 room extended stay offering 350 rooms above 10,000 s.f. of street-level retail.

In April, it was announced that art in the form of the Liberty North Community Market would be coming soon to the site. The market arrived this fall, and with no plans to begin construction within the next year-and-a-half, the market's vendors have the 2012 growing season to get comfortable.

Donohoe has yet to visit the DC Council for approval its plan, which includes a 99-year ground lease from the District, something that may happen in the next "two to three months," said Jad Donohoe, after which 12 to 14 months will be taken to flesh out the design by Shalom Baranes, complete the construction documents, get permits, and secure financing.

Yet another project is less certain. It will require a 30,000-s.f. floorplate over I-395 between K and New York Avenue to build a 10-story, 1.7 million-square-foot Washington Global Trade Center with a sleek, open-clam-shell globe design (to the right), a development that has been proclaimed a long shot.

Washington D.C. real estate development news

Monday, November 28, 2011

Reviving Hearts and Homes

By Beth Herman

In her warm, orange Bethesda, Md. family room, spirited puppets from a children's craft show perch and dazzle atop tiny swings. Supports for a fireplace mantel are made of old PVC pipes. Shovel people - originally intended as outdoor sculpture- burst from a red metal bucket, their hardware noses and lips and repurposed jewelry eyes (supplied by the designer when the original hardware fell off) surprising a quiet corner of the space.

For interior designer Lana Barth of Lana Barth Design, the art of the room comes from a different place and perspective than one might imagine. A former registered nurse, Barth grew up in a southern town so small there were no art courses or lessons available to anyone—even promising, passionate young students as she was.

“I always loved art but was never really encouraged,” Barth said of a dream so innate she may not even remember how it all began. “I grew up in a time when parents wanted kids to be practical. In college I wanted to go into nursing because it was quick—I could just get out and support myself.”
With her passion for all things art systematically exploding—much like a suppressed beach ball rocketing up from beneath the waves—in time Barth got another degree in fine arts and interior design. Conceding the exam for her design license was so challenging, it eclipsed her nursing boards, Barth said there are others like her out there who now defibrillate bland abodes instead of blocked arteries – though in some ways the feeling can be the same. “I know an anesthesiologist who is an artist now,” Barth said of a special community of health professionals who bring their healing skills to design.

For the designer, now firmly embracing her life’s true calling, turning rooms into art-filled statements has become an art in itself. Scouring crafts shows, augmenting furniture and recycling or repurposing objects such as bolts, copper tubing and PVC pipe into artful components has become a kind of niche passion, so to speak.

Of pachyderms and pyramids
Back in Barth’s family room, an old breakfast table was disassembled, its legs replaced by orange and blue circles and diamond shapes. “We couldn’t figure out how to make the circles,” Barth said, revealing that she and a “talented friend” eventually purchased lighting globes, painting them a dark blue like the chairs in the room. They were then glued and bolted to the underside of the top of the table, becoming a part of the base and resembling bowling balls.

In her dining room, Barth placed a seated mannequin affectionately named Gretchen in a corner of the space. Obtained from a Richmond, Va. store that once sold fixtures and items from defunct retail establishments, Barth said Gretchen sports clothing from the 1960s or ‘70s that belonged to the designer herself. The chair supporting Gretchen, created by Takoma Park, Md. artist Bodil Meleny, is itself an objet d’art with carved elephants flanking the seat. A mate with donkeys sits across the room, and the dining room table pedestal is made of corrugated metal drain pipe.

Referencing the room’s bright mixed media monoprint of a nude by artist Robert A. Nelson, Barth explained there is fruit—something edible—in the painting, so she’d deemed it appropriate for her dining space. The piece underneath, a “boring old oak table,” formerly in a laundry room, that belonged to Barth’s mother-in-law, was invigorated by the addition of actual wooden toes, also by artist Bodil Meleny. The edges of the table are fluted and resemble the body part, so the designer had them fully realized in its wooden appendages
At left in the room, a recycled length of PVC pipe became a pedestal, replete with wooden pediment and capitol, for art. A pyramid sculpture by Alexandria, Va. artist Larry Morris boasts a tiny figure on top, with a bubble over its head containing an image of a chair. “He’s just tired of sitting on that sharp point,” Barth quipped.

The more eyes see you
At a condominium in Rockville, Md., Barth was tasked with revving up an average and congested corner where the homeowner used her laptop. Spying her client’s scattered collection of Piero Fornasetti plates, wherein the 20th Century artist had, among other things, created more than 350 with the facial features of 19th Century soprano Lina Cavalieri, Barth lifted and hung the pieces from walls, decluttering the space and helping to animate the room.

Working sometimes with husband George Rothman, president and CEO of D.C. nonprofit Manna, which according to its website helps low and moderate-income residents acquire quality housing, Barth plies her singular craft (and art) as often as she can.
“A lot of the new homeowners are single mothers, and it’s nice for them to have a place where they feel comfortable raising their kids,” the designer said of her efforts to revive their environments. “I find all of it fun and good.”
Revealing that had she remained in her original profession, she’d have branched into psychiatric nursing, Barth said the specialty allows you to really understand how people think.

“I think you do the same thing in residential interior design,” she added, narrowing the divide between healthcare and habitat. “You have to get to know people to help them figure out what they really like.”

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Your Next Place

By Franklin Schneider

You know how when you're dating, you meet a lot of people who are attractive enough, who don't have any glaring bad qualities, who aren't horrible but aren't great, and then one day you meet that person who's just perfect in every single way? I don't, I'm a hypercritical misanthrope with laughably high standards who's destined to die alone. But I've seen it happen on television tons of times!

Anyway, this is sort of how I felt when I saw this house. Plenty of places have a stunning facade, or a spectacular great room, or a state-of-the-art kitchen, but this place hit every single point on the checklist. Right off the bat, walking up the front walk through the landscaped yard and onto the wide front porch, I was taken in by the picturesque quaintness. And then you go in the front door and it's like someone is bludgeoning you in the face with a lead pipe of awesomeness. (Too much?)

A sweet classic fireplace and louvered ceilings makes for a striking living room; next is the huge, sunny formal dining room, and then through a set of french doors is a chef-caliber kitchen – one of the most well-appointed I've seen – with another, adjacent, dining area. Upstairs, the master bedroom is very spacious, with tons of built-in shelves (there are built-ins throughout this house – one of my favorite features), and a fine master bath. The other three bedrooms on the floor are also very generously proportioned. In the basement, there's a rec room, another full bath, laundry, and a kitchenette, in case you want to secretly break your diet in the middle of the night by baking yourself a chicken pot pie. (I've done it.)

Also! In back, across the expansive yard, is a separate freestanding sort of studio guesthouse, with a half-bath, that you could use as a mancave or an office or a writing studio. If I lived here, this is where I'd spend most of my time. (See what I mean about the misanthrope thing? I'm already planning how to emotionally withdraw from my nonexistent theoretical wife and family.) Like I was saying, this is the house that has it all! The only thing I didn't absolutely unconditionally love was the price, and that's only because I couldn't afford to buy it in full on the spot. (I'm more looking for a home in the one to three thousand dollar price range – all I've found so far is a stripped Kia Sportage on blocks. I'm waiting to hear back about my offer.)

3611 Lowell St. NW
6 Bedrooms, 4 Baths

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Looking Back, and Forward: 15th and V

2005 15th Street, Jair Lynch, Portner Flats, WDG ARchitecture

After noting that the Jair Lynch Development Partners' 9-story, 95-unit apartment designed by WDG Architecture will be built at 2005 15th Street, NW, a reader felt the site's former life should be acknowledged. The new Jair Lynch apartment will rise up on what is now a surface parking lot next to the 10-story, 171-unit Campbell Heights Apartment at 2001 15th Street, but low and behold, the parking lot wasn't always there. In 1978, the Campbell
WDG Architecture, Portner Flats, Jair Lynch, new apartments, U Street

Heights Association constructed its eponymous apartment as subsidized, unassisted, one-bedroom apartments for senior citizens aged 62 and older.
But first, the property on site had to be demolished. A grand Victorian structure stretching the entire block of 15th between U and V Street, built at the turn of the 20th century as "The Portner Flats," a high-end luxury apartment building offering 485 rooms (with baths!) and an entrance flanked by ornate Viennese-style sculptures. 
Portner Flats - Washington DC historic buildings

The Victorian was demolished in 1974, but it became famous first, in 1946, after it was sold by the Portner family and reopened as the Dunbar Hotel, Washington's leading elite black hotel. In the '50s and '60s, in the lobby of the Dunbar distinguished musical greats could be found - Duke Ellington, Sammy Davis Jr., Nat King Cole, Count Basie - cooling their heels after lighting up jazz dens strung along the U Street Corridor. "Before public accommodations were integrated in the nation’s capital, the Dunbar Hotel was the only major hotel where blacks could stay," wrote the Washington Times in 2009. However, when the District's other hotels did integrate, in the 1960s, the Dunbar fell into disrepair, was condemned, sold to the District in 1970, and razed in 1974. The Dunbar was named after Paul Laurence Dunbar, an African American poet born in the late-19th century who died before his time, in 1906; shortly after the Portner Flats were built, but long before the razzle-dazzle heyday of the U Street District that brought with it the short-lived glory that was the Dunbar Hotel. 

Washington D.C. real estate development news

Monday, November 21, 2011

Next Steps for New South Capitol Street Bridge


The District's forthcoming purchase of land needed in order to construct a new South Capitol Street/Frederick Douglass Bridge across the Anacostia has been aided by the dedication of $68 million in federal funds, with the next phase of development beginning by the end of the year.

Land acquisition followed by preliminary engineering for the bridge portion of the $806-million South Capitol Street Corridor project will be underway within the next month or two, confirmed the District Dept. of Transportation's program manager for the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative, James T. (Tom) Ryburn. The extension is part of the National Capital Planning Commission's vision to make South Capitol Street a "civic gateway," replacing the worn bridge with 6 traffic lanes and a bike path.

The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), which selected a low-arched bridge design, was approved this summer (the picture at right is a stereotype). Ryburn cautioned that current designs are preliminary. "Everything is conceptual at this stage – there’s still a lot of design to be done."

The team plans to submit the initial financial plan in early 2012. Though it's been estimated that a budget of $806 million is required for the project, DDOT will be refining the cost figures in the preliminary engineering phase. And although federal funds will help with land acquisition, construction is currently unfunded, and the start date is entirely dependent on funding, as "[DDOT] Director Bellamy said on NBC," added Ryburn. "If we had the money, [there could be a new bridge in] six or seven years."

(Click to enlarge the plan to renovate the entire South Capitol Street Corridor)

Washington D.C. real estate development news

Anacostia Riverwalk Trail Gets a New Extension


The goal of a 20-mile trail to line both sides of the Anacostia River is getting one step closer. Forest City, which is the middle of a developing much of the Capitol Riverfront waterfront and sponsored the trail, will hold a ceremony tomorrow to unveil its latest section: a 611 foot pedestrian bridge connecting Diamond Teague Park and the Park at the Yards. The new bridge will surmount the DC Water facility now dividing the two parks, furthering the pedestrian path that will eventually parallel the Anacostia River and wrap around Buzzards Point, connecting northeast D.C., the southwest waterfront, and the tidal basin. (photo below credit to Capitol Riverfront BID)

The bridge - an arched pier with wood (ipe) planking and steel cabled rails - was designed by Paul Friedberg of MPFP LLC, a New York landscape architecture and urban planning firm that designed the neighboring park and Capitol Riverfront's first footbridge (pictured at right).

The new bridge will rise up to 18 feet above the average waterline to allow service boats to access the O Street pumping station, which pumps water to the Blue Plains treatment facility. The incandescently lit pier will offer interpretive graphics talking about the use of water and history of DC water.

Diamond Teague Park, just below Nationals Stadium, now becomes the western terminus of bike trail. Michael Stevens, Executive Director for the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District, says the next westward expansion depends on development of the Florida Rock development site, which is still in the planning stages. Stevens predicts that by 2013 the trail could connect the baseball stadium to Minnesota Benning.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Your Next Place

By Franklin Schneider

If you were watching a made-for-tv movie and the main family lived in this house, you'd immediately say to yourself, “oh MAN, are they in for something horrible!” Because it's just, like, too perfect. According to the laws of television, any family who lived in a place like this, a palatial five bedroom colonial in Chevy Chase, would have to have some serious dark secrets. And I'm not talking “Saved By the Bell” caffeine pill hijinks, I'm talking Meredith Baxter-Birney in “Taliban Junkie Mom.”

Luckily, this is real life, so having a dark secret isn't a prerequisite for living here. (Having a million dollars is, but let's not talk about that now.) I was really taken in by this beautiful, sunny, spacious legitimately four-leveled home. I tend to be really critical (ask my exes), but there wasn't one thing I'd change about this place. From the large brick patio and larger yard to the quaintly classy dining room to the sprawling living room (with fireplace), everything was just right.

The kitchen is modern and large, the five bedrooms are varied and spacious, and the renovated basement has legitimate “rumpus room” potential. There were hardwood floors throughout, and the apple of my eye, a huge screened-in porch. I've always loved screened-in porches; when I was a kid, my mom would let me sleep in our screened-in porch in the summertime and it was probably the highlight of my entire childhood. (Well, either that or the time my babysitter's bikini top flew off on the slip-n-slide. One of those two.)

3314 Tennyson St. NW
5 Bedrooms, 3.5 Baths

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Shotgun Domicile: Speed Decorating in the District

By Beth Herman

On your mark, get set, go! It’s like a round of speed dating: learning all you can about a candidate, usually over a 10-minute glass of wine, before moving on to the next table. Those who’ve done it say an uber-sized glass of Pinot Grigio helps, but knowing the right questions to ask will get you what you want.

For interior designer Beverly Glover-Wood, of Glover-Wood Interiors, the right questions came in handy as the speed part remained, though the “dating” word became “decorating” (sans the wine) when the call came from a proper Bostonian. Poised to head up a D.C. commission with an eight-week countdown to lift-off, the client needed a home in the District fast. Choosing an apartment in the Penn Quarter’s prized Lansburgh, 425 8th Street NW, she would be spending six years in Washington in her new role and abode, though jetting home to her old life, family and friends in Boston on weekends whenever possible.

“I had a commission to do this quickly and not too expensively,” Glover-Wood said of the relatively temporary 744 s.f. residence, affirming the client would be maintaining dual households for the duration of her term. Noting that typical decorating protocol involves time to get to know the client—perhaps even shopping with her, a tight schedule in another city precluded this. “We had one conversation where she talked about what she liked,” the designer said, which was articulated by the two of them combing through catalogues. Preferring “clean and simple,” Glover-Wood said her client did not want this objective manifested in a severe environment, but rather a shabby chic look– slipcovers and comfort so she could just come home, relax and get away for a while.

In true stopwatch form, Glover-Wood did a quick run-through of all the places people shop in the District where things can be obtained relatively quickly. With Pottery Barn, Crate ‘n Barrel, Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams, Ballard Designs, Upscale Resale, Home Goods and Room & Board topping the list, Glover-Wood peppered her client with dozens of photographs she’d taken on a spin through each venue (Ballard’s was strictly catalogue and web, however). The final design was determined to include a red, yellow and blue palette “to keep it cheery and soft,” with the client’s favorite sage green reflected in bathroom features and a feminine bedroom desk.

Deliver dilemma

With furniture choices taking anywhere from 7 days to 12 weeks to ship (predicated on in-stock colors vs. other design requests, Glover-Wood explained), and in an effort to expedite things under the circumstances, the outgoing tenant offered to leave behind his furniture, with the designer choosing what was suitable and donating the rest to D.C. nonprofit organization A Wider Circle. Though a remaining sleigh bed was to be the focal point of the bedroom, the client wasn’t thrilled with the furniture in general because it was all very dark, Glover-Wood said. The challenge, then, was to involve selecting light and lively fabrics, lighting, art and other pieces to offset the space’s existing complexion. At the proverbial 11th hour, however, the dark bedroom pieces went too, opening the bedroom to prettier possibilities but leaving even less time to fill it.

Accordingly, the designer found an antique white headboard from Pier 1 Imports. A Terrific Trio glass top table was obtained from Ballard Designs, with a cloth cover in "celery" from their fabric selection. A white wicker desk and chair for under $50 from Upscale Resale were spray painted deep hunter green, with the desk also serving as a bedside table (Glover-Wood said the client appreciated having a desk tucked into the bedroom). Two framed prints of old Harper's Bazaar magazine covers flank the head of the bed, and a voluminous window dressing and ruffled shams add elegance and tranquility to the space.

In the 273 s.f. living/dining space, Glover-Wood purchased a table and chairs from and consulted with Ballard’s to acquire two bamboo folding chairs in a tortoise shell hue for extra seating. In the compact but adequate 80 s.f. kitchen, a bar encircles the room and faces the dining room, and a couple of bar chairs will effectively utilize the space.

Though two sofas were left behind by the previous tenant, they were donated and a sleeper sofa from Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams (winners, according to Glover-Wood, in the “how fast can you ship?” contest) was obtained to accommodate occasional visits from the client’s two 20-something children. A floral rug in front of the sofa with reds and oranges from Home Goods reflects the wood hue of the dining room chairs, knitting together the two spaces.

Over the dining room table, a standard chandelier with adequate light remained and a large glass slider channels abundant light throughout the living/dining space. “I think lighting is pretty inexpensive as it is, but you want it to be decent,” Glover-Wood said of the question of fixtures and lighting accessories, adding one can purchase a good lamp for $125. To that end, she explained a lot of really inexpensive lighting has low wattage, which inhibits reading, so she opted to spend a little more for two substantial reading lamps and a floor lamp.

Revealing there are buried (and not-so-buried) treasures in D.C. and Maryland consignment shops such as Gallery St. Elmo and Upscale Resale, Glover-Wood said she frequents those entities for furniture, accessories and art. Decorative plates for the kitchen wall were discovered on one particular expedition, and suitable art was obtained from Capital Consignment, as well as Ballard’s and

“The client had a wonderful attitude, saying all she really needed was a bed,” Glover-Wood said of the mandate to design like Nike: the goddess of strength and speed. “Hers was surely a unique situation, but overall if you’re coming in and trying to set up quickly, especially as young people often do, it’s nice to know about all of these places you can go.”


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