Friday, December 19, 2014

Tone on Tone at the Shore

We have landed on a color direction for the beach house we will start next month.  Tone on Tone:: white stained cedar shake, silver metal roof and Sherwin Williams' Rain (sw6219) for the trim, windows and exterior doors. Along with copper gutters, downspouts and lighting this little cottage on New Castle Street will be the understated darling of Rehoboth Beach.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

My Biggest Dilemma of 2014?

Over the summer I was a judge in a national architecture competition for Builder Magazine.  It was very clear to all of the judges which designs would rise to the top. The top two homes were in Healdsburg, CA and the Hamptons. Both homes were simple with clean lines. Modern takes on a classic shape.  A triangle on top of a square.  No overhangs, no trim, simple and clean windows.  

I couldn't stop thinking about those two homes.  Modern but familiar.

So when we bought a vacant lot in Rehoboth Beach I knew what I wanted to build. I asked our architect to design a home similar in form, though much smaller than the homes I judged. Now I am torn as to whether I'd like to add a touch of color.  Either to the window sashes or maybe the metal roof.  Does that kill the design or make the home more beachy? After all, who wants a white home at the beach? Or, how amazing would a mono-tone, modern classic be at the shore?


One of the homes I judged last summer from Healdsburg, Claifornia

The home is a full time residence to a family who moved from NYC after 911

Just amazing! Simple. Clean. Modern but familiar.





Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Good Grief, This is Almost Embarrassing. NOT!


I was just notified late last night that OPaL and Naylor Court Stables have won TWO MORE NATIONAL AWARDS for design and architecture.  This time we won Gold Awards in the Best in American Living Awards (BALA) for Urban Infill Design as well as Design of Attached Housing.

This is a huge honor to be recognized on a national level for our protection of a historic alley in our Nation's Capitol.  Naylor Court Stables encompassed three row homes designed to resemble the late 1800's stables and carriage homes that line the Blagden Alley / Naylor Court Historic District in Washington, DC.

The awards will be given out at the National Association of Home Builders convention in Las Vegas this January.  I had previously been ask to speak on urban design at the convention, now I have two reason to be in Vegas this winter.  Woo Hoo!


Naylor Court Stables::  4 National Awards / 5 Local Awards for Design and Architecture

Thursday, November 6, 2014

OPaL's Headed to Capitol Hill's Stanton Park Neighborhood.....Hopefully

Last night we received a unanimous vote at an ANC subcommittee meeting for a project we are super excited about.  On the heals of our national success with Naylor Court Stables in Shaw, OPaL might be headed to Stanton Park on Capitol Hill. Stanton Park is one of the most beautiful neighborhoods on the Hill.  Lined with historic rowhomes and mature trees, it's a very special place just blocks from our Nation's Capitol and Union Station.

Front elevation of our proposed renovation of the Union Garage with two-story addition.
Painted brick and weathered zinc.....WOW.

Current view of the garage. She's a bit tired but what great potential.

Our plan is to convert the garage into 3 oversized, one-level homes all the two-car parking. Does Capitol Hill living get any better?  Probably not.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

An Uber Private Outdoor Haven in the Palisades, Just Minutes from Georgetown!

Looks like the perfect place to read your iPad on Sunday morn......or enjoy cocktail after work.....or scrapbook anytime......or gossip about your boss.....or text your girlfriends about how frustrating your husband is......or your wife.  Smile, it's a pretty space.

Remote control awning, custom outdoor curtains and the southern sun.


Friday, October 17, 2014

Yep, That's A Fireman's Pole! Coming Soon to a Beach House in Rehoboth

OPaL is about to start our second beach house.  This time a mere 120 steps from the boardwalk in Rehoboth.  The children who will use this very special home during the summers  will go nuts over having a fireman's pole hidden between their bedrooms. It'll provide them with direct access from their bedrooms to the main level.  So from now on, they'll always be 'making an entrance'.






Monday, October 13, 2014

We Couldn't Have Done it without our Remarkable Contractors

We attended the 2014 Great American Living Awards a few days ago where we won in all 6 categories we had been nominated in: Architecture for Attached Homes, Architecture for Detached Homes, Interior Design for Attached Homes, Interior Design for Detached Homes, Best Builder Web Site and Innovative Land Planning for Naylor Court Stables. I'll post photos of the event shortly, until then I wanted to share the letter Peter sent to all our contractors and trades who work on our homes.  They are a very dedicated group of people who also share in the awards.








Thursday, September 25, 2014

Creative Friends are the Best Friends

My buddies at DBM Marketing have created a terrific direct-mail piece for Canal Mews, our new single family homes in the Palisades.  This time next week 3000 residents of Georgetown will find out just how great a new home at Canal Mews would be::
Walk to the grocery store, the best schools in DC, fabulous restaurants and C&O Canal from your brand new home just two miles from Georgetown. DOES DC LIVING GET ANY BETTER?  






Friday, September 12, 2014

'A Hymn Without Words' by Frank Harmon

A few months ago the National Association of Home Builders and Builder Magazine offered me the opportunity to be a judge for a national architecture competition. Once there I met the other judges, a group of uber successful men and woman from across the country. I was honored to be included. During a lunch break one of my fellow judges told me about a blog she follows regularly called Native Places.  It's written by well known architect, Frank Harmon.  He writes about special places from around the world with a short description of the building or public space and includes a very simple yet beautiful water color that he himself created.

As OPaL nears the start of our renovation of a modest church in DC, I was struck by his post this week about a small chapel in the South and the water color he included with the post.  It's a lovely tribute you might enjoy.


Water color by Frank Harmon, a very special architect.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Canal Mews | Palisades Opens Model Home

After much delay (thanks Pepco) we have landscaped and decorated our first home at Canal Mews in the Palisades.  Can't think of a better place to live, right off the Potomac, just north of Georgetown and mere steps to all the great stuff you love about the Palisades.
Coastal Greystones, a perfect look for eclectic Palisades
Don't you just adore this reading nook on the 3rd level?

Our friends at P Four provided a warm palate of neutral tones, just perfect for the Palisades.



Saturday, August 23, 2014

Framing Days on Fessenden St. NW

Ever see the Dutch Colonial roof section of a new home make its way down an alley with low hung trees in NW, DC?  Well now you have!

Our custom spec on Fessenden Street in Park View, DC is almost under roof.  


Two fork lifts, a few chains and some patience!


Monday, August 18, 2014

Move Over! Granny's Moving In!

Just read a terrific article in the Post about a couple in Alexandria who put an addition on their home so their mom could move in with them. So I thought I would share how we did the same thing.  Knowing my mom, in the next few years, will need more assistance than she is willing to admit, I had our home designed from scratch to include a 'Granny Suite' over a second garage and connected with an enclosed breezeway. Since the apartment (with full bath, family room, complete kitchen and small balcony) is on the second floor we also roughed-in for a future elevator. So whenever Mom is ready......so are we!


Granny O'Brien this weekend with Paddy Ruppert
Granny's living room.
Granny's little kitchen and breakfast nook looks into our backyard.
Granny's super cute bedroom with pitched ceiling.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

120 Steps to the Boardwalk! Just close enough! Just far enough way!

OPaL's next beach cottage.....

This cute little guy will be located a mere 120 paces from the boardwalk in Rehoboth. Plus it'll be equidistant between all the fun on 'the Avenue' and 'world renowned' Silver Lake and Poodle Beach (wink). Check out the colors we've chosen....Martha (you know who I'm talking about) would be proud, she used the same colors on her home in the Hamptons.  

Does Rehoboth Beach living get any better? Probably not.


Clean lines, metal roof with clear story, sun-room and detached garage.....super cool!

Cedar shake siding, Pennsylvania Stone and Blue Mist trim, windows and shutters! 

Okay well, it's not as fancy as Martha's, but you get the color idea.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Good Grief! I look like a politician. Not that there's anything wrong with that!

Photos Just In::  
I didn't know I'd be required to give acceptance speeches when OPaL won those awards in San Francisco earlier this month, but I've become so accustomed to talking about our projects that is was almost second nature....zero nerves at all.



Thursday, July 10, 2014

Pop Culture & Food Network are our Muse

A muse is known to be a woman of inspiration.  Most people know I'm a nauseating Barefoot Contessa fan and most of the homes OPaL builds have kitchens that resemble her kitchen in the Hamptons.  

Well, we're gonna take a Barefoot break for our next custom spec in DC.  Giada's west coast kitchen with its flat panel doors, wood base cabinets, white wall cabinets, modern pulls and white counters will be our selections for Fessenden Street NW.  It'll be awesome in Forest Hills just off Connecticut Ave.   


OPaL's kitchen on Fessenden May not view the Pacific but it'll be just as nice!

That's my favorite TV person in her home kitchen, a complete classic.

Our classic Hampton's elevation. Wait until you see the pale blue windows and trim!!

Monday, June 30, 2014

OPaL Wins National Design Awards and Project of the Year

This weekend in San Francisco, I accepted the two most prestigious awards OPaL has ever won at the 2014 Gold Nugget Awards. We were honored with initially winning Multi-Family Housing Project under 18 Acres for Naylor Court Stables. Which by itself is amazing.  However, as the final awards were given out, Naylor Court Stables was also awarded PROJECT OF THE YEAR.  This just blows me away.  Entries were from around the globe, including Asia and Canada, along with the most amazing residential projects from across the United States.  

The judges statement sums it up:: Naylor Court Stables "sends an important message, the carriage house and stable-type buildings possess an appealing scale that's ripe for being replicated in blighted urban areas and in new communities, too."


My friend Rob joined me to help carry the awards.



The Gold Nugget Awards are sponsored PCBC. PCBC is the official annual event of the Leading Builders of America (LBA) and is endorsed by their members.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

OPaL's First Home in Rehoboth Beach Comes to a Conclusion, Just in Time for #2

Words simply will never do this home justice, it's a stunner! Blending in and standing alone at the same time.  Blending in because the home is the quintessential beach house. Standing along because it raises the bar of what's expected in Rehoboth Beach new construction architecture and design.


Oyster shell driveway is just the prelude to what's inside!

Ah, the L in OPaL (Lucy) makes a surprise visit.

Nice touch gents!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Morton Street Mews is Looking More and More OPaL-ly Every Week

Super, duper excited about Morton Street Mews in Park View, DC.  Socked between the Petworth and Columbia Heights Metro Stations, just off all the fun of 11th Street NW and  a few blocks from excitement on U Street NW.....Does DC Living Get Any better?

Sales and construction begin this summer.


Welcome to Morton Street Mews

Morton Street Elevation

Sherman Street Elevation

Monday, May 19, 2014

Naylor Court Stables Recognized Nationally!!



I was just notified that Naylor Court Stables was made a finalist for two NATIONAL AWARDS!!  To quote the letter I received  "The Gold Nugget Awards Recognize those who improve our communities through exceptional concepts in design, planning and development."   The minute I drove onto Naylor Court for the first time I knew OPaL could knock the cover off this project and now it appears some others agree!

Naylor Court Stables is a finalist in these national categories::  Multi-Family Design and Project of the Year!!  Isn't that AWESOME!!

The Gold Nugget Awards are sponsored by Builder Magazine. The winners will be announced in San Francisco on June 26th.  Booking my ticket today!!



Sunday, May 18, 2014

WOW, WOW, WOW. OPaL & P Four at the Shore


Joe & Shawn's house at the shore is almost done!  Thanks to Russ and all of our DE contractors who did an amazing job on this house.  Leave it to P Four to take it to another level with the interior design.  Simply Flawless.

My favorite room is actually the foyer with a false front door & 3 french doors that open to the pool patio. 

Truly a Great Room.

Yep!  Those are the chandeliers from the Church we bought in Columbia Heights.

Maddie & Paddy's room when they are old enough!

Okay.  Just. Flawless.

Vida Rooftop?  Nope.  Shawn & Joe's pool patio!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

What Naylor Court Stables Almost Looked Like

For months I've been thinking about what kind of art we should have in our conference room. Maybe abstract, black and white photography of our homes or maybe something completely unrelated to real estate??  I just couldn't decide.  Until now!

When I receive an email from Greg, our architect, with his and my initial thoughts of a new project's design......it's better than Christmas morning to me.  I open those pdf's with a lot of excitement and I'm never disappointed.  Therefore I've decided to have a few of Greg's pencil drawings enlarged and framed for our conference room.  They'll look amazing!

Below are the three concepts that ultimately led to what we built at Naylor Court Stables.

Concept #1.  Three town homes with different elevations.

Concept #2.  Incase the city made us keep the existing garage structure, we would have created a motor court in front of the homes.

Concept #3.  My favorite.  However, the city made us remove a lot of the details to end up with the product we eventually built at Naylor Court Stables.