Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Washington area is wealthiest and most educated region in the nation, census data show

From the Washington Post: "The Washington area's affluence and education levels make it the wealthiest and most educated region in the nation, according to census data released Tuesday that reflect five years of relative prosperity compared with the rest of the country. During that period, Fairfax and Loudoun were the only two U.S. counties with median household incomes surpassing $100,000. Tiny Falls Church, which is an independent city and counted separately, had that median income level, as well. Five of the region's suburban counties - Fairfax, Arlington, Loudoun, Montgomery and Howard - plus Alexandria and Falls Church, were among 17 places in the United States in which more than half of the residents have at least a bachelor's degree."
Read more:

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cabin John to be Featured in the Popular Washington Post Series: Where We Live

The Washington Post is figuring out what Cabin Johners have known for decades. That the small area between the Potomac River and River Road deserves some accolades. Within the next few weeks Cabin John will be featured in the very popular Where We Live column. Currently featured is the quirky college town and Baltimore suburb of Catonsville. We can't wait to see Cabin John receive the accolades it so rightfully deserves. We will post a link as soon as it is made public.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Washington Housing Prices Increase Most in Nation

From the Washington Business Journal: 'Existing home prices in the Washington market posted the biggest year-over-year gain in the nation last month, even as prices and sales declined nationally.'

Washington Unemployment Lowest in Nation

From the Washington Business Journal 'The unemployment rate in the Washington area remains the lowest in the nation among big cities, falling to 5.8 percent in October, from 5.9 percent in September.

Washington is the only major city in the country with an unemployment rate below 6 percent, with a tighter labor market than the next four-lowest unemployment rates, in Oklahoma City, Minneapolis, Austin and Boston.'

Read more: Washington unemployment lowest in nation | Washington Business Journal

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Peter Nelson Joins Sean Ruppert and Team OPaL, Press Release

Competitors Join Forces to Shake Up New Home Market

Former NVR exec joins team of boutique homebuilder, OPaL.

Lanham, MD, November 15, 2010—After nearly a decade of working for opposing teams, local building experts Sean Ruppert and Peter Nelson are joining forces. This month Nelson hops on board as Senior VP of Production at Ruppert's company, OPaL, LLC.

Ruppert and Nelson first met when both were working for NVHomes in the 1990s. Soon afterward, Sean Ruppert used his sales and marketing expertise to create his own homebuilding company, filling a niche in the DC market for small, high-quality, well-located communities.

Nelson, on the other hand, built a 20-year legacy at NVHomes serving in various executive and managerial capacities in the production end of the business. Now he's able to help OPaL achieve their mission of pulling off a trifecta in the homebuilding industry—uniquely designed homes, built to impeccable quality, in incomparable locations.

"OPaL is not content to rest on the laurels of our past successes. Peter may be the only person in the DC area that can improve upon our product and help us achieve even greater quality and integrity in our work," says Ruppert.

Because OPaL is a much smaller company than NVHomes, Nelson will have the opportunity to wear many hats. "This new position at OPaL will help me hone my industry skills even further by learning more about land development, budgeting and the business in general. It's the perfect position for my career growth and I couldn't be more excited than to work with someone who shares my commitment to the homebuyer's satisfaction."

The timing couldn't be more perfect for this matchup, either. OPaL is getting ready to break ground on its most ambitious project yet—a cluster of upscale single-family homes on Macarthur Boulevard called Cabin John Crossing. "Cabin John Crossing is the epitome of everything OPaL has always aspired to be," states Ruppert. "You can't find a more desirable location or discerning homebuyer. Peter joins our team just in time to take us to the next level in quality, integrity and desirability in the DC market."

About OPaL

Based in Lanham, MD, OPaL is a local builder specializing in developing small, well-located, close-in communities. With over 15 years of experience in the homebuilding industry and numerous awards, OPaL's extraordinary vision brings a whole new dimension to the Washington, DC and Baltimore areas. The company builds only a handful of new townhomes and single-family homes each year, preferring quality, individuality and location over cookie-cutter appeal. All of the more than 120 homes built by OPaL since its inception are characterized by truly unique architecture, impeccable details and deep thought for the lifestyles of their owners. To learn more, visit

Home Builder Confidence Edges Higher

“Many builders are reporting that while the quantity of buyer traffic through their model homes has not improved dramatically, the quality of that traffic seems to be getting better – meaning that more people appear to be serious about buying in the near future,” says NAHB Chairman Bob Jones.

Read more: Homebuilder confidence edges higher | Washington Business Journal

Monday, November 1, 2010

Updated Farm Home Renderings

The Updated Farm Homes being designed for Cabin John Crossing are just about complete. We thought you'd enjoy a sneak peak.
Shown above are the Clara Barton Elevation A and MacArthur Elevation B.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Cabin John Autumn Celebration Mixer @ Union Jacks

One of the best times to be had in Bethesda will always be at Union Jacks. However, tonight the good folks at Union Jacks are helping find you the right guy or gal with their annual Autumn Celebration Mixer. The party starts at 7:00 and everyone is invited! You'll find Union Jacks at 4915 St. Elmo Avenue in the heart of downtown Bethesda. Don't forget to return on the weekends for College Can Roulette and the always popular Spin the Wheel for NFL Specials.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Cabin John Crossing will consist of only four Updated Farmhouse style homes on generous homesites with all the charm and attention to detail OPaL is known for. Located in the heart of Cabin John at the corner of 79th Street and MacArthur Blvd. Just off the Potomac River and only minutes to DC there simply is no better location. Sales begin in late October.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Unique Spaces: Sears Bungalow Gets a Modern Makeover in Berkley

Husband-wife architects Theodore Adamstein and Olivia Demetriou are the principals at Adamstein & Demetriou, the architecture firm whose modern designs can be seen in DC’s hippest restaurants, including Zaytinya, Poste, and Bistro Bis. It would stand to reason, then, that they live in a similarly appointed home. And they do, but its vast open areas, clad in three levels of soaring glass, are nearly invisible from the street. Passersby in the couple’s Berkley neighborhood instead see a lovingly restored, circa-1923 Sears-kit bungalow. The new-old design of the house fits well into the neighborhood, which is known for its diverse architecture, Adamstein says. Another terrific home designed and built in the OPaL manor.
To view this home please visit 2318 King Place NW, its on the market for $2.95 million

Thursday, July 29, 2010

D.C. area housing market relatively insulated from downturn!

From the Post (July 27th): "Home-buying activity in the second quarter was well above where it was in the comparable period a year ago, and homes sold more quickly and at higher prices, according to a study compiled by the Delta Associates consulting firm and Metropolitan Regional Information Systems, the local multiple listing service."We feel quite comfortable in saying that the bottom has passed in this region," said Sandy Paul, Delta's national research director. The local market owes its strength in part to its relatively low unemployment rates and plentiful supply of high-paying jobs, the study concluded.
Read more:

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Whether on a grassy lawn, under a porch roof, or in an interior room, wicker furniture is classic, comfortable seating. But here's the real beauty of this furniture: Many grasses, vines and plant materials used for the woven coverings make excellent surfaces for decorative painting. Wicker also is easy to find and is readily available in a wide range of styles and prices.

Antique or new, natural wicker comes in four major types: rattan, reed, willow, and bamboo. Each type has its own characteristics, so consider which material will work best when selecting pieces. For example, finer plant materials and tighter weaves generally provide a smoother surface, more suitable for repeating motifs and patterns. Pieces with bold, directional weaves make stripe patterns easier. And furniture featuring texture changes, such as accent or border treatments, might be especially interesting with selected details painted a second color.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Housing Inventory Down, Prices Up in D.C. Area

According to the Washington Post the glut of homes for sale in the Washington area has shrunk dramatically since the housing market's darkest days in 2008, and supply is now close to healthy in some spots. The number of area homes for sale last month was down 25 percent from April 2008. "There are tons of buyers out there, but there aren't enough good houses, especially entry-level homes under $400,000," said Vivianne Couts, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker in Fairfax.
Read more on the cover of the today's Post's Business Section:

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


American Architectural Foundation (<span class=
Did you know that Target partners with museums and design schools to make art more affordable and accessible. Target is also the national sponsor of the American Architectural Foundation’s (AAF) Great Schools by Design program. The goal of the program is to improve the quality of our country’s schools and the communities they serve by promoting collaboration, excellence and innovation in school design. With AAF, Target launched Redesign Your School, the largest national design competition open to high school students in the country.
After all, great design is more than aesthetic and style; it's about promoting creativity and innovation that leads to extraordinary experiences both in your home and in your life. Sounds like Target & OPaL are on the same page.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Friend of OPaL on Display at Vera Wang Bridal Salon

Artist Matthew Johnston whose art we have been using in our model homes and personal residences for years is now on display at Vera Wang Bridal Salon Saks Jandel in Chevy Chase. No wedding plans anytime soon? That's okay. It is worth the trip just to see Matthew & Vera's artwork in person.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

TONE on TONE....Our New Fav Place to Shop

First order of business would be to call American Express and get a bump on your credit line before heading over to Tone on Tone in fancy Bethesda. There is something here for everyone from mirrors with modern lines to the most amazing 19th Century English Trunk. 'Tone on Tone specializes in 18th and 19th century painted Swedish antiques. Crafted in simple lines and painted in neutral colors, it is easy to understand why these classic furnishings fit so well in today's homes.'
Sounds a bit stuffy, however, everything is beautiful and a true must see. For shop hours and directions please visit:

Saturday, April 10, 2010

20 Designers + 35 Rooms = 1 Amazing Home

The 3rd annual DC Design House opens this weekend and this year's home is by far the most brilliant. The mansion on Bradley Lane in Chevy Chase is a collection of the most up to date trends for the interior design enthusiasts. Our favorite accessories would have to be the sphere in the living room made of drift wood collected along the banks of the Eastern Shore by David Iatesta. Even better the 36" plasma TV hung over the cook top is just perfect for pulling up your favorite recipes on the Internet or cooking along with your favorite Food Network star.
Tickets are $20.00 and all proceeds go to the Children's National Medical Center. For directions and hours or to vote for your favorite designer go to

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Americans say time is right to buy home: Poll Says

"NEW YORK - Nearly two-thirds of Americans think the time is right to buy a house, with a majority believing prices will be the same or higher over the next year, according to aFannie Mae survey released Tuesday." Read the entire article at

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


We found the best web site for terrific references on what to do this spring in Montgomery County, also known as 'The Upside of Downtown'. If you're searching for the perfect weekend adventure, crafts fair or even a butterfly exhibit then you must visit

Our recommendations from personal experience: Family Day at Glen Echo Park on May 1st, this place hasn't changed in fifty years and we hope it never does. We also recommend the Cherry Blossom Festival. You can't really experience the Cherry Blossoms on the news, you've gotta get down to the Tidal Basin and see them for yourself. Leary of the crowds? Don't be. That's what makes it so exciting, sharing the experience with strangers from around the world. Does DC living get any better?

You really must try both Glen Echo Park and the Cherry Blossoms this spring. You won't regret it.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Only 10 Minutes from Albany Grove is Merriweather Post Pavilion, Jazz Fest 2010 Coming Soon

Just 10 minutes north of Albany Grove is Merriweather Post Pavilion, one of the absolute best venues in the mid-Atlantic to take in an outdoor concert, stand-up comedian or musical.
2010 Capital Jazz Fest to be held at Merriweather
Each year in early June, tens of thousands of music lovers from throughout the country flock to the suburbs of Washington, D.C. to attend this weekend of hot fun and cool jazz — The Capital Jazz Fest. This multi-day, multi-stage outdoor music festival, which attracts music lovers from 44 states, is more than just a concert, it's an event! It's a place to people-watch, eat, drink, shop, mingle, relax, soak in the rays, and of course hear some of the coolest music performed by artists whom you won't see anywhere else in the Washington-Baltimore area this summer. In-between musical sets, enjoy fine art and crafts at the Festival Marketplace, culinary treats at the food court, plus artist workshops and meet & greets. And after the show, check out the late night after-parties.
Learn more at and enjoy the show.

Monday, March 1, 2010

There's Convenience and Then There's Albany Grove Convenience!

Just minutes from Albany Grove & Aspen Ridge are the services you will appreciate on a daily basis. Not just Trader Joe's, Safeway and Bank of America (all shown above) but Home Depot is just a few miles south and a new Gourmet Giant is currently under construction just 2 miles north in Burtonsville. Does Suburban DC life get any better: unique homes and the special conveniences that make life just a little bit easier.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

MAN UP at Nordstrom in Columbia Town Center Just 10 Minutes from Albany Grove

Admit it guys: You've got your fair share of oversized, outdated fashion relics gathering dust in the far recesses of your closet. It's time to weed out the old and ring in the new—and this month's Men's Style Guide at Nordstrom can help you up-date your wardrobe. If you time it right, Nordstrom's half yearly sale is just weeks away....good thing Columbia Town Center is so close to home once you move to Albany Grove. Maybe plan your day around seeing Golden Globe Winner Avatar at the new AMC Theater or catching a concert at nearby Merriweather Post Pavilion. We will post Merriweather's 2010 concert schedule once it's released in a few weeks.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

An Author After Our Own Hearts, Sarah Susanka

"Bestselling author, architect and cultural visionary Sarah Susanka is leading a movement to redefine the American home and lifestyle. Her "build better, not bigger" approach to residential architecture has been embraced across the country. She believes that 'Not So Big' should be the first step in sustainability, both for our own well being and for the well being of the planet as a whole." Sarah has several great concepts for what a home should be. For instance the idea that you should use every room every day; meaning the grand two story family room may be beautiful, however, it is not a room one feels compelled to remain in for an extended period of time. She also is a strong proponent of the idea that your home should include features that make it feel more like a home rather than a commodity. Features such as window seats, built-ins, pocket doors, sky lights and reading nooks make your home feel warm and unique. We agree! That is why you will find these features in each OPaL home.
Sarah is the acclaimed author of eight best-selling books including The Not So Big House and The Not So Big Life. If you love OPaL homes you will thoroughly enjoy Sarah's books and will easily find them at You should also try to catch one of Sarah's lectures or presentations. You can find her schedule at Enjoy

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Original Conceptual Sketches of Albany Grove & Lombard Court

You might like to see the original concept drawings done by our architect for Albany Grove in Silver Spring & Lombard Court in Fells Point. These sketches were the inspiration for the homes we are now selling. Both communities have gone on to win several design awards competing against the largest and best known builders andarchitectural firms in the country.The historic review board in Baltimore made us delete much of the detail shown above saying, 'it just was not Baltimore,' oh well, the homes ended up quite beautiful and even the Mayor of Baltimore wrote us a terrific letter telling us that she has seen the community and what a positive effect she thinks it will have on the surrounding area. We agree!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Nothing Makes Your Home More Personal than Original Art

Original paintings bring a level of joy and sophistication to any space. If you chose art that is personal to you there is a connection between you and your space that is obvious to visitors. Above are photos of my living room in Old Town, Alexandria. Both pieces were done by artists who had bought homes from OPaL. By having art created by friends, we have the pleasure of knowing how each piece came to be and what they represented to the artist. Hope you enjoy!
The art hung over the piano is by Malia Stenerson originally commissioned for the Watergate Hotel Lobby in 1997, the other piece was done by Mathew Johnson whose studio is in the Torpedo Factory, we love his use of color. We also had Mathew do a portrait of our first dog, Oliver; it's hung in our media-room. In addition there are several Mathew Johnson's used in our model home at Lombard Court in Baltimore.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Home Sales Surge, Highest in Three Years

The good news is piling up like the snow. If you're looking for even more reason to purchase a new home right now then you must read this terrific article:

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Straight & Narrow of Townhome Living

There is a terrific article in today's Washington Post Home Section entitled Straight & Narrow. The article discussed the limitations of light and space in some older row homes and gives great suggestions from current home owners on how they over came some challenges. Though most of our homeowners have raved about the natural light in our homes, what with triple and quadruple windows in our Albany Grove model home or the 6'6" windows and sky light shafts in our Lombard Court model home, living in a row home or townhouse present certain obstacles. Click the below link and learn how these savvyWashingtonians overcame some obstacles. One suggestion of replacing a wall with a knee wall anchored by columns to improve the flow of natural light will ring familiar for those who have visited our model homes considering this is exactly what our architect has done with our homes.