Thursday, December 27, 2012

OPaL's New Homes in DC's Uber Cool Palisades Take Shape

Finalized our logo over the holidays.  Love the font. Cute right?

We settle on the land this Friday and will need to decide in short order which direction to take the architecture.  Below are the vastly different styles we are choosing from. Though I love the contemporary home, I'm leaning toward the more traditional style.  Seems more Palisades.

A modern take on Chesapeake Bay architecture.

The same home as above but with an super contemporary elevation.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

OPaL Custom Homes :: Bethesda, DC & VA

We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Cabin John Crossing.  Not just for the national awards and not just for the great friends we've made along the way but also for opening OPaL up to an entire new business model.  Custom Homes.

OPaL Custom is something we've been working on for several months.  We've completed the link on our web site, will have an AMAZING custom model home completed within 60 days and will begin a Custom Home ad campaign this spring.

Monday, December 10, 2012

This is the Part I Love the Most!

There are two times during the development process that get my juices going::  The branding of the project and the watching initial architecture evolve based on Greg and my collaborations.
Our latest project will consist of 40 towns and singles just steps from the Wheaton Metro and Town Center.  Below are the project name suggestions from the staff at One Eighteen in Los Angeles.  Additionally the second round of architecture is both surprising and remarkable!

Our super mod farm-homes in shades of grey and cedar are fun and unpredictable.
And you know we like fun and unpredictable.
And the winner is::  Thirty-nine Up or 39 Up, either way it's fresh and hip.
And you know we like fresh and hip!

Monday, December 3, 2012

New OPaL Homes in Palisades, Does DC Living Get Any Better?

Nope.  DC living does not get any better than an OPaL home in the Palisades. Our latest new home project, Canal Mews, will consist of two homes adjacent the DC reservoir and just steps from the Palisades Safeway, Marvelous Market, the Capital Crescent Trail and Black Salt.  Imagine that, the best cocktails and raw-bar in the District just a few steps from your new home.

GPS Designs is busting-a-move on the home designs, I'll post initial concepts just soon as I can.  This project, tucked between MacArthur Blvd and the Potomac River is uber exciting!

Monday, November 26, 2012

You Know What's Between Black and White?

Between Black and White there are Several Shades of Blue and Gray

I finally got Jill and Shawn to sit still long enough to select the interior paint colors for OPaL's new model home / office....and my new home.

McCormick interior colors:: (top to bottom) Clear to See, Blazing Sky, Zephyr and Shadow Dance.  All trim and panelling will be Cream Pie White.
Above fabrics:: on the left is the new window treatment for the great room, the previous selection has been discontinued.  On the right is the window treatment for the stair-tower.  

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Okay, Found the Second Coolest Architect Ever....

A few weeks ago a good friend of mine, knowing my life long connection to horses and more recently, architecture, sent me a link to an article in The Post about a super talented architect. John Blackburn, has made a name for himself by designing uber lavish equestrian barns for actual horses.  And now I just stumbled across a post on my second favorite DC real estate blog, DCMud, about the very same gentleman.  However this time he has designed a super sexy barn for actual people.  Go Figure! 

The super sexy barn for people (above)

Just one of many uber lavish barns Mr. Blackburn had designed for horses (above) Growing up on a small horse farm, I can tell you, our horses had it nice, but not this nice.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Nate Berkus:: The Things That Matter

I just finished Nate Berkus's new book, The Things That Matter.  What a terrific read! I highly recommend if you love design and ever wondered how to include your most meaningful possessions into your home design, this is a must read.  

Nate's mantra:: 

PS:: If you have never read a book on your iPad, it takes reading to a whole new level.  You can highlight names and places you don't recognize or want to learn more about and search the web while you are reading.  Its gotta be the best reading experience ever!

Monday, November 5, 2012

A Rolling Stone Gathers No Chevy Chase

Our Martha's Vineyard model in Chevy Chase is busting-a-move towards completion this month. Check out the work completed this week alone::

Stone facade on stair-tower almost completed.

Barefoot Contessa Kitchen. How easy was that? As Ina Garten would say.

OPaL's signature stair tower (above and below pics).

Plus the cutest address plaques were delivered to the office today.
  And you know we love cute.

MacArthur Blvd Has Never Seen a Bedroom Like This

OPaL's new Model Home & Office::

Now that's a master bedroom ceiling!  When complete the ceiling and walls in this master bedroom will be covered in beveled 1"x8" paneling and painted white.  Think vacation of your favorite home on the bay in Annapolis......

Love is in the Details

How great is the retro tile being installed in Chevy Chase, Cabin John and The Stables?
Chevy Chase master bath from this weekend (below)

Plus, check out the sunroom of our new office / model home on MacArthur Blvd. (below)
Looks a tad sloppy while under construction this weekend, but you can see it taking shape.
How 'bout that cupola / clear story on its roofs.....

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Cone of Silence! This is Just Between You and Me.


Seriously trying to wrap my head around winning the Silver BALA Award again in 2012.  We were notified recently that our MacArthur will be following in the footsteps of our Clara Barton from Cabin John Crossing with a NATIONAL award for architecture. This is following the MacArthur winning the DC 2012 Home of the Year just last month.  

Our team is overwhelmed with the response we have received from our industry piers as well as the public at-large.  It's beginning to sink in what a bright future OPaL will have in the National Capitol Region; beginning this winter with the historic Stables in DC and super modern homes in Kensington later in 2013 plus our new office and model home under construction right now on MacArthur Blvd.  Yeah Team!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Shepherds to the Left, Shepherds to the Right

Uncrated the mantle for the breakfast nook of my new home yesterday. Took so long to take the wooden crate apart, thought we'd find Jimmy Hoffa in there.  

It will look so cool in a modern, white on white kitchen. Right?

Monday, October 22, 2012


I think we have the best copywriter this side of Texas and if she weren't so expensive, I would have her write my blog entries too.  (But then they would lose all the poor grammar and misspelled words you all have grown to love or ignore. Plus I would never hear from some of my friends if it weren't to correct something they see here.)

Tierney has been writing copy for our web-site, brochures and press-releases for several years.  Tierney gets us, she gets our homes and she gets the OPaL brand.  Her words are moving, thoughtful and they eloquently convey who we are, who we build for and how people will live in our homes.  Plus she's a dog person too.

Check out the copy she sent me for the new 'Custom Home' section of our web site::

Couture Comes Home::
Some homes fit you nicely. And other homes are created to fit no one but you. OPaL's architecture, contracting and building team is now available to partner with you in the ultimate tailoring experience, molding our unrivaled, award-winning aesthetic to your every thought. Move. Habit. Desire. And breath. 


Friday, October 5, 2012

How Does it Go? Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed & Something Blue


This marble mantel belonged to my Great, Great Grandfather and more recently my Mom. In just a few weeks it will be installed in the breakfast nook of my new home at Cabin John Crossing.

After my parents sold the home I grew up in, the mantel was crated for storage.  It's been in that crate for almost 10 years until last week when we pried open the crate so the mantel could be measured.  It's pretty amazing, right?


How much do you love this Ralph Lauren chandelier with the stirrups and leather straps?!?  Can't decide if it will go in the stair tower or in the pitched ceiling of the sun room.


I think the mantel fits this category too, since I am just the temporary custodian.


 Well the whole house has been designed with shades of navy. So that takes care of the blue.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Channeling the Ralph Lauren Men's Store on Madison Avenue in NYC for OPaL's office and model home.

Take a look at the final color board plus the main level furniture plan for our office and model home that is now under construction along MacArthur Blvd.  I'll post the interior paint selections soon. 

Counter clockwise from upper left. Great Room:: paisley Coastal Harbor fabric on the windows, burlap on the walls, twin navy couches, huge leather ottoman, 2 chino carmel arm chairs, 1 striped arm chair plus gun-metal tables.  Kitchen:: navy and khaki Ralph Lauren fabrics on the windows and dining chairs.  Sun Room:: sisal rug, steel blue sectional with navy piping, espresso coffee table, ice blue and white arm chair plus the coolest floral window fabric.  Master Bedroom:: Greek Key wall paper, navy fabric on bed frame, crisp white sheers over plantation shutters, 1 black tall boy, 2 metal chest of drawers and Mumzy's (my Grandmother's) couch will be re-covered in an almond and navy check pattern fabric for the seating area behind the bed.

Main Level Furniture Plan.  My favorites are the Great Room's 2 distinct seating groups with back-to-back couches and the Breakfast Nook, we never do formal dining rooms, so our breakfast nooks seat 10-12, in this house a 86" round table will seat 10 in front of my Great, Great Grandfathers white marble fireplace.  

This will be a crazy-amazing house!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Demo Day at Naylor Court Stables

What's more fun than watching the homes go up?

Watching the old stuff go down.

This guy is having too much fun.

Almost Done.

And then there was an empty lot.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Friday, September 21, 2012

OPaL's MacArthur Wins Home of the Year 2012

Last night at the Great American Living Awards OPaL was honored with awards for interior merchandising and architecture, not to mention Home of the Year.  The night was special for another reason: 12 years ago to the day and in the same exact banquet hall I won Overall Sales Person of the Year for having sold Harrison Square at the U Street Metro fro EYA. I can't believe it's been 12 years. Good grief time flies!

The MacArthur won Home of the Year, Best Architecture Detached over $1 million and an Award of Merit for Interior Merchandising.

MacArthur Elevation B, Color Package D;  8004 MacArthur Blvd

MacArthur Elevation A, Color Package B;  8008 MacArthur Blvd

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Remember Your Grandma's Bathroom??? RETRO TILE, You Gotta Love It

Check out our new bathroom tile selections.  I have been looking for tile like this for a few years.  I initially wanted to use them at Cabin John Crossing but it took so long to find a manufacturer they will now be installed in our homes at Village Twins in Chevy Chase......and our office / model home in Cabin John.  
I know the quality of the pics isn't great, I will try to find better version.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

When People Take the Time to Write Their Thoughts Down.....

It's one thing when people say nice things about our homes in person, however, when they take the time to put their feelings down on stationery and place a stamp on an envelope......the additional time, effort and thought means a great deal to the recipient.  I have always loved writing notes to people. However, it's even better to receive them, especially when it comes from an industry peer.  I thought I would share two notes I have received about the homes we build.  I think they sum what it is we do better than any marketing company or copy writer ever could.  Read on.......

(above) This has been framed and in my office since 2008. I remember the day Megan and her partner toured the model in Baltimore, I heard them gasp as they reached the main level of the home.  That home was quite special.

(above) I just received this note from a selling agent for our final home in Cabin John Crossing. It means a great deal when someone takes the time to put their thoughts on paper.  Thanks Daniel.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Concrete & Blue Ribbons

Today is our final day of judging for the Great American Living Awards.  The judges have visited our MacArthur for Home of the Year, Best Interior Design of homes priced over $1 million and today will be for Best Architecture of homes priced over $1 million.

Each award committee gives the home a blue ribbon for their favorite feature. Above are our ribbons for Window Design & Place as well as a ribbon for the interior design of the MacArthur living room.

Our first home in Chevy Chase is well under way and in record time.  Completion is expected this November!

Lombard Court at Fells Point, A Retrospective

Looking back at Lombard Court @ Fells Point
Our scale model was indeed a great representation of what the final product would look like.

Lombard Street elevations from the east and west.

Gated courtyard from the north looking south.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

What a Day: Demo, Dig & Be Judged

Yesterday began with receipt of our Demo (Raze) permit for The Stable in Logan Circle then quickly turned into a day of digging in Chevy Chase and ended with an incredible judging session by the GALA Judges for Home of the Year at Cabin John Crossing.

Took some time but we finally received the approval to 'Tear Down That Wall'

Check out the foundation excavation for Lot 42 at Village Twins in Chevy Chase

Meet 3 of our 4 judges from The Great American Living Awards in the MacArthur kitchen
The MacArthur is up for Home of The Year, the winner will be announced this fall.