Thursday, February 26, 2015

You Know I Love Good Word!

Check out what my favorite copy writer in the whole world came up with for Union Garage on Capitol Hill. Other than the images on our web page, nothing tells the story of our homes in a better way than the copy written by Tierney Sadler. She gets OPaL and it shows.

[feature copy]
New Union Garage
Capitol Hill, DC

Tucked between the rowhomes of one of DC’s most storied neighborhoods, a long-time staple of the horseless carriage set is transforming into the darling of Capitol Hill. The New Union Garage features three beautiful, one level homes, perfectly situated for city life and the sophisticates who live it. Each unit is ideally sized with 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 2-car garage parking and an outdoor terrace. An elevator leads to the two upper-level homes and a rooftop deck offering expansive city views. Pet parents will appreciate Stanton Park on the next block. And Washingtonians of every ilk will covet the location—five blocks from Union Station and seven blocks from both a Whole Foods and the seat of American power, the US Capitol. For those enamored with iconic DC living, this is it.

[copy for pop-up]
The once and future New Union Garage is indelibly entwined with the city’s history, as well as its lore. Built in 1906 when “New Union” most likely referred to the fruits of the Civil War that had ended just 40 years before, the New Union Garage capitalized on the emerging popularity of horseless carriages and automobiles. Because they were owned only by the era’s wealthiest and most important individuals, the garage was built where the wealthy and important could be found—Capitol Hill. In fact, it is said that Lyndon B. Johnson once had his car serviced there.

Adding to the lore of the location, just one block away is Kenny’s BBQ. President Obama made a highly publicized visit there in 2012 and the site is considered by some to be the model for Freddy’s, the BBQ joint President Frank Underwood frequents in House of Cards on Netflix. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

12 Tips

I was just interviewed by Builder Magazine and as part of the article they asked for 10 tips I would offer to other developers. Of course I wasn't able to keep it to just 10.  Here's my list::

1. Help those who come behind you. I try to meet with each person who contacts me who say they would like to do what I do. It get more out it than they do, I'm sure of it.
2. Be willing to pay for the best locations.
3. Hire great council. Legal and Civil.
4. Enjoy it and have fun.  Home building and development are great industries full of wonderful people who become wonderful friends.  I love what I do and it shows in my homes and in my marketing.
5. Make room for a work / life balance.
6. Pay attention to what really sells a home. It's not what you think.
7. Hire only the best sales people. Not the best closers, the best sales people.
8. If you're a small to medium size builder don't finance all your deals w one lender. Spread the love.  
9. Let your architecture be your brand. Then let your marketing tie into that.
10. Only partner with people you like.
11.  When work stress has you up at night, write the problem down on scratch paper or email it to yourself from your phone. This will take it off your plate for the time being, allowing you to get some sleep knowing you can tackle it in the morning.
12. Be your authentic self and allow your company to do the same. That’s who banks want to finance, investors want to give money to and buyers want to buy homes from.

Monday, February 16, 2015

“The two colours may be shouting at each other,” he wrote, “but they are shouting for joy.”

My all time favorite blogger, as some of you know, is Frank Harmon.  He is an architect and blogs about great spaces all over the world. Today's post is about Christopher Lloyd and his gardening philosophy.  With each post, Frank includes a wonderful and simple water color painted by Frank himself.  I love this guy!

Today's painting, though this one looks more like pencil than a water color.

Thursday, February 12, 2015


2014 was just incredible. Period. 
  • Five national awards competing against entries from South America, Asia, Canada and the US
  • Half a dozen regional awards
  • Interviewed by both Builder and Professional Builder magazines (both articles will be published this spring)
  • Two of our projects were finalists for DC's Home of the Year (which we won in 2012)
  • Invited to judge a national architecture competition last summer
  • Invited to speak at the International Builders Show on urban development for a second year

This little company I started in the attic of my townhome in Old Town, Alexandria is still a small company but has accomplished some big things.  Our achievements and recognition over the past few years have lead us directly into some very unique and interesting projects for 2015 and 2016.  I can't wait to share them with everyone.

The Team