Thursday, December 22, 2016

The NEW UNION GARAGE / One Level Living on the Hill

We have three incredibly cool projects, with almost 50 homes, coming to Capitol Hill over the next two years: Watkins Alley at Potomac Avenue Metro, Cluss Alley at Eastern Market and New Union Garage at Stanton Park.

Without question our homes at New Union Garage will be OPaL's most luxurious homes ever. Just 4 blocks to Union Station and 5 blocks to a new Whole Foods, the location is perfection. Upper-level homes will have elevator service directly into the residences. Private parking and outdoor space make the homes even more special.

Can't wait to share them with everyone in just 60 days!

Opening Day 1906!

Historic entry level with modern addition above.

Our largest homes with over 2000 sf on 1 level.

The facade will include a handmade garage door and hand painted, vintage sign. 

Heavy lifting. The internal steel skeleton ensures a long second generation.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

An OPaL Home is Rarely in 4th Place But We'll Take It This Time

OPaL's very own Turreted End Home at Pittman's Chapel made DC.Curbed's Top 10 Listings Just Under $1 Million. This home is one of our very best to date. Open this weekend 12-4.

Does a modern home office get any better than this?

Make your own history with this house.

1905 on the outside. 2017 on this inside.

Original brick work.

Wide open interior living spaces.

The perfect breakfast nook.

No one does a better staircase than OPaL.

Monday, November 7, 2016

All Things Kitchen by OPaL

Just posted a ton of OPaL kitchen photos on our Houzz page. Take the tour!

Here is just a sample.....

Rehoboth Beach Custom Home

Morton Street Mews, Washington, DC

Cabin John Crossing, Cabin John, MD

Naylor Court Stables, Washington, DC

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

This is How to OPaL

Yep, OPaL can be a verb and even an adjective when describing our homes. Most people will tell you our homes have a feeling of joy in them or that our homes have an intangible energy about them. I agree! 

Let my kids, Maddie and Paddy, show you how they 'OPaL' in their OPaL home. 

Sunroom action shot.

Dad's little lady, Maddie.

Sometimes I take the batteries out of those things just for a moment of quiet. :-)

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


I was just informed that OPaL was recognized again on This time for our HUGE number of saves. Seems people from around the world like what OPaL is doing right here in our Nation's Capital. 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Pittman's Chapel - Voted Best Conversion and Best Boutique Project 2016

We were honored and quite honestly shocked to win so many awards at last week's Great American Living Awards that were held at the Hilton Tysons Corner. Sponsored by the NVBIA and MBA our homes were up against the best new homes in the Mid-Atlantic Market. 

OPaL was singled out for our marketing, architecture and interior design in eight categories. Thanks to GPS Designs for our architecture, P Four for our interior design and Lyons & Sucher Advertising for the branding and marketing of Morton Street Mews and Pittman's Chapel.

Just a few of my new home buddies!

A little bling, but we don't have any room in our trophy case. Not a bad problem to have.

Pittman's Chapel - Best Conversion and Best Boutique Project.

OPaL - Best Interior Design

OPaL - Best Interior Design

Best Overall Custom Home - Rehoboth Beach House - Two Time Winner!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Monday, August 29, 2016

You Know We Love the Written Word

I just received the marketing copy for Cluss Alley, our new alley project on Capitol Hill. I think you might love the copy as much as I do. Our copywriter really understands OPaL and what we build. Take a look at what she wrote for our web site and the community brochure.


A rare kind of magic is afoot on Capitol Hill. City homes are somehow devoid of city noise. Every bedroom is a suite. Private, garage parking is a given. A ground floor without dividing walls opens fully to the outdoors. And two breathtaking levels of living warrant countless stares. Just one look is all it takes to become charmed by Cluss Alley by OPaL. With an incomparable location near Barracks Row, Eastern Market and Metro, the best of the city lies at your feet. Yet your doorstep is tucked away behind the row homes of the city for incomparable privacy and prestige. Named for the architect of the Smithsonian Castle, Cluss Alley is a spellbinding masterwork of contemporary design.


If you could conjure the perfect urban home, this would be it.
A rare kind of magic is afoot on Capitol Hill. City homes are somehow devoid of city noise. Every bedroom is a suite. A private spacious patio is a given. A ground floor without dividing walls opens fully to the outdoors. And two breathtaking levels of living warrant countless stares. Named for the architect of the Smithsonian Castle, Cluss Alley is a spellbinding masterwork of contemporary design.

Incomparable city living in an astounding location.
Just one visit and you’ll be charmed by Cluss Alley’s location. Barracks Row and Eastern Market put the best of city living at your feet. Both a Safeway and Harris Teeter are within a block of your home. The Potomac Avenue Metro is just steps away. And many of the city’s finest restaurants, including Rose’s Luxury, are right around the corner. You may be astounded by how your car disappears into your private garage for weeks at a time!

Found this great photo of an old alley on Capitol Hill to use on the Cluss Alley landing page.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Logo Options for OPaL's Chapel in DC

In just a few weeks we will be opening three incredible model homes in our first church renovation. Thought you might like to see our choices on logos and naming for OPaL's Little Chapel.

Friday, August 12, 2016

There is an OPaL because of My Mom, Eileen O'Brien (Oct 1944 - July 2016)

My mom passed away a few weeks ago, on July 28, 2016. She used to call me her shadow. For the first ten years of my life, that's exactly what I was. Mom loved corn-on-the-cob, steamed crabs and tomato sandwiches; she was funny, supportive (in her own special way), uber loyal (that's where I get it) and was just a really good person. That simple, a really good person.

Every compliment or award I have ever received for our homes is rooted in my mom; I am her and with that our homes are too. Each OPaL home is created with a piece of my mom's positive energy, approachable manor and casual nature. 

Her legacy and memory live on in my children and even in each OPaL home. She was so proud of everything I touched: from showing horses as a kid to building homes as an adult.

If you like me or my homes, you would've loved my mom, Eileen O'Brien.

My mom raised several race horses. Here are my parents at the Hunt Cup.

Mom and Paddy, my son.

Mom 5th Grade.

Mom at 17.

Mom and Dad

One of mom's winners.

Mom, me and Dad.

1988 World Show, Tulsa, OK. Mom was so proud. I was so mad I was not in the top 10.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

WS Pittman Would Be Proud, I Hope

We continue to make great progress on the historic church at Morton Street Mews.

The rear addition to the historic church, with three 3-level row homes.

The front of the WS Pittman Church, with three 2-level row homes.

The interior of the end unit, turreted row home. Amazing!

Monday, July 4, 2016

The Sudden Loss of Lucy; A Loyal Companion and the L in OPaL

Our beloved Lucy lost a very sudden bought with a rare immune disease last week. In just three days she was gone. Lucy was an incredible dog. Smarter than most people. Loyal as the day is long. Kind and gentle.

I bought her as a Christmas gift to my partner at the time, many years ago. She was also the L in OPaL, which stands for the dogs in our lives at the time we named the company: Oliver, Parker and Lucy. She will be missed beyond measure. 

My mom used to say, 'as painful as the loss of a dog is, you would never trade the pain for not having had the dog in your life.' My mom's point was that the sorrow is a small price to pay for the joy they brought into our lives. 

Lucy Ruppert-Evans will be missed and never forgotten.

My favorite photo of her.

Parker (the P in OPaL) and Lucy at the beach on Thanksgiving, circa 2009.

The painting I had done by an artist in the Torpedo Factory for the OPaL website.

Lucy in one of our custom homes.