Monday, December 18, 2017

OPaL CUSTOM:: Our New Ads for Bethesda Magazine 2018

Check out our new full page ads to promote our new company, OPaL Custom, that will concentrate on custom homes, additions and renovations. The ads will run in Bethesda Magazine this spring and summer.

Using photos of our previously completed homes, our ad agency color matched a detail in the photo and added a clever tag line and crisp clean copy. THAT'S SO OPAL.

Friday, November 10, 2017

ANC Approved OPaL's Little Red Chapel | Capitol Hill | Coming 2019

You've got to admit our architect nailed it on this modern addition to a historic DC chapel. Metal and stained cedar will compliment the traditional brick facade yet will ensure the both old and new speak their own language. Another unanimous ANC vote for OPaL last nigth. Now we move onto DC Historic next week.

OPaL's Little Red Chapel on Capitol Hill

Two Family-Sized Homes Coming in 2019
Just Steps to Union Station, Eastern Market & Whole Foods
Does DC living get any better?

Sunday, November 5, 2017

OPaL Renovations & Additions: Adding a Front Porch and Sunroom

Making a great house even 'greater'! That's so OPaL.

What's life without a great front porch?

We use our sunroom all the time.....I think these homeowners will too!

Sunroom with floor to ceiling windows.....nice touch!

And four huge skylights. We are leaving the siding, windows and porch lights in the sunroom. I think it's neat when a new room looks like it was an addition.

Monday, October 23, 2017


Everything we have learned about building DC alley projects has culminated in Cluss Court Car Barn! 

Wallpaper is hung. Window fabric will be delivered Tuesday. Furniture, art and lighting will be installed on Wednesday; the patios and awnings will be done soon too. 

If you could conjure the perfect urban, family-sized home, this would be it.
  • Walk to Potomac Ave Metro
  • Walk to Eastern Market
  • Walk to Barracks Row
  • Walk to the Navy Yard & National's Stadium

Classic OPaL: Historic facade. Re-imagined for today's homeowners.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

You Know I Love a Thank You Note: "Thanks for the Groceries"

We are a super loyal company. We use the same trades in almost every home we build and have done so for years. This is just one reason our homes are solid, thoughtful and full of positive energy.

I just received the nicest thank you note from the gentleman who supplies our retractable awnings. They do great work and I just love what an awning can do for a patio or deck. The additional privacy and cover from the sun are very important if you want to get the most from your outdoor space. I highly recommend SunAir.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

OPaL's Little Red Chapel Gets All Apple Store On Us

Updated sketch of our Little Red Chapel on Capitol Hill:: an uber contemporary addition to the rear of the historic chapel would allow us to move forward with our residential conversion of the chapel. This may not be the final version of what we build, but it sure would be great if it's anything like this. The glassy, contemporary stair tower at the rear corner reminds me of the Apple store on 5th Ave in NYC; it would be a great juxtaposition to the historic facade on the front. The architect added an image by Swoon to the glass side wall which is also interesting.  

This is the fun part. But so is framing day, paint day, landscape day and furniture day!

Design by GPS Designs:: Minturn, Colorado.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Building Permits in DC Aren't So Easy To Obtain. Unless They're From 117 Years Ago!

In order to obtain permits for one of our new projects in DC the process can take 7 to 9 months. An outrageous amount of time to wait for permits. The same process in Montgomery County will take no more than two months, with little to no headaches.  

However, in just two weeks we were able to submit a request to DC Archives in order to find the original permits for our latest historic conversion on the Hill. Turns out the original structure was built in 1900 with three additions in the 1940's and 1950's. 

What an interesting day we just had at the DC Archives! Below are photos of paperwork submitted for St. Matthews Parish in 1900.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Little Red Chapel on the Hill by OPaL

On the heals of our wildly successful Pittman's Chapel in NW, DC we have just purchased another historic chapel. This time on Capitol Hill, just 3 blocks from our New Union Garage project; another incredibly successful, historic OPaL project. This little jewel of a building is located just few blocks from Union Station, Eastern Market and the new Whole Foods on H St.

We plan to build just two, family sized homes in this structure. That's so OPaL!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Loving our Instagram Pics for Watkins Alley

Our ad agency for Watkins Alley just sent over the best graphic pics for us to use on Instagram. Now we need to have as many followers on Instagram as we do on this super popular blog (thats so OPaL).

Friday, July 14, 2017

OPaL Wins 3 National Awards for Design & Architecture on the Left Coast

My partner and I just got back from an incredible trip to San Diego and Los Angeles where OPaL was honored with 3 national awards for design and architecture. This time for Pittman's Chapel, Morton Street Mews and New Union Garage. I can't convey what an honor is it to be recognized in California for our work on the east coast. New Union Garage even won Multi-Family Project of the Year going up against projects not only from the US but also Asia, South America and Canada. Pretty Awesome, right?!  This is actually the second time our little company from DC has won this award. The last time in 2013 with Naylor Court Stables.

Hope you enjoy our photos.....

My partner, Jason, and I in front of Pittman's Chapel photo board.

That's me up on stage.

Our table mate. She won best Custom Home over 8,000 sf for an incredible, $30 million mansion she designed in Aspen.

Don't know her, but we thought she looked great!

The San Diego Convention Center and the Gold Nugget Awards

The catering was great too!

The awards made it through the TSA, even though they thought the trophy was a block of cheese on the scanner!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

A Shed Story

You know you need a shed when the pool toys are scattered around the patio and landscaping. My first call was to our favorite Colorado architect who designed our home. I just knew he would have clever, cute and petit ideas for a storage shed that would either blend with our home or be a contemporary divergent.

Our goals were easy:: 
  • Design a small structure that leans contemporary; detached from our guest house and second garage
  • Have the shed be simple in design and super easy and cheap to build
  • We would like one, simple garage door that can be just thrown open and left open almost all summer. Garage door should be contemporary with translucent panels.
  • Flooring should be simple decking material like Trex or the more affordable Azek
  • Utilize a modern lattice and gate to hide the pool equipment between the guest house and new shed
  • That's it. Easy Peasy, Lemon Squeezy!
Below are the sketches he came up with. 

This stuff's got to go somewhere out of my site. Though the water bazookas are way awesome!

Too much like the house itself.

Love this! Modern and still visually similar to the house.

Super cool and mod! But not my favorite.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Digging Cluss Court Car Barn (literally and figuratively) by OPaL

OPaL's Cluss Court Car Barn will be one of our most memorable projects on Capitol Hill. Located on an quiet, residential alley with historic significance; our homes will be incorporated into the original car barn built in 1924. Just one block from the Buchanan School townhomes, now selling and our Watkins Alley project, ground breaking in 2018, the location couldn't be any better. Very excited to see the first OPaL solo project come out of the ground, again.

The big dig. After taking down the roof and three existing walls, the foundation is dug.

We will be re-using every single brick in the new homes. Recycling at its best.

Thursday, June 8, 2017


With the help of Loch Collective we have overhauled the landscape plan for Watkins Alley on Capitol Hill.  Below are just a few of the new images and design thoughts. With angular knee walls to create gathering places and raised, wooden walkways that will look like floating paths, both courtyards at Watkins Alley will be just incredible places for our future homeowners to engage with each other or take a moment for themselves.  The DITTO and OPaL teams are super excited to begin this project in 2018.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

OPaL's First Waterfall Counters | New Union Garage

New photos just in. I love having more than one photographer shoot a house. It's always interesting to see how they each see the home from different points of view. The same kitchen takes on a whole new personality depending on the photographer.

Using Silestone Glacial White counters we have installed our first waterfall kitchen islands at New Union Garage on The Hill. Our interior designers chose a neutral palate for the interiors, similar to a few beach homes we have completed recently. It's a nice touch with the floor to ceiling sheers and all white on white kitchen. That's so OPaL.

Previous photos of New Union Garage were by Maxine Schnitzer, while the more recent photos are by Bob Narod. Both of whom are super talented artists.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

NEW UNION GARAGE on Capitol Hill:: Nominated for 3 NATIONAL AWARDS!

Just got the word:: New Union Garage was nominated for 3 national awards. Fingers and toes crossed. Judging will be the summer with announcements in August. 

Oversized, open concept with quadruple, casement windows overlooking the perfect neighborhood.

Now that's a master bath: Electric Mirror Co lights, floating vanity, jetted tub plus 3 showers heads
 and a private water closet. That's so OPaL.

With whole house music and a southern exposure this bedroom is magical.

Originally built in 1906, the New Union Garage has found a new life on Capitol Hill.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Just 4 Days Until the Release:: NEW UNION GARAGE Lofts | Capitol Hill

After what seems like an eternity, we have finally gotten to the release of the largest and most luxurious new homes on Capitol Hill:: New Union Garage will not disappoint, as you can tell from yesterday's photo shoot.

Life on a single level with direct elevator service doesn't get much better than this, the Penthouse at New Union Garage. 

A true loft in a city that doesn't really have lofts. That's so OPaL