Thursday, December 20, 2018

OPaL's 2019 Bethesda Magazine Ads

We have the best ad agency! I just love the OPaL ads they created for Bethesda Magazine 2019! However, I have to admit, it would be tough to create such great ads without the photography of our incredible homes!

I am so proud of our homes. Designed with a unique point-of-view and using southern light in creative ways, our homes have a way of making you feel better, feel happy. Not sure how that happens. But it does.

Thursday, November 29, 2018



OPaL has another UNANIMOUS VOTE at DC's Historic Board!

(or the songbirds and tadpoles)


Saturday, November 17, 2018


When we build a project of several homes, we have construction fence wrap branded for that particular project, like The Manors in Kensington or Watkins Alley on Capitol Hill. However, when we build a single home that will be sold by OPaL, we brand the project as an OPaL home. Hence the construction fence wrap branded for OPaL and now, OPaL Custom.

Check out our new construction fence wrap, designed by 
the most creative marketing people in the DMV.  They totally get OPaL.

I almost fell over when I opened this pdf for the first time.

Monday, October 8, 2018


Winning DC' 2018 Home of the Year (for the third time) was exciting, but it leaves us wondering if we can do it two years in a row with one of these incredible homes we are building next year!!

Just some of my OPaL team, plus Julie Dillon, my boss back in the 90's.

Could Little Red Chapel be the 2019 House of the Year?

Could our perfectly designed home renovation in Cleveland Park be the 2019 House of the year?

How about our all new row home in Adams Morgan?

Or could this custom home in McLean could be the House of the Year?

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Bethesda Kitchen Renovation & Addition for Anna & Javier by OPaL

Our photographer had an epic equipment fail while doing the interior of this home. So you'll have to trust us, it was beautiful. The photographer was able to save just one exterior photo of the addition. We are all so proud of this whole house renovation, it was exactly what the owner's had envisioned. That's So OPaL.

Designed by Bethesda architect, Tom Manion.

A Sunroom in Potomac for Cookie & Bryan by OPaL

Just completed. OPaL added this terrific sunroom onto an already great home. Completed in just a few months, OPaL provided the design and construction.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018


OPaL builds homes well. Really well. Our final sale at Cluss Court Car Barn, the home inspection proved it. Once again, there were no problems to fix. ZIP, NADA, ZERO. THAT'S SO DAMN OPaL!

Kitchen view in Cluss Court.

Cluss Court Car Barn Before.

Cluss Court Car Barn Before.

Cluss Court Car Barn During.

Cluss Court Car Barn After.

Cluss Court Car Barn After.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Last Chance to Live in a 1920 Car Barn on The Hill | By OPaL


Just back from San Francisco where OPaL's Cluss Court Car Barn won TWO NATIONALS AWARDS FOR DESIGN AND ARCHITECTURE! Now we are offering the final home for sale.

I am often uber proud of our homes, but this home is something special. Welcoming. Sun-filled. Super private and even more quiet. Plus the coolest outdoor space on The Hill. Designed by Loch Collective from Annapolis, the patio is a contemporary combination of cedar decking, Cor-Ten Weathering Steel, White Birch trees and plenty of glass openings that blur the line between indoors and outdoors. 

Seriously, where else can you walk to great restaurants, grocery stores, farmers markets and the Metro and still live in a huge, new home with off street parking and killer outdoor space?!?!  No really. Read that sentence again and think about it!  I just know this home will find the perfect buyer who will love it as much as we do.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Loving our Proposed Home for V Street & 17th NW

After my ARC meeting last night for another project we are doing in Cleveland Park, I needed to share something positive. Check out the updated elevations for OPaL's all new home in the Striver Historic District of the Adams Morgan / U Street corridor.

Currently a very tiny, triangularly shaped, vacant lot in one of the best neighborhoods of our Nation's Capital, this home will only be 450 square feet on each level. Totaling 1,500 square feet and maxing out our lot coverage.

How incredibly unique and creative is this home? It leans just a tad modern with contemporary metal bays and 4th level turret. Though the body of the structure pays respect to the Richardsonian Romanesque Architecture that makes up the rest of the row.

When I moved to DC in 1994, I lived near this site. Used walked my dog, Parker (the P in OPaL) on this vacant lot many, many time (yes, I picked up). I adore the older homes in the row, we used to call them Hobbit Homes (I think that's the nickname given the architecture by the neighborhood) because of the low, wide arch over the front doors. It is a great area, terrific row of homes and OPaL would honored to be apart of the area.

Thanks to our architect, Greg from GPS Designs in Minturn, CO, for these incredible elevations. They are totally OPaL.

1717 V Street NW, front elevation.

V Street elevation.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

OPaL Brings Back The Keeping Room at The Manors. Ta-Dahhh!

We just completed the model home at The Manors with our very first Keeping Room. I had thought of a keeping room as a sitting area right next to the kitchen, where guests hung out while dinner was prepared. Now that OPaL has built our first keeping room, I have educated myself on how the term came to be.

Here's what I've learned::
"keeping room is actually a very basic concept. It is a secondary living room that connects to the kitchen area. It was a popular space in colonial times due to the fact that the heat from the kitchen kept the keeping room warm, making it one of the few heated areas in the house"

Interesting right? Well our keeping room doesn't need heat but it is a super neat space. We have separated it from the kitchen with a large set of French doors. We also made sure to continue the use of the 7' tall windows throughout; this ensures the keeping room will be as sunlit as the rest of our home. THAT'S SO OPaL.

This is one of my favorites spaces we have ever built. I hope you think so too.

In this photo you can see the full length French Doors that separate the Keeping Room from the Kitchen.

OPaL's First Keeping Room. Ta-Dahhhh!

Sunday, June 3, 2018


Here's to a fun filled pride month for the entire DC Metro Area!

We had Watkins Alley colored to perfection by our terrific friends at ArchiBIM. Thanks Viktor!

Jason & my kids: Maddie & Paddy dancing at Eastern Market! Aren't they the cutest?

Thursday, May 24, 2018


Just got the word: Cluss Court Car Barn has made the final round in two categories for the 2018 Gold Nugget Awards. Sponsored by the Pacific Coast Builder's Conference the GNA honors not just the best architecture and design in the United States but internationally as well. OPaL has won three Gold Nugget Awards in the past 4 years. It is a great honor when we win locally, however, winning on the Left Coast with our East Coast projects is incredibly special and means alot to the entire OPaL team.

This summer we will travel to San Francisco to find out the results. If nothing else, San Francisco is super fun to play tourist in and it's an honor just to make the finals. We will be competing in the categories Best Renovated, Restored or Adaptive Re-Use Project and Best Multi-Family Project Under 15 Acres.

That's So OPaL!

When we won Project of the Year! That's quite an expression on my face.

Cluss Court Car Barn :: BEFORE

Cluss Court Car Barn :: AFTER

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

5 Reasons To Renovate Your Home with OPaL | Our New Web Page for Renovations

Our creative friends at Lyons & Sucher have outdone themselves with our new renovation web page: 5 Reasons to Renovate Your Home with OPaL. Check it out::


They used my son Patrick Ruppert for Reason #2.

Screen Shot of the Header.  Cool Right?

Sunday, April 29, 2018

OPaL Welcomes Obie. The Next O in OPaL

The original O in OPaL (Oliver) passed away in 2004; The P in OPaL (Parker) has been gone just a few years and we lost the L in OPaL (Lucy) just 18 months ago. Now that my twins are almost five I began thinking it was a good age to have another dog.

Meet Obie. The next O in OPaL!

Obie just arrived at our home yesterday as a surprise for the kids. He is a BerneDoodle and I drove a 15 hour round trip to South Carolina on Friday to pick him up. Barring a fall in the pool yesterday and a few 'whoopsies' on the floor yesterday, he seems to fit in perfectly.

Obie the BerneDoodle

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Multigenerational Homes by OPaL / Kensington / Montgomery County

Found this cute little, multigenerational image online.

A few years ago on this blog I wrote about the guest apartment we were building adjacent our new home off MacArthur Blvd in Cabin John. This wouldn't be a normal guest apartment, it would be my mom's new home and what would end up being her final. With an elevator, full kitchen, simple bathroom, laundry and even a small balcony, Granny would hopefully feel right at home. In this new, tiny home of hers, she would be safe, see her grandkids whenever she wanted and she would have some independence too.

In today's Washington Post there is a great article about the growing trend of multigenerational homes that you may find interesting.

OPaL's latest project in Montgomery County will offer family size homes with elevators and in-law suites under one roof. The Manors | Kensington opens for sales in just a few weeks. Just steps from Westfield Wheaton Mall and Metro the homes are infinitely walkable, both inside and out!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Cookie's Sunroom Addition & Jason and My Beach House Sunroom and Front Porch Additions:: That's So OPaL

With our first snow storm of the year headed our way tomorrow an update on two sunrooms and a front porch is needed to remind us that today is the first day of spring 2018. What better way to ignore the snow by celebrating these OPaL additions that will be such great spaces to enjoy this summer!

Still missing the clear story on the roof but you can already see what a great space this will be for Cookie and Brian to enjoy!

This beach house has been Transformed with a capital T! What a difference a front porch makes.

We also converted this side patio into a sunroom. In warmer weather, with the windows open, you will be able to hear the ocean from this new room!

We can't wait to gobble fruit and popsicles this summer on our new front porch! Just like we do on our front porch in Cabin John! Isn't this the cutest thing?!  That's So OPaL

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Houses Designed for Dog Lovers :: That's So OPaL

From dog wallpaper and baskets for collars and poop bags in our mudroom to a full size dog wash basin in our laundry room, one might say my family's home is well equipped for K9's. If you like those ideas, I just read a great article in Washingtonian for dog lovers. Written by Marisa Kashino, a fellow OPaL fan, I am certain you will enjoy the article. If you like OPaL and our homes you will enjoy everything Marisa writes for Washingtonian!

A few dog inspired images from around my house this Sunday morning!

In our mudroom, a special place for everything dog related.

Dog wall paper and an original of Parker (the P in OPaL). This painting was done by Matthew Johnston.
Matthew can be found in The Torpedo Factory or

Our dog wash basin by PetLift. Get your checkbook out this wasn't cheap, but worth it.

Another original art work, this little gem was done just for our webpage to go along with the story about OPaL's name.
Oliver, Parker and Lucy = OPaL