Decadent Bathtubs

April 16, 2012


I was in New York a few weeks ago and scored some press passes to the Architectural Digest Home Design Show. Nice!  As I strolled through with my lovely traveling companion/assistant I felt myself drawn to the luxe items – big surprise.  There were some amazing kitchens but some even more amazing bathtubs.  I consider myself a shower guy but I have been known to avail myself to the hot tub lifestyle.

I wandered into the Diamond Spa booth, a Colorado based outfit that does spas, swimming pools, water features, cold plunge pools and bathtubs, custom fabricated out of stainless steel, bronze and copper.  I had many questions, the first of which was all about heat transference.  Here’s the lowdown from Diamond Spa’s FAQ’s   



Dream Home

April 10, 2012

Inspired by works of art and created in partnership with the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery, the Washington Design Center presents the 2012 edition of it’s Dream Home series. Eight top designers tap their talents to create unique knockout spaces. Have a look inside this year’s Dream Home.



Pecha Kucha

March 20, 2012

Every month in cities around the world, members of the design community and beyond gather in a variety of locations to share images and words. The concept started in Japan as a way for architects to share ideas and stories about projects they were working on. To keep the program moving presenters were allowed to show twenty slides and talk for twenty seconds on each slide. Welcome to Pecha Kucha.



Bungalow Renovation

March 5, 2012

The homeowners moved into this Palisades bungalow after falling in love with the house and its period styling, but they wanted to expand the living space to make it more comfortable for three growing children. To that end, we constructed a one-story addition to house an expanded kitchen, new family room, larger master suite with walk-in closet and bathroom. In addition we added a first floor powder room and a more open, airy stair to the second floor with ample closet and storage space.

The most challenging aspect of this project was designing new spaces for the way families live today while making peace with the existing house. Bungalowrooms are by nature modestly-sized and well-defined. Twenty-first century familiesare inclined towards open floor plans, eat-in kitchens, and large gathering spaces withvariably defined boundaries and functions. The goal in this home was to seamlessly meld the two design strategies together.  See the rest >>>

The view towards the living room in this bungalow renovation...


A Touch of Glamour

February 29, 2012

He’s an attorney, she works in the media and eight years ago they were entertaining vague notions of moving from Alexandria to Washington. “We weren’t aggressively looking for a house,” she says, “I was bored one Sunday morning and was wandering around Logan Circle.” It was about 10 AM on that morning when a For Sale sign on a Victorian-era townhouse caught her eye. By 2:00 PM she was back with husband-in-tow and writing up a successful offer.

Although the house had already been updated, more was needed to imprint the new owner’s lifestyle on the grand dame property. “We like modern design but warm modern, not stark,” she says, “and we wanted to be patrons of the local shops.” The couple didn’t have to look very far to find Vastu, a contemporary furniture store on Fourteenth Street that also offers interior design service.

“They were original clients from when we first opened the store,” says Jason Claire, co-owner, “they stumbled in one day and we found out the house was only three blocks from the store.” Claire and Eric Kole, the other Vastu principal began divining how the couple wanted to combine the home’s old world charm with the modern lifestyle of it’s new owners.

“It always starts with a conversation,” says Claire, “we like to talk about functional spaces, and how they want to use the room.” Form follows function and the owners already had a vibe in mind. “We talked about old Hollywood glamour,” she says, “we talked about having a martini in the living room and being taken back to the 1920’s. Within twenty four hours of that conversation, Eric was back with sketches and fabric samples.”

Read the rest >>>

Victorian living room with a touch of glamour.


Crafty Bungalow

February 22, 2012

We first met the homeowner to inspect a degraded old group house in D.C.’s Palisades neighborhood. As a design/build firm that focuses on remodeling, we don’t usually recommend tearing down a home, but we dutifully wrote the proposal anyway with the bad news. Shortly after that, the homeowner bought the house and hired our firm to design a new home on the site.

Our customer had a pretty clear vision of what he wanted, a well designed, well constructed bungalow that would blend into the neighborhood. In addition to fidelity to the craftsman spirit and ideals, our client required the integration of sustainable design principles, energy efficiency and quality throughout. He also wanted to recreate the dimension and feel of his living/dining room in his Mount Pleasant home.

The homeowner’s initial request of 2400 square feet did not accommodate all the requirements he was looking for in his new house. At the completion of design, the project had expanded to 4500 square feet. Care was taken during the design phase to ensure that the home’s massing would fit in with the neighborhood and the bungalow aesthetic. Instead of going up, the home extends inconspicuously toward the rear of the lot.

Read more >>>

The front facade of new bungalow, built from scratch.


Basement Bonus Room

February 16, 2012

Talented architects, designers and photographers send me really cool story ideas that I cannot find a home for on a regular basis.  This has become more frustrating lately since many shelter mags went under during the recession.  For the past few years I’ve been publishing my older pieces on my Design POV site and up to now, 99% of the work that’s up there is mine.  But.  The creative cats at Wentworth sent me some awesome shots of a basement makeover that I shopped around but nobody was biting.  I know Bruce (who’s on this list) at Wentworth likes to write so I asked if they had a project write-up I could use to go with the pictures.  Turns out they did, so I used his words and the pictures to build a sweet little web page that links back to the Wentworth site. Check it out.

Basement Bonus Room

A place to live it up in a basement bonus room.

Cape Cod Unleashed

January 16, 2012

In 1961 a CIA officer custom-built a Williamsburg-style Cape Cod in McLean, Virginia a few miles from agency headquarters at Langley. The house is well sited on over an acre of land and close to town. The lot backs up to a swath of woods and Pimmit Run, a creek that drains into the Potomac River. When the original owner passed way, his heirs sold the house to Bruce and Wilma Bowers a husband and wife design-build team who had been admiring the home for years. Read More >>>


Motorcycle Design

January 8, 2012

Steeped in pop culture, dunked in rebellion, dripping with danger and routinely offered up as a benign, inexpensive form of personal transportation – everybody has an opinion on motorcycles. Lighter, faster and more fuel efficient than cars, motorcycles have for the most part, resisted any hint of turning into something other than what they are, simple and arguably beautiful machines that we can’t keep our hands off.  Read more…

Royal Enfield

Big Green Bungalow

September 19, 2011

Well, fall is nearly and officially upon us.  The season of sportcoats and football has officially started. The fun and games will continue until early February, the month where most of us would rather be someplace else – except for those of you who live in a warm climates. Maybe you’d rather be someplace else too.  Anyway, it’s all downhill from here. This was one of those stories that I forgot about – twice.  Wrote it, filed it, forgot about, saw it in the magazine, then forgot to put it in the Blog.  It’s a fine story, don’t get me wrong.  Green features, new construction built to look old, a respectful homage to Frank Lloyd Wright, all good stuff.  It just slipped between the cracks – twice.  Check out the design by Rill Architects , the build-out was handled by Bethesda Bungalows.  The original story appeared in Chesapeake Home Magazine, which is now know as Chesapeake Home + Living.  Here’s the whole story…