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Local builder BOWA captured the project in a time-lapse video. By Michelle Thomas
The finished home after a down-to-the-foundation renovation. Photo via BOWA.

In case you’ve ever wondered what a full-home renovation might look like in warp-speed: Local design builders BOWA fixed a camera on the renovation of this Potomac home to capture the daily construction of the project, which involved tearing the existing home down to the foundation and rebuilding an bigger, customized home version on the base. A time-lapse effect brings the five-month project down to a minute. Check it out:

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Posted at 11:41 AM/ET, 05/28/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
From sophisticated townhouse to eclectic schoolhouse loft. By Michelle Thomas
You can rent the penthouse loft in Northeast's former Pierce School for $2,822 a night on Airbnb.

After seeing the amenities included in the Dupont Circle Airbnb rental owned by Results Gym and Stroga yoga studio founder Doug Jeffrieswho the DC government sued after complaints from neighbors—we got to wondering: What other amazing local homes are hiding out on the vacation-rental website? Here’s a quick glimpse inside the five best.

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Posted at 02:25 PM/ET, 05/27/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
No ugly dog beds or carpeted cat trees here. By Michelle Thomas
This printed dog bed is machine washable and made from eco-friendly hemp and cotton with a mildew-resistent padded insert. Hemp Safari dog bed, $150 to $190.

You love your pet. You don’t love the not-so-chic pet stuff that comes with them. Why should you have to incorporate a hideous, beige-carpeted cat scratcher into your carefully chosen home decor when there are better options out there? Food bowls, leashes, and toys can be well-designed without losing practicality. If you're ready to take your furry friend’s style up a few notches, try some of these form-meets-function pet-gear alternatives.

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Posted at 01:28 PM/ET, 05/26/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
This Logan Circle retreat doubles as secure parking. By Jennifer Barger
Photograph by Michael K. Wilkinson

Location: Logan Circle.

Vibe: Tuscan retreat.

Design challenge: Had to double as parking.

Stephen and Jennifer Giordano, both lawyers, love vacationing in Italy. The couple are of Italian heritage, so it was only natural that they look across the Atlantic for outdoor inspiration.

But the rear of their Logan Circle rowhouse required creative thinking from J. Mark White, owner of the landscape-design firm GardenWise. “It was more a driveway than a yard, and there was no privacy or gate,” he says. Plus, parking is tough to come by on the Giordanos’ one-way block off 14th Street, so the couple didn’t want to sacrifice their off-street spot.

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Posted at 06:30 AM/ET, 05/22/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
From faux-wood melamine plates to pretty citronella candles. By Michelle Thomas

There’s no rule that limits you to only flimsy paper plates and plastic cutlery for outdoor dining. If you’re throwing a backyard get-together, why not bring your party style up to par by swapping the boring basics for interesting melamine plates and graphic paper napkins, then finishing things off with unexpectedly chic little extras like luxe linen throws or a modern-minimalist beverage dispenser? Here are ten sophisticated finds that'll upgrade your al fresco entertaining.

Kaufmann Mercantile linen picnic blanket, $179; Skeem Citronella Blossom Candle, $34; Jayson Home Rope Handle party tub, $85; CB2 glass beverage dispenser, $49.95; H&M paper napkins, $2.95 for pack of 20; West Elm faux bois Naturalist melamine charger, $24.99; Wood bluetooth speaker, $39.99; Twig picnic salad servers, $14; H&M dark gray plastic pitcher, $9.95; Starburst teak tray, starting at $295.

Posted at 03:25 PM/ET, 05/21/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Salt & Sundry’s Amanda McClements shares her secrets for stylish summer entertaining. By Michelle Thomas
Photo via Shutterstock.

If you’re a local, you know Washington’s season of delightful spring weather to be excruciatingly short—which means when it’s pleasant outside, smart ones head straight for the patios. In preparation for these upcoming outdoor gatherings, we asked hostess extraordinaire Amanda McClements of Salt & Sundry to share her secrets for making a backyard shindig shine. Her five best tips for flawless outdoor entertaining:

Bring the inside out: Use your favorite pillows, throws and lamps from indoors to dress up your outdoor space for the evening. Lamps make a huge impact on ambiance.

Lay a foundation: Place an outdoor rug under the table or on the lawn to define the space and add color.

Create a serve-yourself bar: Set up a simple bar with pitchers of a pre-batched cocktail, wine and beer on ice so there's no running inside to the fridge.

Stay hydrated: On hot summer days and nights, be sure to have plenty of ice water on hand so guests can help themselves. Hinge-top glass bottles make pretty containers.

Keep it green: Use lightweight reusable plates and glasses instead of disposables to cut down on waste and elevate the look of your party.

Posted at 02:31 PM/ET, 05/21/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Also, a 1,000 square foot indoor pool. By Michelle Thomas

This McLean mansion comes with an intriguing backstory: In 2012, after being listed for $12.5 million, the home was relisted with a discounted price of $8.99 million and a curious catch—the buyer would have to agree to let the seller, bariatric surgeon Dr. Hazem Elariny, live there for three years post-settlement. Apparently there were no takers. Now the home is back on the market—but no weird contingencies this time.

Dubbed the “Castle on the River,” the 16,000-square-foot estate features a Potomac waterfront setting, a castle-stone exterior and—of course—a turret, plus a bevy of majorly opulent details. A 14-foot carved mahogany double door opens to the entry hall, outfitted with a six-foot crystal chandelier, a floating maple staircase, and heated imported Italian Calcutta gold marble floors; elsewhere, there’s a formal dining room with mahogany woodwork, a master suite that includes a full-wall marble fireplace, a domed ceiling, octagon inlaid Brazilian cherry hardwood floors, and a marble bathroom with a huge jacuzzi tub; there’s a ballroom, seven bedrooms, nine baths, two media rooms, and a mosaic-tiled 1,000-square-foot indoor pool with a cedar hardwood ceiling and sauna. A river-front glass elevator spans the home’s four levels. And that’s all on more than an acre of wooded land—including 85 feet of shoreline.

612 Rivercrest Rd. is listed for $13.5 million. Then on June 23, the home hits the auction block, with no minimum bid. Take a look inside below, then go to Concierge Auctions for more details.

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Posted at 11:52 AM/ET, 05/20/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Here's what DC homeowners spend on repairs, installations, and renovations, according to HomeAdvisor's data. By Michelle Thomas
No word on how much this remodeled kitchen by local designer Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen & Bath cost, but most DC-area homeowners spend around $20,000 for a new kitchen. See the before and after of this room.

Wondering how much it would cost to overhaul your outdated home? Here's your answer: According to data culled from's 2015 True Cost Guide Report—which compiles its information from member-submitted cost reporting—on average, remodeling a kitchen in the DC area will cost you $20,000. Most of the 236 homeowners surveyed spent between $11,000 and $30,000, with the most expensive renovation ringing in at $45,510. A bathroom? That'll cost around $9,000, based on the average from 632 surveys. Or if you want to build an addition, plan to put in around $70,000.

For once, these costs aren't sky-high over average prices in the rest of the country. In fact, Washington's remodeling rates fall right in line with national averages. Go to HomeAdvisor's 2015 report for more details on repair, installation, and remodeling costs on all variety of projects—and to see data from other cities, too.

Posted at 11:42 AM/ET, 05/19/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Plus, an outdoor living room to kick back and relax. By Jennifer Barger
Guests are greeted by this outdoor living room, just off the driveway. Photographs of Bethesda outdoor space by Melissa Clark

Location: Bethesda.

Vibe: Grand but inviting.

Unexpected element: Homegrown corn and blueberries.

City dwellers love to hang out on their porches, but the concept often gets lost in the suburbs. Not at this Bethesda home, where much of the outdoor design is focused frontward. Landscape architect Paul H. Davis installed a wooden archway and living area—complete with seating and a fire pit—just off the driveway. The result: an unexpected green zone that greets family and friends.

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Posted at 08:00 AM/ET, 05/19/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Join Washingtonian and Bozzuto for the grand opening of Cathedral Commons. By Emma Foehringer Merchant

On May 27, join Washingtonian and the Bozzuto Group for the grand opening of Cathedral Commons, located in Cathedral Heights. The building has rooftop terraces, a 24/7 concierge, a fitness center, and other amenities. During the celebration guests can explore the new space and partake in light appetizers and drinks.

Cathedral Commons, 3401 Idaho Ave., NW; 877-289-5833.

Posted at 03:44 PM/ET, 05/18/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()