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Remember when a huge water-main break flooded a downtown construction site last year? Well, here's what the property looks like now. By Marisa M. Kashino
1200 17th Street, Northwest. Rendering courtesy of Akridge.

You might recall that for a weekend last year, the corner of 17th Street and Rhode Island Avenue, Northwest, was briefly transformed into the District's largest pool, thanks to an epic water-main break. But at the ribbon-cutting Tuesday afternoon for 1200 17th Street—a 170,000-square-foot building developed by Akridge and Mitsui Fudosan America—everything was nice and dry.

The law firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman will take over five of the 11 floors, and part of a sixth, by January 2015 (the firm is relocating from the West End). That leaves 68,000 square feet still available for lease, if you can afford about $80 per square foot. 

"Maybe 10 to 15 buildings can command that," says Gregory Tomasso, a vice president and managing director of Akridge's leasing team. 

So what does Akridge say makes this one worth it? Its location between Dupont and Logan Circles and downtown, to start. It also boasts views of the Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial, and an efficient layout that Benjamin Meisel, another VP of leasing, says will allow Pillsbury to shrink from its current 180,000 square feet to 105,000. 

All renderings courtesy of Akridge. (Top to bottom: Office layout, roof deck, and conference room.)

Find Marisa M. Kashino on Twitter at @marisakashino.

Posted at 03:32 PM/ET, 09/17/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
This ten-bedroom mansion was the site of the design-focused fundraiser in 2010. By Michelle Thomas

This brick Georgian mansion in Chevy Chase, built in 1895, boasts a storied history—it hosted an inaugural party for Harry S. Truman and was home to two ambassadors—but more recent accolades include a 2010 turn as the DC Design House, a fundraiser featuring interioer reworks from dozens of professional designers. The 2010 showhome spotlighted the work of such pros as Nestor Santa-Cruz, Kelley Proxmire, and Victoria Sanchez

Though most of the designer-selected furnishings and decor are long gone from the 11,800-square-foot home, there are still plenty of gorgeous architectural and design elements to marvel at—including many of the dramatic Farrow & Ball-supplied wallpapers and paints (don't miss the ceilings, some of which are done in high-gloss paints and silver leaf), a gorgeous sun-filled solarium, a luxe dressing room, coffered ceilings and gilded trims, and stunning decorative moldings in the foyer and fanciful ballroom-turned-conservatory-turned-living-room.

The ten-bedroom, ten-bath mansion is listed at $5.2 million. Look inside below, then go to Long & Foster for the complete details and tour.

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Posted at 03:23 PM/ET, 09/17/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
These local homes know how to make a good first impression. Let them inspire you to liven up your own entry. By Michelle Thomas
Architect Christopher Cahill at the grand entrance of his Wesley Heights home. Photograph by Andrew Propp.

Modern Warmth

This contemporary wooden plank door, on a Bethesda home by Rill Architects, hits the sweet spot between modern and traditional. Choose these streamlined pieces to capture the vibe:

The Serralunga "Kabin" planter, at ($295).
The Salsbury Industries standard mailbox, at ($80).
"Petaluma" lanterns, at Crate & Barrel ($40-$129).

Updated Traditional

Photograph by Jim Darling Photography.

A splash of cool, crisp blue keeps this Alexandria Colonial by SBK Architecture and SLD Interiors from turning basic. Go for classic accents with a homey feel to get the look:

"Madera" lantern sconce, at Restoration Hardware ($189).
Architectural Mailboxes antique brass house numbers, at Lowe's ($13).
Shine Company cedar barrel planters, at ($197-set of four).

Mod Moment

Photograph by Ty Cole.

Architect Wakako Tokunaga introduced a mod burst of color at a client's home in Silver Spring. Replicate the sunshiney sensibility with cheerful accessories:

"Papaja" plant pot, at Ikea ($1.99).
Richard Schultz "Fresh Air" chair, at ($732).
Raw-aluminum house numbers, at CB2 ($10).

This article appears in the September 2014 issue of Washingtonian.

Posted at 01:45 PM/ET, 09/16/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
This four-unit development borders trendy Blagden Alley. By Michelle Thomas

Part of a new four-unit build at Ninth and M streets by DC developer Redwood Ventures, this top-level condo features tons of on-trend luxury design upgrades. A few of the highlights: wide-plank walnut floors, sanded for a rustic finish. A gourmet kitchen outfitted with marble counters, a vent hood, and a subway-tile backsplash. High ceilings and huge picture windows. Spa-style baths, including a master bath that involves an oversize, glass-enclosed shower, a soaking tub, and dual vanities. Plus it's a surprisingly spacious place, working in four bedrooms, three and a half baths, and a private roof deck across 2,400 square feet of living space. A hot location that backs into up-and-coming Blagden Alley tops the condo's brag list. 

It's listed at $1.649 million. Take a look inside below, then go to Lindsay Reishman Real Estate for the complete tour.

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Posted at 02:25 PM/ET, 09/15/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
A white clapboard exterior and an ultra-modern interior for $3.1 million. By Michelle Thomas

Here's a compelling example of not judging a house by its exterior: Though at first glance this Chevy Chase home looks like your average traditional white clapboard home, one step inside reveals an unexpectedly slick interior (and a killer rear patio). Designed by award-winning modern architect Hugh Newell Jacobsen—you may remember him as the creative brain behind this this sleek $10.5 million home in Georgetown—and constructed by Anthony Wilder Design/Build, this Somerset Heights home combines chic contemporary design with a California-style indoor-outdoor layout. Highlights? There's dramatic glossy red cabinetry in the kitchen and an inviting vaulted-ceiling sun porch—but the main draw of this place is that glass back wall, inset patio, and slender pool. Mod-cool perfection. 

The six-bedroom home is listed at $3.1 million. Look inside below, then go to Long & Foster for the complete details.

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Posted at 12:20 PM/ET, 09/12/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
So large that even the guest house counts 3,500 square feet of living space. By Michelle Thomas

How you know your home is on a different level of luxe: Its nickname involves the word "castle." This home, dubbed Castle Aziza, is indeed a pretty grand place, with more than 15,000 square feet, 9 bedrooms, and 14 baths. This villa-style mansion in Great Falls's Putnam Farm Estates includes such majorly fancy features as 12-foot carved-wood-and-glass doors, five fireplaces, a looming butterfly staircase in the double-height foyer, and extravagant decorative details such as opulent crown moldings and gold-leafed ceilings. Take a gander at the mirrored dressing room, which is so insanely enormous it takes up its own level. When you have visitors, send 'em to the attached three-bedroom guest quarters, which alone measure more than 3,500 square feet. There's an elevator to reach each of the home's four levels— and, of course, a crystal chandelier in the fitness room. What else would you expect from a castle?

The home is listed at $5.5 million. Take a look inside below, then go to Keller Williams for the details and full tour.

Fore more gorgeous home tours, follow Open House on Twitter at @openhouse.

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Posted at 11:30 AM/ET, 09/11/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Get the scoop on the new standalone store and the line's five best-selling paint hues. By Michelle Thomas
Farrow & Ball offers paint in chic hues such as Stiffkey Blue, pictured here. Photograph via Farrow & Ball's Facebook page.

To many a design lover, luxe British paint brand Farrow & Ball is the ultimate in chic varnishes. The only problem? The paints could be difficult to pin down locally—the brand's collection was only available to professional designers via the Washington Design Center. Not so anymore: As of Saturday, Farrow & Ball brings its covetable lush hues to its first standalone showroom in the area with the opening of a store in Friendship Heights. The new showroom offers color consultations alongside the full range of its interior and exterior paints—all eco-friendly—and its wallpaper line, including a new collection of four Japanese-inspired paper designs.

We checked in with the brand to get the word on the five best-selling hues at the former Design Center-based showroom. Apparently, Washingtonians like neutrals.

Farrow & Ball. 5221 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-479-6780.

This post has been updated to reflect new information received by Farrow & Ball's public relations representative. 

For more great home-design tips, follow Open House on Twitter at @openhouse.

Posted at 12:09 PM/ET, 09/09/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Complete with a 1,500-square-foot private terrace—and its own pool. By Michelle Thomas

When this former warehouse and auto showroom at 14th and Church Streets was converted into condos in 2005, the developer carved out this particular three-bedroom unit to act as his very own pad. The result is a 2,000-square foot urban condo, decked out with some of the building's signature luxe-industrial features—soaring ceilings, exposed ductwork, polished concrete floors—plus other modern high-end amenities such as concrete granite counters, Scavolini two-tone cabinets and KitchenAid appliances in the kitchen, Bose surround sound, and custom closets. Oh, and a 65-foot wall of light-flooding floor-to-ceiling windows. But our favorite part: The massive private terrace, a 1,500-square-foot outdoor space complete with a grill kitchen and its very own fountained pool.

1401 Church St. NW #214 is listed at $1.849 million. Take a look below, then search at DCRE for the complete details and full tour

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Posted at 03:00 PM/ET, 09/08/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Contemporary digs in a historic setting. By Michelle Thomas

Located just a few steps from the West End's Washington Circle, this townhouse in the historic Schneider Triangle is one of 21 homes built around the turn of the century. But that doesn't mean the place stays completely true to its historic roots—in 2005, the four-story interior was given a dramatic renovation by one of the area's premier architects, Mark McInturff. The overhaul created a three-story atrium in the center, an open floor plan on the main level, a gourmet kitchen, and a double second-floor living room. The result: a stunningly modern design, carved out of classic DC bones.

The three-bedroom is listed at $1.875 million. Take a peek below, then go to TTR Sotheby's for the full scoop.

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Posted at 02:00 PM/ET, 09/05/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
These ten faceted finds make a subtle impact with jewel-like shapes. By Michelle Thomas

After a year-plus of bold chevrons, busy triangles, and geometric prints galore, it's understandable if you're feeling a bit of pattern overload. But there's a new, gentler way to get in on some geo goodness: These sculpted interpretations of stone and faceted jewel shapes take a more nuanced approach to the look, especially when done in sophisticated hues of black, white, and metallic. Try the trend in lamp form—we love this budget buy from Nate Berkus's stellar Target collection and this Land of Nod version, great for kids' and grown-ups' rooms alike—introduce the look in a colorful accent table, or start small with a stoneware vase. Here, see ten of our favorite faceted finds, from chic clocks to petite paperweights.

Above, clockwise: Triangle-rim platter, $50 at Saturday; Forecast ceiling lamp in chrome, $365 at HD Buttercup; Geo gold stool, $695 at Jayson Home; Magical Thinking Geo curtain tieback, $14 at Urban Outfitters; Faceted vases, $15 to $60 at Dwell Studio.

Below, clockwise: Drea lamp, $900 at Arteriors; Gami rose-gold candleholder, $9.95 at CB2; LEFF Amsterdam Scope clock, $129 at Lux Modern; Marble and wood octahedron paperweight, $20 at West Elm; Kelly Lamb serving bowl, $220 at Lux Modern.


For more great home-decor finds, follow Open House on Twitter at @openhouse.

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Posted at 12:36 PM/ET, 09/04/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()