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It could be in better shape. By Michelle Thomas

Apparently Roberta Flack’s Hollin Hills house isn’t the only celebrity home currently up for grabs in the DC area. On Friday, a Georgetown Colonial once owned by Julia Child popped up on the market. Built in the late 1800s, the 1,364-square-foot three-bedroom frame house on Olive Street NW was home to Child and her husband twice—once in 1948, then again in 1956 after the couple’s return from France. That’s when they expanded and upgraded the home’s kitchen, and Child began giving cooking lessons to her Georgetown neighbors while researching for her debut cookbook.

The current owner is clearly banking on the property's storied past: Despite the home’s obvious disrepair—it’s being sold “as is” as a fixer-upper and the listing only includes one interior photo—and a 2015 tax assessment of $856,620, it was listed for $1.1 million. No word on the state of the kitchen.

Head to Redfin for more details on 2706 Olive Street NW.

Posted at 11:04 AM/ET, 06/30/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
See the transformation. By Michelle Thomas
All photos courtesy of Ethan Arnheim.

It’s easy to be wowed by a professional renovation that costs as much as a small house. But when someone is able to do their own work—on a budget, no less—and does it well, it's doubly impressive. Example A: Ethan Arnheim’s DIY transformation of a LeDroit Park storage unit into a modern loft studio. Built in the late 1800s, this brick box was located behind Arnheim’s rowhouse, and though he’d been renting it out as storage to an ironworker, the raw space had neither plumbing nor electricity, and he wanted to turn it a habitable haven. There were a few challenges: It was teensy—only 360 square feet—and he wanted something that looked high-end, but didn't cost a lot. So Arnheim decided to skip the pros, and design the place himself. He used the free program Sketchup to create a blueprint with layout inspiration from a friend’s beachside apartment in France, and hired tradesmen he found via recommendations.

Since only one wall was suitable for a door or windows, Arhheim added skylights and high-level windows to allow sunlight to shine in while retaining privacy. To maximize the space, he incorporated small-footprint choices like a sliding glass bathroom door and a combination washer and dryer that's installed below the bathroom sink. All of the materials were sourced with an eye toward his modest budget. The new door came from Baltimore auction house Southern Sales, the kitchen cabinets from Ikea, the lighting from Craigslist, and the bathroom tiles from the Tile Store (after some haggling). The stained-glass transom was made by artist in Baltimore, and the curving ladder is a custom piece by local metal worker Jesse Robinson. Arnheim estimates his final costs ended up around $150 per square foot.

Ready to see the full project? Read on to see the process—and the resulting finished space (rentable on Airbnb!).

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Posted at 03:08 PM/ET, 06/29/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
A schoolhouse loft in Capitol Hill, a charming one-bedroom in Woodley Park, and an über-luxe opening in Bethesda. By Michelle Thomas

Capitol Hill

Where: 724 5th St. SE #24

How much: $879,900

When: Sunday, 2 to 4 PM

Why: We can’t resist a converted schoolhouse. This two-bedroom, two-bath condo is in the historic Lenox School Lofts—highlights include 20-foot ceilings, huge eight-foot windows, a sprawling open layout, tons of exposed brick, and a dramatic fireplace feature.

Woodley Park

Where: 2737 Devonshire Pl. NW #312

How much: $519,900

When: Sunday, 1 to 3 PM

Why: Loaded with charming details, this 1,140-square-foot one-bedroom in a classic 1929 Beaux Arts building features a cute foyer entry, arched doorway, crown molding, a dining room with built-in bookcases, and French doors that lead into a pretty sunroom.


Where: 8101 River Rd.

How much: $3.199 million

When: Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 PM

Why: The grand opening of the model unit for Bethesda’s über-luxe Quarry Springs condo development, this three-bedroom condo features interior design by Akseizer Design Group and some seriously high-end features, including more than 3,200 square feet of living space, almost 2,000 square-feet of outdoor terrace, 10-foot ceilings, garage-to-foyer elevators, vented gas fireplaces with stone hearths, spa-style bathrooms outfitted with Waterworks fixtures and a kitchen decked with Wolfe cooktop and a Sub-Zero wine chiller. Shared building amenities include a clubhouse that includes a library, catering kitchen, game room, bar, fitness center, and spa, plus valet parking and round-the-clock concierge.

Posted at 12:48 PM/ET, 06/26/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Celebrity history, midcentury style, and a sweet backyard pool for $869,000. By Michelle Thomas

Midcentury modern architect Charles Goodman isn’t the only big name associated with this 1951 Hollin Hills home—according to the listing, it was also once home to both poet/musician Gil Scott-Heron and iconic '70s singer Roberta Flack, who was raised in Arlington and got her start performing at Mr. Henry’s Restaurant in Capitol Hill in the late 1960s. Celeb-pedigree aside, the four-bedroom home also boasts a double-height wall of windows that overlooks the huge slate and stone patio, 30-gallon granite pool, and a koi pond.

1927 Marthas Road is listed for $869,000. Take a look inside below, then get the complete tour here.

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Posted at 11:15 AM/ET, 06/24/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Gallery walls on fleek. By Michelle Thomas
The lounge room in Framebridge's Georgetown office. All photos by Lauren Joseph.

Sometimes it seems like the word “custom” is secret code for “super expensive.” Not so for Framebridge: Send in or upload your oddly-sized art—and your Instagrams, too—and the web-based company will custom-frame your piece with an eye toward affordability and style. It’s a genius idea. And though the startup's been getting lots of national buzz—just last week, it just secured $7.7 million in funding, and counts Steve Case and LivingSocial co-founder Timothy O’Shaughnessy among its backers—it’s based right here in Washington, with production in Lanham and marketing and design in Georgetown.

Since Framebridge's focus is making it easier to beautify your home, it probably comes as no big surprise that their second-story O Street office is enviably stylish. The space is rumored to have been Francis Scott Key’s onetime home—their awesome front lounge room is supposedly his former bedroom—so it’s loaded with charming original details, and the company’s small team has designed the office to spotlight a breezy-modern sensibility. Framebridge founder Susan Tynan wanted their offices to feel inspirational and fun—and a little bit like their customer's homes. "We love that our office is in a historic residence, as it allows us to surround ourselves with our product in a natural way," she says. Of course, Framebridge’s gallery wall game is strong. And the best part? Almost all of the office's furniture and art is sourced from affordable stores like CB2, West Elm, and Etsy.

We stopped by the offices recently to get a look at the space. Prepare for some serious office envy.

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Posted at 09:32 AM/ET, 06/23/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
A dramatic historic condo in Mount Pleasant, a huge home in 16th Street Heights, and more. By Michelle Thomas

West End

Where: 2024 N St. NW #4

How much: $629,000

When: Sunday, 1 to 4 PM

Why: Several unusual features—vaulted, exposed beam ceilings, two wood-burning fireplaces, and tons of raw exposed brick—combine with a renovated kitchen and private rooftop terrace in this two-level one-plus-den condo in a pretty 1930s-era Victorian.

Columbia Heights

Where: 751 Princeton Pl. NW

How much: $899,900

When: Sunday, 1 to 3 PM

Why: This four-bed, four-bath rowhouse was recently renovated, and the new design includes luxe features like coffered ceilings, dark hardwoods, and a chic kitchen outfitted with marble waterfall island, glossy white cabinets, subway tile backsplash and pendant lighting. Upstairs, there’s a spa-like master bath with a soaking tub and rain shower, and there’s an in-law suite on the lower level.

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Posted at 12:20 PM/ET, 06/19/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Now only $899,000! By Michelle Thomas
So much exposed brick! Photos via Jenn Smira/Compass Real Estate.

So you missed your chance at snagging this Dupont garage when it hit the market for $900,000 in late April? No worries: The place just dropped its price. By $1,000. That's .1 percent!

To recap, this 1,008-square-foot brick garage, built in 1921 and located in an alley behind the O Street Mansion, is completely unfinished and has “no real street address,” according to the listing. But you can bring an architect to “see the potential!” and turn it into a “project of your own!” The listing also now helpfully includes a rendering of what it could look like reimagined as a home. Pay no mind to the 2014 tax assessment of $68,780.

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Posted at 12:39 PM/ET, 06/18/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
The massive Reston colonial has 19,000-plus square feet of luxury.

Sold: $2,300,000.

Listed: $2,490,000.

Days on market: 726.

Where: Reston.

Style: Colonial

Bragging points: Eight bedrooms, 13 baths, two kitchens, eight fireplaces, indoor and outdoor pools, 19,000-plus square feet on nearly two acres.

Who: Bought by Rosa Whitaker, president of the Whitaker Group, a consulting firm specializing in Africa.

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Posted at 11:00 AM/ET, 06/18/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Natural textures, glass walls, and two ponds. By Michelle Thomas

Like this Charles Goodman design in McLean, this 1964 Chevy Chase estate is built to spotlight the signature features of midcentury modern architecture—including huge glass walls that incorporate the wooded surrounds, a flowing open layout, and a fusion of natural textures such as Tennessee stone stone walls, heated marble and terrazzo floors, carved mahogany doors, and wood paneling. The expansive living area overlooks a front veranda, a sunroom and terrace, and ponds on both sides, while the rest of the home includes five bedrooms, five baths, a master suite with dual dressing rooms (don’t miss the '70s-glam mirrored one!), a fitness studio, an office, and parking for more than ten cars. A few favorite design highlights: The dining room’s sunken bar and carved wood built-ins, the minimalist-cool floating staircase, and the lush terraced back garden and Japanese-inspired landscaping.

7410 Western Ave. is listed for $2.05 million. Take a look inside below, then go to TTR Sotheby’s for the complete details.

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Posted at 12:53 PM/ET, 06/16/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Interior designer Marika Meyer talks wipeable chairs and stylish storage. By Michelle Thomas
These Marika Meyer-designed rooms offer tons of storage and easy-to-clean chairs. Photos by Angie Seckinger.

Just because you have a little one at home (or on the way) doesn't mean you have to exchange all your pretty decor for unbreakable plastic and resign yourself to chaos. Let's repeat: A stylish home and young children do not have to be opposing forces. Just ask Marika Meyer. The interior designer—herself a mom to two little boys—shares her top five tips for maintaining a sophisticated home while protecting against the inevitable messes.

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Posted at 11:48 AM/ET, 06/15/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()