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The seven-bedroom home has space for all eight of your cars. By Kay Wicker

This four-story mansion in Clifton, Virginia, originally listed for $9.8 million, boasts seven bedrooms, nine bathrooms, and an eight-car garage (because seven would be gauche). You probably won’t even need to use the gym, since moving between the sitting room, spacious living room, and two kitchens will likely burn enough calories. The chateau also includes a formal dining room, a library, an elevator, and a sauna, natch. Not convinced yet? There are also five fireplaces, an indoor pool, and a three-story-high foyer with a chandelier that could pose a serious dusting challenge.

Take a look at the pictures below, then head to Jobin Realty for complete details.

For more real-estate picks, follow Open House on Twitter at @openhouse.

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Posted at 01:41 PM/ET, 12/18/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
This week's pick—a winery with live music in Purcellville. By Gwyn Donohue

There's something extra cozy about sipping a nice glass of red in a country setting, and Purcellville's Notaviva Vineyards is a great place to do exactly that with your dog by your side. The winery, situated next to a pond that overlooks rolling hills, welcomes leashed dogs at the many picnic tables spread across the large lawn, as well as at the tables on its comfortable front porch.

Named after the Italian words “nota” (music note) and “viva” (with life), the winery pairs its wines with music. For example, it suggests teaming up its Vincero Viognier—a crisp, light wine—with acoustic guitar. In keeping with the theme, the vineyard features rock, folk, bluegrass, Celtic, jazz, and classical performers on weekends.

Another thing that distinguishes Notaviva is that it doesn't accept drop-in buses or limos, and won’t take groups larger than 16 people, even with a reservation. So you and your dog can enjoy your visit without getting elbowed off a picnic table by a bachelorette party or rowdy wine tour that can ruin the mood at other spots.

The winery hosts food trucks on weekends, too, so if you don’t bring a picnic, chances are you can sample some tasty mobile-kitchen fare. The weekend I went, the Roaming Rotisserie truck was serving dry-rubbed chicken with savory sides like garlic fries and cilantro-lime rice.

Notaviva is open Thursday through Sunday. Tastings are $8. Dogs aren't allowed in the tasting room, so bundle up to enjoy the scenery outdoors with your four-legged companion.

Gwyn Donohue is the author of the blog Two Dog Tales. Head there to read about more events, activities, and news for Washington dog owners.

Posted at 09:56 AM/ET, 12/18/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Every week, our vet expert answers your pressing pet questions.
Image via Shutterstock.

Have a question you'd like to ask a vet? Send your query to with the subject line "Vet Q."

Q: My cat freaks out whenever we bring her in the car—she bangs against the sides of her carrier, yowls nonstop, basically throws a fit. Do you have any suggestions of how to make car rides more tolerable for her?

Dr. Chris Miller, AtlasVet DC: The more I think about it, the more I feel like cats that fear cars are very intelligent. Dogs that just jump in a car and hang their heads out the window seem a little cavalier to blindly trust such a wild experience. They don’t know what cars are or how they work. I get nervous in planes, and I know how they work. Suddenly, a cat is plucked from its domain, jammed into a carrier, and tossed into a large metal box that hurtles along at 60 miles per hour. This must be horrifying for cats that only leave the house once a year.

Cats do not like change, and the first sign that their routine is about to get shaken up is the carrier. Just the sight of it can cause cats to panic, so making sure it is a safe place by getting your cat used to it in advance can be incredibly helpful. Use the carrier as a place for kittens to sleep, play, or eat as they are being raised. For adult cats, get the carrier out many days in advance of a scheduled car trip and try to make it a desirable destination by placing treats or catnip inside. Using an anti-anxiety pheromone spray like Feliway can help cats distinguish the carrier as a pleasant, more familiar place.

If you are like me, you keep your carrier in the basement, where it becomes covered in cobwebs and dust. I am scared to touch some of the carriers that owners bring into the hospital, let alone crawl inside them. Making sure you have a carrier that is clean, large enough, and lined with a fresh, soft blanket is a great start to making cats less averse to it. Newer carriers that load from the side and the top give options to owners trying to find the best ways to load their cats into them. Once at the veterinarian’s office, having a carrier that is easy to disassemble can mean that the cat doesn’t have to leave the carrier for the exam and relieves stress greatly. The key to getting a cat more comfortable with travel is familiarity. The more I fly, the less I worry about every sound or bank the plane makes. I’ve been there before and it always works out.

The experience is similar for a cat in a car. Once you have your cat carrier-trained you can start moving them around to see how they do. Simply taking them to the car, giving them treats (if they will eat them) and returning back inside can help desensitize them from fear of travel. When you do finally venture off in the car, covering the carrier with a blanket can help cats feel more secure. I often recommend that owners bring their dogs or cats to the vet office on a brief dry run for them to receive treats for a good first positive experience. Using positive reinforcement and desensitizing your cat to the fears of travel can take some forethought and a decent amount of effort. Despite hard work and training, cats occasionally need anti-anxiety medications or sedatives for travel. This should only be done after discussing the situation with your veterinarian.

Find Dr. Chris Miller on Twitter at @DCVet.

Posted at 12:59 PM/ET, 12/17/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The DC Council gave its final approval to the most expensive stadium in Major League Soccer history. By Benjamin Freed
Rendering courtesy of DC United.

The DC Council gave final, unanimous approval to the plan for a soccer-specific stadium for DC United to be built on Buzzard Point, putting to rest any lingering doubt that the Major League Soccer franchise will find a permanent home in the city.

The plan calls for the District government to spend up to $150 million to acquire the nine-acre stretch of Southwest DC and upgrade its infrastructure, with the team itself paying another $150 million for construction of the proposed 20,000-seat park. The combined expenses will make the future stadium the most expensive venue in MLS history, according to a city-sponsored study published in November.

In order to pay for the city's end of the deal, the Council voted to take out another $106 million in new debt, and to move $32 million from funding for other capital improvement projects, including school construction and transportation upgrades. Council member and mayoral runner-up David Catania raised objections over taking money out of those items before ultimately voting in favor of the stadium plan.

"It is a victory for the team and its fans, the city, the region, and the sport of soccer in this country," United's managing partner, Jason Levien, says in a statement from the team. "Our new stadium will add to the positive development already taking place along the Anacostia waterfront. It will be a venue that makes its neighbors proud; it will help our city become the nation’s soccer capital."

But United can't stick its picks in the Buzzard Point dirt just yet. While arrangements are in place for the District to acquire land from Pepco, Mark Ein, and an industrial junkyard, the city still needs to make a deal with the development firm Akridge. The first plans for the stadium proposed swapping Akridge's two acres at Buzzard Point for the rights to redevelop the Frank D. Reeves Center at 14th and U streets, Northwest. That component died last week when the Council, led by Mayor-elect Muriel Bowser, removed the Reeves Center from the bargain after concluding its enviable location was undervalued in the original stadium plan.

Even with Akridge's land still in flux, DC's soccer crazies are already celebrating. United is hosting a party to fete the stadium deal at Penn Social at 2 PM, because soccer fandom apparently includes getting drunk in the middle of a workday to toast a public-private partnership.

Find Benjamin Freed on Twitter at @brfreed.

Posted at 12:15 PM/ET, 12/17/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The nuts and bolts behind seven top-dollar transactions this month. Plus—a nearly $7 million sale in Wesley Heights.
This seven-bedroom house in Georgetown sold for $5 million. Photograph by David Pipkin.


Sold: $5,000,000.

Listed: $5,500,000.

Days on market: 42.

Where: Georgetown.

Style: Colonial.

Bragging points: Seven bedrooms, six baths, large yard, eat-in kitchen.

Who: Bought by Michael Rankin, managing partner of TTR Sotheby’s International Realty.

Sold: $6,833,333.

Listed: $7,495,000.

Days on market: 484.

Where: Wesley Heights.

Style: Colonial.

Bragging points: Seven bedrooms, 12 baths (including two in the master suite), four-car garage, swimming pool; on 1.4 acres.

Who: Bought by Mae Haney Grennan, chief counsel for the Franklin L. Haney Company, a real-estate investment firm.

Sold: $2,743,000.

Listed: $2,743,000.

Days on market: 1.

Where: Wesley Heights.

Style: Tudor.

Bragging points:Six bedrooms, seven baths; newly built custom home.

Who: Bought by Stephen and Randi Orava. Stephen is a partner at King & Spalding, where he chairs the international-trade practice.


Sold: $2,500,000.

Retired NBA player Sherman Douglas finally sold his Potomac home, which was on the market more than two years. Photograph by David Pipkin.

Listed: $2,745,000.

Days on market: 886.

Where: Potomac.

Style: Colonial.

Bragging points:Five bedrooms, nine baths, outdoor kitchen, gated entrance; on two acres.

Who: Sold by retired NBA point guard Sherman Douglas, who played for Miami, Boston, Milwaukee, New Jersey, and the LA Clippers.

Sold: $2,580,000.

Listed: $2,950,000.

Days on market: 642.

Where: Potomac.

Style: Colonial.

Bragging points: Four bedrooms, six baths, with an interior by acclaimed designer Barry Dixon. Featured in House Beautiful and Decor magazines.

Who: Sold by a trustee of Patrick McGeehin, a senior managing director at FTI Consulting.


Sold: $2,700,000.

The buyers of a McLean Colonial got $550,000 knocked off the list price. Photograph by David Pipkin.

Listed: $3,250,000.

Days on market: 113.

Where: McLean.

Style: Colonial.

Bragging points: Five bedrooms,seven baths,library, wine storage, billiard room.

Who: Bought by Mehdi Tehranchi, chairman and CEO of Notable Solutions, an information-technology company.

Sold: $2,259,000.

Listed: $2,299,900.

Days on market: 68.

Where: McLean.

Style: Colonial.

Bragging points: Six bedrooms, seven baths, sunroom, walk-out basement, two-story foyer, pool.

Who: Sold by neurologist Sheila Jahan.

Some sales information provided by American City Business Leads and Diana Hart of TTR Sotheby International Realty. Sales listed were the most expensive of those with publicly available details.

This article appears in the December 2014 issue of Washingtonian.

Posted at 09:23 AM/ET, 12/17/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Expert tips for a tiny home that's big on style. By Michelle Thomas
Designer Mike Johnson's 700-square-foot condo. Photographs by Geoffrey Hodgdon.

It’s safe to say Mike Johnson is as much a curator as he is designer. For a decade, he was the man behind Georgetown’s midcentury-modern furniture shop Sixteen Fifty Nine before teaming up with Lori Graham in 2011. These days, he's a senior designer with Graham’s interior business and helps cultivate a vintage collection with Graham’s 14th Street showroom.

Turns out like many Washingtonians, Johnson lives in a smallish space—a 700-square-foot condo. Here, he shares his advice for designing for shoebox proportions.

Your mantra for designing in small spaces:

Knowing you can do whatever you want in the space. You will be amazed how much you can fit into a space and have it look fantastic and not cluttered. The key is to know when to stop!

One design element for which you should never think small:

Dark wall colors. Everyone should experience the feeling you get when painting a room a very dark color. I’m just getting ready to paint my living area a dark charcoal and can’t wait to have the room completely change.

The one piece you wish you could fit in your space:

My current space feels perfect to me, so there really isn’t anything I’m lacking. If I had to pick one thing, it would probably be a larger table for dining, but even then, I’m not sure I would use it that much.

The item you regret not buying when you had the chance:

I saw a very large black-and-white abstract painting about two years ago that I passed up because my walls were full. I still think about that painting; I wish I had bought it and just put it under my bed.

The unexpected perk of living small:

The need to not save things. You constantly are paring down to just what you need, be it clothing, decorative items, kitchen accessories, whatever. You realize how much you really need and how much is just fluff.

Posted at 02:38 PM/ET, 12/16/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
A group wants to turn an abandoned streetcar depot into DC's next cultural destination. By Benjamin Freed
Rendering courtesy of Arts Coalition for the Dupont Underground.

After years of vision statements about subterranean galleries, theaters, and restaurants, the plan to liven up the abandoned trolley depot underneath Dupont Circle is finally taking shape. The Arts Coalition for the Dupont Underground, a group of businesspeople with designs on turning the space into DC's next cultural hotspot, signed a five-and-a-half-year lease with the District on Tuesday to turn it into an arts and events venue.

The 75,000-square-foot space, a network of tunnels below Connecticut Avenue, has been mostly dormant since the District's last streetcars stopped running in 1962. It was used briefly as a fallout shelter in the late 1960s, and as a dingy food court in the early 1990s. The city picked the Arts Coalition in 2010 to eventually rehab the space.

Four years later, the organization has finally inked the paperwork, but the city won't be putting up any money of its own. Instead, the Arts Coalition is turning to a series of crowd-funding efforts, beginning with a $50,000 campaign on Fundable. It is also working with Destination Crowd Capital, a DC-based venture that seeks funding from established investors.

"The next five years will be a dynamic time of showcasing new artists and designers, new technologies, and the exciting possibilities this space presents," the group's founder, architect Julian Hunt, says in a press release. "We see the Dupont Underground providing cultural and economic benefits to Dupont Circle and to the District of Columbia."

It'll be a while before artists and entertainers take their shows below ground, though. The initial rounds of fundraising are just for cleaning up the tunnels and opening them to the public, with long-term exhibition plans still in the works, Hunt says.

Find Benjamin Freed on Twitter at @brfreed.

Posted at 11:26 AM/ET, 12/16/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
A pop-up cat cafe, holiday gift wrapping, and an art exhibit benefiting rescue animals. By John Scarpinato
Cozy up to some adorable cats at the Washington Humane Society’s pop-up Christmas Cat Cafe. Image via Shutterstock.

Thursday, December 18

Pop-up Christmas Cat Cafe: Head over to Rock & Roll Hotel for the Washington Humane Society’s pop-up Christmas Cat Cafe. Two VIP rooms will be dedicated to adoptable felines, and there's a reading room for those who want to read up on cats and the adoption process. The event runs 5 to 8, and 15 percent of sales will go to WHS.

Friday, December 19

Gift wrapping to benefit AWLA: So you've finished your holiday shopping but haven't wrapped a thing yet. You're in luck: Animal Welfare League of Arlington is hosting a gift-wrapping day from noon to 4. Bring your presents to the League and let their elves do the wrapping for a donation of $3 for a single gift or $10 for four.

Saturday, December 20

Rescue Me: As part of the Del Ray Artisans’ Gallery Without Walls program, the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria is hosting an art exhibit at its Vola Lawson Animal Shelter. Artworks include painting, drawing, collage, photography, and mixed media inspired by rescue animals. Proceeds from each sale go to the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria and the Del Ray Artisans. In addition, donations of clean, used blankets and towels will be accepted for the animals in the shelter. The exhibit runs from noon to 5.

Sunday, December 21

Imagination Stage adoption event: The Washington Animal Rescue League will be at Imagination Stage in Bethesda with plenty of adoptable animals looking for homes for the holidays. Between 2:30 and 4, meet adoptable pets—all of which have been examined by a veterinarian, spayed or neutered, vaccinated, micro-chipped, and evaluated by certified trainers.

Posted at 02:57 PM/ET, 12/15/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Modern upgrades and historic charm near Logan Circle. By Caroline Cunningham

This house, built in 1890 in the Italianate style of Victorian architecture, comes with plenty of the look’s trademarks, including cupolas and ornamented windows. The home was renovated in 2005, and the new interior, replete with exposed brick and gorgeous hardwood floors, gives modern appeal to the 2,502-square-foot residence. The four-bed, two-and-a-half-bath house includes an open floor plan in the dining and living areas, granite countertops and stainless-steel appliances in the kitchen, and a third-story deck off of the master bedroom. Capping off the great features is the excellent location—in the U Street Corridor, not far from Logan Circle.

The property, at 2245 13th Street, Northwest, is on the market for $1.095 million. Take a peek inside below, then go to TTR Sotheby’s International Realty for the details.

For more real-estate picks, follow Open House on Twitter at @openhouse.

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Posted at 02:36 PM/ET, 12/15/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Looking for a fury friend? One of these cuties—all available at Washington-area rescues—might be your match.

Casey (above) is an approximately four-year-old redbone coonhound. He's incredibly sweet and gets along well with other dogs. Like many hounds, he would make a wonderful, loving, and loyal companion for anyone looking to add to their family. For more information on Casey, please visit the Rural Dog Rescue website.

Superman is approximately six months old and weighs around 40 pounds. He came from a high-kill shelter in very rough shape—very thin and with a bad case of (non-contagious) mange. With the right care and a lot of love, he is back on his feet and looking for a forever home. He gets along well with other dogs, but is looking for a home without cats. For more information on Superman and other adoptable dogs, please visit the Rural Dog Rescue website.

Tanner is a six-year-old Jack Russell mix living in a foster home in the DC area. He is about 40 pounds, and is an easy dog to love. He is low-energy and about as low-maintenance as dogs come—he just needs meals, some walks, and some regular love and attention. He is great with cats, he lives with other dogs without problems, and is terrific with older kids. Meet him through K-9 Lifesavers.

Maude is a beautiful shepherd mix who is approximately two or three years old. She weighs between 40 and 50 pounds. She is very friendly, eager to explore the world around her, and is great with all people. Maude has a medium-high energy level and would thrive in a home where she can go on walks and play. She is great with most dogs, but better with some than others. She has been living in boarding for quite a while and would really benefit from a loving home or foster home. Meet her through K-9 Lifesavers.

River is a one-year-old, 47-pound American Staffordshire terrier mix. He was surrendered to the Washington Humane Society after he was found as a stray in August. He has a beautiful fawn coat, goofy ears, and a big doggie smile. He's very intelligent, loves to play, and is quiet and already house-trained. He'd make a great hiking buddy and couch companion. After months at the shelter, he's ready to find a family. Meet him at the WHS New York Avenue Adoption Center.

Coco and Chanel are two loving sisters who lost the one home they had known since being kittens when a family member developed allergies. They are between three and four years old and need to find a new home together. You can meet them through Homeward Trails Animal Rescue.

Bo is a deaf border collie who was surrendered to a high-kill shelter because his owners were moving. He is two years old and 50 pounds. Bo loves people and is good with other dogs. He will watch for hand signals, and "listens" very well despite his disability. Bo is a sensitive boy who is in needs of TLC. If you are interested in learning more about him, please e-mail

Posted at 12:16 PM/ET, 12/12/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()