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Looking for a furry friend? One of these cuties—all available at Washington-area rescues—might be your match. By Marisa M. Kashino

Kep (above) is an adorable nine-month-old Mastiff mix rescued from a high-kill shelter in Gloucester, Virginia. He was rescued with his four siblings, and he's the only one left still looking for a home. He weighs about 50 pounds now and may get a bit taller, but probably not too much bigger. He still has a bit of his puppy goofiness and energy, but he has already mastered basic training and will excel at additional training. He loves other dogs of all sizes and all people, too. You can fill out an application for Kep on the Rural Dog Rescue website.

Derrick is a happy, good-natured hound-mix rescued from a high-kill shelter in Halifax County, Virginia. At home, he is content keeping to himself on a snuggly blanket curled up with a bone or sitting at your feet to join as you watch TV. He’s calm and eager to please. Outside, Derrick wants to play. He loves kids and other dogs and is a fast learner, having mastered “sit,” “paw,” and “down” in one weekend! His ideal home will have a fenced yard or be close to a park where he can stretch his long legs. Watch how awesome he is for yourself here. For more on Derrick, visit the Rural Dog Rescue website.

If you’re looking for a dog to be your shadow and follow you around, giving you kisses and snuggles, Jelly Bean is your girl. A three-year-old, 40-pound American Staffordshire terrier mix, she came to the Washington Humane Society in August as a stray and has been hoping to find a home ever since. She is past her puppy stage and is pretty mellow. Jelly Bean needs help building her confidence, but that’s nothing a little TLC can't resolve. She is good with kids and great on her leash. Meet Jelly Bean at the WHS New York Avenue shelter.

Cleopatra is a sweet, friendly cat. She is playful and loves chasing a laser light and catching her mouse toys. Cleo is a heavier kitty, and has been on a low-calorie diet in her foster home and is doing very well. She would love to be adopted and find a permanent family. If you're interested, you can meet her through Homeward Trails Animal Rescue.

Banksy is an intelligent and loyal five-year-old Border Collie mix. He prefers women and would like a quiet house with one special lady. Banksy is great with other dogs, fine with cats, and housetrained, and would be a great running partner. He is sensitive and quiet in the house, but active and energetic on walks. You can meet him through Homeward Trails Animal Rescue.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a beautiful three-year-old cat who gave birth to a litter of kittens early last year, all of whom were quickly adopted. Eventually, she too found a home, only to be returned recently because one of her human companions developed allergies. Chitty is a sweet and affectionate girl who is looking for a home where she will be pampered, played with, and cuddled. Stop by the Washington Animal Rescue League to meet her.

Marina is a one-year-old Basset hound mix. Her long body and large, turned-out paws are all Basset, but her face looks a bit more like a Dachshund or even a Doberman. Marina is a cheerful, friendly girl who is happy to play and then curl up in your lap. She loves people but because of her “what’s mine is mine” philosophy about food and treats, she’d do best in a home with adults and older children. Stop by the Washington Animal Rescue League to meet Marina.

Posted at 12:20 PM/ET, 10/31/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
No lame plastic skeletons here. By Michelle Thomas

When it comes to home design, there's a right way and a wrong way to get in on holiday-themed accents. Here's what not to do: stringy cotton cobwebs and cheap orange plastic pumpkins. Instead? Try sophisticated, glam finds in gold and black with just a subtle hint of creepy edge. Look for golden skull objects slithery snake motifs, or an eerie touch of macabre. Best part: These finds will last you long past November 1.

Clockwise: Devil/Naughty sculpture, $225 at Jonathan Adler; X-Ray Plate Set, $27.99 at West Elm; Claw bottle opener, $28 at Jayson Home; Gold Morton skull, $14.95 at Z Gallerie; Nate Berkus Serpent bowl, $19.99 at Target; Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails by David Kaplan, $40 list price, available at Amazon.

Posted at 09:30 AM/ET, 10/31/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Peek inside the under-construction condo project off U Street. By Marisa M. Kashino
The Atlantic Plumbing condo building, still under construction. Photographs by Marisa M. Kashino.

Developer JBG Cos. recently announced prices for its Atlantic Plumbing condos at Eighth and V streets, Northwest, with junior one-bedrooms starting in the high $300,000s to penthouses for $1.9 million. Though the 62-unit project won't be done until March 2015, Matt Blocher, JBG's senior VP of marketing and communications, says a third of the condos have already sold.

Named for the Atlantic Plumbing building that used to occupy the site just off U Street near the 9:30 Club, the JBG project consists of both the condos and a larger, 310-unit apartment building across the street, scheduled for completion toward the end of 2015. Look a block southward down Eighth, and you'll spot two other under-construction JBG buildings: the Hatton (condos) and the Shay (apartments), which should deliver in late spring.

For now, here's a sneak peek at the progress being made at the Atlantic Plumbing condos.

The lobby, with elevators etched to resemble the cage doors found in historic buildings.
What will become one of two restaurants on the building's ground floor. JBG says it will announce the names of the restaurants soon.
Cabinets on the even-numbered floors of the six-level building will feature this light tone, while those on odd-numbered floors will be darker.
Living rooms, like the one above, all have floor-to-ceiling windows.
All units have either one or two bedrooms. Here's one of them in progress.
A rendering of what a finished kitchen/living space will look like. Renderings courtesy of JBG.
A rendering of the completed exterior.

Posted at 01:00 PM/ET, 10/30/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Every week, we get an expert to answer 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: Our cat likes to go outside at night. We try to call her back before we go to bed; sometimes she comes, sometimes not. My wife and I always argue about whether to put a lot of effort into getting her to come back in. My wife thinks it’s irresponsible to not go hunting for her if it is too cold. What I want to know is, how cold is too cold to let a cat stay out overnight?

Dr. Chris Miller, AtlasVet DC: First things first, letting your cat outside at all is a big decision. Cats that spend unsupervised time out of doors are exposed to a variety of potential dangers, not just the weather. Other outdoor cats can pick fights to defend their turf or spread potentially fatal infectious diseases, and if your cat hasn’t been spayed or neutered, they can end up helping contribute to the feral cat population. Cars, parasites, and wild animals are all problems of the outside world that can threaten your cat. If you weigh these options and elect to allow your pet to explore outside, make sure to discuss additional vaccinations, preventive medications and annual testing with your veterinarian.

So if your cat goes outside, how cold is too cold? Cats are pretty well adapted for cold weather, but when the temperature dips below freezing they are susceptible to hypothermia and frostbite. During periods of cold weather, cats will go looking for a warm place to hunker down. Building an outside shelter for a cat can be an inexpensive and fun project for the family. The shelter should be large enough that the cat can turn around in it, and can be constructed of wood or with plastic bins with holes cut in the side for an entrance. Elevating the structure off the ground and providing warm bedding inside will help ensure your feline friend can retreat to safety from the bitter cold. Also, a safe electric heat source can be added for the most luxurious of shelters. Without a safe haven of warmth, cats will go looking for other warm, covered places such as under the hoods of cars. Here, they are protected from the elements and the engine can put off heat hours after it has been turned off, but if the car is started while they are hidden away, they can be severely injured or even killed.

The best way to protect your cat from cold weather is to keep them inside your house or provide an outdoor kitty cottage. Understanding the risks of letting your cat outside and helping minimize them by preparing a shelter, discussing preventative measures with your veterinarian, and getting the whole family involved with the care of the family feline are all helpful in decreasing the dangerous variables of the outside world.

Posted at 02:45 PM/ET, 10/29/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
This elegant estate offers six bedrooms, a pool, and lots of luxe details. By Kay Wicker

Sophisticated meets traditional in this six-bedroom, eight-bath mansion, an elegant 1949 home off Massachusetts Avenue that was completely restored to include a three-story addition—set up with an au pair suite—and lots of luxe details. Among the highlights: French doors that open to a secluded garden terrace and swimming pool, dramatic checkerboard tiling in the foyer, a stately fireplace in the living room, and a majorly glam master bath that features a soaking tub, statement lighting, and marble-tiled walls. There’s parking for ten and a wine cellar, too.

2849 McGill Terrace, Northwest, is listed at $4.5 million. Take a peek below, then go to Zillow for the complete details.

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

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Posted at 10:21 AM/ET, 10/29/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
It's safe to say no one will forget which house is yours. By Michelle Thomas

Passerby have long slowed to gawk at this amorphous Bethesda home off Western Avenue—which locals have dubbed the "mushroom house," the "blob house," and the "hobbit house," among other inventive nicknames. The 1923 cave-like abode, a late-1960s renovation by futuristic architect Roy Mason, was even spotlighted in Matt Lake's 2006 book Weird Maryland. Now, owners Edward and Frances Garfinkle have put the polyurethane foam creation on the market. In addition to the four bedrooms and 3,700 square feet of quirk, the place also offers up a legal one-bedroom rental. Just $1.2 million to make this baby yours, folks.

Take a look inside—full details at Long & Foster.

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Posted at 12:43 PM/ET, 10/28/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
This week, meet readers' pets Tucker, Elsa, Frida, and Ziggy.

Want your pet to be featured on our website? E-mail your pet's name, location, a brief bio, and a photo to, and use the subject line "Reader Pets."

"Meet Tucker (above)! As of today, Tucker is a four-and-a-half-month-old English chocolate Labrador retriever and a local celebrity in the Columbia Heights/U Street neighborhood. Tucker enjoys cuddling with his family, long walks around the neighborhood, and camping out at intersections so he can impose his love on all who pass by."

"Elsa is a five-year-old Catahoula Leopard Dog mix that we adopted five months ago from the Washington Animal Rescue League. We live in the U Street/Columbia Heights area in DC. Elsa loves taking walks and dragging her mom down the block to chase a squirrel!"

"Frida is a fun and outgoing Goldendoodle from the Mount Vernon Triangle area in DC. She's very special because although she's handicapped, it doesn't slow her down!"

"Ziggy is a recently adopted five-year-old Westie mix who came to us through PetConnect Rescue. As a rehomed dog, Ziggy has seen a lot of changes in his life, but he is a sweet, trusting, and smart boy! Ziggy loves his new life in Bethesda, where he enjoys walking the Capital Crescent Trail, 'trying' new restaurants with dog-friendly patios, and showing off his dance moves (yes, he dances). Most important, he makes the people he comes into contact with happy!"

Posted at 11:15 AM/ET, 10/28/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Exposed steel beams, a sleek design, and a roof deck for under $820,000. By Caroline Cunningham

The Federal exterior may hint at this Columbia Heights building’s 1913 origins, but a recent facelift means this three-bed, two-and-a-half-bath corner top-level condo is anything but dated. An exposed-brick wall pairs old with new in the kitchen—which features minimalist wood cabinetry, a glossy white tile backsplash, and a marble waterfall countertop—while the 1,771-square-foot open floor plan is divided by black-painted industrial steel beams that lend the place an enviable modern-hip vibe. If the condo’s 26 windows and three skylights don’t offer enough natural light, just follow the wood-capped steel railings upstairs, where a roof deck provides 360-degree views of the surrounding neighborhood. And the mini wet bar, cozy window seat and sliding barn-style door in the master bedroom, and luxe rain shower don’t hurt, either.

1322 Monroe St., NW, #2 is listed at $819,900. Peek inside below, then go to DCRE Residential for all the details.

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

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Posted at 02:24 PM/ET, 10/27/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Take your pup to a ball, for a swim at the Washington Hilton, or on a doggie dash. By John Scarpinato
Get dressed up with your dog for the Montgomery County Humane Society’s annual Love Ball gala.

Saturday, November 1

It may be hard to imagine taking a swim outside now that the weather has started to become cooler, but that doesn’t mean your dog wouldn’t enjoy it. The Washington Hilton is about to close its outdoor pool for the season, so it's inviting pups to come take a swim from noon to 3 PM. The pool will be heated to between 75 and 80 degrees, and the hotel will provide cider and dog treats.

Spend the day with your dog at Oatlands in Leesburg. The historic grounds is hosting its Fall Dog Walk to allow you and your bud to enjoy a tour of the grounds together. Pre-registration is required and costs $20 per dog. Check-in begins at 9:15 AM, and the walk will leave from the Carriage House promptly at 9:30. To register. call 703-777-3174.

Sunday, November 2

The Washington Animal Rescue League is hosting its Doggie Run and Dash 5K, and both you and your pup can participate. The fun-filled day starts at 8 AM with the Doggie Fun Run, a mile run/walk with water bowls and treats provided at the start and finish. The Dash 5K begins after and offers a more challenging course through Rock Creek Park. You can register here. If you’re feeling especially festive, you and your pup can arrive in costume for a chance to win prizes.

Saturday, November 8

Visit the PetMAC Adoption Center for its cat adoption event at noon. Homeward Trails volunteers will be there to talk about each animal as well as the adoption process. For more info, and to check out the cats that will be attending, visit the Homeward Trails website here.

Get dressed up for the Montgomery County Humane Society’s annual Love Ball gala, held at the the Hilton in Rockville. The semiformal event includes a cocktail reception, a three-course dinner, and silent and live auctions. Well-behaved dogs are welcome as guests (there is even a doggie bar!). The night begins at 6:30 with live music and dancing throughout. For more info and to buy tickets, click here.

If your organization has a pet-friendly event to share, send the details to

Posted at 11:29 AM/ET, 10/27/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Looking for a furry friend? One of these cuties—all available at Washington-area rescues—might be your match. By Marisa M. Kashino

Ralphie (above) was surrendered by his owner to a shelter in Rutherford County, North Carolina. Rural Dog Rescue got to him before he could be euthanized, and since then, he has blossomed into a happy, energetic, silly dog, full of love and energy. Ralphie loves toys and would make a great running partner. He is great with all dogs, but is often fearful of new people, so a home without kids would be best. For more information on Ralphie and Rural Dog Rescue's adoption process, visit the rescue's website.

Nala is an intelligent, two-year-old boxer/Plott hound mix rescued from western Virginia. She would love a family to give her plenty of love, exercise, and a cozy bed to call her own. She loves curling up for a cuddle after romping around in the backyard with a doggie pal. She would prefer a home without cats, and because new situations and sudden movements may make Nala nervous, she would do best in a home without children under the age of 15. She's available through Rural Dog Rescue.

Ruby, a three-year-old rat terrier, is a treat connoisseur, loves to play, and is one of the smartest dogs around. She loves training and is very focused. She's available through the Animal Welfare League of Arlington.

Trevor is a four-year-old playtime champ who particularly loves chasing wand toys. He's also passionate about chin scratches and keeping watch out the window. He's currently in a foster home (that he shares with two dogs) through the Animal Welfare League of Arlington. To learn more about him, e-mail

Hank and Reba are a bonded pair of adult cats who are about to lose their foster home, since their foster mom is leaving town. They would love a quiet home with a human to call their own. They are friendly, healthy, and gentle, and both are declawed. You can learn more about them at Homeward Trails Animal Rescue.

Nugget is an active, two-year-old border collie/walker hound mix. He is very smart and playful, and loves nothing more than snuggling with people. Nugget would do well in almost any type of home. He's available through Homeward Trails Animal Rescue.

Phoebe is a five-year-old, 11-pound, female miniature pinscher. She is cuddly, curious, playful, and a very quick learner. You can find her at City Dogs Rescue.

Bixby is a three-year-old, 12-pound Dachshund-mix. He is happy, friendly, sweet, snuggly, goofy, affectionate, playful, energetic, eager to please, trainable, and smart. You can find him at City Dogs Rescue.

Valerie is a happy-go-lucky pit bull terrier-mix. At four years old, she's past the puppy stage but still has lots of energy. She's looking for a home without young children, and would like plenty of exercise in addition to lots of attention and affection. You can meet her at the Washington Animal Rescue League.

Cari, a domestic short-hair, has a heart-tugging story. One of her elderly guardians passed away, and with the other in declining health, they thought it was wise to surrender her to the Washington Animal Rescue League. The good news: As an eight year-old, Cari qualifies for WARL’s Boomers’ Buddies program. Under the program, adoption fees are waived for any adopter over the age of 50 who adopts a pet over the age of five.

Fancy is a Chinese Shar-Pei/Staffordshire Bull mix who was found as a stray in Maryland, then brought to a shelter in Virginia, and has recently relocated to DC. Now she is ready to settle down with a family of her own. Fancy is a very polite girl who will cozy up to almost anyone after she gets to know them. You can meet her at the Washington Humane Society's Georgia Avenue shelter.

Posted at 01:35 PM/ET, 10/24/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()