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The Washington uber developer says some surprising tenants are coming to his Hecht Warehouse project in Ivy City. By Marisa M. Kashino
Rendering courtesy of Douglas Development.

Updated Friday, August 29: Ari Gejdenson confirms his restaurant group, Mindful Restaurants, will open three places at Hecht Warehouse. In an e-mail, he says: "We're in the process of wrapping up the lease and I'm thrilled that Mindful Restaurants can be a part of the exciting revitalization of Ivy City and the Hecht warehouse. It's the most beautiful warehouse I've ever seen and, having grown up in NE, it means a lot to me that this historic building and it's surrounding neighborhood will once again be a thriving part of our city."

Unless you're low on gas, have a fast food craving, or want to spend the night in a cheap motel, there's not much to stop for along heavily industrial New York Avenue, Northeast. On Thursday, the city announced plans to attempt to rectify that. The five-year Ward 5 Works plan aims to adapt industrial land to encourage the growth of business, residential, and cultural areas.

It's good news for Douglas Jemal, president of Douglas Development, who made an early—and sizable—bet on Ivy City, the small neighborhood just off New York Avenue, with Hecht Warehouse District. Housed in the building formerly used as the distribution center for Hecht's department store, the project is slated to bring 350 apartments, plus retail and restaurants. By January's groundbreaking, Jemal had lined up two retail tenants for the space: Mom's Organic Market and Planet Fitness.

As it stands now, though, it's tough to imagine, say, a Banana Republic or a trendy restaurant setting up shop there. But Jemal insists that's exactly what's on the way. During a conversation with Washingtonian earlier this week, the developer shared this list of tenants that he expects to open in the Hecht project: Banana Republic, Gap, Nike, Petco, Busboys and Poets, and three restaurants from the restauranteur behind Ghibellina (on 14th Street, Northwest) and Acqua Al 2 (near Eastern Market). We've reached out to Busboys owner, Andy Shallal, and Ari Gejdenson, co-owner of Ghibellina and Acqua Al 2 for comment, and will update if we hear back.

Construction of the retail space is scheduled to begin early next year—we'll stay tuned. 

Find Marisa Kashino on Twitter @marisakashino.

Posted at 02:58 PM/ET, 08/28/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
This two-bedroom condo works out to a whopping $1,359 per square foot. By Michelle Thomas

This Foggy Bottom condo—a penthouse on Pennsylvania Avenue—is loaded with custom luxuries. Private elevator? Check. Hand-cut herringbone floors? Yup. Huge terrace? Naturally. Plus the place features a sleek, modern stone fireplace, built-in shelving, limestone counters, and top-level appliances in the kitchen. The 2,300-square-foot apartment is listed at $3.2 million.

Take a look below, then go to Beasley Real Estate for more details and here for the full tour.

Find Michelle Thomas on Twitter at @michellethomas4.

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Posted at 12:34 PM/ET, 08/27/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
DC houses fetch close to $4 million and $7 million. Plus—a former NFL commissioner and player strike deals in the burbs.
This six-bedroom mansion in Massachusetts Avenue Heights sold to a UBS managing director. Photographs by David Pipkin.

This Victorian rowhouse with a wine cellar in Georgetown sold for $3 million-plus.

In DC

Stephen and Diana Goldberg sold a nine-bedroom, 11-bath Tudor on Garfield Street in Wesley Heights for $6.6 million. The 12,000-square-foot home boasts a three-story guesthouse, his-and-hers master bathrooms and walk-in closets, a theater, and a pool. The philanthropists are best known for two $25-million donations—in 2001 and in 2008—to Children’s National Medical Center, among the largest ever to an American pediatric hospital.

Dale Gray, a senior risk expert at the International Monetary Fund, and wife Cheryl, a director at the Inter-American Development Bank, bought a Victorian rowhouse in Georgetown for $3.1 million. The renovated four-bedroom, six-bath home has a wine cellar and gourmet kitchen.

Margaret Warner, a correspondent for the PBS NewsHour, sold a five-bedroom, five-bath house on Loughboro Road in Spring Valley for $2.3 million. The Georgian has a master suite with dressing room and fireplace, plus enough parking in its circular driveway for ten cars.

Roderick and Alexia Von Lipsey bought a French Provincial-style mansion in Massachusetts Avenue Heights for $3.3 million. At almost 6,000 square feet, it has six bedrooms and six baths. Roderick Von Lipsey is a managing director at the financial-services firm UBS.

Real-estate developer Conrad Cafritz sold a Colonial on Garfield Street in Wesley Heights for $3.9 million. The four-bedroom, five-bath house features a 60-foot-long pool and was renovated by award-winning architect Mark McInturff. Cafritz is CEO of Cafritz Interests, which owns 100-plus properties valued at a total of more than $1.2 billion.

In Maryland

Paul Tagliabue and wife Chandler bought a three-bedroom, three-bath condo in Chevy Chase for $2.9 million. The 2,500-square-foot space includes built-in shelving, multiple balconies, and a master bath with a whirlpool tub. Paul Tagliabue was commissioner of the NFL from 1989 to 2006. A graduate of Georgetown University, he’s currently chair of the school’s board of directors.

Built in 1925 and since expanded, this Dutch Colonial in Arlington went for $1.8 million.

In Virginia

Joan Rohlfing and husband Pallav Das bought a five-bedroom, four-bath Dutch Colonial in Arlington for $1.8 million. Built in 1925 and since expanded, it includes a sunroom and a spacious patio. Rohlfing is president and chief operating officer of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a nonprofit focused on preventing the spread of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons.

Steve and Terry Largent sold a Colonial-style townhouse on Randolph Court in Arlington for $1.6 million. The three-bedroom, five-bath home has an elevator, theater room, and large master suite. Steve Largent played 14 seasons as a wide receiver for the Seattle Seahawks before serving as a congressman from Oklahoma from 1994 to 2002.

Some sales information provided by American City Business Leads and Diana Hart of TTR Sotheby International Realty.

This article appears in the September 2014 issue of Washingtonian.

Posted at 11:00 AM/ET, 08/26/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Classical details meet modern touches at this corner rowhouse. By Michelle Thomas

Though we've certainly seen our share of renovated rowhouses, sometimes it's the small design choices that take a place from average to awesome. This one falls in the latter category. The renovation—which turned the 1908 Victorian into several separate condos—features a mix of classical architecture (such as the decorative moldings and arched corner turret) with modern touches (like the floating and spiral staircases and sleek kitchen, outfitted with white cabinetry with display detail and a luxe metallic tile backsplash). Three of the building's units are up for grabs; they range in size and are listed for between $689,000 and $799,000. Take a look below, then go to Redfin for more details.

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Posted at 03:51 PM/ET, 08/25/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Interior architect Michael Stehlik shows us his carefully curated space. By Michelle Thomas
All photographs by Andrew Propp.

It seems only natural that someone who practices design full-time should have an amazing home—and Michael Stehlik is no exception. As a professional interior architect who leads his own self-named design practice and also acts as a design associate for Room & Board on the side, Stehlik boasts an impressive design pedigree that includes a master’s degree in architecture and a background in residential remodeling. It all shines through in the home he shares with his partner, media executive Justin Waller; since buying their Adams Morgan rowhouse in 2008, they've developed an eclectic, carefully curated look that skillfully blends eras and styles, combining gems like a midcentury tulip table and an antique Steinway piano with playfully masculine art and cheeky decor (check out that rhino head!). 

We stopped by Stehlik and Waller’s home recently to take a peek at their ever-evolving aesthetic. Read on to hear more from Stehlik on his home, then click through the slideshow to see the tour.

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Posted at 12:22 PM/ET, 08/22/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
For those who need a whole room devoted to wrapping gifts. By Michelle Thomas
Photographs by Fusion Photography for HomeVisit.

This McLean estate is one of those mega-pricey mansions that takes luxe living to its utmost levels—the place is loaded with only the fanciest of finishes, from the herringbone hardwood floors in the entryway and hand-painted and silver-leaf wallpapers in the dining room to the ornate decorative millwork and coffered ceilings. Also on the laundry list of extravagant amenities: a gourmet kitchen with two Carrera marble islands, stainless steel counters, two double sinks outfitted to dispense “reverse osmosis drinking water,” and a limestone tile range; a mahogany library—that’s in addition to the office and the study on other levels of the home—with wainscoting, built-in shelving, a carved mantel fireplace, grasscloth wallpaper, and a Vaughn chandelier; and an expansive master suite that includes a private patio, a bay-window sitting room with a mini fridge and morning bar, and a decadent master bath that features marble floors, a rock crystal chandelier, two marble vanities, and custom double walk-in closets. Elsewhere, there’s an in-law suite, rec room, gym/dance studio, and, of course, a room set aside just for wrapping gifts. Guess that’s just what you do when you have 12,000 square feet of living space. 

The five-bedroom, seven-bath home is listed for $5.625 million. Take a peek below, then go to Washington Fine Properties for the complete tour.

 

Find Michelle Thomas on Twitter at @michellethomas4.

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Posted at 03:17 PM/ET, 08/20/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
My beagle, rescued from an animal testing lab a year ago, isn’t the only one who has undergone a transformation. By Melanie D.G. Kaplan
Six of the DC7 beagles—and two other dogs belonging to the families—during their reunion this summer. Photograph by Andrew Propp.

Last summer, a beagle with a blue tattoo in his left ear dropped into my home as if from another planet. He was underweight, and when I lowered him onto a dog bed, it was clear he’d never, in his four years of life, encountered anything so squishy and soft. He clung to that bed as if it were a life raft.

Among the few things I knew about this creature: His vocal cords had been cut, and he had probably never seen stairs, so I didn’t bother blocking off the second level of my Capitol Hill rowhouse. When he dared to leave, he did so guardedly. Catching his reflection in the side of a car was enough to send him pulling me home, frantically. His anxiety drove him to several escape attempts, once maneuvering through my balcony railing onto a neighbor’s roof.

In a way, this dog did arrive from another world—one in which breeders send their puppies to laboratories to become testing animals, each identified by a tattooed tracking number. My beagle was rescued with six others from a Virginia lab by a nonprofit organization called the Beagle Freedom Project. On the day these hounds left the only life they’d known, it was clear that even the most basic canine experiences—walking on grass and touching humans—were alien.

Each of the DC7, as they became known, was named after a Founding Father. Six weeks after I began fostering Alexander Hamilton, his personality was still clouded by fear and I didn’t know how much he would change. After all, labs claim that these dogs—with their lack of exposure to the real world—don’t make suitable pets. Freeing them only draws public attention to the 70,000 dogs still in testing facilities (many of which are beagles, because they’re so docile). According to the Beagle Freedom Project, this is how labs justify killing them as standard practice, discarding Hamiltons as if they were test tubes.

I told Hammy that if I adopted him, every day would be an adventure. “You’ll have to be very brave,” I said. He looked at me with his quiet brown eyes. We struck a deal.

As summer turned to fall, Hammy relaxed enough to walk around the block. I remember the first time I saw his tail wag in his sleep, and I imagined his dreams about running free. His veterinarian told me that his vocal cords—which had been cut so lab techs wouldn’t be disturbed by howling—could grow back. Before long, he was barking at the mailman. My neighbor quipped, “He’s like Pinocchio! He’s turning into a real dog.”

Hammy wasn’t the only one who’d been transformed. Sitting with him for hours upon hours, trying to fill his early silences with comforting words, had changed me, too. I started to boycott products tested on animals, buying laundry detergent and mascara from “cruelty-free” companies such as Method and Lush. Uncharacteristically, I took on a cause, telling my beagle’s story to all who would listen and showing them the tattoo in his ear.

This past spring, Minnesota became the first state to require that dogs and cats in taxpayer-funded laboratories be made available for adoption after testing rather than put to death. Around the same time, Hammy went for a 50-mile ride in his bike trailer, camped, joined me on a standup paddleboard, and visited his 16th state.

This summer, the DC7 returned to Washington to celebrate a year of freedom. As the families and dogs walked around the Capitol grounds, tourists asked if a beagle convention was under way. I looked at all the wagging tails and marveled at the difference a year of love and patience can make.

These days, Hammy’s need for human touch is profound. When he’s sleeping, I watch little pffts of breath leak out of his cheeks. I run my hand over his soft face and floppy ears and wonder what they did to him on the other planet. He wakes, stretches, and looks at me with sleepy eyes. Then he paws me insistently, wanting affection. And I oblige.


The Dogs After Their Rescue in 2013


Washington writer Melanie D.G. Kaplan’s website is melaniedgkaplan.com. This article appears in the September 2014 issue of Washingtonian.

Posted at 09:00 AM/ET, 08/20/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
This $1.299 million condo offers floor-to-ceiling windows and a private roof deck. By Michelle Thomas

Though the District may harbor its fair share of converted schoolhouses, the renovated industrial buildings of urban loft fantasies prove to be much harder to come by. This building—Georgetown's Sheridan Lofts, a former 1920s garage that was converted into residential lofts in 2008—is one of the city's few.

This particular unit sits as the building's penthouse, and it offers plenty of loft design signatures, including an open layout and walls of windows, plus some special add-ons such as built-in shelving, a sleek fireplace, and a cool spiral staircase that leads to the upper-level loft and a private roof deck. Bonus: There's a main-level balcony, too, and the place comes with two parking spots to boot.

It's listed at $1.299 million. Check it out below, then go to Washington Fine Properties for the full tour.

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Posted at 11:06 AM/ET, 08/19/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
That skylight! By Michelle Thomas
Photography by Fusion Photography for HomeVisit.

This renovated townhouse on Constitution Avenue in Capitol Hill hits that perfect fusion of contemporary warmth, pairing expansive windows, crisp white, and airy open spaces with a measured dose of white oak for a hint of organic, Scandinavian-inspired design. A collaborative project between one of our favorite development firms, Ditto Residential, and architecture group Dep Designs, the rowhome stands out for its abundance of light and atypical layout. The pièce de résistance? An amazing rooftop skylight beaming through the center of a wooden spiral staircase.

“We wanted to do something different from just the typical rowhouse diagram of a single loaded corridor down the length of the house,” said Dep Design’s Chuong Cao in a press release. “All floors are visually connected, where light becomes the focus and the organizing element of the house; it’s the center of circulation, spatial programming, and social and celebratory activities.” 

Beyond the stairwell, luxe design choices abound. A short list of the highlights: an open kitchen with white quartz counters and custom cabinetry, 11-foot ceilings, and accordion doors that open the family room to the terraced back patio. Smart-home technology includes a custom audio system that connects to the first floor, roof deck, and patio.

The four-bedroom, four-bath rowhouse is listed at $1.2999 million (as is a mirror-image twin, next door). Take a peek inside this stunning home below—then go to Washington Fine Properties for the complete details.

Find Michelle Thomas on Twitter at @michellethomas4.

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Posted at 01:08 PM/ET, 08/15/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
A wave of home stores have opened in the last several months—each catering to a different style. By Michelle Thomas
Lauren Liess & Co. offers new items and unusual estate-sale finds plus a solid selection of textiles, including samples of Liess's own collection. Photograph by Dan Chung.

For Rustic Beauty

Lauren Liess & Co.

776-A Walker Rd., Great Falls; 571-926-7825

The studio/boutique of interior designer and blogger Lauren Liess reflects her clean, restrained aesthetic. Bright with rustic beamed ceilings and creaky wooden floors, the store stocks a mixture of estate-sale scores and new pieces. We found an antique camera tripod turned lamp next to a midcentury Belgian leather-and-wood armchair, while other nooks housed nature-inspired pieces such as cowhide rugs and baskets of turtle shells. A solid selection of textiles includes throw pillows fashioned from antique grain sacks, a wall of neutral bed linens, and samples of Liess’s own patterned textile collection.

$165, Recycled-cotton throw at Regan & Meaghan | Photograph by Jeff Elkins.


For Big Spenders and Label Lovers

Nest 301

11416 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda; 301-231-5600

This airy showroom is the only local store to carry such chichi brands as Fendi Casa (the Italian home-decor line is sold at just four stores nationwide), Matsuoka, Turri, Selva, and Giorgio Collection. Pieces range from traditional to modern, though most are large-scale (oversize pendant lamps, dining-room tables for eight)—and come with large-scale prices. We saw a glass-top dining table for $10,000 and a leather-and-lacquered-wood sofa for $26,000.

$9,264, Matsuoka Origami chest at Nest 301.


For Midcentury Fanatics

Peg Leg Vintage

9600 Baltimore Ave., College Park; 301-477-3423

Peg Leg Vintage stands out—and not only because it’s painted lime green and orange. The store’s focus on affordable, authentic midcentury-modern housewares means bargain shoppers on their way to Ikea, a mile up the road, are regularly U-turning to see if they can find the real thing here instead. Husband-and-wife owners Chad and Krisi Hora scour estate sales and auctions for the retro goodies that fill their shop—on a recent visit we saw a tomato-red Adrian Pearsall gondola-sofa-and-armchair set, a Svend Madsen teak desk, and a mahogany bar, handmade in Honduras in the early 1960s.

$395, Pair of chrome-and-cork lamps at Peg Leg Vintage | $125, 1960s barware set at Peg Leg Vintage | Photographs by Jeff Elkins.


For Tasteful Elegance

Victoria at Home

1125 King St., Alexandria; 703-836-1960

Opening this Old Town shop was a lifelong dream for Victoria Sanchez. The interior designer had spent years working from a nearby studio; when the space became available, she pounced. The store is filled with classic-glam furniture and accessories such as gilded accent tables, mirrored serving trays, chinoiserie-style garden stools, and dramatic gold lamps from Aerin Lauder. In back, a small staircase leads to a mezzanine where Sanchez works on her design projects—it’s carpeted in leopard print, of course.

The designer who owns Victoria at Home stocks the store with glam pieces perfect for adding a bit of drama. Photograph by Dan Chung.


For Preppy Types

Regan & Meaghan

4216-B Howard Ave., Kensington; 301-509-1098

While this design shop may lack curbside charm—a neon-pink stripe and painted ga-rage door point you to its entrance, in an alley off Kensington’s warehouse district—the sprightly collection makes up for it in spades. Furniture rehabber Meaghan McNamara and interior designer Regan Billingsley put every inch of the space to use as a workshop, studio, boutique, and entertaining space (they host private events and “wine and design” classes). Preppy patterns abound: ikat, polka dots, lobster prints, and plenty of chevrons. Mixed in are fair-trade knit children’s toys, pop art, and McNamara’s cheerfully refurbished furnishings.

$115, Lacquered box set at Regan & Meaghan | $60, Hand-painted pitcher at Regan & Meaghan | Photographs by Jeff Elkins.

This article appears in the August 2014 issue of Washingtonian.

Posted at 10:15 AM/ET, 08/14/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()