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Washington is the third-best city for young people, and bro-friendly Clarendon is the place to be, apparently. By Benjamin Freed
Millennials love it in Clarendon, according to some website. Photograph by Flickr user Ron Cogswell.

One of those websites that ranks cities along arbitrary metrics has decided that Washington is the third-best US city for millennials, the generation of young people that marketing professionals and baby-boomer newspaper editors can’t stop talking about. And according to the new list, the best part of town isn’t even in town. It’s Clarendon, a section of Arlington known for its heavy concentration of bros.

The ranking comes from Niche.com, a website that compiles rankings of municipalities and schools, and in the case of millennials, reviewed cities according to income, housing prices, crime rates, and percentage of people with a college diploma, along with less statistically sound things like professional sports teams and nightlife.

Fifteen percent of the Washington area’s population is between 25 and 34 years of age, Niche found. But in Clarendon, that demographic accounts for a staggering 53 percent of the population. They live in places like the “METAL HOUSE,” a four-story domicile that was rented out last September to tenants seeking a haven for keggers and flip cup tournaments.

Why else is Clarendon perfect for millennials, Niche.com reasons? Forty-eight percent of its residents hold master’s degrees, the median household income is $108,132, and the median rent is $1,788 a month. By contrast, the median rent for all of Washington is measured at $1,353.

Looks like it’s time for people born after 1980 to get out of Mt. Pleasant and H Street and head across the river to Clarendon, home of popped collars and expensive apartments that double as beer pong arenas.

Posted at 03:35 PM/ET, 04/15/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The where and when of spring’s best tours. By Michelle Thomas
This midcentury home will be one of ten on the Hollin Hills House & Garden Tour. Photographs by David Rivera.

Ah, spring. Though it’s not exactly delightful out today, sunnier times are ahead—and also tours. Lots of tours. The yearly deluge of neighborhood home and garden tours is about to hit full stride. Here’s a rundown of some of the area’s best bets. 

Old Town Historic Garden Week 

Part of the Garden Club of Virginia’s Historic Garden Week, which opens more than 250 gardens and homes statewide, the Old Town-based walking tour visits five homes from the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The ticket price also includes admission to three other historic properties in the area: the Carlyle House Historic Park, the Lee-Fendall House Museum and Garden, and George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens. April 26, 10 to 4. $35 in advance, $40 day of. Alexandria Visitors Center, 221 King St., Alexandria.

Prince George’s House & Garden Pilgrimage

This year’s tour through Prince George’s County—as part of the annual Maryland House & Garden Pilgrimage, which includes close to 50 private homes, gardens, farms, and historic sites in five counties—follows the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail and Byway, with a focus on the War of 1812. The stops conclude with a visit to Darnell’s Chance, an 18th-century complex listed on the National Register of Historic Places. April 26, 10 to 5. $30 in advance, $35 day of. Patuxent Riverkeeper Center, 17412 Nottingham Rd., Upper Marlboro. 

Georgetown House Tour 

See inside nine Georgetown homes during this annual tour, now in its 83rd year. Tickets include an afternoon tea at Blake Hall at St. John’s Episcopal Church, which the tour proceeds benefit. April 26, 11 to 5. $50 in advance, $55 day of. St. John’s Episcopal Church, 3240 O St., NW. 

Fairfax County: Historic Vienna 

Hosted by the Garden Club of Fairfax, this partial walking tour includes four homes and gardens in Vienna’s oldest neighborhood, Ayr Hill, and Meadowlark Botanical Gardens. April 29, 10 to 4. $25 in advance, $30 day of. Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, 9750 Meadowlark Gardens Ct., Vienna. 

Hollin Hills House & Garden Tour

Check out the midcentury-modern homes of this award-winning Fairfax County neighborhood in a self-guided walking tour, which visits ten Charles Goodman-designed properties and three gardens. The tour kicks off with a morning lecture on modern architecture and Goodman’s other work. May 3, noon to 6. $25 in advance, $30 day of. Hollin Meadows Elementary School, 2310 Nordok Pl., Alexandria. 

Takoma Park House and Garden Tour

Dubbed the Spirit of Holly Avenue, this three-block tour takes visitors through the evolution of the neighborhood from the 1880s through post-World War II. May 4, 1 to 5. $18 in advance, $20 day of. 7064 Eastern Ave., NW. 

Georgetown Garden Tour

For the 86th year, this tour visits nine of Georgetown’s best gardens, from high-tech modern affairs to woodsy fairy-tale versions. The tour includes an afternoon tea at Christ Church’s Keith Hall. May 10, 10 to 5. Christ Church, 31st and O sts., NW.

Del Ray House and Garden Tour 

A biennial project presented by the Del Ray Citizens Association, this year’s tour includes homes ranging from a 1940s rowhouse to a green design that incorporates one of the neighborhood’s only in-ground pools. May 10, 11 to 5. $20 in advance, $25 after May 1. Del Ray Farmers Market, Mount Vernon and Oxford aves., Alexandria. 

Capitol Hill Restoration Society House & Garden Tour 

This is Capitol Hill’s largest and oldest fundraiser, now in its 57th year, and this year the tour highlights four Civil War-era frame houses—a departure from the neighborhood's more prevelant Victorian homes—and a garden that features a fully stocked koi pond.  May 10, 4 to 7, and May 11, noon to 5. $25. Hill Center, 901 Pennsylvania Ave., SE.

Posted at 03:13 PM/ET, 04/15/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The restoration spotlights the building’s original architecture. By Michelle Thomas

Last April, developers Ditto Residential and CAS Riegler announced a partnership to convert a century-old public school in Northeast, the former James B. Edmonds School, into 20 condos that the team promised would fuse old and new. A year later, the building is finally delivering. Last week, several of the units popped up on the market, including our favorite: a top-floor, two-story corner condo with two bedrooms and two and a half baths, which faces southeast for maximum sunlight through its oversize, high-set windows. Other highlights of the place? The building’s gorgeous architectural detailing, of course, plus tons of exposed brick along exterior walls, wide-plank hardwood flooring, and high-end Waterworks fixtures. Sixteen-foot ceilings and oversize doors add to the expansive scale. It’s listed at $899,900. Read on for a look, then visit the development’s website for more details about the building and listing brokerage McWilliams Ballard for information about this unit and the others currently available. 

A rendering of the former schoolhouse after its restoration.

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Posted at 02:07 PM/ET, 04/14/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
These versatile accent pieces are everywhere. By Michelle Thomas

You might be tempted to write off these floor cushions as a glorified revival of the retro beanbag chair. But while there are some similarities, these poufs are way more chic than their predecessor, and they’re surprisingly versatile. Try one as a foot rest. Stash a tray on it as a side table. Make it an impromptu extra seat! These guys offer loads of functionality while not taking up a lot of floor space—the golden combo when it comes to small-space dwelling—and we’ve been spying them all over stylish homes, popping up everywhere from family rooms to nurseries, even in outdoor entertaining spaces. Ready to give this style a whirl? Here are three ways to rock the look in your own house, whether you prefer your pouf in fuzzy fur, cozy knit, or exotic embroidered leather.

Pottery Barn Kids floor pouf in silver, $399; Serena & Lily handmade pouf in lime, $450.

 

West Elm Faux Mongolian lamb pouf, $149;Calypso St. Barth Springbok hide cube pouf, $575

 

Restoration Hardware Baby and Child knit cotton pouf in aqua, $89-$149; CB2 knitted pouf in graphite, $79.95.

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Posted at 02:03 PM/ET, 04/11/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The architecture was inspired by Le Corbusier. By Michelle Thomas

Nestled in the woods of Potomac’s Bradley Farms on more than 80,000 square feet of land, this award-winning glass-walled creation—designed by architect Warren Cox of Hartman-Cox and built in 1974—takes its distinctive architectural inspiration from the Swiss architect and modernist pioneer Le Corbusier. The sprawling 8,000-square-foot, open-layout home includes six bedrooms, nine and a half bathrooms, a wet bar, a wine cellar, a dressing room with three walk-in closets, and a glass-enclosed exercise room on its three levels. Then there are the outdoor amenities: Tucked among extensive gardens is a spacious tiered deck, plus a self-covering pool and a tennis court. A pool house and a two-bedroom guest house sit nearby. The property is listed at $2.695 million. Read on for a look at this unusual design, then head to TTR Sotheby’s for details and the full tour of the home.

 

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Posted at 03:16 PM/ET, 04/10/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
This year’s Forest Hills home was transformed by 29 designers. By Michelle Thomas
Outside, Rill Architects’ David A. Benton updated the facade of the 1929 stone home by painting the front door an unexpected high-gloss turquoise and adding an interior set of glass French doors to let in sunlight. All photographs by Angie Seckinger, courtesy of DC Design House.

Until just over a month ago, the home selected as this year’s DC Design House was not exactly in great shape. Yes, the 8,000-square-foot stone home—which was originally owned by Madison Hotel founder Marshall B. Coyne and remained in the family for six decades before its donation to the design benefit—is a grand estate, featuring much of its original 1929 architectural detailing, such as elegant crown molding, gracefully curving banisters, hardwood floors, and natural fieldstone in the kitchen. But good bones aside, this year’s selected home was in need of some major overhauls—including total renovations of six of its seven bathrooms. A few weeks later, it’s a completely different—and completely gorgeous—home, thanks to the 29 designers who reworked assigned spaces property-wide, from backyard landscaping to teensy closets. Some of the recurring aesthetic themes? Many of the designers took inspiration from the 1920s and ’30s, a nod to the home’s era, incorporating glam metallics, Lucite accents, and chinoiserie motifs. High-gloss paints, bold emerald, lime and aqua hues, and layered rugs pop up in several designer rooms, and we saw tons of mixing, whether texture, pattern, or design style.

Read on to see a handful of our favorite rooms from this year’s home, click through the slideshow to see 12 additional spaces, and then check out the complete project for yourself this weekend when it opens to the public for a month of tours. What’s more: On Friday, the showhouse is scheduled to list on the real-estate market for $3.85 million. Check listing brokerage McEnearney Associates on Friday for details.

DC Design House. Sunday through May 11. $25. Ticket proceeds benefit the Children’s National Health System.

Dining Room

Marika Meyer’s formal-meets-functional dining room is a lesson in pattern mixing, incorporating chinoiserie themes, Imperial Trellis upholstery, custom faux-malachite Parsons tables, and ikat china set atop cabbage-leaf chargers. Notes of gold, including a vintage 22-karat-gold-leaf chandelier and a gold serving cart, offset the distressed-walnut table and reworked vintage chairs. 

Butler’s Pantry/Wine Room

In what was originally the butler’s pantry, Aidan Design’s Nadia N. Subaran reimagined the petite corridor as a wine room and entertaining space, installing dual Thermador wine columns and custom cabinetry built for stemware storage. The design elevates a traditional aesthetic, contrasting the lush navy-painted cabinets with modern brushed-brass hardware and stunning Calcutta-marble herringbone floors. Subaran transformed the kitchen as well, playing off a fieldstone wall with black soapstone, porcelain marble backspash and burnished cherry cabinets.

Family Room

Perhaps one of the more obviously modern designs in the home, Akseizer Design Group’s pool-adjacent family room layers texture and netural tones for a space that fuses midcentury influences with organic glamour. A linear modern fireplace, hand-woven textured Thibaut wallpaper, layered hide and sisal rugs, and a vintage Alvar Aalto tank chair stand out as the room’s highlights.

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Posted at 02:45 PM/ET, 04/09/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The four-day event benefits the Lab Rescue volunteer group. By Paulina Kosturos
See 1,200 nationally ranked dogs compete at the Labrador Retriever Club of the Potomac Specialty Show. Image via Shutterstock.

Attention, Labrador lovers: The largest Lab show in the world—the Labrador Retriever Club of the Potomac Specialty Show—starts Tuesday in Frederick. The event runs through April 11 at the Francis Key Holiday Inn (5400 Holiday Dr., Frederick). Around 1,200 nationally ranked dogs will compete in the four-day sporting event, which is sanctioned by the American Kennel Club. In addition to competitions in obedience and appearance, the show also features seminars on Lab behavior, health exams for dogs conducted by canine cardiologists, and a silent auction. All proceeds will go to Lab Rescue of the LRCP, a volunteer group that has rescued and placed more than 1,000 dogs in new homes. Says Vicky Creamer, president of the LRCP: “In the Lab world, this annual show is our Super Bowl.” All events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit the Labrador Retriever Club’s website.

Posted at 02:51 PM/ET, 04/08/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The DC-based interior designer curates a special three-day sale. By Michelle Thomas
Porcelain lamp pair, $275 (from $685); Cane seat armchair, $769 (from $1,100); Bronze street lanterns, $352 (from $880); Cowbells, $125 (from $210). Images courtesy of One Kings Lane.

Last year, Darryl Carter opened an eponymous store in Shaw, peddling his award-winning brand of spare, neutral luxury. Now, the interior decorator takes his wares online—for three days, at least. The Washington-based designer joins up with online retailer One Kings Lane as a featured curator behind one of the site’s regular Tastemaker Tag Sales, during which the site will spotlight a discounted selection of one-of-a-kind pieces—many of them antique—from Carter’s collection. Check out a preview of some of the goods above, then head to One Kings Lane tonight to shop the sale.

One Kings Lane Tastemaker Tag Sale featuring Darryl Carter. Starts Tuesday at 9 PM.

Posted at 02:07 PM/ET, 04/08/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
A top-quality renovation of an 1885 rowhouse. By Michelle Thomas

Though rowhouse renovations are certainly not rare in Washington, this three-condo conversion of an 1885 home stands out. Positioned a block from Logan Circle’s thriving business district, the redo of this Q Street home includes high-end, on-trend finishes in all three units—gray-washed and espresso hardwood floors; spa-style bathrooms with rain showers and Carrera-marble counters, floors, and walls; outdoor terraces and balconies (and a private roof deck from the penthouse unit); iPad stations that control audio, alarm, and temperature systems; and gourmet kitchen appliances. The second-level flat already went under contract in the four days since these went on the market, but the first-floor and penthouse condos are still up for grabs at $695,000 and $1.495 million, respectively. Read on for a tour of the Logan Flats penthouse, then click through to Washington Fine Properties for details on all three condos.

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Posted at 01:23 PM/ET, 04/07/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
She’ll sell her reworked vintage furniture at this weekend’s Thread pop-up at Union Market. By Michelle Thomas
Photograph of Nicole Crowder by Dian Holton.

It takes a creative eye to see the beauty in a ratty $5 armchair at Goodwill. And Nicole Crowder has that vision—the former photographer turned a self-learned knack for reupholstering into her own custom design business last June under the moniker Third + Grace. Her creations nail that perfect balance of vintage bones and modern glam. Love pattern mixing and graphic prints? You’ll want to check out Thread, Union Market’s retail pop-up, this weekend, where Baltimore-based Third + Grace debuts its latest collection. Head over to Shop Around for more details on Thread—and read on to hear all about Crowder and her upholstery shop.

Thread. April 4 from 1 to 7, April 5 from 11 to 7, and April 6 from 11 to 5. 1039 Fifth St., NE.

Tell us about your background. What inspired you to start an upholstery business? 

I was a photo editor and freelance photographer for several years before I even thought about upholstery. I’ve always loved having my hands in various creative projects, and interior design has always been inspiring to me. But it never occurred to me that upholstery was something I could do until just a little under two years ago. In late 2012 I went out and purchased two wooden chairs and spent the afternoon stripping them and reupholstering them. The idea of transforming a practical and tangible item into something that now has a personality through just changing the textiles was an “aha” moment. I loved the physical labor just as much as shopping for the fabrics or sketching the ideas. Entrepreneurship was very new to me, but I began to have lots of friends and even a few strangers ask if I was able to reupholster projects they had at home. 

You’re self-taught. How did you learn the craft? 

YouTube was a really great teacher. I would spend hours looking through various how-to videos on everything from making double-welt cord to how to make a box cushion or where to buy Pli-Grip online. I also purchased a video by an amazing upholstery company in Austin, Texas, called Spruce. I worked full-time during the day, so every evening and weekend I was home working on chairs and benches and ottomans. A lot of it was trial and error, and still very much is. Each piece of furniture is different and requires its own technique, from stripping it to putting it back together.

What are your favorite sources for finding the vintage furniture pieces you reupholster? 

These places are so good that I want to keep them to myself! But here you go: My go-to source is Ryan’s Relics in Bel Air, Maryland. It’s a great spot for midcentury pieces, and the price points are unreal. My other favorite is a place in Frederick called Cannon Hill Antiques. It’s just up the road from the more expensive and fancy antiques shops in Frederick. It’s old and dusty and gets chilly in the winter and has rickety stairs, but I love it. And another great place is Goodwill. You can find great pieces of furniture with good bones for $5 that would sell for hundreds someplace else. 

What’s your design signature? 

My signature design is still forming itself, I think, but I definitely love mixing prints and textiles. I like having one pattern on the front of the chair and a completely different one on the back. It can add whimsy, funk, or even more elegance to a chair. I think it comes from being inspired by the back details in women’s fashion. I love shirts and dresses and blazers that have a great detail on the back, so it’s visually pleasing as you come and go.

You use a lot of colorful fabrics and interesting patterns in your furniture. How do you choose your fabrics? How do you decide what to pair? 

The inspiration for the fabric comes from a variety of places, but primarily from fashion and style. I love how bold many people are with their everyday style choices, and I wanted to translate that to furniture that was cool, functional and beautiful to look at. I labor over the fabric choices sometimes, because every piece has its own personality and I hope to bring that out using the correct fabric. There is one chair I’ve reupholstered three times because the fabric just didn’t suit the chair’s frame. I usually get a bunch of fabric swatches and then spend time pairing them together to see which complements the other.

Are there any pieces that are especially meaningful? Why? 

The collection I’m debuting at Thread at Union Market this spring is very meaningful to me. Last year I was just starting out with my business and trying to take on as many projects as I could, and I took on too much at once, which was little overwhelming. I knew if I wanted a better work-life balance I would need to minimize some of the workload and maximize quality over quantity. And that’s how the Modern Luxury collection came about. It’s me slowing down and going back to basics: black, white, and gold. I temporarily suspended any new client work and took my time spending three months working on all the details for this collection. It really reflects my affinity for minimalism in my personal style, and each piece reminds me of the moment I knew I had to change how I worked.

What’s up next for Third + Grace? 

A project I’m really excited about: I’m currently conceptualizing a new collection of colorful chairs, pillows, and poufs that will be sold exclusively for the website Brika. That will be available in July 2014. I’d also love to branch into working with boutique hotels and shops on a few design ideas. 

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Posted at 11:42 AM/ET, 04/04/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()