The Urban Institute launched a cool online interactive feature Wednesday called Our Changing City. The study takes a close look at demographic changes by ward. There’s a wealth of information to wade through—from population shifts by race and age to snapshots of Columbia Heights and Mount Pleasant, which the authors say have seen some of the most dramatic change.
The study dovetails nicely with this article that ran in yesterday’s New York Times, which examines skyrocketing rents through the lens of a 54-year-old woman struggling to afford her apartment in Columbia Heights.
Real estate and numbers nerds take note: this is the first of several chapters in the study. In the months ahead, they’ll drill down on housing, crime, and education.
If, like us, you've got a waist-high stack of dog-eared magazines next to your nightstand and an overflowing manila folder of design ideas you're saving "just in case," you've probably discovered the saving grace that is Pinterest. (And if you haven't, click here--though now that even Bo Obama has a Pinterest presence, we're guessing that's unlikely.)
It happens over our morning coffee, between phone calls, on the commute home from work, before bed. Though we try to avoid it, the urge to scour our favorite blogs and click that oh-so-enticing "Pin it!" button is just too tempting to ignore. And though our obsession with Pinterest is borderline intervention-worthy, we've never felt so up to speed on design trends, must-have products, and clever entertaining ideas.
New baby on the way? This adorable—and removable—growth chart is the perfect addition to any nursery. Fully customizeable in both color and name, the six-foot graphic comes equipped with a white vinyl strip for recording dates and heights.
$89.99 at Etsy.com
Our crush on Caroline, a Brooklyn-based textile designer, was almost instantaneous thanks to the adorable mix of fashion know-how and watercolor designs featured on her blog. Head to her print shop to purchase ink-and-watercolor creations of dancing girls, fancy feet, and long-lashed redheads—and prints of friends so hip they inspired a Design*Sponge post.
$35 including shipping.
Have you ever wondered what the difference was between Georgian and Federal? Want to know if your house is shingle-style or stick? AskTheArchitect.org, run by local architect Bruce Wentworth of Wentworth Studio, explains the history and identifying characteristics of the 12 most popular architectural styles found in the Washington area. You can see pictures of Italianate mansions in Georgetown, American bungalows in Cleveland Park, Art Decos in Silver Spring, and Tudors in Wesley Heights.
Although anyone considering a renovation would certainly have to do more in-depth research, this site offers useful information about the challenges of remodeling and preserving certain styles. Wentworth talks about seamlessly remodeling the kitchen and family room of a center-hall Colonial, renovating a 1920’s Tudor, and adding a second story to a single-story Folk Victorian without losing the home’s classic look.
The District’s first Target store in Columbia Heights had its soft opening on Tuesday. “Renaissance,” “revival," and “revitalization”—all buzz words of the week. [Columbia Heights News] We were at the store’s VIP opening event.
Speaking of revitalization, Major Adrian Fenty announced the move of the city’s Department of Housing and Community Development’s headquarters from Union Station to Anacostia as the first step in an ambitious development plan for “emerging neighborhoods.” [DCMUD]
Turns out the DC real estate market is “hot” for foreign investors. If only we were all getting paid in Euros. [WBJ]
Finding the right apartment, condo, or house is difficult enough. But what if you’ve found the perfect place—and on the other side of the fence (or wall), you have less-than-perfect neighbors?
Launched last summer, RottenNeighbor.com helps house-hunters check out the neighbors before moving so much as a sofa. Start by entering your Zip code or street address to get a map of your neighborhood. Little red houses pop up on the map where someone’s logged a complaint with the site; green houses appear where neighbors have posted nice things. Empathize with someone’s rotten neighbor? You can rate their post with one to five stars. Click on the “Interesting Neighbors” tab to read the stories drawing the most comments.
Among the moans and groans from our area this week were neighbors who let trash fall off their balcony in Alexandria. In Kensington, a poster complained about dogs that bark 24 hours a day. One resident near McPherson Square in DC complained about a neighbor who blares country music and dresses like a cowboy—even though he’s from Connecticut.
On the other hand, one Alexandria resident said he lives among neighbors who are friendly and look out for each other. Another in Chevy Chase called his block “quite simply, the best.”
When it comes to real-estate listings, multiple listings service Metropolitan Regional Information Systems (MRIS) is king. But only agents can access its data directly.
Owned by MRIS, Homesdatabase.com is the next-best option. It covers 22,000 square miles in five states, including DC, Maryland, and Virginia. One caveat: It doesn’t list street addresses, so you have to go to a broker for detailed information.
Brokerage site ZipRealty includes neighborhood data such as average household income and crime statistics. Real-estate search engine Trulia lets you sign up to get an e-mail alert if a specific address in its database goes on the market.
All three sites also let you search by house characteristics—such as number of bedrooms and baths, style, size, and price—and register your preferences so you’ll hear when any home that meets them becomes available.
Redfin lets buyers research neighborhoods, find houses for sale, and negotiate offers, all online.
Looking to rent? Check out Hotpads, which superimposes rental listings on interactive maps and includes photos as well as information on amenities and lease terms.
This article appears in the December 2007 issue of The Washingtonian.
$60 for a mattress
$9,900 for a used Volvo
$1 for a lazy, recently graduated roommate
This isn’t eBay or Craigslist. This is “Marketplace,” Facebook’s latest feature. The members-only social network, which is open to anyone but most popular with high schoolers, college students, and recent graduates, has created a sort of cyber flea market where users post their trash and treasures for sale. The site’s developers came up with the idea when they saw users posting items for sale in the Notes section of their Facebook profiles.
Users are having fun with the new feature and putting it to good use. A recent post on Marketplace seeks a “soul mate”—for free. There are also more than 300 posts about housing in Washington.
Sellers can block portions of their profile from interested buyers and can choose which networks of users see the listing. They can also see how many people have viewed the post and get basic information about interested buyers by clicking on their profiles. Potential buyers can message questions to sellers, who have the option of posting the answers in a FAQ section of their post.