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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 ()
Fun finds to elevate an outdoor afternoon. By Michelle Thomas

We’re not saying you can’t have a perfectly fine picnic with just a stack of disposable paper plates and some tattered old blanket you dug from the depths of your linen closet. But there is a better way: A carefully curated spread of classic-yet-sophisticated supplies can instantly take your picnic from basic to blogworthy. Here—just in time for your Fourth of July festivities—we've pinpointed six of our favorite finds for dining al fresco.

Clockwise: A Sunny Afternoon Picnic Basket, $125; Serena & Lily Brahams Mount Banded Herringbone Throw, $295; Fort Standard Crest brass bottle opener, $60 at Poketo; Saturday Geometric serving spoons, $25; MyDrap Napkins on a Roll, $28 at Dry Goods; Terrain Yard Dice, $68.


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Great Outdoors: 7 Furniture Finds to Upgrade Your Patio

Ultimate Food and Drink Lover’s Guide to the Fourth of July 2014

Outfit Ideas: 3 Looks for The Fourth of July

Posted at 12:10 PM/ET, 07/03/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Designer Marika Meyer and architect David Benton share their favorite hues. By Michelle Thomas
Marika Meyer’s room for the 2012 Design House used shades of gray on the walls, ceiling, and trims.

Gray. So neutral, it seems like a simple paint choice—until you realize just how many shades there are. Green-tinged grays. Blue-hued ones. Grays that turn lavender in dim light. Grays that most closely resemble a prison wall. And so on—the truth is, there are too many to count. So how do you pick the perfect one for your space? We checked in with two local pros for some expert guidance on how to select the right gray, for both inside and outside your home.

For interiors:

Designer Marika Meyer suggests starting out by considering what type of feel you want in your space. Do you want warm or cool? Is the room traditional or modern? 

“Cooler shades of gray in eggshell and in a high-gloss finish exude a contemporary feel, while warmer gray tones in a flat finish provide a more traditional and transitional application,” she says. And don’t limit yourself to walls: “Gray looks great on walls, but also on ceilings and trim, and is a great color choice for furniture, such as a vintage midcentury-modern cocktail table in high-gloss gray that I recently purchased. It can be paired with a broad spectrum of accent colors.”

Ready to get started? Here are five of Meyer’s go-to hues:

From left: Benjamin Moore OC-52 Gray Owl; Farrow and Ball Hardwick White; Benjamin Moore OC-30 Gray Mist; Farrow and Ball Lamp Room Gray; Benjamin Moore 1548 Classic Gray. 

For exteriors:

Of course, painting isn’t reserved exclusively for your home’s rooms. Architect David Benton of Rill Architects offers this bit of advice on how to choose the right hue for your home’s facade: “Selecting grays for the exterior really depends on the style of the house. Darker grays work well for trim and door colors, while a lighter shade would work for the body of the exterior. Gray becomes a neutral where you can play up any trim or door color such as a bright green, red, or the blue we used on the front door of the DC Design House this year (C2 BD-24 Pond Shimmer). Red and gray is a classic combination.”

If you want a green undertone, Benton suggests such shades as the taupey Benjamin Moore Gloucester Sage or the lighter Revere Pewter, a versatile shade that works well for the body of a home, trim, or interiors. For trim, try Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray to impart a subtle historic vibe—versus the crisp newness of a bright white—or China White, an off-white with gray undertones. For accents, shutters, or the front door, go for a deep charcoal, such as the dark blue-toned Benjamin Moore Gravel Gray­ or the rich Iron Mountain.

From left: (All Benjamin Moore) HC-100 Gloucester Sage; DC-172 Revere Pewter; 2127-30 Gravel Gray; HC-173 Edgecomb Gray; 2134-30 Iron Mountain.


You Might Also Like:

Design Tips From the Pros: How to Choose the “Right” White Paint

Design Decoder: Recreate This Mondrian-Inspired Home

Annie Elliott of Bossy Color Tells Us Her Favorite Paint Pairs

Posted at 01:47 PM/ET, 07/01/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Give your outside space a summery style refresh. By Michelle Thomas

Why should your living room have all the fun? When it's perfect outside, there's nothing better than dinner or drinks on a patio. Or rooftop. Or balcony. But first things first: You gotta have something better to sit on than cheapie plastic chairs. Here are seven outdoor finds to turn your al fresco space into a style oasis.

Above: CB2 Acapulco multi-lounge chair, $199 (from $249); West Elm Bubble ceramic side table, $129.

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Posted at 12:30 PM/ET, 06/11/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Awesome decor items that don’t cost a month’s rent. By Michelle Thomas

Who says you have to plunk down a million bucks to snag a decent design find? Thanks to some carefully chosen resources—hello, CB2 and Nate Berkus for Target—high-style can be scored for relatively low-cost. Here are five of our favorite recent finds—all featuring bright hues, bold graphics, and playful sensibilities.

1) Kate Spade Saturday Outdoor Tray, $20

Perfect for picnics, this durable melamine tray boasts a bold graphic pattern guaranteed to spruce up any spread.

2) CB2 Stella Cabinet, $399

While, sure, this one’s a bit more of a splurge, CB2’s boldly striped cabinet still gets the thumbs up for combining form, function, and lots of fun—at a price that’s way less than what we’ve spotted elsewhere.

3) Swimming Pool photo by Lucy Snowe Photography, $20-$85

So summery! Etsy ranks as one of our favorite resources for tracking down affordable art, and we especially love Lucy Snowe’s minimalist photography.

4) Ikea Stockholm chair, $119

We’re big fans of the most recent release from Ikea’s upscale Stockholm collection, which offers midcentury-inspired items with a emphasis on conscious design and subtle organic influences—including the brilliant green of this wooden chair.  

5) Nate Berkus for Target pillow, $21.24

It’s a trendy triple threat: Punchy brights, metallics and geometric. Nate Berkus’s throw pillow manages to cash in on several right-now looks without breaking the bank.

Posted at 01:05 PM/ET, 06/06/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The founders will appear at the store’s June opening party. By Michelle Thomas
A rendering of the new store in Tysons Galleria. Rendering courtesy of Gold + Williams.

Back in March, we got word that luxe furniture store Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams had plans to open a showroom in Tysons, adding a second location to go along with the brand’s first store in Logan Circle. Now, it’s finally happening: The company announced yesterday that its new 10,000-square-foot flagship “signature” store opens doors on Friday in Tysons Galleria.

“Tysons Galleria is one of the most prestigious shopping destinations in the region, we could not be more excited,” said Mitchell Gold in a press release. “In response to the enormous success of our DC store, we felt it was important for our brand to expand to the outlying suburban area of Fairfax County—a region Time magazine refers to as ‘one of the great economic success stories of our time’. We’re looking forward to enhancing our style leadership position in this vibrant, sophisticated suburban market and presenting our brand in a big way.”

“Being able to secure a location in the Tysons Galleria is like getting accepted to the finest Ivy League university in the country,” he continued. Interesting comparison, perhaps, but we’re glad he’s excited. The new store will be designed with the company’s hallmark clean, modern style, including white walls and floors, bright modular lighting, and furniture displays created by Gold and Williams themselves.

The founding duo will appear at Tysons Galleria on June 12 to toast the grand opening of the new store and their recent 25th anniversary. Want to know more about the brand? Check out our chat with the pair.

Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. Tysons Galleria level three, McLean. Grand opening party, June 12, 6 to 9 PM. RSVP to or 703-962-9310.

Posted at 11:42 AM/ET, 05/21/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The designer duo behind Residents Understood share their best advice. By Michelle Thomas

For a renter, certain design trends and tips can seem woefully out of reach. How can you be expected to get excited about richly patterned wallpapers when your landlord won’t even let you paint? But just because you’re stuck in a standard-issue apartment doesn’t mean your place shouldn’t feel completely like you. We checked in with interior designers Kiera Kushlan and Jessica Centella of Residents Understood to get their expert advice on how to perk up a soulless space without making any irreparable changes. Ready to upgrade? See five ways to make it happen below.

1) Invest in lighting you love. Light fixtures in rentals are rarely anything better than blah, but most overheard light fixtures can easily be taken down and new ones installed in their place. (Just put the originals in storage and remember to put them back in when it’s time to move.)

Try: Tom Dixon's glossy copper orb pendant lamp.

2) Swap out the ho-hum cabinet hardware in your kitchen and bathroom for something more personal and playful. It’s a quick fix, but it’ll help make the place feel more like your own. 

Try: Anthropologie’s pulls and knobs.

3) Remove all signs of plastic window treatments. “These are notorious for making a place feel uninviting and cold—removing or replacing these little devils is another way to instantly change the mood of an apartment,” the designers say. If the window treatments can’t be removed and stored, try covering them with fabric drapes.

Try: Nate Berkus for Target metallic window panels.

4) So you’re not allowed to paint. No worries—products such as removable wallpaper and decals are becoming more widely available. Adding a fun decal, such as polka dots, or whimsical wallpaper to your home is a guaranteed way to add flair to any lackluster room.

Try: Tempaper’s removable wallpapers or Land of Nod’s Lottie gold dot decals.

5) Got ugly floors? Cover them up! This goes for anything from seen-better-days hardwood to boring commercial-grade carpet. A good area rug goes a long way in personalizing and softening up your space.

Try: Serena & Lily’s pebble-print rug.

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Posted at 01:16 PM/ET, 04/23/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
We got the scoop on the new spot. By Michelle Thomas
Photograph courtesy of Salt & Sundry.

Fans of Union Market’s Salt & Sundry may already know the store’s big news, thanks to this little message that popped up on Instagram last Friday. But in case you missed it: The housewares shop is opening a second location. 

We checked in with owner Amanda McClements, who tells us that the new 850-square-foot space will open at 1401 S Street, Northwest—that’s the District apartment building, also home to Redeem, Lou Lou, Doi Moi, and Ted’s Bulletin—on the historic side of the building, and will feature a restored storefront and small courtyard. She’s looking to open in late summer.

The new space will offer McClements’s signature blend of gorgeous-meets-functional housewares and furnishings, plus tons of pitch-perfect gifts, such as locally made ceramics, candles, and letterpress cards. 

“I’ve lived in the Logan Circle neighborhood for about 12 years and have always considered this stretch of 14th Street a hub for independent shops,” says McClements. “I’m excited to open a new Salt & Sundry there to complement the strong mix of locally owned businesses and bring a fresh design aesthetic.” 

The opening of Salt & Sundry will add to a burgeoning set of design-focused retail shops along the 14th Street corridor, which already is home to the region’s only Room & Board and Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams stores, plus such other interior boutiques as Vastu, Lori Graham Home, Miss Pixie’s, Home Rule, Urban Essentials, and Timothy Paul Bedding & Home. And just last week, we got word that West Elm is rumored to open in a four-story space by late summer, as well. What home store will head to the area next? We’ll be watching.

Posted at 01:03 PM/ET, 04/18/2014 | 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 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 ()