Sometimes it seems like the word “custom” is secret code for “super expensive.” Not so for Framebridge: Send in or upload your oddly-sized art—and your Instagrams, too—and the web-based company will custom-frame your piece with an eye toward affordability and style. It’s a genius idea. And though the startup's been getting lots of national buzz—just last week, it just secured $7.7 million in funding, and counts Steve Case and LivingSocial co-founder Timothy O’Shaughnessy among its backers—it’s based right here in Washington, with production in Lanham and marketing and design in Georgetown.
Since Framebridge's focus is making it easier to beautify your home, it probably comes as no big surprise that their second-story O Street office is enviably stylish. The space is rumored to have been Francis Scott Key’s onetime home—their awesome front lounge room is supposedly his former bedroom—so it’s loaded with charming original details, and the company’s small team has designed the office to spotlight a breezy-modern sensibility. Framebridge founder Susan Tynan wanted their offices to feel inspirational and fun—and a little bit like their customer's homes. "We love that our office is in a historic residence, as it allows us to surround ourselves with our product in a natural way," she says. Of course, Framebridge’s gallery wall game is strong. And the best part? Almost all of the office's furniture and art is sourced from affordable stores like CB2, West Elm, and Etsy.
We stopped by the offices recently to get a look at the space. Prepare for some serious office envy.
Just because you have a little one at home (or on the way) doesn't mean you have to exchange all your pretty decor for unbreakable plastic and resign yourself to chaos. Let's repeat: A stylish home and young children do not have to be opposing forces. Just ask Marika Meyer. The interior designer—herself a mom to two little boys—shares her top five tips for maintaining a sophisticated home while protecting against the inevitable messes.
Buying places no one else wants has proven a successful strategy for architect Carmel Greer.
That’s how she landed the U Street corridor headquarters of her five-year-old firm, District Design. “It was supposed to be a grocery store, but it wasn’t the right size or layout,” she says. The owner couldn’t lease it, so he sold it to Greer, who took down walls and traded its yellow/orange/red color scheme for bright white and gray.
It’s also how she became owner of the 5,500-square-foot modern home at the end of Hawthorne Place in Northwest DC’s Palisades. Until Greer stumbled upon the empty land 2½ years ago, nobody would touch it—in fact, it was nearly impossible to because the lot was separated from the road by a steep ravine.
Location: Logan Circle.
Vibe: Tuscan retreat.
Design challenge: Had to double as parking.
Stephen and Jennifer Giordano, both lawyers, love vacationing in Italy. The couple are of Italian heritage, so it was only natural that they look across the Atlantic for outdoor inspiration.
But the rear of their Logan Circle rowhouse required creative thinking from J. Mark White, owner of the landscape-design firm GardenWise. “It was more a driveway than a yard, and there was no privacy or gate,” he says. Plus, parking is tough to come by on the Giordanos’ one-way block off 14th Street, so the couple didn’t want to sacrifice their off-street spot.
Vibe: Grand but inviting.
Unexpected element: Homegrown corn and blueberries.
City dwellers love to hang out on their porches, but the concept often gets lost in the suburbs. Not at this Bethesda home, where much of the outdoor design is focused frontward. Landscape architect Paul H. Davis installed a wooden archway and living area—complete with seating and a fire pit—just off the driveway. The result: an unexpected green zone that greets family and friends.
Vibe: Backyard resort.
Trick of the trade: Travertine around the pool stays cool.
The back yard of corporate executive Hershel Kleinberg’s Alexandria house isn’t huge. But thanks to a smart contemporary design, he enjoys resort-like amenities just outside his door. Brian Hahn of Botanical Decorators made everything fit: a lap pool, a hot tub, an outdoor kitchen, a screened-in porch, a fire pit, even a shower. “To make it feel bigger, we oriented the porch and patio on 45-degree angles,” Hahn explains.
While there are lots of things to love about biking, finding a stylish storage solution when you lack outdoor space is certainly not one of them. If your ride winds up stashed in your entryway—taking up valuable floor space and adding visual clutter—it’s time to find a better strategy. Shouldn’t a bike-friendly lifestyle and solid interior design be able to coexist? Pinterest and Houzz to the rescue. In honor of Bike To Work Day (tomorrow!), we've gathered ten creative, inspiring ways to integrate a bicycle into your decor.
Ready to experience some major office envy? This collaborative workspace, in a second-story suite overlooking the Key Bridge in Georgetown, inspires with its modern, minimalist design, and it's professional home to the Creative Collective, a team of ten-plus creatives and entrepreneurs that includes wedding planning duo Events in the City, photographer Abby Jiu, beauty vlogger Claire Ashley, and nutrition blogger Carlene Thomas, among others. Lifestyle blogger Meg Biram launched the workspace, which allows its members to use the studio part-time as needed, last year after growing tired of working solo. Naturally, decorating it to perfection was a top priority—so Biram linked up with retail partners such as AllModern, West Elm, Lulu & Georgia, and Calypso St. Barth to help create her contemporary haven.
“A lot of what I do involves photography—client photo shoots, blog photo shoots, even just shots for Instagram,” says Biram. “Because of that, I wanted the space to be as white as possible so we would have an easier time with the color in images. The walls are white and all of the surfaces are white on purpose.”
And indeed, there’s plenty of clean, airy white in the sunlit, bay-windowed office, from the high-gloss standing desks—which are actually repurposed bar tables—to the conference table. Contrasting pops of black and accents of clear acrylic and gold introduce interest to the neutral decor. Biram painted the hallway's abstract wall pattern herself, outfitted the rear conference room with a large piece of her own artwork, and updated the bland bathroom (see the transformation on West Elm's blog) with a coat of feminine blush pink paint and simple, graphic accessories.
Keep reading to get a glimpse inside the collective’s workspace, and then—if you’re feeling inspired—we’ve linked to the same or similar pieces used in this office, below.
This Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. the Ethan Allen Design Center gives Washington-area residents a preview of its newest designs—called The Next Classics. The sneak peek coincides with the release of the company's coffee table book. Washingtonian Senior Editor Marisa Kashino will join the design brand in celebrating the publication of Muses—a 328-page volume of inspiration and ideas. Ethan Allen calls the book "a distillation of the brand's design DNA." Guests will receive a complimentary copy.
Check out the invitation above, and RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 703-971-4504
Ethan Allen Design Center, 2900 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington; 703-971-4504
Location: Chevy Chase.
Vibe: Clean and green.
Surprise factor: Two eco-friendly rooftop gardens.
Married architects Marcie Meditch and John Murphey had lived in their Chevy Chase home since 1990. Then—in pursuit of more light and a smaller environmental impact—they tore it down in 2010. “It was a big, gloomy box on a typical suburban lot,” says Murphey. “The idea was to use green spaces and angles to make it seem like we’re out in the country.”