It’s easy to be wowed by a professional renovation that costs as much as a small house. But when someone is able to do their own work—on a budget, no less—and does it well, it's doubly impressive. Example A: Ethan Arnheim’s DIY transformation of a LeDroit Park storage unit into a modern loft studio. Built in the late 1800s, this brick box was located behind Arnheim’s rowhouse, and though he’d been renting it out as storage to an ironworker, the raw space had neither plumbing nor electricity, and he wanted to turn it a habitable haven. There were a few challenges: It was teensy—only 360 square feet—and he wanted something that looked high-end, but didn't cost a lot. So Arnheim decided to skip the pros, and design the place himself. He used the free program Sketchup to create a blueprint with layout inspiration from a friend’s beachside apartment in France, and hired tradesmen he found via recommendations.
Since only one wall was suitable for a door or windows, Arhheim added skylights and high-level windows to allow sunlight to shine in while retaining privacy. To maximize the space, he incorporated small-footprint choices like a sliding glass bathroom door and a combination washer and dryer that's installed below the bathroom sink. All of the materials were sourced with an eye toward his modest budget. The new door came from Baltimore auction house Southern Sales, the kitchen cabinets from Ikea, the lighting from Craigslist, and the bathroom tiles from the Tile Store (after some haggling). The stained-glass transom was made by artist in Baltimore, and the curving ladder is a custom piece by local metal worker Jesse Robinson. Arnheim estimates his final costs ended up around $150 per square foot.
Ready to see the full project? Read on to see the process—and the resulting finished space (rentable on Airbnb!).
Where: 724 5th St. SE #24
How much: $879,900
When: Sunday, 2 to 4 PM
Why: We can’t resist a converted schoolhouse. This two-bedroom, two-bath condo is in the historic Lenox School Lofts—highlights include 20-foot ceilings, huge eight-foot windows, a sprawling open layout, tons of exposed brick, and a dramatic fireplace feature.
Where: 2737 Devonshire Pl. NW #312
How much: $519,900
When: Sunday, 1 to 3 PM
Why: Loaded with charming details, this 1,140-square-foot one-bedroom in a classic 1929 Beaux Arts building features a cute foyer entry, arched doorway, crown molding, a dining room with built-in bookcases, and French doors that lead into a pretty sunroom.
Where: 8101 River Rd.
How much: $3.199 million
When: Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 PM
Why: The grand opening of the model unit for Bethesda’s über-luxe Quarry Springs condo development, this three-bedroom condo features interior design by Akseizer Design Group and some seriously high-end features, including more than 3,200 square feet of living space, almost 2,000 square-feet of outdoor terrace, 10-foot ceilings, garage-to-foyer elevators, vented gas fireplaces with stone hearths, spa-style bathrooms outfitted with Waterworks fixtures and a kitchen decked with Wolfe cooktop and a Sub-Zero wine chiller. Shared building amenities include a clubhouse that includes a library, catering kitchen, game room, bar, fitness center, and spa, plus valet parking and round-the-clock concierge.
Midcentury modern architect Charles Goodman isn’t the only big name associated with this 1951 Hollin Hills home—according to the listing, it was also once home to both poet/musician Gil Scott-Heron and iconic '70s singer Roberta Flack, who was raised in Arlington and got her start performing at Mr. Henry’s Restaurant in Capitol Hill in the late 1960s. Celeb-pedigree aside, the four-bedroom home also boasts a double-height wall of windows that overlooks the huge slate and stone patio, 30-gallon granite pool, and a koi pond.
1927 Marthas Road is listed for $869,000. Take a look inside below, then get the complete tour here.
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.
Where: 2024 N St. NW #4
How much: $629,000
When: Sunday, 1 to 4 PM
Why: Several unusual features—vaulted, exposed beam ceilings, two wood-burning fireplaces, and tons of raw exposed brick—combine with a renovated kitchen and private rooftop terrace in this two-level one-plus-den condo in a pretty 1930s-era Victorian.
Where: 751 Princeton Pl. NW
How much: $899,900
When: Sunday, 1 to 3 PM
Why: This four-bed, four-bath rowhouse was recently renovated, and the new design includes luxe features like coffered ceilings, dark hardwoods, and a chic kitchen outfitted with marble waterfall island, glossy white cabinets, subway tile backsplash and pendant lighting. Upstairs, there’s a spa-like master bath with a soaking tub and rain shower, and there’s an in-law suite on the lower level.
So you missed your chance at snagging this Dupont garage when it hit the market for $900,000 in late April? No worries: The place just dropped its price. By $1,000. That's .1 percent!
To recap, this 1,008-square-foot brick garage, built in 1921 and located in an alley behind the O Street Mansion, is completely unfinished and has “no real street address,” according to the listing. But you can bring an architect to “see the potential!” and turn it into a “project of your own!” The listing also now helpfully includes a rendering of what it could look like reimagined as a home. Pay no mind to the 2014 tax assessment of $68,780.
Days on market: 726.
Bragging points: Eight bedrooms, 13 baths, two kitchens, eight fireplaces, indoor and outdoor pools, 19,000-plus square feet on nearly two acres.
Who: Bought by Rosa Whitaker, president of the Whitaker Group, a consulting firm specializing in Africa.
Like this Charles Goodman design in McLean, this 1964 Chevy Chase estate is built to spotlight the signature features of midcentury modern architecture—including huge glass walls that incorporate the wooded surrounds, a flowing open layout, and a fusion of natural textures such as Tennessee stone stone walls, heated marble and terrazzo floors, carved mahogany doors, and wood paneling. The expansive living area overlooks a front veranda, a sunroom and terrace, and ponds on both sides, while the rest of the home includes five bedrooms, five baths, a master suite with dual dressing rooms (don’t miss the '70s-glam mirrored one!), a fitness studio, an office, and parking for more than ten cars. A few favorite design highlights: The dining room’s sunken bar and carved wood built-ins, the minimalist-cool floating staircase, and the lush terraced back garden and Japanese-inspired landscaping.
7410 Western Ave. is listed for $2.05 million. Take a look inside below, then go to TTR Sotheby’s for the complete details.
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.
Where: 1415 Chapin St NW #101
How much: $439,000
When: Saturday and Sunday, 2 to 4 PM
Why: That gorgeous exposed brick! Plus this two-bedroom condo features a slew of other modern-cool design details, including 10.5-foot ceilings, solid oak floors, a sleek kitchen with white Silestone counters and custom walnut cabinets, a curving bay of windows, and a built-in media console.