Get Open House delivered to your inbox every Tuesday Morning.

Our Changing City focuses on the District from 2000 to 2010. By Mary Clare Glover

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.

Posted at 11:07 AM/ET, 12/11/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
The industrial-modern space of Room & Board’s head visual designer is one of five homes featured in the new design book by the bloggers behind AphroChic. By Michelle Thomas
Angela Hays Belt's Navy Yard apartment is featured in the new book Remix, by the husband-and-wife team behind design blog Aphrochic. Photographs by Patrick Cline courtesy of Random House.

Thursday night, Logan Circle’s Room & Board store hosts a book launch party to celebrate the release of design blog AphroChic’s first book, Remix: Decorating with Culture, Objects, and Soul. The bloggers behind the site, policy-attorney-turned-designer Jeanine Hays and her husband, Bryan Mason, will be on hand to chat about their aesthetic and sign books, but here’s our favorite part: Turns out Hays’s sister, Angela Hays Belt, is Room & Board’s head visual designer right here in DC. Impeccable design taste must run in their genes: Belt’s Navy Yard apartment (which she shares with her husband, Leon, a videographer and graphic designer) is one of the five homes featured in the book, and it’s chock-full of inspiring design. Keep reading to see more of the Belts’ artistic-meets-midcentury-industrial loft, then swing by the 14th Street store tonight to meet both Hays and Belt in person.

AphroChic book launch party, Thursday 6 to 8:30 PM. Presentation at 6:30 PM. 1840 14th St., NW; 202-729-8300. RSVP online.

Read More

Posted at 10:22 AM/ET, 11/07/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
A Jackie Kennedy-designed property and the former site of Robert E. Lee’s office are now on the market. By Michelle Thomas
Perkins House in Charles Town, W Va., left, and Wexford, in Marshall, Va. Both images via MRIS.

Hey, history buffs—if you’re in the market for a new home, you’re in luck. Two homes, each with a fascinating backstory, have hit the market in recent days.

In West Virginia’s Charles Town (about 60 miles from Washington), Perkins House is a 7,000-square-foot brick mansion with a score of Victorian-era indulgences including a 113-foot turret, Tiffany windows, Waterford chandeliers, and 19-foot ceilings. But the real draw for history lovers? The home formerly housed Civil War General Robert E. Lee’s office, and was the site of abolitionist John Brown’s hanging execution in 1859. Asking price: $975,000.

Looking for something with a more recent claim to fame? Check out this home in Marshall, Virginia (about 50 miles from Washington), which was listed this week and was once used as a retreat for JFK. He only spent two weekends at the home before his assassination, but Jackie Kennedy designed the property, which was built in 1963 and sold soon after the President’s death. The 5,050-square-foot home sits on 166 acres and has a pond, a pool, a tennis court, and mountain views. List price: just under $11 million.

Posted at 02:30 PM/ET, 10/22/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
Everyone assumes New Jersey’s newly elected senator will live in Anacostia when he’s in DC. Here are a few other options if he’s still making up his mind. By Benjamin Freed
This guy needs to find an apartment in DC. Photograph byEugene Parciasepe / Shutterstock.

Now that Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker is headed to Washington as his state’s newest US senator, it seems everyone has an idea of where he’s going to stay when he’s in town.

The Washington Post assumed in an August profile that Booker, who has lived in public housing during his mayoralty, will find digs in Anacostia. And yesterday, CNN’s Jake Tapper repeated the suggestion that Booker settle down in the Southeast DC neighborhood.

Marion Barry, who represents Anacostia on the DC Council, likes the idea of having Booker as a part-time constituent. But you know who hasn’t said that Cory Booker is definitely going to rent a place in Anacostia? Cory Booker!

Read More

Posted at 01:21 PM/ET, 10/18/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
Refresh your decor with these tips from interior designer Zoe Feldman. By Michelle Thomas
Local interior designer Zoe Feldman recommends layers of white and ivory bedding in lush textures, such as this look from Zara Home.

Looking for a few quick tricks to give your home a little fall refresh? We asked Georgetown-based designer Zoe Feldman to share three ways to transition your decor into autumn—without a heavy-duty redo. Read on to snag her secrets. (Spoiler: texture is key!)

1) Change out your throw pillows: “This season is all about warm pastels, so replace bright pop colors and crisp pastels with ‘muddy’ brown-based pastels like blush pink, champagne, and warm lavender. Don’t like pale tones? Opt for more traditional fall colors like chocolate brown, navy, and emerald green. And don’t forget the fabric— fall is all about getting cozy, so try plush textures like velvet, cashmere, and wool.”

Try: West Elm's pillows combine soft, pale hues and lush velvet texture. Studded velvet pillow covers, $34-$39 at West Elm.

2) Scent your space with a woody or spicy candle: “We love Lafco’s extra-large candles, which burn for many hours and when finished make gorgeous colored glass jars that look great as vases or interesting storage pieces in the bath or kitchen.”

Lafco candle in Den Brown Redwood, which combines notes of coastal redwood, cedar, and huckleberry; or Diptyque’s Feu de Bois, meant to invoke a log fire. Lafco and Diptyque candles, $60 at Bluemercury.

3) Add a touch of texture to your bed: “Fall is all about layering. Start with down—feather beds, duvets and pillows. Add an interesting blanket, like an heirloom quilt, for color and a bit of whimsy, or a cashmere blanket for some decadence. I prefer white bedding, even for fall, but paired with warmer whites like winter white and ivory for a subtle contrast.”

: Restoration Hardware’s cashmere throws impart a super-soft bit of luxury. 555-Gram cashmere throws, $199 at Restoration Hardware.

Read More

Posted at 04:00 PM/ET, 10/03/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
Two local event-planning gurus tell us how to whip up decor on the quick for a casual backyard barbecue. By Kathleen Bridges
Mood board compiled by Marielle Shortell and Julie Shankline of Syzygy Events.

Maybe it’s because it falls on a Wednesday (sigh), but the Fourth really snuck up on us this year. So we asked Marielle Shortell and Julie Shanklin of Syzygy Events for some insider tips on how to get the backyard soiree-ready in a hurry—and on the cheap.

Shortell and Shanklin say there’s no need to run to the florist or rental company. To create their mood board, they pulled things you might have in the garage, in storage, or in the deep, dark recesses of cupboards containing seldom-used holiday decor. The vibe is eclectic and casual, a riff on classic Americana.

Read More

Posted at 02:30 PM/ET, 07/02/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
The designer discussed inspiration, designing for herself, and the beauty of Washington this morning at the Design Center.
By Natalie Grasso
Suzanne Kasler. Photograph by Natalie Grasso.

“It’s such an exciting time to be in the design world,” Suzanne Kasler said, addressing a room full of design professionals as part of the spring Capital Design lecture series at the Washington Design Center. “It’s been a tough couple of years, but things are starting to open up. With all of the media and sharing, people are more interested than ever.” She added that more exposure creates more of a need for talented designers, because there is so much more out there to edit.

Kasler kicked off her talk by presenting photos of her own recently renovated home in Atlanta, Georgia, which was featured in the April 2012 issue of Architectural Digest. She confessed that during the house hunt she’d been looking for a Regency-style house and ended up with a Federal. “But that’s the great thing about being a designer,” she said. “You can change it!” Her first design move—one that has become a Kasler signature—was to paint all of the architectural elements white (Benjamin Moore’s White Dove and Bone White are her go-to hues). “This creates the architectural envelope,” she said. “If you get the architecture right, the rest is so much easier.”

Read More

Posted at 05:00 PM/ET, 06/19/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
Art collectors, this one’s for you: a roundup of our favorites at DC’s largest creative event. By Meg Biram
Work by artist Cory Oberndorfer at Artomatic. Photograph by Meg Biram.

It would take years of gallery openings to see the crop of local work currently on display at the maze that is Artomatic, a pop-up gallery that has taken over an 11-story building in Crystal City. Camera in tow, we spent an entire afternoon exploring every corner, finding inspiration aplenty in gorgeous pieces from both emerging and established artists. If you can’t make it to the exhibition before it wraps on June 23, we’ve got a look at some of the artists who really stood out—though there were many, many more (there are more than 1,000 exhibiting). Whether you’re on the hunt for that perfect piece to add to your gallery or are just out for a little afternoon eye candy, we promise you’ll find something inspiring.

Posted at 01:25 PM/ET, 06/19/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
The guru of “happy chic” opened up about early career flubs and designing for the Obamas at a lecture Tuesday night. By Laura Wainman

Jonathan Adler. Photograph courtesy of Jonathan Adler.

It’s hard not to smile when the petite Jonathan Adler bounces into a room in crisp white pants and a checkered shirt. But that’s to be expected; after all, the designer has made a career out of the words “happy chic.” Speaking to a nearly sold-out audience at the Corcoran on Tuesday, Adler set the tone of his talk by opening with a joke. Pointing to an image of a bearded, disheveled hippie on the screen behind him, the first words he spoke were, “Ohh, there I am!” Once the laughter fizzled out he launched into the story of his “improbable and accidental career.”

Adler spent his entire childhood dreaming of being a potter, and after taking courses at Rhode Island School of Design, he approached his professor to ask whether she thought he had what it took. The professor, whose name “begins with a J and ends with ackie Rice,” answered with a resounding “no” and advised him to pursue a career in law. Disappointed, he moved to New York and found a job in the movie industry.

Read More

Posted at 04:28 PM/ET, 05/24/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
Despite only having two years of experience, the St. John’s grad is turning out jaw-droppingly beautiful pieces. By Kathleen Bridges
Photographs courtesy of Geremy Coy.

It was love at first sight when we caught a glimpse last week of local craftsman Geremy Coy's latest piece: a decorative cherry blossom panel hand-joined from hundreds of pieces of Alaskan yellow cedar. So you can imagine our surprise when we learned that the man behind the panel had only been working with wood for two years. Two!

Read More

Posted at 11:45 AM/ET, 04/05/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()