In the immortal words of Gwen Stefani:  "if I was a rich girl…I wouldn't have just one hood…a [DC] mansion if I could".

This grandiose house is located at 4714 Foxhall Cresent, NW.  It's listed for $2,450,000.  For the size of the house, the price is excellent for DC.  It's less than $500 a square foot.  I personally could do without the pink Master bedroom and the wallpaper in the kitchen.  (Click here for pictures.)  Other than those two glaring design faux pas, the house is seriously impressive.  There aren't many free standing houses in DC with this sort of grandeur.  Enjoy and Happy New Year!!

*photo courtesy of Matrix.

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Deja vu: The Roots

Just like last year, I attended the Roots show at the 9:30 Club.  They played two nights this week and I caught the second night.  They blew it out!  I was expecting a lot of new songs from their latest album with John Legend.  Instead, they belted out a series of great tunes that spanned their career.  Since they've become the house band for Jimmy Fallon, I feel like these two shows have a distinct "I just got out of school" vibe.  It was joyous and sweaty with great guest spots by Skillz and Wale.  I didn't dance as much as the guys next to me (one was doing his Flashdance impression..at the Roots.  You know.  That guy.) but I still had a ball. 
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Snowy Sunday

Today, I was supposed to visit with my husband's family.  Instead, we woke up to six inches of snow.  I've enjoyed a lovely day in front of the fire.  I've watched it snow, read a book, napped and relaxed.  
I'm on the road tomorrow.  I have two closings next week and they're already on my mind.  They *should* go well but I haven't seen HUD1's for either.  Back to real life.

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Mantel Madness

In thirty minutes, our annual Christmas Eve party starts. The house is full of my crazy Italian relatives and it's been festive.  Fish has been fried, frittae's made, and the bar stocked.  Per our tradition, I decorated the mantel for the party.  I combined an idea from In Style and Martha Stewart and walaaaa….mixed metals. 
Happy Holidays!
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This is the ultimate HOLY SHMOLY.  200K over list???  That's amazing.  As I discussed in my previous post about the house, this was a hot property.  I speculated that it would go for well over list price but I didn't expect 200K.   WOW.  I bet it's a developer.  I'll keep my eye on it.

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I was catching up on my reading when I saw the post about the tax credit on We Love DCThis is excellent news because it's retroactive in 2010 (HURAH!) and for all of 2011.  I'm assuming the 5K tax credit will only apply to purchasers AFTER the national tax credit expired April 30th.  That's generally how it works but I'm not 100% certain.  As I find out more info, I'll post details.

Update:  Rep. Elenore Holmes posted this update on her website on 12/14/10:

With Home Prices Low and Unemployment High, Norton Gets Her D.C. Tax Incentives to President for Signature

December 17, 2010

WASHINGTON, DC — The Office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) announced that the tax relief and unemployment package passed by the House late yesterday, includes a two-year extension of Norton's popular tax incentives which uniquely apply to D.C. residents and businesses. The D.C. tax incentives include Norton's popular $5,000 homebuyer tax credit, and business incentives, including a $3,000 wage credit for each D.C. resident hired by, or already employed at, many D.C. businesses.  The incentives will be retroactive for 2010 and will continue through 2011.  The bill, which passed the Senate earlier this week, is being signed by the President today.

"We got our D.C. tax incentives approved by both houses earlier in the year but needed a vehicle to get them out," Norton said.  "Last night's bill was our last chance to get it done, and it worked."

The Congresswoman put special priority on her D.C. tax incentives this year because they can give a lift to businesses, residents, and the D.C. economy alike.  Residents who purchased homes this year or buy next year will find that home prices are lower than usual, making it a good time to buy homes.  The bill also contains a number of helpful incentives for D.C. businesses.  The wage credit not only helps businesses but offers them a break if they hire or retain D.C. residents.

"The wage credit is particularly helpful today.  Any hiring being done in D.C. needs to focus on residents, and considering competition from applicants from the region, the tax credit is essentially a bonus for hiring D.C. residents a deterrent to laying them off."

Other business tax incentives include a zero percent capital gains rate on the sale or exchange of certain business stock, partnership interests and business property held for more than five years; and certain tax-exempt bonds.

Norton also got to vote in the Committee of the Whole on an amendment to the bill to provide two years of estate tax relief at 2009 levels.  Norton joined most of her Democratic colleagues in voting to remove the egregious estate tax provisions in the bill that benefited the wealthiest Americans.  This bill gave way too many benefits to the rich, and the amendment was an opportunity to make the bill more equitable.  However, the bill did contain many important benefits for the middle class and unemployed workers, including a year-long extension of unemployment benefits, a two-year extension of the Bush-era middle-class tax cuts, and an expanded Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit, which is the only reason it passed.

The Congresswoman is seeking to retain her Committee of the Whole vote in the rules for the next Congress to be written by the new Republican majority.

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Grand ‘ole dame

1808 24th St, NW hit the market today and it's impressive.  4 bedrooms, 3 full baths and 2 half baths with an elevator.  It's also expensive:  $3,795,000.  It is over 4,000 sf but wow!  These grand dames are rarely for sale in this condition.  It's been updated but still has many original details.  I'm in love with the back yard and it's elegant flagstone terrace.  For the virtual tour, click here.  A girl can dream, can't she?

*photo courtesy of Matrix.

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Back in September, I did some speculatin' about the new restaurant/bar American Ice Co.  It's officially opening tonight tomorrow, 12/16.  (It was supposed to open tonight but I'm seeing reports that the opening has been bumped to tomorrow.  Damn.)   I can't wait to see the results for myself.  POP wrote a great preview about the place in November with a lot of pics and details.  The outside wall is a now a loden green and the fare isn't tacos, it's BBQ.  (I've been doing a lot of walk by's to check the progress.)

Last Friday was the soft opening.  The aromas wafting from the smoker were amazing.  I ran into a friend that attended the soft opening and he had good things to say.  I'm pumped.  Another new place in the 'hood for us to congregate.  We're never going to leave our four block radius at this rate.  At this point, why should we?

Postscript:  I finally gave American Ice Co. a whirl on 12/18.  We went early..so early that they were like "um..we're not open yet."  I know.  I should have blue hair.  When they did open at 5:30, we sat in a booth.  We ordered a pork platter and a turkey platter.  Unfortunately, they didn't have smoked turkey or the potato salad that day.  They did have a lot of beers and a great wine list.  They also have a fully stocked bar, which I sampled.  The pork bbq was wonderful.  The platters arrived with slaw and the bean salad.  We had a helpful, attentive server.  I have two complaints:  paper plates and BAD rock n' roll.  I'm hoping both will change as the place finds it's rhythm.  But if they don't, oh well.  It's a cool space and I can get over myself.

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Ho ho holidays

In between home inspections, holiday cards and home improvement, I was able to sneak away for a lunch date with a friend.  I know the Proof $12 lunch deal is old news but I never get to lunch.  It was new to me, yummy and a lot of fun.  I also completed some holiday shopping at the Penn Quarter Holiday Mart.  I attended the Mart last year as well.  Once again, the stands were adorable.  My friend bought several gifts and so did I.  If you can stand the weather, this is a great way to support local business.
Then I made some spectacular cookies.  These are chocolate dipped hazelnut caramel squares from the December issue of Bon Appetit.  Yes.  They were difficult.  I made candied orange peel because the grocery didn't carry it.  It was worth the effort because they are FANTASTIC.  Happy holidays!   
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After a frenzied evening and half of stapling, the chairs are finished.  First, a look back at the original fabric.  I've loved this fabric for 11 years and one part of me is sad to see it go.  Ciao baby..you've been good to me.

As I mentioned in the last post, I chose two fabrics for the chairs.  A geometric and a floral print.  They both look good with the blond wood and I love them.  The fabric is a cotton velvet.  I'm already dreaming of what I'm going to buy next year for the two chairs in my bedroom.  Updating is fun! 



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Score

On Saturday, I woke up at the crack of dawn and embarked on a journey to Philly.  My mission:  to score cool stuff at the Galbraith & Paul sample sale. 

What is Galbraith & Paul?  A textile company that focuses on hand blocked designs that's located in Philly.  They make lighting, rugs, and fabrics.   They exclusively sell their lighting through Room and Board.   I fell in love with their products while touring the store on 14th St.  My cousin in law, Kara, is an interior designer in Philly.  She has blog, KO Angotti, about sustainable materials and local artisans  She featured the G&P; on her blog in October and clued me in about the sample sale.  

I'm always on the look out for interesting fabric and cool pillows at reasonable prices.  Road trip+shopping+hanging out with cousins?  Sounds like fun to me. 

I convinced one of my friends to make the trip with me.  She has an excellent eye for colors and patterns.  We arrived at 10am, when the warehouse opened.  My strategy was to get there first thing, make a mad dash before all the good stuff was gone and get out.  This proved to be a good idea since it was PACKED and we got there at 10:05am.

It was like a rugby scrum except with politely murmured "excuse me's".  People were grabbing pillows and fabric willy nilly.  I was caught up in the excitement and shoved a few pillows at my cousin while I rummaged in the huge pile.  (see above.)  It was glorious!

In the back room, there was a large table of fabric scraps that were $10 a pound.  This proved to be a bonanza.  I grabbed a handful of different fabrics and then narrowed it down to two.  I decided to use the fabric to recover the chairs in my dining room set.  My friend convinced me to go with two different patterns (pictured below with a pillow for the couch) which is radical stuff for me. 

My entire haul (3 pillows and 7 lbs. of fabric) was $300.  The fabric retails for $165 a yard and the pillows retail for $119.  I saved over $500.  Major score.  Stay tuned to see my newly recovered chairs.

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I was shocked when I saw this listing…a house with 3 bedrooms and 2 full baths for 289K in DC??  In NW??  It's also really cute?  This is going to be snatched up with multiple offers but the end of next week.  It's not a huge house.  It's only 1581 square feet.  At $182 a square foot, that's a heck of a deal! Let the bidding wars begin.

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