Riveting Rooms

Orange couch

I'm partial to bright, sunny spaces.  This room with it's wall of windows and the cheerful, orange tufted couch is so appealing.  Don't you want to lounge on the couch and bask in the sun?  

PS- Do you love my new logo?  A quick shout out and a hearty thank you to Jacki Vann of Undefeated Design for working with me.  It's fantastic!

*seen on cococozy.  image from Katie Ridder.  searched high and low for picture source but couldn't find it.  if you know, let me know.*

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gifts for my gent

It's my husband's birthday today and I've had a ball celebrating his big day.    

This year, we went to a pop up dinner at Toki Underground that featured Scott Drewno from the Source and Erik Bruner-Yang from Toki Underground.  It was a stunning menu of eight courses celebrating Chinese New Year's.  Everything we tasted was delicious and unique.  

Since food and cooking are two of his loves, I gave him some fun gifts celebrating his favorite pastimes.  My favorite is the t-shirt.  It makes me giggle every time I see it.  Happy birthday!!  Smooches.

Gifts for my gent copy
1. robot tea infuser  2. momofuko cooking sauces 3. pho shizzle t shirt 4. shun 6" knife


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First Friday

Remember the lovely room I featured on Tuesday?  The wonderful guest bedroom by Lori Graham?   She actually re-vamped an entire house.  Which I'm featuring today.  of course.

1618 corcoran

1618 Corcoran St, NW

Washington, DC 20009

4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths


1618 Corcoran St, NW is a renovated Victorian rowhouse.  As noted, it was designed by Lori Graham and it has many of her signature elements:  dark floors, open floor plan, high end kitchen with marble counter tops, Sub Zero/Viking appliances, amazing light fixtures, and sleek bathrooms.  The home also has 10 feet ceilings, french doors that open from the kitchen onto a terrace, a legal rental unit with a C of O, and parking.

1618 corcoran living
1618 corcoran kitchen
photos via MLS.  listing courtsey of Jennifer Myers, Re/Max Allegiance

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chicken + dumplings

Chicken + dumplings

Febuary's Bon Appetit is dedicated to southern foods and recipes.  One recipe is a modern chicken and dumplings by Mike Lata from Fig in Charleston. (We dined at Fig last year when we visited my brother. It was divine.) Instead of standard dumplings, Chef Lata uses ricotta gnocchi.  My husband made it this week and it was marvelous.   I've wanted to eat it for every meal. I loved it so much, I sent pictures of my bowl to all of my foodie friends.  It.is.delicious.   

Ricotta gnocchi
Chicken and Dumplings


  • 1 pound ricotta
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour plus more
  • 1 large egg, beaten to blend
  • 1 1/4 cups finely grated Parmesan
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt

Chicken and gravy:

  • 10 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs (my husband used chicken breasts)
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 celery stalks, cut crosswise into 1/4"-thick slices
  • 1 carrot, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 1 parsnip, peeled, cut into 1/4"-thick rounds
  • 1 leek, halved lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1/4"-thick slices
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • Shaved Parmesan

Gently mix ricotta, 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour, egg, Parmesan, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl just to blend (do not overwork). Form dough into a ball (it will be sticky); wrap in plastic and chill for at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. Place dough on a lightly floured work surface. Divide dough into 4 equal portions and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Using your hands, roll 1 portion into a 1/2"-diameter rope; cut crosswise into 1/2"-thick pieces. Lightly dust gnocchi with flour and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining portions of dough. Cover gnocchi with a kitchen towel and chill until ready to cook. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 months ahead. Freeze on sheets, then store, frozen, in an airtight container.

For chicken and gravy:
Bring broth to a boil in a large saucepan. Add chicken; reduce heat to low, cover, and gently simmer until chicken is tender and cooked through, 20–30 minutes. Remove chicken; let cool slightly and shred into bite-size pieces. Bring broth to a boil and cook until reduced to 8 cups, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a small heavy saucepan over low heat. Whisk in flour until smooth and cook, whisking constantly, until roux is pale beige in color, about 15 minutes (do not brown).

Scrape roux into simmering broth; whisk until thickened and broth coats the back of a spoon. Reduce heat to low and add vegetables. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add shredded chicken and herbs. Season with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Chill, uncovered, until cold; cover and keep chilled. Rewarm before serving.

Cook gnocchi in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until gnocchi float to the surface, about 2 minutes (slightly longer if frozen). Using a slotted spoon, transfer gnocchi to bowls, dividing equally. Ladle chicken and vegetables with gravy over. Season with pepper and top with Parmesan.

*adapted from epicurious.com



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perfect chambray shirt

Ever since I saw this photo of Ashley Olsen, I've been searching for the perfect chambray shirt.  I've looked at a million.  Unfortunately, all the shirts I found had pockets on the chest vs. the clean look of Ashley's without pockets.  I'm happy to report a chambray shirt without chest pockets does exist.  I'm looking forward to rocking my version of this outfit.

Chambray shirt outfit copy

1. sunglasses 2. chambray shirt 3. watch 4. jeans 5. booties


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Riveting Rooms

Lori graham guest bedroom
Lori Graham is at it again..designing rooms I love.  This guest bedroom is striking.  I can't decide which element I enjoy the most:  the green velvet chair? the beautiful rug?  the art?  the side tables and lamps?  *sigh*  I adore it.  

*photo via the MLS.  

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In May 2011, I featured two fixer uppers in Georgetown.   1671 35th St NW1671 35 St, NW

Washington, DC 20007

2 bedrooms/2 baths

List price: $699,000

Sold price:  $680,000

DOM (days on market) 5


1671 R St, NW is a rowhouse four blocks off Wisconsin Ave, NW.  It's a fantastic location.   I viewed the house for a client and he's passed on putting in an offer.  His wife didn't love it but I think it has the makings of an unbelievable dwelling.  The same family has owned it since 1956.  It was updated about 30 years ago and needs work.  It's 1230 square feet and the yearly taxes are $8,052.  It has high ceilings, a working fireplace, a lovely side yard and hardwood floors under the carpet.   
3737 R St, NW
3730 R St, NW
Washington, DC 20007
3 bedrooms/2 baths
List price: $619,000
DOM: 47
3730 R St, NW is my first "First Friday" listing that hasn't sold.  The combination of the size, work needed and price did not align and the house did not move in the allotted time.  It had been leased for many years and was a partial estate sale. (Maybe the owners couldn't carry the payments for the home too long and had to lease it again.)  It's four blocks off Wisconsin Ave, NW.  Once again, the location can't be beat.  It's 1080 square feet and the yearly taxes are $5503.  This house also has a lot of promise.  There are parquet floors, a fireplace and an enormous backyard.  With a few upgrades, this property could be a show stopper.  


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First Friday

1841 12th St

1841 12th St, NW

Washington, DC 20009

3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths


1841 12th St, NW is a three level Victorian built in 1870.  Although it has been updated, the home retains many original architectural details like wide plank hardwood floors, pocket doors between the living and dining rooms, plaster moldings, and a wood burning fireplace.  It also features a renovated kitchen with open shelving, a lower level au-pair suite, a roof deck, a large master bedroom where the washer/dryer is located (love that!), a garden and two car parking.  The location is also fantastic:  one block to the Metro and minutes to U St. or Logan Circle.  It's Open on Sunday, 1/22/12 from 1-4pm. 

1841 12th St living
1841 12th St kitchen
photos via the MLS.  listing courtesy of Kimberly Casey, Washington Fine Properties.

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In November 2010, I published this post about tips for selling your house.  It's still relevant today and since it's the beginning of the selling season, I thought I'd refresh your memory.  Let the fun begin!     

1441 Q St

1. De-Clutter.  I know you love your collection of _____ (insert any collection) and think it's an interesting feature.  It isn't.  Box it up and utilize that space in a way that's appealing to buyers.  Take your appliances and knick knacks off the kitchen counters.  Put away your beauty products in the bathroom.  Take down the magnets and photos on your refrigerator.

2. Re-paint in neutral colors.  Red kitchens and dining rooms are so 2000.  Don't date your decor with bold colors.  Buyers are pickier than ever and one terrible paint color can make them delete your property from their search.  A tan/beige neutral is the top choice for most buyers.  Boring but tried and true.

3.  Clean extensively.  Nothing is worse than a grimy bathroom or kitchen when you're viewing property.  Hire a cleaning service if necessary.  Your property should sparkle.  Also keep your place tidy while it's on the market.  Make your bed.  Put away your soiled clothing and clean laundry. Hang up your coat and put away your shoes.

4.  Rearrange/Remove your furniture.  Most sellers have too much furniture in their space.  If you have belongings in every single corner, get rid of them.  If it's over sized and making your space look small, store it for your next place.  Rearrange your furniture to make the space open and inviting.  Open your blinds/curtains to show the view and the sunlight.

5.  Make sure it smells good.  That old man/sock/kitty litter smell is not making your place more attractive to a buyer.  On the other hand, you don't want to go over board.  Strong, floral plug-ins can make buyers suspicious.  The most appealing scents are cinnamon/apple, vanilla or citrus scents.

6.  Take good photos.  Use a professional photographer for photos of your property.  "Homes with professional photographs were found, on average, to be viewed 61 percent more online than others in that price range shot with a lower-end camera. The listings that used digital SLR cameras also commanded a 47 percent higher asking price per square foot, according to the Redfin analysis."  The stats speak for themselves.

A little prep work goes a long way when you're putting your place on the market.  Good luck!

Quote in #6 from "The Better the Property Photos, the Higher the Sale Price."

photo via MLS

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I have a new listing hitting the market in a few of weeks.  It's a renovated Wardman and we're in the final stages of putting it together.  

One of the more enjoyable aspects of my job is assisting with finishes.  This week we've been discussing lighting, specifically lighting for the dining room.  What you install for yourself and what you install for the general public are two different categories. Initially, this house was for my client and there were visions of grand chandeliers. Instead, they decided to sell and the choice has to be more neutral. Below are a few of my ideas.  

Which one would you choose?

Chandeliers copy
1. Modern 4 light drum shade $89.95

2. 4 light chandelier with black shade $891.20

3. 12 light chandelier $1,437.60

4. Large bronze pendant $349.86

*ps-I'd never recommend a $1400 chandelier in something that's going to be sold.  Something similar to these options will be used.  I'm more interested in which one you think is buyer friendly.*

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Riveting Rooms

Green stools
Are you watching "It's a Brad Brad World" on Bravo?  If you are, then embrace this week's photo and it's POC (pop of color).  Interior designers have been using POC forever.   However, I bet the use of the acronym "POC" hits an all time high after Brad's exposure of the "concept".  Whatever the vehicle, a pop of color in a neutral room adds visual interest.  I love the green stools with the classic marble topped table and that darling copper pendant.  Meow!

photo seen on Rue tumblr, source little blue deer

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‘Hood Happenings


Taylor Gourmet Deli opened the second week of January and the 'hood is happy. They deliver and they're adding breakfast hoagies starting Feb. 4th.  *happy dance*

Green line picture

Lydia DePillis at Housing Complex summarized the latest study of the economic impact of the Green Line Metro.  My favorite part is the section about the hassle of the construction. I wonder if Ben's Chili Bowl ever imagined they'd benefit so greatly from the Green Line?  


Love Cafe announced last week that their last day will be Jan. 29th.  Washington Business Journal reported that increased rent was the demise of the cafe. CakeLove, across the street, will remain open.

Rendering Rhode Island Ave.

14th St. NW between Thomas Circle and Florida Ave is getting a face lift according to DC MUD.  Although I'm excited DDOT is going to jazz up the street scape, it's going to be a traffic nightmare.  Add this project to the proposed upgrades on U St. and we're in for a big mess.  sigh.  

The vacant corner at 14th and T has finally found a tenant.  POP reports Stubs Kitchen and Wine will serve "upscale American cuisine."  


*photos from the top:  The Washington Post, Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District, POP, DC MUD, POP.

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