Posts Tagged 'Washington Post'

House Calls.

Thank you to the Washington Post for making me the guest designer for this week’s House Calls!

This Silver Spring, Maryland homeowner sought the WP to help create a cafe style area for their kitchen that also once served as a dining space. Prior to reaching out to WP, they added new checkerboard flooring, wall paint, lighting, and a tiled window ledge surface (to be used for a collection of indoor plants). They like the existing white cabinets, eucalyptus green and terra-cotta colors in the flooring, paint and brick wall and have an appreciation for mosaics.





With a budget in place from the homeowner and a list of things the homeowners liked, needed, or preferred, I created a room that is comfortable, open, easy to navigate, inviting, energizing, and organized. It was important to the homeowner that it was not too modern and worked alongside their more transitional preference for design. Low furnishings allows them to retain those pretty views to the outside. The adjustable and durable seating gives them room to add more if required.  An organized sideboard and new countertops calms the eye and hides bin storage. Window treatments, accent pillows and area rug soften the solid and cool surfaces. While ceiling lighting and a lamp add a pleasing glow to the room.

Suggested items for the space.

STORYBOARD: Suggested items for the space.

The sketch artist at the Post did a nice job at trying to illustrate my vision for the space. Some things are slightly skewed but a rendering does not replace a final photograph of a finished product. See the WP results below (the red dots are anchors for further descriptions of the items used in the rendering (see storyboard above or see the online House Calls here).

House Call May 25

AFTER (rendering)

Thank you WP! I enjoyed helping your loyal readers with their House Call!

Respect the Past and Focus on the Future.

That’s the mantra New York designer extraordinaire Thomas O’Brien lives by. This Monday night at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, O’Brien will mesmerize local designers, retailers, journalists, bloggers, taste makers, and customers of his ever-expanding lines of home furnishings and accessories. He will notably talk about his past styling work with Polo Ralph Lauren and Donna Karen and sure to discuss his new book “American Modern” at 7 p.m. And those of you who are Target fans like moi, will hear about his accessories that line the aisles of Targets everywhere. The price for this evenings events is $15. If the house has not already sold out, it will. Check out the Corcoran website for more information! I’ll be at the beach so someone take some good notes!

Thomas O'Brien courtesy of Aero Studios

Thomas O'Brien courtesy of Aero Studios

The McGraw Draw.

My good friend and colleague, Adam McGraw and his wife Eliza are in today’s Washington Post Home section giving the Post their advice when it comes to choosing paint colors. Way to go Adam! BTW, he’s an amazing Architect – I had the pleasure of working with him for years at an architecture firm in Georgetown. =)

  1. Find colors from your past
  2. Choose trim color carefully
  3. Never believe you can settle on a color just from a paint chip
  4. Try a strong color in the kitchen
  5. Get over your fear of fan decks
Architect Adam McGraw and writer Eliza McGraw.

Architect Adam McGraw and writer Eliza McGraw.

And if you are like the McGraw’s or moi, go for Benjamin Moore. The Moore, the merrier.

Your To Do List: March To It!

I miss having a yard. I went from an adorable red door Cape Cod to a two level Victorian city condo (which I love and am thrilled about), but I’m sure when the tulips crop up, I’ll miss my well kept yard. I had quite the green thumb and loved being outside raking, mowing and pulling weeds. Crazy, huh? The reason I liked these kind of chores is that the result would be even more enjoyable. So for you homewowners (and ones with yards to tend to), read over today’s Washington Post Home section article called “March, Time to Put Your House in Order”. Clean your closets, tune up your air conditioner, tidy up that garden, plant some native plants, and gather up some ideas. And if you need to find an answer about your garden, send me a message. I’ll see how well I really know how a garden grows. =)

Resolve to Fix-It!

Thank you Washington Post for this in-depth list of things to add to your never-ending to-do list.

January is prime time to tackle those chores.

Local Treasures Troves.

Hey Washington, DC!  We are all inundated with figuring out what gift to get for who for this holiday season. Start crossing off those names with this good list of gift ideas written for the Washington Post by Terri Sapienza. Best part is they can be found at local home decor shops. There is something around town for every homeowner of hostess.

Vintage tea towel. Give one of these towels by itself or with a favorite soap, flavored tea or baked good. It’s a one-of-a-kind gift any way it’s packaged. $30 each at Valerianne, 111 Church St. NW, Vienna.

Wooden ornaments. Need something small and sweet? These ornaments are it, especially the little bird. $5.75 to $17 each at Red Barn Mercantile, 113 S. Columbus St., Alexandria.

Vases and bowls from Middle Kingdom. Lots of style for a small price. A single piece is perfect; a set of three, even better. Fabric-covered packaging included. Vases are $16 each at Periwinkle, 3815 Livingston St. NW. 202-364-3076. Bowls are $22 to $88 at And Beige, 1781 Florida Ave. NW.

Mini cocottes and cookbook. At just a third of a quart each, these individual-serving, oven-safe pots should satisfy any foodie. $20 per cocotte (holiday special: a gift box of four cocottes for $49.99), $14.95 for the cookbook at Le Creuset, 7116 Bethesda Lane, Bethesda.

Entertaining book. For the consummate host or hostess. Help them organize the important details (cocktails, menus, rentals, music and caterers) for their upcoming gatherings in a pocket-size, leather-bound book. Personalization available. $58 at A Mano, 1677 Wisconsin Ave., NW.

Arbor porcelain votive holders.These comely holders can be used as they were intended . . . or not. They can be set up on a bar to hold snacks, on a dresser to keep jewelry or on a desk to corral paper clips. $20 each at Celadon Home, Wildwood Shopping Center, 10231 Old Georgetown Rd., Bethesda.

Lacquer trays and boxes. Practical and pretty. A great price, too. Perfect for the gift-guide writer on your list. Other sizes and colors are available. Trays are $45 and $65, boxes are $38 and $57 at Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, 1526 14th St. NW.

Russel + Hazel People and Places organizer. Not everyone is eager to go electronic. Give this acrylic card holder to the paper lover on your list. $49 at the Container Store. Locations in the District, Rockville, Arlington and Tysons Corner.

Wood tape dispenser and Japanese masking tape. Utilitarian and cool, these modern accessories will dress up any desktop. $24 for the tape dispenser; $12 for a set of three rolls of removable tape (available in 10 colors) at Design Within Reach. Locations in Adams Morgan, Georgetown and Bethesda. (Note: These items are not available for purchase in stores but can be ordered through any location or at

Cotton herringbone throw. Who doesn’t love a soft, cozy throw? Available in 12 colors, this could be the go-to item for multiple people on your list. $80 each at Timothy Paul Bedding and Home, 1529A 14th St. NW.

Guest soaps and bowl. This beautiful box of soaps is easy on the eyes and wallet, and the scent is spectacular. Whether or not they are paired with a bowl, they are quite possibly the perfect hostess gift. Other colors are available. $22 per box of 15 soaps, $30 per bowl at Valerianne, 111 Church St. NW, Vienna.

Farmer’s egg crate. This ceramic holder can be an elegant way to store eggs or a clever way to organize jewelry. $14 at Anthropologie. Locations in Georgetown, Rockville and Tysons Corner.

Open it! package opener. This five-in-one tool will help open any packaging, including sealed plastic and cellophane around CDs and DVDs. It’s a dream come true for parents of young children. (Have you ever tried opening a packaged toy?) $10 at Bed, Bath and Beyond.

Whiskey stones. These reusable soapstone rocks will chill stiff drinks without diluting them. Wrap a box for the most frequent entertainer (or imbiber) you know. $22 for a set of nine at Proper Topper. Locations in Dupont Circle and Georgetown.

Wine Glass on the Right. Cheers!

For those of you planning a super Thankgiving Day dinner with those who you want to give a Thank You shout out to, follow the lines in these two table setting setups from the Washington Post. Going informal? They got it. Need formality. Go for it. Just remember to mind your manners. =)


The Private Eye in the White House.

Thank you writer and reporter Jura Koncius for this past Thursdays article about designer Michael Smith and his words on working with the worlds’ most famous political couple. I mentioned in a past blog post that I had the chance to hear him talk to a crowd at his visit to the Corcoran last month. I’m glad I made that event – he surely tops my list as one of the warmest and wittiest interior designers of the time. Keeping things private for the Obama’s is a top priority for Michael. Check out the Washington Post’s gallery about all things Michael Smith.


Screen shot 2009-11-14 at 11.43.57 AM

Get your fix with "Element's of Style", by Michael Smith


Transcending Suburban Conformity.

The Washington Post Home section is out today (it prints every Thursday), and this week, we get to follow local designer Raji Radhakrishnan on a tour of her home and the resources she dials up when creating beautiful interiors for her clients.

Raji and son in playroom.

Raji and son in playroom.

Her firm, Raji RM & Associates sprang out of her true calling – which came after receiving an MBA and working as a reasearch director. Her ideas come from so many inspirations, many found in local museums.

Her Georgian suburban Virginia home disguises the impressive interior

Her Georgian suburban Virginia home disguises the impressive interior

Daring experiment in scale and pattern - works beautifully!

Daring experiment in scale and pattern - works beautifully!

Command center for a family of four.

Command center for a family of four.

Love the dark lacquered shelves - makes the book speak volumes!

Love the dark lacquered shelves - makes the book speak volumes!

Every kitchen looks amazing dressed in white!

Every kitchen looks amazing dressed in white!

Art to the eye can be created in any shape or form.

Art to the eye can be created in any shape or form.

Raji says ” I sometimes rediscover a work that will completely inspire me. It could be as simple as a color or combination of colors. Or how a work is framed or displayed. This can send me off in a tangent about how I want to spin a room, or the mood I want to capture.”

Expect the unexpected. Chairs put to good use!

Expect the unexpected. Chairs put to good use!

Indian-born Raji in her Brambledton home.

Indian-born Raji in her Brambleton home.

Here who is on Raji’s speed dial list:

Grilled Cheese Please.

Thank you Washington Post for giving your readers a few helpful tips to perfecting one of my favorite foods of all time… The Grilled Cheese Sandwich!


  1. Make sure your butter is at room temperature so you can easily spread it on your bread slices without tearing them. Use salted butter if you have it. Those salt crystals provide additional flavor. Years ago I learned that mayonnaise makes a pretty good alternative to butter. (Be advised this will add milligrams of sodium.)
  2. Use about two ounces of cheese for a standard-size sandwich. Slice your cheese very thinly or shred it on the large-hole side of a box grater. The shredded cheese melts the best, but it can sometimes fall out of the sandwich when you’re transferring it from work surface to pan. In some cases, as with fresh mozzarella, the cheese may be too soft to shred, so thinly sliced is the way to go.
  3. Don’t slice the bread too thickly or the cheese won’t melt well and the sandwich will not come together in that perfect crisp-oozy union — somewhere between 1/4-inch and 1/2-inch works best.
  4. Use a nonstick or well-seasoned cast-iron pan. Either option will give you bread that is beautifully browned and a little crisp. Take care to regulate the heat under the pan, especially if you’re using cast-iron. Medium-low is a good temperature for nonstick, and medium-low to low is best for cast-iron once the pan has heated up. Always use a spatula to check the underside of the sandwich as it is cooks.
  5. Cover the pan. The captured heat will help the cheese to melt.

And finally, chow down! Now I’m hungry. =)

Just a Thought.

"A person should design the way he makes a living, around how he wishes to make a life" — Charlie Byrd

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