Friday, April 29, 2011

First Friday-Shepherd Park Edition

Shepherd Park is a small, historic neighborhood north of Walter Reed between Georgia Ave. and Rock Creek Park. The houses are stately, the streets are tree lined and it's convenient to downtown Silver Spring and DC.  Today there's two houses that caught my eye.

1121 Kamlia St, NW
1121 Kalmia St, NW living room
1121 Kalmia St, NW is a renovated, semi-attached townhouse with three bedrooms, two full baths and two half baths.  It's 1391 square feet and it's listed for $475,000.  Yearly taxes are $3,681.  The kitchen has been renovated with granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances.  There's hardwood floors, new windows, and a slate patio. 

1325 Iris St, NW
1325 Iris St, NW living room
1325 Iris St, NW is a Tudor that hasn't been on the market since the 60's.  Built in 1929, it's four bedrooms, two and half baths with 2246 square feet.  Yearly taxes are $4,912.  It's listed for $599,000.  It features refinished hardwood floors, new gutters, and it's been freshly painted.  Both the kitchen and baths need updating.  It also doesn't have central air conditioning.  What is does have is tons of character and architectural details, a screened in porch, a two car garage and a slate roof.  It's Open on Sunday, May 1 from 1-4pm. 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Real Estate Round Up

Spring has sprung.  So what's happening in the real estate world these days?
Church to be developed at 10th and V St, NW via DC MUD
"Sorg Gearing Up to Turn Former Church Into Condo" by DC MUD.  The most interesting part of the post for me was the comments by various neighbors.  I live around the corner from the church and found out some good scuttlebutt. 

"Builders of New Homes Seeing No Sign of Recovery" per The New York Times. 

"It's Still Cheaper to Buy in DC than rent" via Urban Turf.  For some reason, people are always surprised by this headline. 

"With Changes ahead for FHA down payment, private mortgage insurers seek inroads" from The Washington Post.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Want a superb sandie? Go here...

Fast Gourmet at 14th and V St, NW

Back in December, both Prince of Petworth (POP) and U St. Girl had rave reviews about Fast Gourmet, a sandie shop in the gas station at 14th and V St, NW.

I was dubious.  A marvelous new sandwich shop in a gas station?  I know that's commonplace in Miami but it's not in DC.

I told my husband, who's a more adventurous eater, and one day he came home with a Cubano.  I sampled it and wham, our love affair with Fast Gourmet began.

I know both POP and U St. Girl professed love for the Cubano but we're partial to the Chivito (steak, ham, fried egg, bacon, cheese, green olives) and the roasted turkey with the green olive mayo.  I'm sure you can guess which one is mine.   I highly recommend giving it a whirl next time you're in need of a good sandie.  Yum.

Roasted turkey with green olive mayo
*photo of Fast Gourmet via POP.  Sandie photos, my own.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Riveting Rooms

I love a big, cozy, comfy couch.  I know that's not cool in haute interior design but I'm a reader and a lounger.  The photo below from TradHome (still many interesting ideas) embraces my love of the couch.  
Designer Sara Gilbane make a loft livable in TradHome

Monday, April 25, 2011

Hable Contruction+Hickory Chair

Hable Construction Jute Sail
Hable Construction has been on my radar for a couple of years.  They have great graphics and everyone knows I like circles, squares and stripes. 

I was reading Elle Decor and they're reporting that Hable Construction and Hickory Chair furniture are collaborating on a collection.  It's a mix of traditional and mod and it's marvelous.  Check it out.
Tuscany chair upholstered in Pepper Pom Pom via Elle Decor

Friday, April 22, 2011

First Friday-Brookland Edition

This week it's all about Brookland.  This neighborhood doesn't get a lot of love and I've never understood it.  There are consistently well priced houses, access to the Metro (the red line), a Yes! Grocery and a bustling strip of commerce plus a seasonal farmers market.
4316 12th Pl, NE
4316 12th Pl, NE living room

The first house featured is 4316 12th Pl, NE.  It's four bedrooms, 2.5 baths and it's been completely renovated with hardwood floors, granite and stainless steel appliances in the kitchen, a finished basement and a large back yard.  It's listed for $469,000 and it's 1592 square feet. Taxes are $2869 yearly. (The taxes will likely increase if it sells at 469K.  The current taxes are for the house before the renovation.)  It's Open on Saturday 4/23 from 12-3pm and Sunday 4/24 from 12-4pm.  

103 Webster St, NE
103 Webster NE kitchen
The second house highlighted is 103 Webster St, NE.  It's four bedrooms, 3.5 baths house with a rental unit for $449,900.  (3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths upstairs, 1 bedroom/1 bath in the rental unit).  It's 1336 square feet, it's been renovated with hardwood floors, updated baths, a kitchen with granite and stainless steel appliances, Energy Star windows and HVAC, and it's eight blocks to the Metro.  Yearly taxes are $2388.  As with the property mentioned above, taxes will likely increase if the property is sold at the list price.  Once again, the current taxes are pre-renovation.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Shelter Pop

Curb appeal via Shelter Pop
I just discovered Shelter Pop.  Somehow, in all the reading I do, I missed this fantastic website.  Of course I enjoy the design element of the website but I also love the real estate tips like "3 Step to Curb Appeal" and "How to Stage Your Bedroom."  This is a new daily obsession!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The 20% down debate

graph via The Washington Post

Over the last several months, a huge debate about making 20% down payments mandatory when purchasing a home has been raging in the news, blogosphere and in real estate brokerages across the country. 

If you've been out of the loop, basically the gov has decided to implement a minimum 20% down payment for conventional loans in order to obtain a mortgage at the best interest rates.  If you're using an FHA loan, the minimum down payment will remain 3.5%.

What's the point?  To make sure we never have another financial meltdown like the one we just witnessed.

Personally, I am not in favor of a 20% down payment.  I know I'm biased.  A 20% down payment would impact some of my business. 

On the other hand, DC is expensive.  Coming up with 20% down payment or $80,000 on a 400K property (the *informal* average price of DC property) is a struggle for most buyers.  I have plenty of clients who manage to save 20% down on average salaries and I'm always thrilled for them. 

Furthermore, buying a property these days is rife with hurdles.  Why make it even harder? 

I also don't think obtaining a loan should be easy as it was in the early 2000's.  But lenders are rejecting fantastic loan candidates for the stupidiest reasons.  If it didn't break client confidentiality, I could give you multiple examples. 

Meanwhile, I (and every other realtor in the country) will be watching closely how the issue is resolved.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Riveting Rooms

Room by Diane Bergman
I am captivated by this rug by Madeline Weinreib of ABC Home.  I first mentioned it last October.  It was in Lonny Magazine and I was smitten.  I took a soujourn to see it in person at the ABC Home Store when I visited NYC.  It's more fantastic in person.

It was recently featured in a COCOCOZY post about blue and white rooms and I'm hooked once again. I want it in grey and white but I love the graphic pop of the blue and white version.  There's also a fantastic zig zag pattern.
Madeline Weinrib Zig Zag Steel

Monday, April 18, 2011

Visionary Victorian

1400 21st St, NW
1400 21st St, NW is the latest fancy lady to catch my eye.  Listed at $1,495,000, it's four levels, four bedrooms, four baths, 2224 square feet, and has parking.  Located two blocks from the Dupont Circle Metro, it's central to restaurants and shopping.  Although the outside is classic, the inside is sleek with an updated Poggenphol kitchen.  What a spectacular space!
Living room with original stained glass windows
Poggenhal kitchen
*photos courtesy of Matrix

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Open House 1-4pm at 1260 21st St, NW #101

1260 21st St, NW

1260 21st St, NW living room
I'm holding an Open House today from 1-4pm at 1260 21st St, NW #101.  It's a 2 bedroom/2 bath condo with parking for $449,900.  It's 863 square feet with big windows, stainless steel appliances and parquet floors.  It's a quick walk to Dupont Circle, the Metro, the Dupont Circle Farmer's Market and restaurants galore.  I hope to see you there!

Friday, April 15, 2011

First Friday

This week the focus is on houses.   

606 14th Pl, NE is a 2 bedroom, 1 bath rowhouse in Capitol Hill within walking distance to H St. Corridor.  Listed for 349K, this is an excellent condo alternative.  Although it's narrow, it's 1096 square feet, has hardwood floors, a fireplace and off street parking.  The taxes are $3160 a year.  It's Open on Sunday, 4/17 from 2-4. 
606 14th Pl, NE

606 14th Pl, NE living room
606 14th Pl, NE master bedroom
1713 Harvard St, NW is 3 bedrooms/2 full bath town house located near the zoo for 619K.  Designed by modern architect Joseph Abel, it has an open floor plan, a lovely patio with a hot tub (!), and two car parking.  It's 1248 sf and the taxes are $4298 per year.  It's Open this weekend on Saturday 4/16 and Sunday 4/17 from 1-4.  
1713 Harvard St, NW
1718 Harvard St, NW living room
1718 Harvard St, NW patio with hot tub
*photos via MRIS   

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Riveting Rooms

I view impressive interiors daily in my line of work and I'm always searching for new design concepts.  I'm starting a new, weekly post about rooms that rivet, inspire, and exhilarate.  

Image via Interiors

This week on Coco+Kelly, I fell in love with this living room full of blues.  I love the flame stitch chairs with the ikat drapes.  I would have never placed those two patterns in the same room but it works. 

image via TradHome
The new collaboration between Lonny Magazine and Traditional Home, TradHome, launched this week.  Included in the first issue were some astonishing spaces including the living room above.  Of course I LOVE the retro mirrors, star bursts and light fixtures.  Surprisingly, I also adore the brown/yellow color scheme with the pops of leopard print. So chic.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Goofy gadgets

It's the little things that make me smile.  Goofy gadgets is one of those categories and these are my latest loves.   
Middle Colors ultrasonic humidifier
My first new love is the Middle Colors ultrasonic humidifier.  I have major allergies so a humidifier is a must in the winter time.  My old one fogged the windows and made a ton of noise.  It was wonderful white noise but it required constant attention.  Then I found this beauty in the 2010 InStyle Gift Guide.  I love the sleek design, it's silent and has hot or cold vapor.
Marpac dual-speed sound machine
The Middle Colors humidifier is so quiet I had to purchase a white noise machine so I could sleep.  I grew up falling asleep to the noise of an overhead fan and I'm hooked.  On a whim, I decided to try the Marpac sound machine from Target and it's a winner.  It sounds just like a fan without the annoying breezes and there's two speeds.  It's also small.  I hide it behind a grouping of picture frames on my dresser and no one can see it.  Yea!

My third new obsession is the Moen "Fina" pivoting toilet paper holder.  I encountered my first pivoting paper holder at parents house.  They recently revamped their bathrooms by installing new fixtures and counter tops.  Whoever invented this is genius.  No more rolls of toilet paper springing across the bathroom.  I LOVE IT.

Aren't gadgets grand?

*photos via InStyle,, 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

905/907 U St, NW for sale

Two commercial buildings next to popular wine bar Dickson are hitting the market in the next several days.  Currently, the two buildings are for lease for $3750 a month.  Billed as "office, restaurant, retail or salon" space with 3 levels in each, four front entrances and a 48 foot facade, 905/907 U St. has a lot of potential.  The list price will be 950K.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Hood Happenings

Lots of news from the 'hood lately and most of it is good:

14th and U has an amazing summary of all current and upcoming development.  It's pretty amazing what's in the pipeline and I can't wait to see the final results.
Future location of a 30 unit apartment building 
U St. Girl broke the news that Smucker Farms is going to open a farm to market store at 2118 14th St, NW.  YEA!!  
Soon-to-be digs of Smucker Farms

She also noted that RCKNDY, a home decor store closed.  Bummer.  I loved RCKNDY.  It had lots of modern furniture with funky accessories.

POP confirmed that Piolia Pizzaria is coming to 14th St., NW.  Since I'm a known lover of pizza of all sorts, this is excellent news.  I hope it's actually good and not another nasty version of the famous DC "giant slice." gag.
Future home of Piola Pizza
DC MUD notes that PN Hoffman purchased the Verizon building on the corner of 14th and R St, NW.  This confirms the rumors that the building is slated for condos. 
Condos instead of Verizon at 14th and R St, NW
As always, I'm excited about the upcoming changes.  More restaurants, stores and development means a more interesting neighborhood. 

*pictures via 14th and U, U St. Girl, POP and DC MUD

Friday, April 8, 2011

First Friday

I'm starting a new weekly feature called First Friday.  Each week, I'm going to highlight listings that are hitting the market for the first time.  These properties will be 1-7 days old and will captivate for one reason or another.  It might be the price, decor, location or a combo of all three.  This week, three piqued my curiosity.

1437 Spring St, NW
The first is 1437 Spring Rd, NW.  It's a 2 bedroom/1 bath condo for 349K located near the heart of Columbia Heights/DC USA.  It has hardwood floors, granite counter tops, and a fireplace.  It's 768 sf, the condo fee is $230, taxes are $2,267 a year.  It's Open Sunday 4/10 from 1-4pm. 
1708 Summit Pl, NW #1708
The second property that intrigued me is 1708 Summit Pl, NW #1708.  It's a 2 bedroom, 2.5 bath condo with parking for 529K in Mt. Pleasant in a small boutique building.  It's 1137 sf, the condo fee is $305 a month and taxes are $4,614 a year.  It has a new kitchen, hardwood floors, a private patio and ELFA closet systems.  (You know how much I love ELFA!!!)  It's Open Sunday 4/10 from 1-4pm.
2219 Ontario Rd
Last but not least is 2219 Ontario Rd, NW.  It's a 2 bedroom, 2.5 bath row house in Adams Morgan for 583K.  It's 1152 sf and the taxes are $4,853 yearly.  It's 3 blocks from the new Harris Teeter, 5 blocks to 18th St. and it has a lovely back yard.  It does have a tenant until 6/11.  It's also Open on Sunday, 4/10 from 1-4pm.

I also recently updated the look of the blog.  What do you think?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Folly Beach

March weather in DC is often hit or miss.  Some years we have snow and some years we have Spring.  Lately, it's been snow so I planned a trip to Charleston to visit my brother and sister-in-law.

It was a great weekend to be away.  I was fed up with the state of my affairs and the weather had been terrible.  While my husband and I lounged in 70 degree weather, it snowed in DC.  The escape was exactly what I needed and we had a ball. 

Charleston, as always, was delightful.  My brother and his wife live at Folly Beach, a block and a half off the ocean.  We rode bikes, took a walk on the beach and sat on their deck.  They took us to their favorite wine bar, Bin 152 and their favorite restaurant, Fig.  This is one of my favorite kind of evenings and it was marvelous.

Fig was incredible.  The focus of the restaurant is seasonal, local, sustainable food.  We had many amazing dishes but the highlights were "caper blades" (local oysters) on the half shell and the coddled sea island farm egg with stone crab.  It was as delicious as it sounds.

I also attended the final night of Charleston Fashion Week.  I love fashion so this was treat.  Charleston's Fashion Week has an Emerging Designer competition a la "Project Runway."  The competition was open to the East Coast and over 100 designers applied to participate.  Each night, four designers showed their collection and each night, a winner was chosen.  The final evening was the winners of each night and that's what we attended.  It was a phenomenal experience that left me wanting more.  NY Fashion Week, here I come.   
design by Veritee Hill, one of my favs

All that was packed into two nights!  On Sunday, we drove north to visit my best friend from college and her family who recently relocated from Torino, Italy to Greenville, SC.  Unfortunately, the lovely weather of Charleston turned into a rainy, cold mess in Greenville.

Although we didn't do as much exploring as in Charleston, we have a wonderful visit.  Greenville is a charming city.  My friend taught my husband how to make a vegetable risotto which was outstanding.  We caught up, laughed, talked endlessly about their recent home improvements (which look amazing, btw), drank vino, told stories, drove through downtown, ate an incredible meal at Coal Fired Wine Bar and Bistro, and planned potential vacations.  It was the perfect way to end our trip.  I came back to DC refreshed and ready to roll up my sleeves for the Spring market.  I love vacation!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Here we go again..

1501 Vermont Ave, NW

Last October, I wrote a post about the secret to success in the DC market was to price low.  Somebody has been paying attention.

1501 Vermont Ave, NW hit the market 10 days ago for 549K.  As you can see, it's an enormous row house located off Logan Circle.  It has 3 bedrooms and 2 full baths.  The house has been gutted on 3 of the 4 levels but it has a lot of potential.  It received SEVENTEEN OFFERS and is going under contract today.  

Spring has sprung.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Open House Sunday 1-4 at 838 New Hampshire Ave, NW

Happy Friday!  I'll be holding an Open on Sunday, 4/3/11, from 1-4pm at 838 New Hampshire Ave, NW.  It's a 2 bedroom, 1.5 bath row house in Historic Foggy Bottom.  It's a short walk to the Foggy Bottom Metro, Trader Joe's and the upcoming Whole Foods coming to Washington Circle.  (woot!  woot!  The Whole Foods is going to change the entire tenor of the neighborhood just like Trader Joe's.)  It's also convenient to the Kennedy Center, the IMF, World Bank and the State Department.  It's listed for $679,000.  Click here for a virtual tour.  Hope to see you there!