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Design Central

Summer in Georgetown. The trees and flowers are in full bloom. Earlier this spring, the annual House Tour allowed us a glimpse behind the closed gates and doors of Washington's oldest neighborhood. Founded in 1751, Georgetown lives on as a charming historic village that is thriving and attracting a new generation of Washington urban dwellers. As Georgetown resident, councilman and recent mayoral candidate Jack Evans says, "This is the golden age of Georgetown." If you are reorganizing your household or moving, the ideas and suggestions below may help you. Downsizing is a subject that we all encounter throughout our lives. It is closely linked to change. A change of job may lead to a change of address, sometimes even a change of climate. A change of family structure -- blending families, maturing children, retirement, the loss of a spouse -- may all lead to a change in the square footage we occupy. There are so many factors that can trigger the need to downsize and reorganize. Regardless of the reason, as it relates to living space, change offers us an opportunity to refresh or reset the organization of our lives and also to examine our relationship to the things we hold on to along the way. It offers a chance to take inventory of our lives and to decide what holds the greatest meaning for us with respect to memory, personal history, beauty and value. Our willingness to meet changes in a positive way will allow for transitions that keep us current with the realities and routines of our lives. Furthermore, it will allow for outward expressions of our own personal style and our need for beauty and order in our surroundings. Practical questions to consider when downsizing (especially if you are moving): How long will it take? Your move is imminent, your lead-time is a year or less, your lead-time is three-to-five years. Spend a little time devising a strategy before acting. Have a recipe for success. What should remain and what should go? Choose one room at a time and look at the objects in it. Rate them according to how much you have used, cherished and enjoyed them in the past year or so. How much space will I actually have for the things I choose to keep? Is it wishful thinking? Do I love it? Do I use it? Can I live without it? Can it fit and/or be repurposed in my new space? Identify those things and sell, consign, donate or give the rest away to friends, family or charity. REMEMBER: Sort not by the space you are in, but by the space into which you are moving. If you get stuck, you can get more information on the internet or hire a professional space arranger. The National Association of Professional Organizers (napo.net) is a nonprofit association with more than 3,300 members throughout the world. Create a place that actually represents how you live now. Consider the following criteria: size, condition, value, comfort and aesthetics. Size: Will the size and proportion of your furniture overcrowd your new space? Edit by removing, consigning, selling or donating furniture that is taking up valuable living space. Establish its value, and if collectible, make sure it finds the most appropriate sales venue, be it consignment, auction or direct sale. Condition: If a piece of furniture is broken, damaged, worn out or threadbare and you decide to keep it, have it cleaned, repaired, refinished or reupholstered. Otherwise, you will always be reminded of its shortcoming Value: If the things you own have intrinsic value -- such as antique furniture, art, objets d’art, carpets or collections of any sort – make sure that you have appraisal information in your important documents files. While you live with your valuables, keep them in top condition. The information on file will save future generations from opportunistic buyers or, worst-case scenario, having valuables end up in a garage or yard sale. Comfort: Those chairs in the living room and that sofa in the guest room are beautiful and my grandmother gave them to me. However, they are very uncomfortable. Your justification may be that you rarely sit in the living room or only occasionally have guests. In every instance, ask yourself if you have the luxury of displaying furniture that you avoid using because it is uncomfortable. Everything in your living space should have a useful and aesthetic purpose attached to it. Aesthetics: Each of us decides for ourselves what we consider beautiful. If a framed poster is more beautiful to you than a dark, brooding oil painting with no value other than that it came from a family member, get the painting out of your space. If you inherited three sets of china and you rarely set a formal table, choose the one that is most pleasing to you. Sell, consign or give away the rest. Unless you have the luxury of unlimited storage space, not choosing sends you down the path of boxing things you like but will rarely (or never) use. Lastly, we suggest to our readers that good professional help is always available and well worth the expense when measured against the successful results. In the age of the internet, there are endless resources and much shared knowledge at hand. We spoke with Georgetowners Fran and Ankie Barnes about their experience in downsizing and changing their home and lifestyle. Q. What advice would you offer someone who is downsizing? A. Start early and be very organized as to where all your belongings will go. If you know measurements ahead of time, there won't be unnecessary surprises on moving day. Downsizing makes one really analyze how many things one owns and how many things one can comfortably live without. Q. Did you have any professional help or advice? A. I had some design help from my husband's architectural office Barnes Vanze Architects. We also hired the services of Orchestrated Moves. We had many books to sort through, and we used Book Bliss Online. Resources: OrchestratedMoves.com BookBlissOnline.com BarnesVanze.com For questions or inquiries: Alla Rogers and Dena Verrill, principals at Dena Verrill Interiors – DenaVerrillInteriors.com [gallery ids="101772,141171,141179,141175,141181" nav="thumbs"]

Design Central

Displaying art is an opportunity to express your individuality through the beauty and inspiration art brings into your home. You choose a particular piece of art because it gives you pleasure and reflects who you are. It does not need to meet anyone else’s standard of “an important work” or have high monetary value. What matters is that it gives you pleasure and enhances the quality of your life. Unlike anything else, art allows intimacy with an object. Although the piece may be static, your experience of it is not. Your perception shifts depending on the light at different times of day and season and on your mood. In turn, the art work influences your emotions and state of mind. To fully reap the benefits of surrounding yourself with art, you want to display your pieces in ways that enrich the viewer’s experience and enhances the environment (surroundings). Displaying art is an art unto itself. In fact, museums and galleries employ design specialists to ensure that the display of their art enhances the work itself. These specialists have four basic concerns: lighting, background, framing, and hanging. The principles of display design apply equally to the home environment. By understanding these principles, you can speak with confidence with your own designers or create harmonious displays of your own. Lighting Art needs proper lighting to be appreciated. If possible, hiring a lighting designer is an excellent investment. Good lighting enlivens art, allowing the richness of colors, contours, textures, and other details of the work to attract the eye and awaken interest. Commonly used design solutions are track lighting and small recessed fixtures. The distance of the light fixture from the wall on which the art is displayed should be approximately one third of the ceiling height. The lamps should “wash” the wall, avoiding the creation of concentrated hot spots of light or shadows on the art work. Background Wall Color. Although museums and galleries often use shades of white as display backgrounds, at home you need not feel so confined. Just as the art you select reveals what you consider beautiful and meaningful, the color you choose to complement it and your other furnishings is a personal expression. Black, white, and neutral shades of beige or grey have an architectural neutrality that work particularly well with black and white art and photography. Color photography and paintings or posters can be supported by warm neutral terra cottas and sandy shades, celadon, full saturation greens, and even red or black. Framing Simply stated, the frame contains, focuses, and enhances the art. A frame should not overwhelm the art itself. A commercial framer with an experienced eye is an ally worth cultivating. Friends may provide references and, since most shops have samples of their work on display, you can judge for yourself as well. Such a framer can provide you with a selection of mats, framing styles, and molding and advise you on any special requirements for the particular piece. For example, a valuable photograph or work on paper should be framed with only archival materials and museum glass to provide protection from ultraviolet light, prevent fading, and eliminate glare. If you are framing expensive art, you will not want to spare expense in framing. A frame provides protection for the work as well as enhancement of its visual affect. For less expensive art, ready-made framing may suffice. Reasonably priced frames and mats are available in standard sizes. Hanging Art Ideally, you hang art so the center of the picture is fifty-seven inches above the floor. The fifty-seven inch standard represents the average human’s eye height and is regularly used as a standard in galleries and museums. By using this method you create a harmony among all the pictures in your home as they will hang in relationship to one another from their centers, not their sides, and you will also avoid the single greatest error, that of hanging art too high. Other considerations for hanging art: • Hang the correct scale of artwork on a wall so that it is seen but does not appear stuffed into the space. Art needs to “breathe.” For example, don’t hang a large painting on a narrow hall wall. • Allow six to eight inches of space between pieces horizontally. You may take advantage of a vertical wall and double or triple hang art on it with a few inches of space in between. The art pieces should be of the same relative strength in color saturation and composition, yet not overpower one another. Create harmony among the works by ensuring that the subjects, colors, and sizes relate to one another. • To make your environment beautifully personal as well as aesthetically interesting, show various art forms together in the same space: painting, sculpture, photography, crafts, textiles. Above all, remember to relax and enjoy your art, one piece or ten, whatever style or medium, let it inspire and teach you. www.denaverrillinteriors.com (202) 333-3551

Design Central

A trend over recent years has the indoors moving outside to create inviting spaces on patios, terraces or in the garden itself. Expressed lavishly, an outdoor living room might have an outdoor flat screen television and fully equipped kitchen with grills and refrigeration. A simpler design could feature a furniture grouping for cocktails and dining. The availability and wide selection of all-weather furniture, fabrics, rugs, screens, trellises and lighting enable Washingtonians to enjoy the outdoors from early spring to late fall. In addition, present-day outdoor furniture and accessories are so attractive they can move inside and complement your indoor pieces. Furniture Your choice of furniture sets the design style for your outdoor space. If the space is visually adjacent to the indoor living area, you will want the two areas to be compatible in style and color. Here are some options to consider: Teak: Teak furniture continues to be a classic design style for outdoor living. Its golden brown color can be preserved throughout its lifetime with annual coats of outdoor wood oil, or you may allow it to slowly age to a soft gray. Aluminum: Originally made for kitchen furniture, new tubular designs are stylish and modern. The durability and light weight of aluminum combined with outdoor fabric pillows make this material an easy-care way to go. Outdoor Wicker: Outdoor wicker is woven from synthetic hard fibers to have a textured look similar to natural wicker. Whereas teak furniture may be too heavy and aluminum too casual for indoor use, wicker easily makes this transition. The quality of outdoor wicker varies so check out the anticipated lifetime of the furniture pieces and buy the best quality wicker your pocketbook will allow. It will pay off in the long term. Kati Pope, manager of Janus & Cie on M Street in Georgetown, offers advice on caring for outdoor wicker: “Our handwoven synthetic and combination fibers require minimal maintenance. Simply vacuum loose dirt and apply a mix of dish detergent and lukewarm water with a soft sponge or cloth and allow to air dry. The fibers are colorfast, UV and stain resistant and 100-percent recyclable.” Outdoor/Indoor Fabrics Top quality fabrics, resistant to rain and sun fade, will serve you years longer than cheaper brands. Sunbrella has long been the standard for outdoor fabric, offering variety in patterns beyond the solids and stripes of the past. Perennials, a relatively new brand in outdoor fabric and furnishings, is becoming another popular choice with a selection ranging from faux suedes and velvets to playful, casual patterns. Myra Hines, owner of Hines & Co. showrooms and a resident of Georgetown and New York, says, “Beyond its durability for outdoor use, the Perennials fabric selection has become just as popular for indoors as it is for patios and gardens.” Outdoor Rugs Outdoor rugs act to define the space and make it more inviting by adding a splash of color and texture. Rugs reduce noise and slippage and simply feel good underfoot. The durability of an outdoor rug depends on the type of material used and how the rug was made. Ben Tabar, manager at Georgetown Carpet, recommends synthetic fiber rugs such as polypropylene for unprotected outdoor areas. “Any outdoor rug should be made of a material that will allow hosing down,” says Tabar, who also warns that natural woven fabrics, such as sisal, seagrass and coir, show water marks and are not stain resistant. He recommends the natural fiber rugs for indoors and protected areas only. Lighting Don’t underestimate the impact of outdoor lighting to create an intimate and enchanting atmosphere. Lights can be permanently installed on tree branches, screens and trellises in a variety of designs. LED technology allows you to select the hue of light from white to pink, yellow, blue and green that best complements the furnishings. Privacy Screens and Accessories Whether used for defining space, shielding your outdoor room from prying eyes or protecting people and furnishings from sunlight, privacy screens are an invaluable accessory. You can choose screens that match other furnishings or that provide a needed contrast of color, material or texture. Adding live or dried plants arranged in antique or reproduction urns or pots soften the décor. Overhead fans provide a cooling breeze and deter flying insects while adding a stylish accent to the room. For Questions or Inquiries: Dena Verrill and Alla Rogers, principals at Dena Verrill Interiors

Le Décor for Summer

Take your kitchen outside with fun and festive outdoor tools and grilling gadgets. Entertain guests this summer with colorful dishware, useful utensils and fun lighting. Find all of these stores in and around Georgetown and happy grilling. [gallery ids="116179,116145,116151,116168,116174,116163,116157" nav="thumbs"]

‘Design@+’: Unique Take on Present and Future of Design in D.C. and Beijing

To celebrate of the 30th anniversary of the sister cities relationships between Washington, D.C., and Beijing, China, “Design@+” will run tomorrow through July 11, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., in the Powerhouse at 3255 Grace St., NW. The show, along with workshops, will present unique designs that resonate two distinctively different cultures. “Design@+” -- organized by the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, State-Owned Cultural Assets Supervision and Administration Office of the People’s Government of Beijing Municipality and other organizations -- will feature 80 contemporary designs by D.C.-based and Beijing-based designers, covering a wide variety of designs including furniture design, product design, fashion design, graphic design and digital and interactive design. The Design @+ Initiative -- the initiative that this exhibition is built upon -- is an attempt to build a platform for designers to share their ideas, concerns and opinions. It also serves to provide an educational experience for future generation of designers who are looking to stay up-to-date with the contemporary designs. **Some of the highlights for the exhibit include:** • Designers’ talk: Design Matters – Tuesday, July 8 (10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.): A dialogue session between designers and curators on the different practices, marketing and educational aspect of the design industry. • Roundtable Discussion: City Level Dialogue—Tuesday, July 8 (1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.): A discussion between officials from the two cities, Washington, D.C., and Beijing, on how the two cities can help in carrying out effective cultural exchanges. • Google Art Night Talk: What is the Role of Technology (such as 3D printing) in Industrial Designs? Wednesday, July 9 (7 p.m. to 9 p.m.): This conversation aims to focus emerging technology in industrial design will feature co-founder of 3Doodler (the world’s first 3D printing pen). It will be broadcasted live through Google Hangout. More information on this exhibit can be found [here](http://a585620891.oinsite.yh.mynet.cn/design.htm). [gallery ids="116295,116288,116306,116310,116301" nav="thumbs"]

Le Décor for Dad

This Father’s Day, give Dad a gift he won’t throw in a closet and forget. These gifts give back, in and around the house. Toast Dad on his special day and get him something memorable – to be shared with family and friends alike. [gallery ids="116442,116432,116438,116416,116421,116428" nav="thumbs"]

Georgetown Garden Tour Has Banner Day

Despite a downpour and drizzle -- something every garden needs -- the Georgetown Garden Tour enjoyed a busy day with visitors checking out gardens, each with its own noteworthy and high qualities. While the Pyne garden got top attention, across town there were nine gardens for lovers of horticulture and home with arrivals at most place continuing right up to 5 p.m. [gallery ids="101731,142126,142118,142123,142112,142131,142133" nav="thumbs"]

Le Decor: The Importance of Being Green

Just as Kermit the frog explained, it’s not always easy being green. Still, with a growing planet and shrinking resources, it’s important to do your part. One way to reduce your carbon footprint is buying furniture made of ecofriendly materials. Furniture retailers are doing their part by offering certain products made from reclaimed or sustainable materials. Below are just a few eco-conscious options for your home. [gallery ids="101692,143965,143958,143961,143945,143950,143953" nav="thumbs"]

Le Decor: Le Decor: Modern Inspirations

Art is one of the best way to inspire a space in your home. After reading through the February 26th Arts Preview issue of The Georgetowner, I was inspired by the current “Gravity’s Edge” exhibit at the Hirshorn (February7- June 15, 2014). The vibrate colors and abstract method of detecting the force of gravity, allows for one to experimental and free to mix traditional with modern works of art. There are many ways to introduce invigorating contrast into a space, and art is one of the best. Here are some examples where modern art breathes life into traditional rooms. [gallery ids="101669,144642,144646,144637,144651,144654,144659,144666,144662" nav="thumbs"]

The Power of Color

Color surrounds and enlivens our lives. The appropriate use of paint color in the interior of our homes can give the illusion of elongating walls, reducing corners, raising ceilings and expanding the overall room size. The colors we select not only affect our sense of the space but can profoundly affect our emotional state. When working with color, note that paint is one of the least expensive ways to artistically set the stage of our interior spaces. The natural light coming into a home through windows and glass doors make subtle changes in the colors in each room. In Georgetown, a pink-red hue is reflected into the rooms from the brick side walks and buildings. In suburban Maryland and Virginia, green is reflected into the homes from the larger green expanses of trees and shrubs. Here are some questions that we receive most often from clients: Q. I am moving to a large house in this area. I am worried that the rooms will look empty. Is there any remedy by using color on the walls and ceilings? A. Absolutely. Color can effectively change our perception of the size of a space. One example is to use accent colors that are well lit to draw the eye away from empty space to the complementary color, making a large room cozier. After looking at the furnishings and art already in their home, we ask about the clients’ color preferences. Warm grays or beige, and creams are the most popular neutrals for providing good backgrounds. An entire house using only these background colors, however, can be boring. If the main floor is large, we recommend that one of the rooms, such as the dining room, features a contrasting color that is complementary. For example, if the other rooms are beige, we might recommend a red or terra-cotta for the dining room. Green is also a good counterpoint color. From hunter to celadon and khaki, green is the best color to show off wood surfaces such as trim, molding, and wood furnishings. We might use accents of red and green (complementary colors) on upholstery and pillows in each of the other rooms to unify the entire space. Q. How do I know what intensity of color to use in a room? How bold can I go? A. How intense the color can be depends a great deal on the light in the room. Choose three close but different saturations of the color you want. Paint these colors on pieces of cardboard. Place the colors close to the natural light by a window and also in a far corner that receives the least light. Then try your three different intensities of color on large patches on the wall opposite the windows. When the paint is dry observe the colors at different times of day and evening. This will save you time and money before you paint the entire room. Various finishes can be applied to enliven or soften bolder colors. Glazes can soften the color as well as give it liveliness and transparency. Sponging, ragging, and washes give texture to the walls. Q. I love the architectural details in my apartment. It has great ceiling moldings and mill-work on the doorways. I would like to feature these elements without bold, garish contrasts. What colors should I use? A. Ceiling moldings frame a room nicely, which is wonderful. The moldings work best when they are lighter than the wall color, although the contrast need not be great. Similarly you can show off the mill-work with a contrasting color. Follow these rules and choose a wall color that pleases you. Q. What about white? Should all ceilings be white? A. Ceilings do not necessarily have to be white. When choosing a ceiling color, consider the color of your walls and the size of the room. If the ceiling height is low, a soft white or cream can be the best choice. A bedroom with cream walls and blue furnishings can look lovely with a pastel sky blue ceiling. If you have a high ceiling, a faux finish such as tortoise shell or a textured color can add glamor and drama to a room for entertaining. As for whites in general, be cautious. White is less neutral than you think. It contains all the colors of the spectrum. Art galleries paint their walls white to make a strong statement that says, “Come look.” In a residence, white is not as neutral as beige or gray. There are blue-whites, yellow-whites, pink-whites, and green-whites. A brilliant white can create eye-strain and give off glare. Whites show up paintings and picture frames, and the eye is more aware of the rectangles and squares breaking up the wall. Warmer neutrals such as beige and gray say, “Come look, relax, and stay.” If you love white on the walls, go toward the creams. Rooms using the natural palettes of cream, beige, warm gray, and taupe can be both sophisticated and calming. Plants and flowers will soften the neutral palette. Pulling in different textures for the rugs, upholstery, and accessories can make the room more interesting. Small accents of black and navy, can add to the elegance of rooms mostly defined by the neutral palate. Dena Verrill and Alla Rogers are principals at Dena Verrill Interiors in Georgetown. Their practice serves the metro area and anywhere their clients take them. Both Verrill and Rogers are Georgetown residents. Contact them at dena@denaverrillinteriors.com or alla@denaverrillinteriors.com . Learn more at www.DenaVerrillInteriors.com.