Who Lives Here…

October 26, 2015

Georgetown resident Charlie Rose was awarded the Fourth Estate award for excellence in journalism by the National Press Club last week. As a young newsman in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Rose lived in Woodley Park in a home that previously housed Tom Brokaw. Rose passed the abode on to Tim Russert when he moved to Georgetown in the late 1990s. He has lived here ever since. He lives near the corner of 33rd and Volta Streets NW and can be found walking his beloved dog Barclay nearby.

Lower on the journalistic totem pole but a Georgetown resident nonetheless, Luke Russert, Tim’s son, recently moved to the 3600 block of Prospect Street. He’s frequently spotted hopping around Georgetown, attending events at the George Town Club and grabbing drinks at Smith Point. Georgetowners may remember a 2010 incident when Russert walked a date from his car to her doorstep only to find a thief zooming away in the driver seat with his keys, which he had left in the ignition. Russert reports on national politics for MSNBC and was recently added to the lineup of “Meet the Press,” the show his father hosted before his death in 2008.

Political operative and Georgetowner Pat Griffin never worked as a journalist, but you’ll learn something interesting from every story he tells. Griffin is most well known for his political work in the Senate, the Clinton White House and, later on, as a lobbyist. He also teaches a number of classes at American University. But friends, colleagues and neighbors know him best for his stories. Whether it’s a story about witnessing initial flirtations between President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky during the 1995-96 government shutdowns, his work as a New York City cab driver or the Goodfellas-inspiring Queens neighborhood where he grew up, Griffin always has something interesting to say and some piece of wisdom to impart to his listeners. He and his wife live on Water Street across from the Georgetown Waterfront Park. On a nice night, they can be found picnicking in the park at sunset.

Who Lives Here

As Halloween arrives in Georgetown, thoughts turn to the Exorcist Steps, made famous by the 1973 film in which a priest self-defenestrates. Less well known is that Georgetown alumnus William Peter Blatty, author of “The Exorcist,” once owned a house practically in view of the steps at 3618 Prospect St. NW.

Philanthropist and businessman Jack Davies, a founder of AOL and a part owner of the Washington Capitals, Wizards and Mystics, now owns the house, which boasts a grand vista of the Potomac. He has rented it out since 2014.

Having bought the Bowie-Sevier House at 3122 Q St. NW for $24.6 million in 2007, when he was 37 years old, Robert Allbritton, owner of the Politico newspaper and website (and former owner of Channel 7 and NewsChannel 8) has the honor of spending the most ever on a home in the District. He and his wife Elena Allbritton bought the house from Patricia and Herb Miller, who developed Washington Harbour, Georgetown Park and Gallery Place at Metro Center. Public-spiritedly, the Allbrittons have decked the place out for Halloween.

Art collector Isabel de la Cruz Ernst and her husband, Georgetown University professor Ricardo Ernst, bought the Hillandale Mansion at 3905 Mansion Court NW in 1998. At the time, it had sat empty for 20 years and had no electricity or running water. After restoring the home to its Tuscan villa appearance, the couple moved into it with their art collection. Isabel is the daughter of a family with an art collection so vast that her parents built a Miami museum to house it. Her brother, Alberto de la Cruz, recently donated funds for a new, 2500-square-foot Georgetown University art gallery, set to open in 2017.

Connelly’s Hidden Gem at 1200 Potomac Street Is All About Location

September 22, 2015

As far as real estate agent Jamie Connelly is concerned, the property for sale at M Street and Potomac Street is a “beautiful, hidden gem.” It sits across from Dean & Deluca an other prime Georgetown spots, one block from the historic Washington intersection of Wisconsin Avenue and M Street.

Connelly is right, of course, as the property units sit atop a corner of Eton Court and have an unobstructed of the M Street bustle below. And, as the owner Lincoln Property Company makes clear, “this commercial property is centrally located in Georgetown’s prime business on the west side and a very short walk to all the fine restaurants and boutiques of Georgetown.”

The units in question — 1200 Potomac St., NW, as well as 3277 M St., NW — are three floors of office space, totaling 7,800 square feet, with one unit sporting windows on three sides.

There may be bigger, newer spots in town, but these Eton Court units provide proof to the real estate adage: “Location, location, loca- tion.” After all, the new occupants will get a chance to check out all the new retail along M Street, including the new stores at the former Georgetown Park, and also go to Prospect Street for a taste of Peacock Cafe, Morton’s Steakhouse, Cafe Milano or even Booeymonger’s.

“Currently used as executive offices for 30 to 35 staff persons, this property is an incredible opportunity to reconvert the office spaces back into four luxury townhouses with parking in the heart of Georgetown,” Connelly says. “Built in 1980, this building has wonderful light-filled interior spaces ready for your business or live- work, in-town retreat.”

Whether the units at 1200 Potomac St., NW, are sold or leased, someone or business could get a very nice Christmas bonus this year and a new place to move into in 2013.

To add to his seasonal appeal, Connelly and his colleagues at Lincoln Property Company are hosting a Dec. 6 reception, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the property to benefit Georgetown Ministry Center, led by Gunther Stern. (GMC is located at 1041 Wisconsin Ave., NW.)

For more information, call Lincoln Property Company and Jamie Connelly at 202-491-5300.

How We Live Now: The Demise of the Florida Room

September 17, 2015

Washington, D.C., has gone through a gigantic sea change over the past several years, from a city of modest middle-class incomes and homes to a metropolitan area having many huge homes with elaborate interiors, reflecting the opulent lifestyles of the people within.

One way to see how our concept of informal living has changed is to trace the evolution of a Washington favorite, the so-called Florida room.

Back in the 1950s and ’60s, the first Florida rooms were considered a big improvement over the open side porches on the small redbrick colonials that dominated Northwest Washington and the suburbs of Silver Spring and Chevy Chase.

Instead of sitting outside on your open side porch swatting mosquitoes, you could fill the open spaces between the porch columns with jalousie windows and screens, creating a seasonal addition to your house. These jalousie windows, made up of frames holding rectangular pieces of glass, had hand cranks to open and close the glass window slats, letting the air in through the screens but keeping the bugs out.

When it got cooler in September, you could crank these louvered windows shut and still have the illusion of being outside. This was the spot where mom could bring dad his martini or scotch and they could talk over dad’s workday and enjoy the feeling of being, well, almost on vacation. Meanwhile, the kids could play in the semi-finished downstairs area called the rumpus room.

We can guess where the term “rumpus room” came from, but where exactly “Florida room” came from is unclear. The name probably added to mom and dad’s feeling of being able to unwind in the balmy atmosphere of a summer’s evening.

These Florida rooms were usually small, typically 150 to 300 square feet, and they were attached to two-story colonials that were also small, a total of 2,200 to 3,500 square feet. There was a living room, a dining room, a small kitchen and a porch or Florida room on the first floor, and three bedrooms and one or two bathrooms on the second. Of course, there were also much bigger homes in D.C. and its suburban neighborhoods, but colonials of this size and shape far outnumbered the larger homes.

Now, let’s fast-forward to 2015, and take a look at the typical new home being built today in Washington’s close-in neighborhoods. Builders are continually looking for a home on a lot large enough to carve off another lot, or to tear down an existing house, to build the type of big, new home that is in demand.

This new house will be 5,000 to 8,000 square feet, with a living room, a dining room, an expansive family kitchen with islands and table space, an adjoining family room and a den. The second floor will have a multi-room master suite — sometimes bigger than the entire square footage of the colonials described above — plus several bedrooms and bathrooms. The lower-level areas include such amenities as climate-controlled wine cellars, exercise rooms and home movie theaters.

The humble Florida room has been replaced with scads of informal space, but this time it’s where the whole family congregates. Since both mom and dad work now, at the end of the day they want to share time and space with the kids. The kitchen is still “the heart of the home,” but it is open and spacious. With gourmet accoutrements, it adjoins a richly equipped family room with a large flat-screen television, a fireplace and a wall of glass windows and doors, opening to porches, decks and usually a small, but well-landscaped backyard.

Currently, backyards are not used that much, since the children are pretty well booked after school with lessons of various kinds and the parents and kids go to interesting places on weekends. Granted, this is not everybody’s lifestyle, but it generally accounts for a growing number of people who are buying new luxury homes.

This is a far cry from the lifestyle reflected in the 2,500-square-foot colonials. So, bid adieu, with an accompanying wave of nostalgia, to the Florida room. It served its purpose at a much different time in our cultural history. Come to think of it, couldn’t everyone use a climate-controlled wine cellar?

Elevated Living In Glover Park

September 2, 2015

D.C. real estate investment and management company Bernstein Management Corporation’s opened its latest residential venture, 2255 Wisconsin, in June — a luxury apartment building in the heart of Glover Park.

One and two bedroom floor plans are available, ranging from roughly 460 to 900 square feet. Select apartments have patios and balcony views of Observatory Circle and the city beyond.

The 81 units are equipped with stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, oversized windows, and a full-size washer and dryer in every unit. A linear fireplace, modern art and comfortable furnishings surround, all of which give the space an air of sleek sophistication and warmth. A central community courtyard and resident lounge are equipped with a bar, TV, and WiFi.

The location is within walking distance of many D.C. hotspots, including Sweetgreen, Town Hall, Whole Foods, Breadsoda, and Washington Sports Club, with on site parking available to tenants as well.

BMC, founded in 1953, owns and manages 90 different properties in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, including the Lex and the Leo at Waterfront Station, two towering sister residences on the Southwest Waterfront, both of which are for lease.

Developer Pulling Out of M Street ‘Micro-Unit’ Project

August 17, 2015

Local developer SB-Urban has dropped its plan to convert the Latham Hotel at 3000 M St. NW in to a “micro-unit” apartment complex, according to the Current Newspapers.

The Latham Hotel micro-unit project was one of three that SB-Urban is developing in Northwest Washington targeting affluent young people with small but well-furnished apartments located in desirable neighborhoods. The company’s two other developments, slated for Blagden Alley in Shaw and at 15 Dupont Circle in the historic Patterson Mansion, are still a-go, with plans to begin construction on both this year.

SB-Urban bought the Latham Hotel building in November 2013 for $45.4 million. After the purchase, the company went through a number of hoops, gaining the approval of the Old Georgetown Board and the Board of Zoning Adjustment to renovate the space into a development consisting of 140 units with 330 square-foot floor plans.

SB-Urban’s Mike Balaban told the Current, “At the time we acquired the site, the hospitality market in D.C. was quite depressed, and that has now long since changed,” adding, “It’s now a very strong market that’s very actively being sought by investors and operators from literally all over the world.” On the building’s future, Balaban said, “We think it’s a great site and something great will come of it.”

Le Décor: Cool Off with Cool Blue Tones

As the dog days of summer reach their peak, stay cool with furniture and décor rooted in cool blue tones. Enjoy end-of-summer barbecues with coastal-inspired outdoor furniture. Or add a pop of color to plain walls with blue decorative touches. Not just for summer, these home furnishings will create a cool ambiance all year round. [gallery ids="102274,128205,128229,128224,128193,128219,128213,128235,128185,128199" nav="thumbs"]

Featured Property: 4675 Kenmore Drive NW

July 22, 2015

4675 Kenmore Drive NW

Fabulous new price! Sought after Kenmore Drive offers views high over the treetops in a private, elegant contemporary setting. The masterful design of this captivating home is immediately apparent upon entry. Highlights include a master-suite with sitting area, his/her closets & baths. Exciting interior design: 4 additional BR, 3.5 BA, his/her offices, sauna, swimming pool amid lush landscape.

Offered at $2,400,000

Long and Foster Real Estate
Nancy Itteilag

Woven Coverlets: The Perfect Sleeper

July 16, 2015

Sleeping was a textile-heavy experience in the 1800s. Textiles were a primary component of being able to sleep in a comfortable and warm environment. Beds were designed as fully draped enclosures, with curtains, valances and a coverlet. The coverlet was the topmost covering on the bed.

Until the 1820s, most coverlets were hand-loomed at home. Professionally woven coverlets gained popularity between 1820 and the Civil War — the majority were made between 1800 and the 1880s. Woven mostly by men, who trained as carpet weavers in England and Germany, then set up shops along the East Coast, these coverlets were affordable enough for rural and middle-class Americans.

Imported indigo and madder dyes, and other natural plant dyes, provided the pigment for most 19th-century coverlets. Bloodroot and dogwood produced red, bittersweet yielded orange and butternut bark produced brown. They were often made of a combination of wool and linen called linsey-woolsey — an important fabric in Colonial America due to the relative scarcity of wool. But some were made of bleached cotton.

The earliest coverlets were woven on a rather primitive “four harness” loom, which limited the weaver’s ability to produce complex patterns. The float work or overshot coverlet was woven in one long narrow piece, then cut width-wise and sewn together to make a textile wide enough for a bed.

In the early 1800s, the newly invented Jacquard loom made its way from France. The modernized technology — actually a loom attachment — allowed elaborate, complex patterns and images to be incorporated into coverlets. The coverlet progressed from a purely functional item, used primarily to provide privacy and warmth in early American homes, to one of aesthetic beauty.

These colorful coverlets displayed elaborate patterns, with images of birds and plants, and often the name of the owner and the weaver. Characteristic of many early woven coverlets were their interesting and informative inscriptions, which varied in placement, content and complexity. They could denote the weaver’s name, the location of the loom, the date, a bible verse or political slogan, a commemoration and sometimes the owner’s name. Usually the inscription was woven in backwards and forwards, allowing it to be read from either side of the coverlet.

Both men and women ordered and purchased coverlets. Since comparatively few weavers were women, when a woman’s name is inscribed into a coverlet, it is generally thought to be the owner’s name, not the weaver’s. But if a man’s name appears on a coverlet it could be the name of the owner or the weaver.

The prices of antique coverlets can span from a couple of hundred dollars to several thousand, depending on the design, condition and provenance. Antique coverlets were treasured by families through many generations, and were frequently mentioned in wills and stored for future descendants in dower chests. They are true American heirlooms.
Michelle Galler has been an antiques dealer and a consultant for more than 25 years. Her business is based in Rare Finds in Washington, Virginia. If you have questions or finds, email her at antiques.and.whimsies@gmail.com
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Le Décor: Red, White, and BBQ

What better place than the nation’s capital to host a patriotic picnic — or a red-white-and-booze-filled holiday feast — on the 4th of July? From table settings to outdoor décor, these summer-inspired products will delight your guests this celebratory weekend and on every outdoor occasion, right into fall.

1. You put mint in your cocktail — why not in your candle? This soy wax Mint Produce Candle makes an aromatic addition to any patio picnic table this summer. $24.95, [Paper Source](http://www.papersource.com/item/Mint-Produce-Candle/521307.html)

2. An icy pitcher of lemonade — or, if you prefer, Pimm’s — is all the more delectable in this opalescent glass Miruna Pitcher. $36, [Anthropologie](http://www.anthropologie.com/anthro/product/home-tabletop-dinnerware/C34643262.jsp#/)

3. With plenty of farmer’s markets to choose from in the D.C. area, this adorable ceramic Farmer’s Market Basket lets you serve the fruits of your — or someone’s — labor in a most original way. $20 (large basket),0[ Anthropologie](http://www.anthropologie.com/anthro/product/home-kitchen/20744306.jsp#/)

4. Fresh-squeezed juice and homemade sweet tea taste better when sipped from a Mason jar. These red Jam Jar Juice Glasses will have you coming back for seconds. $19.95 (set of four), [Paper Source](http://www.papersource.com/item/Jam-Jar-Juice-Glasses/520903.html)

5. Keep your drinks and food chilled in style with the wood-coated Castine Cooler. $449, [Ballard Designs](http://www.ballarddesigns.com/castine-cooler/342203?redirect=y)

6. Whether it’s hot dogs and hamburgers or haute-cuisine hors d’oeuvres, this beautifully crafted Resin Tray with leather handles is perfect for all your hosting needs. $325, [Calypso St. Barth](http://www.calypsostbarth.com/resin-tray-with-leather-handles)

7. Without tunes you don’t have a party. This Turquoise Beach Radio, an AM/FM smartphone speaker, lets you play DJ no matter where the party takes you. $49.95, [Paper Source](http://www.papersource.com/item/Turquoise-Beach-Radio/501320.html)

8. With these nostalgic Hot Dog Trays, you’ll think you’re standing in line for the rollercoaster at the county fair. $5.95 (set of 8), [Paper Source](http://www.papersource.com/item/Hot-Dog-Trays/520886.html)

9. Replace your worn-out picnic-table cover with Gingham Plates. Serve your guests on these outdoor-friendly plates, made of sturdy melamine. $26.95 (set of 4), [Paper Source](http://www.papersource.com/item/Gingham-Plates/520881.html)

10. Adding to the light of the evening fireflies, the glow cast by this beautiful trio of Mineral Tealight Holders will inspire your guests to enjoy their sparkle all summer night long. $50, [Calypso St. Barth](http://www.calypsostbarth.com/home/table-top/mineral-tealight-holder-set) [gallery ids="117525,117492,117519,117499,117505,117529,117512,117534,117538" nav="thumbs"]