“Tis the Season in Old Town”

December 12, 2011




Old Town, Alexandria… in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Just giving you a glimpse of how we “do the holidays”  in this quaint little part of the world.  Yes, we do have inflatable Snoopy snow globes and blinking reindeer displays on the “outskirts” of town but in the historic district, the decor is more of the natural variety.




Fresh and dried greens and fruit are used in abundance… think Colonial Williamsburg.




A store window festooned with pine and heather (love this one)



Magnolia, lemons and clove-studded oranges





Clustered green apples play off nicely against a red door



A nautical theme with bleached starfish, shells,  and pine cones




A simple swag of scotch pine and pepperberries



A chartreuse ribbon complements the black shutters




More magnolia love…



Sprayed gold pomegranates




And how sweet is this?


If you are ever in the Washington, D.C. area over the holidays….  Old Town (on the Potomac River) is a short ride on the metro but a nice step back into history (and away from…  the glitter).



Todd Healy



Sweetest Little Things

May 18, 2011

So…. my patient readers,  I’ve got a bit of writer’s block working on a weighty post about “color planes” and contemporary architecture.

In the meantime I wanted to share a few photos of sweet little houses in my neighborhood.  As I’ve traveled across the country and world, I have always chosen to “light”  fairly close to urban centers in older neighborhoods.  Of course, the trade off has always been space.  There were most certainly times when I would have readily traded my slate roof for a house with a garage,  big walk-in closets and a guest room–houses definitely “shrink” as little bodies grow into bigger ones. Yes, McMansions can be great for raising a large brood and some just prefer big. But, I’m afraid that so many of these spaces with their soaring entries and miles of granite, were the visions of developers, not architects– built more to “impress”  rather than to “live” in. Which brings me to my enormous appreciation for the small, more finely crafted “home”.

There is something to be said for scale and a bit of imperfection.  These sweet little houses just beckon you to walk right in and have a cup of tea. Don’t you agree?






Del Ray Artisans

May 7, 2011

I Just returned from the opening of an exhibit at a local gallery here in Alexandria.  The Del Ray Artisans is showcasing the art  of the members of the Art Honor Society at T.C. Williams High School. Just a sampling of the talent there.





Caroline with “Legs”














Maggie and Caroline






The exhibit runs through May 15.  Remember (and support) The Titans!


Old Town, Tulips…Rain

April 18, 2011



Yesterday,  I was fortunate to get a close up look at one the grand houses in Old Town Alexandria dressed up (inside and out) for Historic Garden Week.  The house, built in 1796, has an expansive walled garden, with purple wisteria, Dutch tulips and English boxwoods.  The rain finally let up enough for me to venture outside for a few photos.








The current owner has restored many of the interior details back to their original late 18th century style and has furnished the house with many family heirlooms.  One of the most stunning features is the extraordinary faux-wood graining on the interior shutters, doors and raised paneling.  This graining was painted by  the fifth-generation artisan Malcolm Robeson who was also responsible for the wood graining at George Washington’s Mt. Vernon Estate.





And, of course,  this home is not only loved but lived in by a vibrant and busy young family. I had to smile as I passed through the front hall and thought about how Eddie Ross would have loved this little vignette.  There, on a polished antique table,  next to a silver vase with a gorgeous loose floral arrangement,  was that perfect little “layer of imperfection”- some legos.





Anthropologie, Shoes and HonorJane

April 8, 2011



Three of my favorite things.  Favorite thing #1)   Anthropologie Hard to ignore those dreamy catalogs that appear in my mailbox regularly. And nothing better for inspiration than wandering  through their stores with the feel of some romantic foreign land, chock full of color and dusty bohemian chicness.




Favorite thing #2)  Shoes……..enough said.





Which brings me to favorite thing #3)  Honor and Jane, two longtime friends and uber- talented  home-staging and real estate pros.  I recently helped them tweak some wall colors in  a sweet little house that they were readying for the spring market.  The wall colors were the easy part.  Full credit goes to that duo for packing up two truckloads of furniture and leaving behind a perfectly edited collection of just a few choice antiques, rugs and colorful abstract artwork.   Look at the gorgeous palette in this sweet little rug from Anthropologie– smoky lavender grays, acid greens and touches of pink and red, which inspired the wall color choices for bedrooms and baths.







C2Paint Inuvik Ice, Chameleon, Hydrangea, Puck, Bombay

C2Paint Inuvik Ice, Chameleon, Hydrangea, Puck, Bombay








Don’t  you feel like you’re walking through that store again?  Take me to the…..kasbah.




What do you think? Amazing how much color was packed into that fabulous little Anthropologie rug.




On the main floor of the house, the palette is more subdued, with neutrals playing a supporting role to the owner’s collection of vibrant paintings.  This one is a stunner- by local artist,  Sheep Jones.




More Sheep Jones.



C2 Paint Thatch, Muddy Waters, Turkish Market, Kasbah

C2 Paint Thatch, Muddy Waters, Turkish Market, Kasbah




Kitchen cabinetry was painted out in another C2Paint neutral, similar to the wall color- visually expanding the space.





Sooo, my gift to you for the weekend. A tiny lesson on the power of color in real estate staging (no, you don’t have to paint everything Shell White) and some more images of beautiful rooms to gorge on.  A simple little ode to  Anthropologie, my two very talented friends Honor and Jane and ………shoes.







Enough said.