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Posted by on May 20, 2014 | 3 comments

Chris and Lisa’s Converted “Carriage” House

Chris and Lisa’s Converted “Carriage” House

One of the many interesting things you learn from the Del Ray House and Garden Tour is the history of the homes in our neighborhood. Chris and Lisa’s house — which we first shared in a sneak preview in April — is one of these Del Ray properties with a unique story.


You can’t tell by looking at it now, but Chris and Lisa’s home was originally a quarter of the size it is today. In 1987, a small one-bedroom loft was built onto an existing structure (a garage, or the more romantic term, carriage house) that belonged to the neighboring house on Howell Ave. The garage was torn down, and the small living space was rented out for a period of time before being rezoned as its own residence on Dewitt Ave.


Previous owners expanded the building with a two-level addition in 2005, transforming the petite 750-square-foot space into a modest 1,200-square-foot home.


The house was in move-in condition when Chris and Lisa bought it in 2012. The only changes they made were to the paint colors on the walls.


When you first walk in, you can’t miss the modern kitchen with a breakfast bar for two off to the left.


Throughout the house you notice their sense of humor, love for music and appreciation for local artists.  The wood paneled wall is an homage to some of their favorite ’80s bands.


The wood beam is actually the dividing line for the original building, which was only the kitchen and entryway.


The light yellow walls (Benjamin Moore Chestertown Buff) provide a comfortable backdrop to their eclectic decor.


The entry way leads to another room which serves as a dining room and office. Though the space is divided, it all blends together and feels open, making this an ideal layout for entertaining friends and family.


And it gets even better. Through the dining room, the back door leads to a private brick patio and garden with space for a dining table, fire pit and a grill.


Lisa does all the landscaping herself, mixing flowers and shrubs with wild and whimsical creatures.






Her sense of humor comes alive inside as well with her Alfred Hitchcock-inspired bathroom. Guests beware.




Upstairs you’ll find a peaceful and sunny guest room with en suite bathroom. Both rooms are painted Benjamin Moore Marguerite Blue.




A full wall of windows serves as the headboard in the master bedroom. In the early spring, the mature cherry tree outside makes it feel like you are living in a tree house.


The wall color is Benjamin Moore Split Pea. The painted window on the wall is one of many pieces in the home purchased at the former A Show of Hands where Lisa worked part-time.


And back out front, these roses weren’t in bloom for the House and Garden Tour, but they are looking radiant in the bright morning sun.


The perfect view from Chris and Lisa’s shaded front porch.


Thank you Chris and Lisa for sharing your home with us!


  1. The Cuisinettes thought this was a wonderful post, a fabulous house, and touches of humor superb!

  2. I’m so glad you captured so many of wonderful whimsical, humorous, crafty, and beautiful aspects to Chris and Lisa’s house! It is such a delight, and I’m glad it was on the tour so people could see even more of Lisa’s artistic touches such as the magnificant leaves she painted on the black door. She has a sense of design that’s truly original and extends in every room of her house and garden/yard.

    I’m going to take this opportunity to try to correct the “historical” information which was given in the Tour brochure… clearly innocently picked up from city records. I personally watched this house being built, and the facts are not as described by whoever looked at the city records. This house was built at the same time as the house on the corner. It was a period in Alexandria when one could only build onto an existing structure. No new free-standing buildings were allowed. So the architect who lived in the attached house on Howell built the house on the corner attached to his house. He also built Chris and Lisa’s house onto the back of a garage that sat in front of where the house is now. The garage was similar to the one still present on the adjacent yard. As soon as the house was built, he tore the garage down. It never was on the same space: house and garage (not a carriage house, which is a more romantic term). It was a small house he rented for several years to individuals.

    Originally the bedroom had a loft and didn’t have the back living room, small bathroom, or guest room and bathroom upstairs. That portion of the house was added by another woman named Lisa, who owned the house before the owners previous to Chris and Lisa. Those previous owners had the kitchen cabinets replaced to what now exists. That’s the historical fact, and as a lover of history, I worry when incorrect information is published. We tend to believe whatever is in print! A close review of city records and building permits should confirm my facts. Please forgive my presumption. I’d like to end my comment with a toast to Lisa and Chris… wonderful neighbors and good friends!

    • Not a problem, Renee, thanks for clarifying the history! We made some edits to the text. I used the term “carriage” loosely, as I know there weren’t carriage houses built in those days anymore. I agree it has a more “romantic” ring to it :)

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