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Posted by on Jun 6, 2013 | 4 comments

Danielle and Casey’s Eco Modern Rowhouse, Part 2

Danielle and Casey’s Eco Modern Rowhouse, Part 2

Danielle bought her rowhouse in 2001 with the full knowledge that she was getting a fixer, and by fixer we’re talking a hole in the roof, no air conditioning, no heating, and no hot water heater. She’s put her all into restoring the house over the past 12 years, many with help from her now-husband Casey. In Part 1 of our home tour of Danielle and Casey’s rowhouse, we revealed their outdoor updates — a water catchment system and underground cistern, rooftop garden, shed, and beautiful landscaping that makes use of many low maintenance and native plants and trees. Today, in Part 2, we take you inside and show you the amazing progress she and Casey have made. In this three-part series, we’re saving the “worst for last” because in Part 3, we’ll tell you all about Danielle and Casey’s trials and tribulations (there were some doozies) and lessons learned. This is the before photo of the front room with its solid staircase, but obviously subpar flooring. Danielle and Casey use...

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Posted by on Jun 3, 2013 | 3 comments

Beautiful Bounty: Evening Star’s Rooftop Garden

Beautiful Bounty: Evening Star’s Rooftop Garden

What do you do when you don’t have enough space for a garden? If you’re like the Evening Star Cafe in Del Ray, you head up to the roof, taking advantage of wide open sun and space. Since late last year, the Evening Star has operated a full-sized rooftop garden, growing unique varieties of herbs and vegetables to serve in the restaurant down below. I met with Evening Star’s chef Jim Jeffords and chief carpenter/gardener Jonathan Stark to learn more about this bountiful endeavor. When the Evening Star remodeled their interior at the end of 2011, all the restaurant staff were paid to help with the project. Jonathan had been working as a server and during the remodel, his talent as a carpenter and gardener shone. He’s now their full-time handyman and is the force behind the 400-square-foot rooftop garden as well as the raised beds and trellis at the Front Porch, the casual summertime alfresco dinner spot on the restaurant’s adjoining patio. Construction on the garden happened in August...

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Posted by on May 23, 2013 | 3 comments

Danielle and Casey’s Eco Modern Rowhouse, Part 1

Danielle and Casey’s Eco Modern Rowhouse, Part 1

While renovating their Del Ray rowhouse, a decade-long labor of love (and a fair amount of agony, they’d be the first to admit), Danielle and Casey embraced a modern and environmental design inside and out. The result is beautiful, eco-friendly, and just plain cool. For Part 1, we’ll tour the green design elements on the exterior of Danielle and Casey’s home. Danielle explained to us how she and Casey “wanted as low a carbon footprint (and water runoff footprint) as possible.” Danielle works for the Environmental Protection Agency and won the 2013 Ellen Pickering Environmental Excellence Award. She says “she felt very much the need to walk the walk on building sustainably.” Their design, she added, is “centered on the desire to be as energy and water efficient as we could afford to be.” Let’s look at the front yard. When Danielle bought the house in 2001, the yard was, in the most generous terms, “a blank slate.” Doesn’t look like there’s a single shrub or plant. It’s hard to...

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Posted by on May 22, 2013 | 2 comments

It’s Rain Barrel Season

It’s Rain Barrel Season

Del Ray is rain barrel central. It’s hard to walk down a block without seeing a barrel — some even blend into the landscape of the house, their style equal to their function. Leslie already has a barrel, and I am happy to report I have finally joined the rain barrel club. Rain, bring it on, I am ready for you! Through a garden listserve, I heard about a company called District Garden that has a unique rain barrel system which doesn’t involve the typical method of cutting your downspout. Intrigued, I set up an appointment with the owner Ben for an install. (I’ll show you here how it all works, but if you are interested in having a rain barrel installed, keep reading below for details about a discounted rate we’ve coordinated for local DIY Del Ray readers which you won’t want to miss!) On most of the rain barrels I have seen, the home’s downspout rests on top of the barrel. If you don’t have an overflow tube...

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Posted by on May 16, 2013 | 2 comments

Monique’s Woodsy Backyard Retreat

Monique’s Woodsy Backyard Retreat

Monique’s backyard is tucked away behind her Del Ray rowhouse, a woodsy retreat, with a gate boasting a welcoming wrought-iron sunflower. And if you need to announce your arrival, you can pull the chain on the bell adjacent to the door. Once inside, you feel you’ve left the city and entered a serene and artistic oasis, decorated tastefully with a collection of bells, wind chimes, and statues. Just inside the gate, a lilac bush gives off a deliciously floral scent. Here is another dignified sculpture that I’m sure is even more arresting against a backdrop of vines in full bloom. (Our visit occurred early in the spring season.) In the far right corner, Monique has created a pleasant seating area.  The meandering borders and the bench on an angle tricks you into thinking the garden may be larger than it is. A whimsical mobile hung high helps to break up the view between Monique’s back fence and the apartment building just behind her. One of the most unexpected and...

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