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Posted by on Mar 15, 2017 | 1 comment

Cabin Camping in Shenandoah

Cabin Camping in Shenandoah

This past weekend, my family took a trip to a primitive cabin outside Shenandoah National Park, one of many cabins owned and operated by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC). Despite really cold temperatures, we had a great time and enjoyed slow-cooked meals, games played by candlelight and peace and quiet away from cell phones, Internet and other modern distractions. We left Alexandria on Friday afternoon and hiked 1/2 mile up a steep trail to Morris Cabin. My kids had never been cabin camping (or camping at all for that matter) so I was a little nervous how they would handle it. Fortunately, as soon as they saw the cabin from the trail, they were instantly in awe and couldn’t wait to get inside. The cabin, built in 1927 by Wayman Morris, has four rooms: a kitchen/dining room, living room, separate bedroom and a sleeping loft. It’s primitive, meaning it has no electricity or running water, but it has everything you really need. Since it was so cold, we...

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Posted by on Jan 27, 2017 | 0 comments

Studio Tour: Painter Remy Lavelle

Studio Tour: Painter Remy Lavelle

You are bound to meet Remy if you’re in town and find yourself in UpCycle Creative Reuse Center (CRC) in Alexandria, where she is store manager. Remy is a recent graduate of the Corcoran School of Art & Design. When she invited us out to her studio for a tour, we were eager to see her finished work and works-in-progress. Remy mainly works in oils and acrylics, but also mixed media to add texture and to accentuate the deeper meaning in her work. “I try to recreate a memory that will fade in time,” she says. “This is an attempt to document my own memories with respect to the memories of objects that came before me. Through the simple act of stitching, knotting, and applying paint, I attempt to weave these materials together in a way that respects them and the time we share together.” Since graduating, Remy’s work has evolved to a more sculptural surface. She’s working on new work in her studio that is more layered, constructed...

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Posted by on Jan 12, 2017 | 1 comment

Mary’s Del Ray Remodel Part 2

Mary’s Del Ray Remodel Part 2

Last year we took you on a tour of a house in dire need of major renovation. The ugly duckling house left little to be desired, but Mary Denby of MHD Builds saw past the dingy peach exterior and dilapidated interior. Nine months later we’re back to give you an update on this massive makeover project. Unfortunately, luck was not on the ugly duckling’s side. During demolition, it was discovered that the foundation and walls were too unstable and sadly the house that was to be renovated is now no more. But, the story is not over yet. Mary still believes. She has already designed a new house to rise where the ugly duckling once stood. Located on a deep lot, steps from Mt Vernon Ave., the new home will boast over 3,000 s.f. of living space on three levels, five bedrooms and 4 bathrooms. She envisions the new house will look something like this: Permits are in place but construction has not begun because Mary is planning to...

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Posted by on Oct 18, 2016 | 1 comment

The Canel Family’s Modern Backyard Guest House

The Canel Family’s Modern Backyard Guest House

We first met the Canel family when their home was a stop on the 2014 Del Ray House and Garden Tour. Their handsome farmhouse, completely renovated with personal touches throughout, was a standout on the tour. But the Canels had more in mind for their home. If you were lucky enough to participate in the 2016 tour, you got to see the unexpected structure in the backyard. Just this past year, the Canels finished building a modern guest house/office/garage, the work of architect Robert Larson of Larson, Koenig, Hendricks and interior designer Lindsay Boudreaux of Shotgun Double, LLC. The style is completely different from the main house, but it’s complementary and we were thrilled to get a second private tour. The Canels love to throw big parties – they often set up another long table on the patio – so it’s great when they can use their outdoor kitchen, which also now serves as a convenient spot for kids to fill their Nerf spray guns. The main living room...

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Posted by on Jul 19, 2016 | 1 comment

Scenes from the 2016 Del Ray Urban Farm Tour

Scenes from the 2016 Del Ray Urban Farm Tour

This past Saturday, we held our second Del Ray Urban Farm Tour, traveling by bike to seven backyard gardens and one community garden in the Del Ray neighborhood. We met some pretty amazing gardeners, all who grow a sizable amount of food in their own yards. Here’s how the day went: The tour started at 9 a.m. at the top of Mt Ida where neighbors Catherine and Lauren (whom we featured last year) showed us what’s growing in their shared garden space — it gets bigger and better each year. They had a pepper tasting, gave away extra canned goods and answered questions about the enormous amount of vegetables they grow. Next, the crew road down Russell Road to Alex’s terraced front yard garden, proving yes, even if you live on a sloped yard, you can have a successful vegetable garden. Alex’s garden spreads around the side and back of her yard as well, with perennial flowers, fruit trees and an intricate watering system. Our third stop was Kay’s...

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