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Posted by on Jul 28, 2014 | 6 comments

The Art of the Manhole Cover

The Art of the Manhole Cover

Design inspiration is everywhere, even on manhole and underground utility covers. I’ve always loved the one in front of our house decorated with stars. Upon closer look around the neighborhood, I’ve discovered there are several different styles of covers, each with various geometric shapes and patterns. My husband and son thought it was very strange that I was taking pictures of manholes while on a recent walk down Mt Vernon Ave. But soon my son was excited every time he found a new design. He even dubbed this one the Spiderman. The more we walked, the more variations we found — some dappled with spray paint, some coated with a glisten of fresh tar. I couldn’t stop taking photos of each one. We saw two variations of the Alexandria Water Co. cover. Gas meter covers also showed a range of styles. I Googled “manhole cover design” and came up with some beautiful examples of custom manholes from around the world. Look at these amazing manhole covers in Japan and...

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Posted by on Jun 24, 2014 | 3 comments

The Making of a Business: Acme Mid-Century + Modern

The Making of a Business: Acme Mid-Century + Modern

Not everyone has the opportunity to turn a hobby or passion into a career, but Pierre Paret has done just that. What started as a collection of mid-century modern furniture and accessories for his home is now a bricks and mortar shop in the heart of Old Town, Acme Mid-Century + Modern. The story of how Pierre got to this point dates back five years when he took a risk and decided to start selling pieces of his collection at a small dealer booth in the basement of Potomac West Antiques in Del Ray. He was making a decent amount of money at the beginning, but once he was given the chance to display his pieces in the front window, people really started to take notice and sales increased significantly. He was fortunate to secure a permanent spot in the window, plus space on the main floor and in the basement for his continually growing stock. When Potomac West moved down Route 1 and became Evolution Home, Pierre followed...

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Posted by on Oct 15, 2013 | 2 comments

Katie and Andrew’s Autumnal DIY Decor

Katie and Andrew’s Autumnal DIY Decor

For fall decorating inspiration, I checked in with my neighbors Katie and Andrew Moore. Katie is a local interior designer and Andrew is a talented DIYer and together they have created a warm and inviting home mixing sentimental family heirlooms with new and handmade furniture and accessories. As you walk in the front door, you’ll immediately notice the first of three large rooster statues, which belonged to Katie’s grandparents long ago. After her grandparents passed away, the roosters made their way to Katie’s house. She keeps one out all year long, the others make an appearance just for the season. They’ve got a sort of vintage farmhouse chic quality which says autumn to me. The concrete coffee table is one of several pieces Andrew made. Katie loved the version on sale at Crate and Barrel, but didn’t love the price, so Andrew figured out how to make one (here’s more about how he made it). A glass shelf underneath provides extra out-of-sight storage. Another one of Andrew’s projects is this shelf which spells...

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Posted by on Jun 19, 2013 | 1 comment

Small-Space Eco Design with Del Ray Cafe

Small-Space Eco Design with Del Ray Cafe

It’s nice when you find inspiration for your next design or DIY project right in your own back yard. On a recent “home” and garden tour of Del Ray Cafe (DRC), owner Margaret Janowsky showed Leslie and me how they designed and maintain a green landscape at the restaurant, but she also shared a wealth of small-space and eco-friendly interior design projects anyone can replicate in their own homes. First, small-space solutions. It’s been a dream of mine to have bench seating with storage underneath, and furniture like this that pulls double duty is always welcome. You’ll find DRC’s built-in benches in the dining room on the first floor. They also have built-in cupboards on either side of the front windows for storage with a counter in the middle, a simple way to make a breakfast nook out of a small wall. Upstairs, they converted a functioning door into a community message board so local businesses can leave cards. Below, they painted a chalkboard for the day’s specials. If you aren’t one to display...

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Posted by on Nov 8, 2012 | 8 comments

Eric and Beth’s Warwick Village Puzzler

Eric and Beth’s Warwick Village Puzzler

In September we announced a special offer for a DIY Del Ray reader — a 50 percent discount on a 2-hour home design consult with a professional interior designer, Katie Moore of Olios Design. One of the responses we received was from Eric and Beth who say they haven’t had a chance to do anything with the rowhouse they purchased last fall. They wanted help transforming a house decorated with rental relics into a modern, yet comfortable space for them and their 2-year-old daughter Ellie. The consult was an opportunity to talk through their issues and create a plan leading them in the right design direction. Eric and Beth live in a classic Warwick Village charmer. The narrow front entrance leads to an open and airy shared living and dining room. But this wide open space has caused the couple some design confusion. How do they better define the different functions in the space? How can they make it more “mature” and less like a kid’s playroom? How can they get the “put-together” look...

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