Arlington Home Interiors Blog

A Simple (But Special) Valentine’s Day Date

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Photo: Robert Radifera, Styling: Charlotte Safavi

Photo: Robert Radifera, Styling: Charlotte Safavi

How about a nice and simple Valentine’s Day this year?  Since it falls on a Wednesday, a big night out could be a little hard to pull off. But you can – and should – still celebrate the occasion with your sweetie.  Here are a few suggestions for keeping it both simple and special:

  • Food: No cooking! Tonight it’s Take-out. I suggest Thai.
  • Flowers: Pro tip - Trade Joes has great, fresh flowers. Pick up a bunch or two and put them in your favorite vase. Instant smiles.
  • Candles: Don’t just use your candles for power outages!  Light a few candles, dim the lights and feel the mood change.
  • Music: And for the final touch, we’ve curated Tunes for Your Valentine, the perfect soundtrack for your date night. Just click here and start streaming.

From all of us here at Arlington Home Interiors, we hope have a great Valentine’s Day! 

 

A Stylish Winter Escape

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Just after the holidays, Mark and I really needed to get out of the house – even for just one kid-free night! We decided on Baltimore, still one of our favorite overnight getaway spots.

This time we splurged a little and chose to stay at The Sagamore Pendry. We expected it to be nice but the design details were so inspiring I started taking pictures of EVERYTHING. (Honestly, I went a little design nuts.)

Meticulously (and lovingly) designed by Patrick Sutton Design, the interiors of this waterfront hotel blend historical heritage with a modern and sophisticated aesthetic. 

Rec Pier Chop House

Rec Pier Chop House

The Cannon Room features an actual cannon from the 1600s that was discovered during the hotel's renovation.  The cannon is encased in the glass floor at the bar's entrance.  The room's wood ceiling with its curved steel straps is meant to emulate the inside of a whiskey barrel. The onyx under lit bar was spectacularly dramatic. 

The Cannon Room

The Cannon Room

Our guest room featured wood and fabric paneled walls, floating bedside tables, modern sculptured lighting and textured surfaces everywhere. It felt spacious while still fitting a full bed and a seating area. Plus, the room overlooked the Botero sculpture in the hotel courtyard!
 

Guest Room

Guest Room

Stylish. Romantic. Close to home. This was a picture perfect getaway. Highly recommended!

SLEEK, STYLISH AND FAMILY-FRIENDLY

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Recently, a design-savvy young family asked Arlington Home Interiors to help make their 9,000 square foot new build both sophisticated and intimate. They wanted a modern feel with quality selections, furnishings and floor coverings that would stand up to a busy family and lots of entertaining. They didn’t want to sacrifice style for a kid-friendly house. Our design needed to be modern but not cold. Calm but intriguing. Sophisticated and cozy. Here are some of the design strategies we used to deliver our solution.

FAMILY ROOM

Photos: Robert Radifera, Styling: Charlotte Safavi

Photos: Robert Radifera, Styling: Charlotte Safavi

The family room had a large, long, open floor plan. To break the space down and make it more intimate, we divided it into two “conversation areas.” The first area featured facing 10-foot custom sofas, covered with a durable, textured fabric and anchored in the center with a large, leather ottoman for resting your feet. The second seating area featured two over-sized swivel chairs and a modern glass cocktail table. The chairs allow for TV viewing (with maximum room for family-time snuggling) or can be turned to face the adjacent kitchen area.  A custom-cut, Moroccan-patterned wool rug connected the spaces.

KITCHEN

The plans for the enormous kitchen included two islands; one to use as a homework area and for entertaining and a second with back-to-back sinks for food preparation. To define the spaces, we selected complementary lighting fixtures and chose quartzite countertops for a natural marble look - without the marble maintenance - and to visually connect the surfaces.

DINING ROOM

One of my favorite art pieces is the custom chandelier in the dining room, which features 20 hand-blown glass globes in a variety of neutral hues. Talk about a ‘Wow’ factor! To help the fixture pop, we chose a dark blue-gray accent wall for high contrast and kept the other furniture neutral and spare.

MASTER SUITE

We continued with our neutrals with texture theme in the master suite to create a sense of calm and sophistication. In the master bedroom, I love the glam details of the over-sized, tufted headboard and the Lucite legs on the ottoman. The tray ceiling with uplighting, another custom glass chandelier, and modern fireplace wall adds to the "luxury suite get-away" feeling of the room. 

MASTER BATH

The master bathroom features a spa-sized steam shower, step up soaking tub, and counter space galore. A large ottoman fitted in beautiful indoor-outdoor fabric is perfect for damp locations and further warms up the space. The stone throughout is a cross-cut taupe marble, with stone and glass accents in neutrals and water colored linear tile.  

In the end, we achieved our goal. The furnishings were sleek and modern. The fabrics were textured and tactile. The spaces were interconnected and intimate. Who says big spaces can’t be cozy?

P.S. Want to see more? This project was featured in a beautiful seven-page spread in Home & Design magazine

AHI INCLUDED IN HOUZZ LIGHTING FEATURE

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Arlington Home Interiors (AHI) was hand-picked by Houzz for their recent ideabook 'How to Choose a Dining Table Light'. The article includes helpful tips for lighting selection, scale, placement and installation.

The AHI project that was highlighted was our 'Playful Dining Room', and was selected for the fantastic over-sized pendant. Since this dining room was relatively small, I was looking for a larger statement light. I wanted to bring the viewer’s eye up to take advantage of the high ceilings, and have it be something you could enjoy from the adjoining living room and kitchen. 

Check out the Houzz article for more lighting tips and tricks. Enjoy!

 

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2017 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

Me freezing at the 2017 'Crafty Bastards' fair.

Me freezing at the 2017 'Crafty Bastards' fair.

Whether it’s a Secret Santa with extended family, a White Elephant exchange at the office or a little something for your neighbor, sometimes finding the smaller gifts can be the most challenging. But gift giving doesn’t have to be an arduous process. It’s supposed to be fun! Mark and I enjoy hitting the local holiday markets and craft fairs to look for one-of-a kind items. Last weekend we journeyed to Crafty Bastards, for a fun but freezing field trip. We did find some great art though, so the trip was a success.

Remember, gifts don’t have to be perfect, just thoughtful. When selecting a gift, think of things you enjoy, things that provide comfort, things that make you smile. Adding that personal touch always shines through.

To help you get started, our team has curated a list of our favorite finds from regional artists, crafters, makers and small businesses. We hope our Holiday Gift Guide helps you find something special.

Happy gifting!

EMILY UCHYTIL

Baltimore artist Emily Uchytil creates gorgeous fine art prints of birds, plants, and larger-than-life insects on vintage wallpaper.  In 2011, Emily came across hundreds of rolls of vintage wallpaper in a dusty dance hall in Thomas, West Virginia and the pattern rich wallpaper quickly became her new canvas. These prints are so beautiful I had to buy one as a gift for a certain special someone who may or may not be reading this! 

 

LE VILLAGE MARCHÉ

For Parisian-inspired home décor and gifts, visit Le Village Marché in Shirlington.  Our pick – though it may not sound very French – is the ToykoMilk Dead Sexy Handcreme. Made with Japanese Green Tea, Mimosa Bark, Dandelion and rich Shea Butter – what’s not to love? Plus, you’ll get extra points for the super cool name and packaging! 

 

KINGSBURY CHOCOLATES

Arlington-based chocolatier Rob Kingsbury combines three generations of family recipes to create small batch, made-to-order confections. From peanut butter truffles to French sea salt caramels to Vermont maple popcorn, Kingsbury Chocolates makes delightfully unique sweets. 

 

COTTON MONSTER

Baltimore crafter Jennifer Strunge sews one-of-a-kind, handmade monsters from thrifted clothing and fabric remnants. Jennifer makes each Cotton Monster on her Bernina sewing machine, stuffs them with brand new, super-soft polyester fiberfill and finishes them with hand-stitching - all from her tiny attic home studio. Her designs have been featured by Land of Nod, the stylish children’s décor company. But you don’t have to be a kid to enjoy one of these beautiful soft sculptures!

 

PRINTED WILD

French American designer Eva Calonder, founder of Printed Wild, applies her lovely botanical illustrations to home items, accessories and art prints. The products are handcrafted in Washington DC and the materials sourced are Eco-friendly. She has a wonderful “behind the scenes” glimpse into her work on her site. 

 

SHENANDOAH JOE COFFEE ROASTERS

For the coffee lover on your list, we recommend Shenandoah Joe Coffee Roasters, a small batch coffee roaster in Charlottesville, Virginia. Offering 25 varieties of gourmet coffee – which you can order online – you’re sure to find the perfect bean. We suggest the Eye Opener Blend, a breakfast favorite that combines South American beans with a touch of French Roast. Who doesn’t need a little perk-me-up for those late-night wrapping sessions or that extra early holiday morning? 

 

MIRAJEAN DESIGNS

Arlington-based designer Kate Hougen founded Mirajean Designs 15 years ago with the mission to make homes brighter using artisan textiles, wallpaper and home decor. We love her hand-painted tea towels – especially the Pugs - but we encourage you to browse her entire site! 

 

JON WYE

DC-based Jon Wye and his small team of artists use leather as canvases for creating original designs that combine pop culture and their our own unique influences. From belts to dog collars to guitar straps, you’re sure to find a one-of-a-kind gift for that trend-setting person (or dog) on your list.


 

FEATURED IN DC MODERN LUXURY

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The November 2017 issue of DC Modern Luxury features a fabulous three-page spread of a recent Arlington Home Interiors project - a classic Capitol Hill row house. Our clients were looking for a stylish, sophisticated update for their recently renovated home.

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The challenge with this project was to maximize the flow of the long, narrow main level. We defined the individual areas with custom-cut carpets (with subtly different designs), dramatic lighting fixtures, textured furniture and a sophisticated color palette of deep purples and rich shades of gray. 

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Our favorite items included; the purple art deco chairs with nail-head finishes, the hand-forged dining room table and the original art – both the abstract painting by Richard Schadd in the living room and the client’s cube art by Kaiser Suidan of Next Step Studio in their dining room.

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It takes an experienced team to pull together a shoot this beautiful. We’d like to thank Robert Radifera for the photos and Charlotte Safavi for the styling.

We hope you enjoy the article!

IS IT REALLY THE PERFECT COLOR?

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After looking at dozens of paint swatches, you’ve done it; you’ve found THE perfect color! But before you buy a couple gallons and prep, prime & paint your space - WAIT! Chances are, that color you just fell in love with will look totally different on your walls. And suddenly your ‘Tranquil Sunrise’ looks more like ‘Compost Pumpkin’. Yikes. Well, there’s a simple way to avoid this. Test, test, test.

First, buy a pint of each of your top color choices. (I suggest your top two picks.) Then, paint a two foot by two foot patch of each color on the wall, side-by-side. Make sure to paint in a couple different areas of your space, depending on the natural light in the room. When the paint is dry, you’ll want to see how the color(s) look in both the daylight and in the evening, too. If you find a color on the first try, fantastic. If not, head back to the paint store for another pint and repeat. 

Multiple trips to the paint store can be a pain but repainting an entire room or, even worse, living with a color you don’t love really stinks. Believe me, the extra time and effort you spend upfront will ensure a color you’ll love for years!

P.S. Our favorite wall paint, in most cases, is Benjamin Moore ‘Aura’ (matte). It costs a little more but it’s worth it for  a rich, non-fading, scrub-able color!!

AHI OFFICE TUNES VOLUME 1

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Of course you know how we love to share beautiful images and design ideas each month. Well now with Mark on the team, we’re excited to share the awesome tunes we’ve been humming along to in our office! We hope you enjoy this personally curated playlist featuring songs both old and new – from Bowie to Frankie Cosmos (who’s that?). Click here to start filling your space with the sounds of AHI Office Tunes Volume 1 - we’re anticipating this will be the first of many! Drop us a note and let us know what you think!

MAKING A BIG IMPACT IN A SMALL SPACE

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In Arlington, many of the original homes are small Cape Cods and colonials. And while these charming homes may not have the same square footage as some of their new build neighbors, they offer wonderful reminders that there’s always an opportunity to make a big impact in a small space.

Recently, one of our clients was looking to refresh the dining room in their newly purchased Cape Cod to make the space truly their own. They wanted a kid-friendly space that reflected their love of color and mid-century leanings. So, we went with a happy, modern vibe.

We started with an over-sized pendant for visual impact. Then, we added a beautiful patterned wallpaper above the millwork for character and painted the ceiling to draw the eye up.

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We included a custom-sized woven carpet in stain proof polypropylene to further enlarge the room. Our clients sourced a vintage Scandinavian table and paired it with plastic and metal Eiffel chairs for easy kid clean up. The back of the original china built-ins were painted with a complimentary teal color and styled with pops of orange and white to tie everything together.

The end result was a visually enlarged space with fun and funky details to match our clients’ lifestyle and personality! And as an added bonus, Houzz recently featured this project in the 'Room of the Day' feature.

AHI AWARDED THE BEST OF HOUZZ 2017

We love Houzz. It’s one of our go-to resources for inspirational design ideas and it’s also a great way for new clients to discover us. So it was really exciting when the folks at Houzz reached out to tell us that Arlington Home Interiors was chosen as a Best of Houzz 2017 winner in the Design category!

It’s an honor for us to be recognized by the more than 40 million monthly users that make up the Houzz community. We love sharing our work on the site and we really appreciate it when our clients share their experiences by posting testimonials on our Houzz page.

If you haven’t already, make sure to check out our Houzz page!
 

PLENTY OF ARTISTIC CHARM IN CHARM CITY

This post started as a recommendation for the Matt Sesow exhibit at the Visionary Arts Museum (the best museum ever!!), but once I got started, it was hard to stop so now I have a full overnight Design Date planned for you and your special someone.

Baltimore is one of our favorite locations for a quick romantic trip. It was perfect when our kids were little and we didn’t want to leave them for long with my folks. Now we love it because it’s still charming and it reminds us of when we were younger (not that we’re old!). There’s no place like Baltimore. Lots to list, so I’ll keep it simple.

1.) Visionary Art Museum: 800 Key Hwy, Baltimore, MD 21230 (check site for hours, tickets and current exhibits)

During our visit, the highlights were The Big Hope Exhibit and DC Artist (and friend) Matt Sesow's solo show.

This is a great museum to take the young artist in your life. Lots of eye candy from an over-sized floating pig to a giant head you can crawl inside to experience an amazing sound and light show (my son’s favorite).

Be sure to save time for their one-of-a-kind gift shop!

2.) Fork & Wrench: 2322 Boston Street Baltimore, MD 21224

Self-described as a 'Boutique Dive Bar', Fork & Wrench has amazing farm to table food in rustic industrial meets flea market décor. Delish and great for Instagramming pics to your friends - and perfect for a romantic dinner, of course. 

3.) The Inn at 2920: 2920 Elliott Street, Baltimore, MD 21224

If you plan to stay overnight, I recommend this beautifully designed boutique Inn, that is very serious about being earth friendly. Get a wonderful nights’ sleep in a fun part of town, and try something different from big chain hotels on the waterfront.

4.) Su Casa for Home Decor: 901 S. Bond St Fells Point, MD 21231

And the weekend isn’t complete without browsing for a little something for your home to bring back. It's a great place for unique gifts. Lots of wood and mixed metal pieces.

For even more design date ideas, be sure to join our mailing list to receive our high-content, no fluff monthly newsletter, “Stories From Home”, full of decorating tips and local deals and resources!