Arlington Home Interiors Blog

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. 

 

HOLIDAY MARKETS & EVENTS

Artful Weekend at Fort C.F. Smith Park
2411 24th St N
Arlington, VA  22207
Saturday, November 18, 10am - 5pm
Sunday, November 19, 12pm - 4pm

 

Small Business Saturday at the Torpedo Factory Art Center
105 North Union Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
Saturday, November 25
10am –8pm

 

BAZAART Holiday Art Market
American Visionary Art Museum
800 Key Highway
Baltimore, Maryland 21230

Friday, November 24, 12pm - 6pm
Saturday, November 25, 10am - 6pm

 

Falls Church Holiday Craft Show
223 Little Falls St.
Falls Church, VA 22046

Saturday, December 2, 9am - 4pm
Sunday, December 3, 11am - 4pm

 

Del Ray Fine Art & Fine Craft Holiday Market
2704 Mount Vernon Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22301
Fridays 6-9pm and Saturdays & Sundays 11am-6pm

December 1-3, December 8-10 &  December 15-17

 

Baltimore's Holiday Heap
2640 St. Paul Street
Baltimore, MD 21218

Saturday, December 16, 10am - 5pm

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 Cultural 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!