Arlington Home Interiors Blog

FINDING THE POTENTIAL IN ANY SPACE

Many homes with open space plans featuring the kitchen and family room in the back of the house, have living rooms that are often underutilized. That was the case for this home. Our client joked that their living room had become the sporting equipment room. But we saw a space that was full of beautiful light and lots of potential. It was the first room guests saw when entering the house and we wanted to make sure that it made a big impression.

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Our goal was to totally reimagine the space into a peaceful adult lounge. The clients’ only requirements were to keep the painting, which was a family heirloom and have a place to store books and other family mementos. 

 Photo: Jenn Verrier

Photo: Jenn Verrier

For the palette, we knew that we wanted a neutral background, with some pattern, and burnt orange to connect to the walls in the dining room. We settled on taupe, navy and orange, with a mix of furnishings that conveyed a library meets lounge vibe, including a contemporary Chesterfield sofa, velvet barrel chairs and Shagreen-faced side tables.

 Photos: Jenn Verrier

Photos: Jenn Verrier

A patterned sisal rug adds a casual feel, while keeping the symmetry. Dark moss bookcases frame the entrance; filling the otherwise “what do you do with them” corners, and provide lots of storage and a pretty view from the sofa.

 Photo: Jenn Verrier

Photo: Jenn Verrier

For the final touches, we used a mix of materials – brass, glass, marble, leather, sisal and family-friendly linen & velvet. 

 Photo: Jenn Verrier

Photo: Jenn Verrier

The end result: A quiet place where our clients can escape to read or maybe have friends over for a glass of wine. The space is no longer an afterthought, it's now an actual destination.

Check out our Projects section for more photos from this house!

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CREATING YOUR DREAM HOME CHECKLIST

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I recently found a wonderful post by Ali Wenzke, author of ‘The Art of Happy Moving’ blog, titled “How to Create Your Dream Home”. It was simple, thoughtful and provided me with one of those “aha” moments. Here it is; if you want to make your dreams come true - specifically with your dream home in mind - you need to figure out what those dreams are.  And the best way to start is to make a list. (I love lists!)

First rule with this list – don’t hold back! This is a DREAM list. Let your mind drift to things that make you happy. Forget about being practical, for now. Here’s what my list includes: 

  • I would like an ocean view
  • Would love a personal reading nook
  • I’d love a spa bathroom with an extra large tub for soaking
  • I love turquoise and blue tones
  • Entertaining friends is important to us
  • I want to be surrounded by gardens
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Of course an ocean view isn’t in the cards for most of us but remember this is a dream list! Through the magic of creative design, the feeling of being close to the water can be brought into your home. For example in our house we’ve used color schemes, fabrics, artwork and the addition of a small balcony off our bedroom to create a beach-like retreat feeling (and we’re 150 miles from the coast).  

Having a list of everything that brings you joy will help you re-create it in some form within your physical space. Pin pictures that you like. Rip out pages of magazines for inspiration. Take photos on your phone if you spot something special.  

I love this approach. We’re asking our clients and prospective clients to do this. It’s a great way to start the design conversation. 
 

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DESIGN MAKING A DIFFERENCE

It’s not often that you go to an industry conference and are actually moved – nearly to tears – by a speaker. But that’s what happened when Mark and I had the pleasure to hear Susan Wintersteen, President and CEO of Savvy Interiors and founder of the nonprofit Savvy Giving By Design (SGBD), speak at a recent industry event. Susan gave a passionate overview of SGBD and their mission to provide comfort, support, and healing to families with children facing a medical crisis by transforming their home interiors at no cost to them.  

According to Susan, "most people think when a child is diagnosed with cancer they're in the hospital all the time and spending very little time at home. And actually, the inverse is true."

She explained how the SGBD design team personally meets with each family to learn about their child’s interests, passions, favorite colors and any physical needs before they start their design magic.

Then, they collaborate with their network of contractors and vendors, who often donate or deeply discount their time, services and products. SGBD also shares the family’s story through social media to encourage project donations. All of these volunteer efforts result in one-of-a-kind dream rooms for children in need of happiness and hope. 

Savvy Giving By Design is based in San Diego but they are currently building a nation-wide coalition of designers committed to giving back to children with their talents. SGBD has launched affiliate chapters in Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida and Rhode Island. 

 Video from Savvy Giving by Design's first fundraiser, A Room to Heal, 9/10/16. 

Video from Savvy Giving by Design's first fundraiser, A Room to Heal, 9/10/16. 


For more information on SGBD, including more inspiring stories, videos and ways you can help by becoming a Savvy Giver, visit their website. You’ll be glad you did.

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SPOTTING TRENDS AT HIGH POINT MARKET

 Sofa by Consort

Sofa by Consort

The Arlington Home Interiors team just returned from our annual trek to North Carolina for High Point Market, the largest home furnishings industry trade show in the world. 

With over 2,000 vendors and 75,000 attendees, High Point Market is huge. We spent four full days navigating showroom after showroom, spotting the latest industry trends, seeing new product releases, testing furniture first-hand and connecting with our vendors and colleagues. 

It’s always a challenge to squeeze the High Point Market experience into a ‘best of’ list. There’s just so much good stuff!!! Luckily, it’s a five-hour drive back from High Point to Arlington, so our team uses the time to pull together our notes while everything is still fresh and the excitement level is still high.

Here's a list of the trends we spotted.  

1.) ART DECO RETURNS

 Sofa by CR Laine

Sofa by CR Laine

Sleek lines, glamorous curves, exotic woods and luxurious embellishments - Art Deco is back! I love the details of deco, including; lots of contrast welting, metal plinth bases and channel backs on both sides of sofas and chairs, allowing them to elegantly stand in the center of a room. 

2.) NATURALLY WOVEN EVERYTHING

 Room by Selamat

Room by Selamat

Wicker, rattan, weave, rope - natural woven furniture has definitely left its Boho roots and is showing up in chairs, table accents and lighting fixtures in every style of home.

3.) GLAMOROUS FOUR POSTER BEDS

 Bed by the Robert James Collection

Bed by the Robert James Collection

We’re still swooning over the creative canopy and four poster beds that were featured in all types of styles from traditional to super glam. The picture above is a gorgeous bed from the Robert James Collection in wood, rattan and metal. 

4.) DOGS OVER LLAMAS

 (Left to Right) Universal, CR Laine and Highland House

(Left to Right) Universal, CR Laine and Highland House

Dogs are in. Llamas are out. At least that’s what we were seeing in High Point. Dog art seemed to be all the rage.  (And that's ok with us.)

5.) INDOOR PERFORMANCE FABRICS

This is not the indoor/outdoor fabric of past years – these are soft velvets and chenille, tidy weaves and everything we love in fabrics. Plus, they’re stain resistant, fade proof and long lasting. Now your pets, kids and red wine enthusiasts can enjoy your white sofa too! Manufactures of performance fabrics like Crypton and Sunbrella made an impression at High Point.

6.) SLEEK, ATTRACTIVE RECLINERS

  Chair by Vanguard

 Chair by Vanguard

The days of hiding the recliner in the basement TV room are over! We saw several stylish, streamlined recliners that were as comfortable as their over-stuffed cousins. Here’s a picture of Mark – the unofficial chair-tester of High Point Market 2018 – enjoying a beautiful grey recliner by Vanguard

7.) FIFTY SHADES OF GREEN

Although navy, pink and grey are still showing up in masses, we’re now seeing some sophisticated shades of green. We’re so excited to see shades of jade, olive, kelly and peacock appearing everywhere. We’ll certainly be doing some green rooms this year!

8.) HOORAY FOR POMPOMS

 Throws by India's Heritage

Throws by India's Heritage

A continuation of the California Beach style meets Boho look, pompoms are showing up on throws, pillows and more. Pictures above are some stylish throws from

High Point Market is a massive event but it’s so inspiring. Our whole team returned energized and full of ideas!

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CALIFORNIA DREAMING

Mark and I recently returned from the Design Blogger’s Conference in Los Angeles. It was an exhilarating four days of learning, networking, collaborating and catching a few golden rays of sunshine. Our favorite part of the trip was spending an afternoon in the Melrose Avenue Design District, immersing ourselves in the wonderfully eclectic world of California design.

From super chic, to earthy bohemian to curated obscurities, Melrose Avenue is a design mecca for California cool. Below, we captured a couple of our favorite moments for your perusing.

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At the blogger’s conference, we were excited to meet the superstar founders of Consort Design; Mat Sanders (the stylish gent on the end with the mustache) and Brandon Quattrone (the sharp dressed chap next to Mark).  Mat was kind enough to give us the scoop on the local design scene, telling us that Melrose Avenue was THE design destination. 

Our first stop on our tour was no surprise – it was Mat and Brandon’s store.  Their showroom is set up to feel like individual rooms in a fully decorated home. Mat has described it as “an ever-rotating carousel of design”.  We’re looking forward to the launch of their new furniture line next week. High style. Fresh modernism. We’ll be sure to them at High Point Market next month.

Another favorite stop was Peter Dunham's Hollywood at Home showroom.  The space featured an amazing collection of textiles, wallpaper and wall murals with vintage furniture organized in cozy room settings. His style has inspired me to use more tribal weaves and Mid-Century leanings. 

Here's my take-away list after seeing these cool curated collections; incorporate more vintage, mix tribal patterns and colors, play with focal walls (mural-like wallpaper, fabric on the wall or even large tapestries), lighter woods are definitely back and plants in excess are a must! I’m sure we'll see some of these trending next week at High Point. Even if we don’t, we’ll be seeing them in some of our upcoming designs! 

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EQUALITY MEANS BUSINESS

Arlington Home Interiors has proudly joined Equality Virginia's Equality Means Business (EMB) initiative. EMB provides an opportunity for local business owners to publicly sign a pledge that protects their lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees, as well as affirming that they would never turn away customers or clients based upon their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Click here to view a directory of other small business that have committed to making Virginia a more welcoming place to live, work, and shop. If you have a small business and are interested in becoming a member, sign up is easy.  It just takes a minute to make a difference.  

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YOUR SPRING CLEANING SURVIVAL GUIDE

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Happy almost spring! The sprinkling of warm days recently has provided a much-needed mood boost and a welcome reminder that spring is on the way. While the weather is still a bit cold and damp, why not get a jump on your spring cleaning?

For me, spring cleaning is not just breaking out the Windex and clearing out the dust bunnies. It’s a chance to reorganize, declutter and purge baby purge!  

To help you get started, we’ve created a Spring Cleaning Survival Guide. It includes tips for tidying, a list of organizations for donating household items and – for the truly adventurous – an introduction to a professional organizer! 

Step 1: The Magic Book

I read the The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up a couple of years ago and I have to say the hype is true! Written by Marie Kondo, a Japanese organizational consultant, the book provides a holistic approach to de-cluttering. Keeping things interesting with chapters like "If you're mad at your family, your room may be the cause", it's an insightful and sometimes surprising read. Plus, it's really short book. 

Step 2: Donations That Make A Difference

After you’ve read that magical book mentioned above, you’ll absolutely be ready to purge stuff. Here’s a list of local non-profit organizations that will find a welcoming home for the items you no longer need. 

A Wider Circle: Donate your gently used furniture and household items to A Wider Circle and help families in the Washington, DC area transitioning out of homeless situations. It’s a great organization that’s been recognized by The Catalogue for Philanthropy: Greater Washington as a leading area charity. (Pick-up services can be arranged.)

Community Forklift: If you’re planning an upcoming renovation consider donating your building materials (think counter tops, appliances, lighting fixtures) to Community Forklift. This nonprofit reuse center keeps millions of pounds of building materials from going to waste. (Pick-up services can be arranged.)

Lupus America Household Goods Donation Program: Help benefit the Lupus Foundation of America's research, education and support services by donating your gently used clothing and household items. (Pick-up services can be arranged.)

Step 3: Call In The Pros

If you’re just too busy (or too overwhelmed) to tackle the clutter, consider the services of a professional organizer. In just a few short hours, a professional organizer will assess your needs, put a custom system in place and - most importantly - teach you how to stay clutter-free. I personally recommend C. Lee Cawley and her team at Simplify You – voted the Best Professional Organizer by Arlington Magazine readers in 2018. Our clients love C. Lee for her kindness and great attitude – plus she gets the job done! 

A clean and clutter-free space will reduce your stress, prepare you for any home projects you plan to tackle this year and help you get outside (guilt-free) when the warmer temperatures are here to stay. 

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A SIMPLE (BUT SPECIAL) VALENTINE'S DATE

  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! 

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A STYLISH WINTER ESCAPE

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!

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SLEEK, STYLISH aND FAMILY-FRIENDLY

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

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AHI INCLUDED IN HOUZZ LIGHTING FEATURE

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

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!

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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!!

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AHI OFFICE TUNES VOLUME 1

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!

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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.

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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!