Foreign Cash Pumps American Real Estate Market

July 20, 2017 | The Scoop

Foreigners are buying U.S. homes at a record rate, helping push up prices in coveted coastal cities already squeezed by supply shortages. In all, foreign buyers and recent immigrants purchased $153 billion of residential property in the U.S. in the year ended in March, nearly a 50% jump from a year earlier, according to a National Association.


Cafritz Condo Up for Grabs

July 20, 2017 | The Scoop

In July 2009, a massive fire ravaged the Chain Bridge Road home of DC luminary Peggy Cooper Cafritz. Five years later, Cafritz purchased a 5,400 square-foot condo in Dupont Circle, and that unit just hit the market. There are a variety of things that stand out about the two-level residence, not least of which is Ms. Cafritz’s extensive art collection that is prominently featured throughout the unit.

A private elevator opens into the four-bedroom plus den duplex that has an open loft-like floorplan not often seen in DC. In addition to floor-to-ceiling windows and four balconies that offer various views of the city, the home has a large stainless steel kitchen, three parking spaces and access to the building’s rooftop pool, which is available through private reservation.

(Urban Turf)

Arlington Arts Injected with Cash

July 20, 2017 | The Scoop

The Arlington County Board voted to allocate over $200,000 to various art associations and individual artists for Fiscal Year 2018 at its meeting Saturday.

A total of 21 financial grants were distributed, totaling $215,810, with the majority of recipients also being granted the use of county facilities and technical services. Twelve other organizations were granted the use of county facilities and technical services under the so-called Space and Services Grant.


Leticia Santos’ DC Inspired Works

July 18, 2017 | The Scoop

Leticia Santos moved from Sao Paulo, Brazil to the District just two years ago, and was struck by the differences and the similarities between the major cities. Sao Paulo, the most populous city in the Americas, lacks the tropical palette one expects from Brazil, a color palette in which the artist found solace. Instead, it was an urban metropolis coated in grey—not unlike parts of Washington, in fact.

“With all its colorless buildings and corporations, Sao Paulo is known as a grey jungle,” Santos says, as she spoke to DCist from her studio space at Palette 22, an Arlington restaurant that offers a space for artists to create and showcase their work in exchange for a modest commission. Her quaint work nook felt like a haven from the noise and turmoil of Washington. “There’s a feeling of loneliness you get from being in a big city. So it’s good for me to break from that for something that’s not so metropolitan.”

Like so many artists, Santos chose her medium—the traditional mandala painting—as a means of escaping from an uncomfortable state of mind. “I was dealing with a lot of anxiety before I moved here,” Santos says. “People think of mandalas as a natural movement. I started with that motion and these geometrical paintings, and felt the calming effects.”

Her fascination with the mandala has a lot to do with its basis in geometrical symmetry. Before she was painting mandalas, she was drawn to patterns and order. Much of the early work she was exposed to dealt with more abstract representations of geometrical forms. “When I was in Brazil, I was introduced to artists like Miro and Picasso. I had a close friend who made abstract geometric paintings…I started getting familiar with her artwork. I just started sitting in my apartment and making these circular illustrations. It’s the idea of symmetry that attracts me most,” She continues, “I was always seeking some sort of order or perfection in life. Since I couldn’t find that, I started searching for it in the form.”

In D.C., she started seeing this symmetry everywhere—primarily in the historic row houses that define some of Washington’s historic residential neighborhoods. Santos saw intricate patterns in the architectural designs that most residents take for granted, and she incorporated them into her work.

Santos’ recent paintings are a love letter to a colorful, lively city that stands in contrast to the glass office buildings and governmental buildings that most people think of when they think of Washington architecture. Santos stands up for underrepresented buildings, the row houses of Bloomingdale, Mount Pleasant, Petworth, and Columbia Heights that come to life in her work.


GW Brings in the Money

July 18, 2017 | The Scoop

George Washington University has closed the largest campaign in school history, having raised $1.02 billion over the course of more than five years, the school announced Monday.

“Making History: The Campaign for GW” surpassed its $1 billion goal in May, a year ahead of schedule. Nearly 67,000 donors contributed to the final total, with more than 165,000 individual gifts and participation from 42,000 alumni.


Mindy Kaling as Hostess

July 18, 2017 | The Scoop

Mindy Kaling never really considered herself a hostess. “I always thought, ‘I’m just a busy comedy writer,’” the creator and star of Hulu’s The Mindy Project confesses. But filming Disney’s big-screen adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time in New Zealand introduced her to costars and consummate entertainers Reese Witherspoon and Oprah Winfrey. If Oprah has time to throw a Wonder Woman–themed party for 28 ten-year-olds and Witherspoon can arrange her own flowers for a Fourth of July brunch, Kaling reasoned, she could find time to host a party or two. “These grown-up actresses are way busier than me!” she explains. And her new Hancock Park home would be the perfect venue—with a little love.

(Architectural Digest)

Editing It Summer Style

July 17, 2017 | Front Page, jeblog

I don’t usually revive a great blog however, my mother and my sister-in-law were both inspired this week by an article I wrote in July 2016. Soon after I re-read the post I found myself purging and reorganizing everything in my house. I then suddenly realized that this little blurb had done allot to give us all a little push. I hope it inspires you as much as it has us! Aloha from Maui! The Valley Isle where space is a premium and organization is a must. Happy reading!

Summer is here. It’s hot and sticky. Do you feel like every time you turn in your home you are gasping for cool air or a simple clutter free space to just embrace the quiet and peacefulness. Sometimes living in a cluttered home is like shoving yourself into a wool turtleneck sweater in August. How do we solve the situation? Take it off and stop layering! It’s time to get back to basics and live a more minimal and clutter free life. Here are a few suggestions of where to quickly focus when editing the chaos from your home.

•Remove the mail and paper accumulation! We all know how tempting it is to throw your mail on the countertop when you walk in the house from a long day of work. Make your life easy and as soon you walk in the door, sort through the mail. Utilize a small basket or metal bin for incoming bills & new magazines. To help reduce the amount of junk mail, sign up for online bill pay and research online to see how to opt out of mail service at certain companies. Please recycle!

•Edit the shoes. Do you really need all those shoes? Especially the ones at the front door. If they are uncomfortable, covered in dust, molded or similar to a few other styles, clean those shoes up and donate them to your favorite charity. The reality is we most likely end up wearing a select few over and over. Another rule of thumb, if you haven’t worn them in six months – get rid of them. This goes for clothing and socks, too.

•Outdated Unused Electronics need to hit the highway. Tech companies release new electronic devices frequently. If you have an electronic device you no longer use, get rid of it. Make sure you research the proper way of disposing these items.

•Downsize the bed linens and towels. No matter how nicely folded you sheets are, keeping linens you don’t use will take up precious storage space in your closet. Keep it to two sets of sheets per bed. We have only white sheets and towels these days. It was the smartest decision we ever made and it also keeps life and laundry very easy!

•Toys, Toys, Toys. Don’t keep toys your kids have outgrown. Sanitize and donate them, then put away their newer toys in labeled storage bins for a clutter-free look.

•Organize the nightstand chaos. Everything accumulates so quickly on our nightstand. I have glasses, change, receipts, jewelry, books, etc. which begin to pile up so quickly. Here is a great idea utilizing a tray on your nightstand. Find a fashionable tray that is not quite the size of the top of your nightstand. Next, make certain there is room for you lamp to sit on the tray. Lastly, add the essentials. If the remainder of your stuff doesn’t fit into the small tray, get rid of it or find another place for it. Your bedroom is a place for relaxation; you cannot have chaos and clutter preventing you from a peaceful night sleep.

•Clear off the fridge. There should not be magnets, coupons, pictures, schedules, etc. attached anywhere on your refrigerator. Remove all the crazy stuff that sometimes makes to the outside of your appliance. Utilize a shared electronic calendar. Keep the magnetic alphabet letters with the kids play area and feature their “art of the month” in a frame somewhere prominent in your office (rotating it out frequently). Lastly, make certain you don’t have anything on top of the fridge either – mail, mixing bowls, serving trays that don’t fit in your cabinets, etc. Find a home for these things or donate them!

David Brown
Mulberry Seed Design

Protecting Your Home from Afar

July 17, 2017 | The Scoop

You can’t stand guard day and night. But there are ways that you can reduce the risks to your home, even from afar. Here are 10 of them:

CONSIDER A HOME SECURITY SYSTEM If you do not have an alarm system, you are not alone. Only 17 percent of homes have alarms, and those without them are three times as likely to be burglarized, according to the National Council for Home Safety and Security, an industry trade association.

“At the end of the day, home security is very high in importance, but it’s very low on the priority list,” said Lonnie Scher, the owner of Accutronic Security Systems, a residential and commercial security company in Livingston, N.J.

Home security systems do not come cheap. Expect to pay an average of $670 for installation, according to HomeAdvisor. Once you pay the setup fees, a monitoring service will cost around $25 to $40 a month, Mr. Scher said. However, you may be able to get a discount on your homeowners insurance for having one.

SMART HOME SECURITY The market is also flooded with do-it-yourself house-monitoring options like Canary and SimpliSafe, which tend to be cheaper than traditional systems like ADT, but are often less comprehensive.

LiveWatch includes a touch-screen control panel and a smartphone app. It sells add-ons like cameras, garage door openers and smart locks. The system starts at $99, plus $35 a month for the basic monitoring plan.

A Ring video doorbell, starting at $199, alerts you to visitors or package deliveries. Ooma, the internet phone company, sells sensors that detect motion, water and if doors or windows are open. The starter kit costs $130.

LOCK IT UP Cameras and sensors will do little to protect you if you leave a door or window open. An open window provides easy access for not only human intruders, but also pests like bugs and rodents. Should it rain, you could come home to a soggy windowsill and damaged floors. So, at the very least, close the windows and doors.

HIRE A SITTER If you have pets, a pet sitter is a must. Expect to pay around $37 a day for the service, excluding an overnight stay, according to Angie’s List, another home improvement, repair and maintenance site. For pet-free homes, ask a neighbor to water the plants and check on the house every few days. Reward their efforts with a bottle of wine or a gift from your travels.

STOP YOUR MAIL AND NEWSPAPER Nothing says “no one home” like an overstuffed mailbox or a pile of newspapers at the door.


The Fannie Mae Urban Village

July 17, 2017 | The Scoop

A couple of months after a Wegman’s grocer was confirmed for the site, plans for the “urban village” slated for the redevelopment of the Fannie Mae headquarters on Wisconsin Avenue continue to unfold. A portion of the site is up for historic landmark review, and Roadside Development is scheduled to present the concept (as it stands now) to the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) next week. Architect Shalom Baranes Associates and Sekisui House are also part of the team which will transform the ten-acre pentagonal site at 3900 Wisconsin Avenue NW.

While the mid-century E-shaped building at the heart of the site will remain as part of historic preservation, a few more details have emerged about the general layout envisioned. Two vehicular entry- and exit-points will access the site on Wisconsin Avenue and from 39th Street, and there will also be a ramp directly into and out of the underground parking garage accessible from Wisconsin Avenue.

On the lawn along Wisconsin at the front of the site, a community event space would draw inspiration from such sites as Cooper Hewitt in New York and the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Courtyards at the westernmost end of the site, bordering the northern edge and between the prongs behind the “E” building would take design cues from DC’s Cady’s Alley and West Village in the West End of Brisbane, Australia.

(Urban Turf)

Arlington Approves Street Improvement Projects

July 17, 2017 | The Scoop

The Arlington County Board approved a Neighborhood Conservation-funded street improvements project for North Sycamore Street in the Williamsburg neighborhood.

“Through our Neighborhood Conservation program, the community has identified this project as important to them,” County Board Chair Jay Fisette said. “These improvements will make North Sycamore Street a safer street for all who use it.”

The Board voted 5 to 0 to approve a $1.4 million contract with A&M Concrete Corporation for safety and street improvements to North Sycamore Street from 26th Street North to Williamsburg Boulevard. The project will reduce travel lanes from four lanes to two lanes by adding raised medians planted with trees and grass, and will install new curb extensions and accessible curb ramps. The changes will improve pedestrian safety and create a “boulevard” feel for the street.

The lane reduction request was part of the Williamsburg neighborhood’s original Neighborhood Conservation Plan from 2000. In their updated plan, accepted by the County Board in June 2017, the neighborhood reiterated its support for this project.

The project also will include consolidating and relocating several bus stops and improving the storm sewer infrastructure.

(Arlington County)