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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Home"

Learn how to make a floral arrangement from expert May Bernhardt

Westlake Legal Group Floral-Arrangements Learn how to make a floral arrangement from expert May Bernhardt Things to Do Features Things to Do reston Home & Design Home flowers Floral Arrangments Flora Swing Dress Events Art
Photo by Artsy Vibes

Take one look at current trends and it’s easy to see that floral patterns and decorations are still having a moment. But what about making those decorations with some beautiful blooms yourself?

We’re not talking about Pinterest, although DIY is always encouraged. Rather, May Bernhardt of Mayflowers Floral Studio in Reston is hosting A Journey of Art through Flowers: Monet to Manet, where attendees will learn more about both of the artists’ distinct styles and how to translate them into their own floral creations.

The class, being held on July 18, is part of a series hosted by Bernhardt where she offers 90 minutes of instruction and guidance on flower selection and arrangement.

The previous theme for a similar class in June was also inspired by classic painters, Bosschaert, Renior and Rembrandt, and displayed how Bernhardt adapts their characteristics into her floral work.

Supplies and flowers are provided. For more information or to register, visit mayflowersreston.com. // Mayflowers Floral Studio: 11959 Market St., Reston Town Center on the Promenade, Reston; 6:30-8:30 p.m.; $250 per person

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Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Here’s what you need to know about building outdoor kitchens at your home

Westlake Legal Group Outdoor-Kitchen-FEATURE Here’s what you need to know about building outdoor kitchens at your home outdoor kitchens outdoor kitchen Home & Design Home exterior design design cooking
Photo by Andrew Itaga

It’s grilling season.

As the temperature warms up outside, parties tend to linger into the night as guests gather on the patio rather than in the kitchen. So, why not bring your cooking expertise outdoors with more than just a charcoal grill?

We spoke with Bob Berriz of Fairfax-based Berriz Design Build Group about what it takes to make a great outdoor kitchen, and why you should be dreaming of having one. Find highlights from our conversation below.

What’s the first thing you should do when you’ve decided that you want an outdoor kitchen?
There are a couple things I would consider. First, what’s your entertaining style? Is this really for just two of you to have a little something outside, or do you have people over often and you’re looking to entertain people at a grander scale? I would also ask yourself (and be honest with yourself) about what time of year you like to spend outside. I’m the type of person that if I have to shovel a path to my grill, I will. An option is to have an outdoor kitchen with a roof overhead so you can use it during inclement weather. That way, you’re able to sit outside and have it be more comfortable for long-term use. Plus, you can also have outdoor heaters installed, too. Lastly, I would consider what you would like to cook outside. We have done plenty of projects with pizza ovens, warming drawers, outdoor refrigerators and even beer taps.

What should people consider when they are in the designing process?
There are a lot of moving pieces. We usually start with the grill as the main point and then work our way out from there into the staging area. Consider what types of materials you would like to use for the kitchen itself and its structure. Is there going to be a countertop? What kind of storage are you looking for? Do you need drawers and places to store your utensils and other tools? What about an outdoor sink? Also, you always want to consider its proximity to the house and what materials the house is made of. You wouldn’t want to get too close to vinyl siding.

Is there anything you’ve noticed that’s a trend in 2019?
People are looking for all of the bells and whistles. Fridges have become very popular and the hybrid grills are also very popular. Those allow someone to grill in multiple ways such as charcoal and wood, or gas and wood and so on. A lot of people want to be able to cook in those different ways because there are different benefits to each. Grilling with gas is practical but grilling with charcoal just tastes so good.

How much should someone expect to invest in an outdoor kitchen?
A starting point would be around $15,000, that would get you about an 8-foot-long area where you have your grill, plus room for a bit of a counter on each side, the bases and the gas. Plus, if you’re putting in the money, you really want to get the top-of-the-line appliances. If something happens to a less-expensive grill, rather than just getting it fixed, you’re having to replace the whole grill, not to mention they don’t come in standard sizes like, say, the dishwasher in your indoor kitchen. You would have to find one that fit perfectly back into that space. The best ones I can suggest are Kalamazoo outdoor grills, as well as the more well-known Viking brand and Lynx. Now, if you’re looking at a full outdoor kitchen with a roof and everything, you’re looking at $50,000 to $100,000. That could include anything from a stone deck, ceiling fans, gas heaters, a refrigerator, a smoker, lights and even an outdoor fireplace.

And if you could build your dream outdoor kitchen, what would it be?
I actually have a pizza oven and we love it. But I would also have a hybrid grill and refrigeration. You can’t go wrong with those.

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Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Home tour: A look inside a Falls Church couple’s Eastern Shore getaway

Westlake Legal Group sun-room Home tour: A look inside a Falls Church couple’s Eastern Shore getaway vacation home vacation travel summer house Summer interior design Home & Design Home design Decoration decor beach house
A shapely pair of textural woven Palecek chairs (far right), with embracing rounded backs, pull up to a durable and elegant Crypton upholstered sofa in the sun room. The marble cocktail table is finished in a contrasting grey. (Photo by Robert Radifera)

We both have busy jobs and travel a lot for work, so our St. Michaels home has become our summer sanctuary. It’s the special place where we spend weekends together, and host our family and friends,” says homeowner Jennifer Aument, when speaking of the getaway she purchased with her husband, Andy, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore in 2018.

The couple, whose primary residence is in the Lake Barcroft neighborhood of Falls Church, did not intend to do much in the way of remodeling the four-bedroom, 2,100-square-foot home overlooking the Miles River, but they did want to furnish it, and who better to turn to than Arlington-based interior designer Liz Mearns, who had worked on their primary residence?

Westlake Legal Group living-room Home tour: A look inside a Falls Church couple’s Eastern Shore getaway vacation home vacation travel summer house Summer interior design Home & Design Home design Decoration decor beach house
A leather ottoman from Restoration Hardware is a place to put ones’ feet up in the intimate sitting area created in the same space as the dining area. The carpet is by Momeni. (Photo by Robert Radifera)

“They wanted to create a welcoming, casual space for relaxing and entertaining,” says Mearns of her returning clients. “What we had to work with was the open floor plan, the natural light streaming in and, of course, the views.”

To which, Jennifer adds, “It was important to us that the beautiful Miles River remain the focal point. For Liz to design a clean and simple space that maximizes—not competes—with the view.”

Mearns began with some spatial reorganization. Previously, the dining room was long and awkward, eating up half the main living floor plan. By breaking that into an intimate dining area, as well as a cozy sitting area by the fireplace, Mearns created both interest and two user-friendly spaces within the footprint.

Westlake Legal Group kitchen-table Home tour: A look inside a Falls Church couple’s Eastern Shore getaway vacation home vacation travel summer house Summer interior design Home & Design Home design Decoration decor beach house
Serena & Lily woven dining chairs and the Currey & Company chandelier are a riot of textures. The table is from Random Harvest and is extendable for larger gatherings. (Photo by Robert Radifera)

“Adding this impactful oyster chandelier above the circular dining table really helped define that space. It also set us on the coastal—yet sophisticated and not too cliché—design direction of the home,” she adds.

A pair of oversized sconces on either side of a custom-commissioned piece of art also help anchor the dining niche. The adjacent sitting area is simply furnished with a white sofa in a high-performance fabric and a tan leather ottoman, along with a reading armchair in a blue-and-white tribal linen print.

Westlake Legal Group outdoor-table Home tour: A look inside a Falls Church couple’s Eastern Shore getaway vacation home vacation travel summer house Summer interior design Home & Design Home design Decoration decor beach house
Dear Keaton armchairs surround a wood trestle-based table on the deck outdoors, the perfect spot for al fresco meals. (Photo by Robert Radifera)

“Our palette is blues and whites, with the warmth of tan leather throughout, as well as touches of corals and pinks,” says Mearns of the home, which relies on natural textures, like rattan, seagrass and jute, as much as it does on color.

The sunroom, which opens onto a furnished back deck, has plenty of seating for when family and friends visit, to enjoy the river views. Again, lighting is used to create spatial definition, as well as a rug underfoot.

“The one thing Liz and I agreed we wouldn’t compromise on is comfort, as St. Michaels is the place where Andy and I can let everything go and relax. We filled the house with deep white couches and soft throws, worn leather chairs and benches and dining chairs that encourage guests to linger long after dinner is over,” says Jennifer.

Westlake Legal Group foyer Home tour: A look inside a Falls Church couple’s Eastern Shore getaway vacation home vacation travel summer house Summer interior design Home & Design Home design Decoration decor beach house
A West Elm-rimmed mirror and a slim brass table define the foyer entry. The master suite is visible to the left. (Photo by Robert Radifera)

A military brat, who spent summers with family in California, Mearns naturally leans casual and comfortable, rather than fussy and traditional, and this project was especially fun for her to work on.

“I loved bringing my version of coastal style to it,” she says. “We wanted the decor to feel like you were on the water, without being too theme-y; a coastal that is cozy and inviting, with touches of modern,” she adds.

Some of the coastal scenery is reflected directly in the huge mirror propped against a wall in the main living area; it’s flanked by framed boat photographs paying tribute to the Auments’ love of water and sailing.

Westlake Legal Group kitchen-bar Home tour: A look inside a Falls Church couple’s Eastern Shore getaway vacation home vacation travel summer house Summer interior design Home & Design Home design Decoration decor beach house
Mearns paired Ballard Design counter stools with a Crate & Barrel reclaimed wood island. The island features a custom stone top. (Photo by Robert Radifera)

The kitchen, which is located at the front of the house, proved the largest design challenge, as it felt dated, with a cumbersome island in it.

“We decided to play up on its limited natural light and go dark and moody, like water at night,” she says. “We also eliminated the built-in island in favor of a smaller distressed wood one that felt more coastal-casual.”

Adding art, textured seating around a farmhouse table and a playful rope chandelier went a long way toward giving this tilitarian room its cozy feel.

Westlake Legal Group bedroom Home tour: A look inside a Falls Church couple’s Eastern Shore getaway vacation home vacation travel summer house Summer interior design Home & Design Home design Decoration decor beach house
The master bedroom features Lee Industries swivel chairs (left), with metal legs, in a Dwell Studio cut velvet in blues. The indigo blues are picked up in accent pillows on the bed. (Photo by Robert Radifera)

Mearns also designed the home’s bedrooms in that similarly thoughtful, yet carefree, coastal style, creating spaces where guests feel at home and on vacation at the same time.
Throughout, furnishings, whenever possible, were sourced locally, as that was important to the Auments, who have come to love their St. Michaels getaway.

“The house really strikes the perfect balance for us between entertaining and relaxing,” says Jennifer. “It’s the kind of warm and open space that invites friends to gather around the kitchen island for a drink, or makes it possible to curl up alone on a couch or daybed and enjoy a good summer read.”

This post originally appeared in our July 2019 print issue. If you’re interested in reading more Home & Design content, subscribe to our weekly newsletter. 

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Mind the fluff: Alexandria-based textile artist Bonny McMahon talks custom-design pillows

Westlake Legal Group sideways-pillows Mind the fluff: Alexandria-based textile artist Bonny McMahon talks custom-design pillows Textiles pillow local makers interior design home decor Home & Design Home furnishings design Boxwood
Photo courtesy of Bonny McMahon

Designing the inside of a house is challenging, as there are many minor details involved to truly make the site a home. You have to find the right color scheme, the most comfortable furniture and, of course, pillows to tie the given room together. 

Bonny McMahon, a furnishings and textile artist whose work is sold in Alexandria’s Boxwood, has been designing, sewing and painting for years. Here, she shares what people in NoVA should know about incorporating the right pillows into your home. 

What initially inspired you to start designing pillows?
My parents are both very detail-oriented, and my mom was a maker of textiles and my father was a wood maker. That translated to me. I definitely have that curiosity of, ‘How can I make that?’ when I see something. Sometimes it’s very successful and other times it’s a disaster, but it’s so fun, I love doing that. That’s why custom work is so fun; you’re figuring someone out. You’re trying to translate their style into a textile by bringing elements together. It’s fascinating and all about discovery. 

I also think I segued into textiles from, initially, design work that I had done in furniture and different types of housewares. I have a preoccupation with patterns or the nuance of color, or depth and transparency of color. I see it in buildings or stone or glass. So, to be able to translate that into something like a pillow that can be utilized in any room, in any season, change as your mood changes, it’s wonderful.

What home trends have you noticed here in Northern Virginia that are prevalent in the summer season?
There’s always the nautical vibe in our area, which is traditional this time of year. I think people are very interested in local makers because they want a reflection of where they live in their homes. For example, I get empty coffee sacks from Micha’s and make those into an ottoman or pillow, and that kind of becomes full-circle, in that we are collaborating with another local place for it to be used locally.

With colors, right now burnt orange is very hot, as well as mustard yellows. Bright tones like pinks and brighter blues. It’s kind of like the temperature: when it’s hot, it’s reflected in the fabrics people ask for. Then I bring that back to Earth with classic navy or ivory, to ground everything, so nothing looks too bold. 

Westlake Legal Group pillows Mind the fluff: Alexandria-based textile artist Bonny McMahon talks custom-design pillows Textiles pillow local makers interior design home decor Home & Design Home furnishings design Boxwood
Photo courtesy of Bonny McMahon

What’s it like transpiring someone else’s ideas into a final product for their home?
People definitely have a specific color in mind or patterns that they’ve used before, so a pillow could echo a theme they already have in their home. Or sometimes they have a color story and they don’t know what theme they want. So in that instance, it’s important to get to know clients and find what idea they’re going for. That’s the strength of Boxwood, when people come in we have conversations with them so I can understand what people like and what they are looking for… You have to understand what people want. It helps me to know exactly what they want, too, because then I can expand my own personal taste. 

How do you recommend people incorporate pillows throughout their homes, especially in the summer?
It has to go along with how they live. Part of what’s important in our area is good design that’s practical. That may be because you have a house that has kids and dogs, so you want it to always look put together but the fabric has to reflect your ability to wash them or wipe them down. Many people here have boats, and they want a pillow that is comfortable and beautiful, which can be a navy-and-white theme but it’s in canvas, so they can throw it in the washing machine. The combination of luxury fabrics and colors has to go along with being practical. You can definitely have both. In terms of putting that into your home, what you can put in a living room, you can also put in another room as seasons or needs change. As you have children or change careers, you’re able to change around your look. I think the most important thing is that it reflects who each person is.

The staff at Boxwood leads various workshops on a regular basis, in crafts including floral arranging, as well as tassel and pillow making. This month, McMahon will be leading a bead workshop on July 18, at 6 p.m. and a junior pillow workshop on July 25, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. // Boxwood: 128 S. Royal St., Alexandria, prices vary

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Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Moving to a new place soon? Do it the eco-friendly way.

Westlake Legal Group MOVING-FEATURE Moving to a new place soon? Do it the eco-friendly way. real estate moving tips moving Home Resources Home green tips environmentally friendly eco-friendly
© seventyfour / stock.adobe.com

Northern Virginia tends to be a transient place for thousands of workers each year. Apartment leases expire, the moving truck backs in and a family can be off to a new place in no time. But whether you’re coming or going, or just moving around within NoVA, moving is always stressful.

On top of it all, the process of moving can have a not-so-great impact on the environment (boxes get thrown out, the amount of gas moving trucks require, etc.).

It might not be a priority compared to the task of packing everything you own, but the eco-friendly alternatives can leave you in better shape in the long run by saving you time, space and money (and maybe earning some too!).

Here are some tips that can keep your moving process smooth and environmentally friendly.

Time to let go

Start by going through your items Marie Kondo-style. Try to see your belongings from a new perspective and arrange them into what you need and want to keep, versus what you never use.

Gift: There is quite a bit of fun involved with going through all of your items, seeing what you no longer need and handing it over to a friend who will appreciate it. Take those items and give them over to people who you think will take good care of them, and you’ll be doing the environment a favor by keeping items that are still in great condition out of the landfill. Virginia alone contributed 13,551,944.22 tons of waste into landfills in 2017. Don’t throw it away—give it away (without wrapping paper either!).

Sell: Most of the items you don’t want to take with you most likely have value to someone else, albeit not the value you paid for them, but still, yard sales are worth considering before your move. Not only will locals stop by to pick up your unwanted furniture and other items, you’ll also fill a fanny pack with cash for variable expenses bound to come up in the future. (With a little extra time and planning, you could average $500 to $1,000 as a profit). Also, consider consigning larger items if you feel that would be the most convenient option to get rid of old furniture or collectible items.

Donate: Another great option it to take unwanted items to your local donation centers. There are a few items that they won’t take (no large appliances, cribs or personal items) but otherwise, your loss is their gain, and this time it has two beneficial causes: it’s eco-friendly by letting it be reused, and the profits that the donation center makes can go to great causes. Here are a few places to consider.

Pack it up

When you think of all of the packaging that goes along with moving, it could fill a dumpster in and of itself. Plastic wrap, bubble wrap, cardboard, the list goes on. Here are a few packaging tips and services to keep in mind.

Use what you have and start packing things with towels, blankets and newspaper. Not only is it environmentally-friendly by not contributing more plastic waste through bubble wrap and Styrofoam, it is also safe for your fragile products by offering them a cushion if they get rattled around in the moving vehicle, and you’re taking the towels along anyway.

Swap your cardboard boxes for plastic bins. Unlike cardboard boxes that often get torn open and only recycled 25% of the time, plastic bins can be reused for storage purposes and other moving families, not to mention they’re more durable and (almost) weatherproof.

In NoVA, several moving companies offer the eco-friendly option of renting boxes that are sturdy and packable, then allow you to return them when you’re all moved in at your new location. Lend a Box, a company devoted to eco-friendly moving and rentable equipment  has locations in Chantilly, Arlington and Reston; Bungo Box has a location in Vienna (and several more around the country); and The Gentle Giant Moving Company offers biodegradable packing products, such as foam peanuts and bubble wrap if you’re still in the market for them.

Lastly, use bags, suitcases and bins that you already have to pack. Suitcases, duffel bags and backpacks can carry clothing, soft items and miscellaneous things, which can lessen the amount of storage bins needed, and save space in the moving vehicle.

And they’re off!

Despite the amount of waste that can be generated from a move, one of the largest impacts on the environment is the method of travel and the amount of time spent on the roads. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, transportation (including large freight vehicles, cars and trucks) accounts for roughly 29% of total U.S. greenhouse emissions. That’s why there are a few things to consider when moving all of your belongings.

Make sure you’re being conscious in terms of storage needs, and try to minimize the amount of vehicles or trips used to transport your items. By using more fuel-efficient cars rather than larger trucks, greenhouse gas emissions can be lessened and therefore have less of an environmental impact.

Ask your moving company if they have rentable vehicles that use biodiesel fuel. Although it might not be as common of a feature, if you must use a large moving van or truck for your relocation, biodiesel is safer and cleaner than petroleum diesel.

For more home stories, design recommendations and moving tips, subscribe to our weekly Home newsletter.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Love sports? Here’s the classy way to decorate your home with memorabilia

Westlake Legal Group sports-display Love sports? Here’s the classy way to decorate your home with memorabilia sports memorabilia Sports Lauren Leiss interior design interior decorating Home & Design Home decor
© Mirko / stock.adobe.com

In the Washington, DC and Northern Virginia region, we don’t have a shortage of professional sports teams to cheer for. There’s the Caps, the Redskins, the Nats, the Wizards, D.C. United. The list goes on.

You’re probably a fan of at least one of these teams, and like many devotees, may have sports memorabilia, like an autographed ball or jersey, that you feel pride in and want to display in your home. While sports memorabilia is usually confined to the basement’s or man cave’s walls, there is a way to spread it out throughout your home without looking tacky. We spoke with Great Falls-based interior designer Lauren Leiss (who has her own HGTV show, Best House on the Block) to get her expert advice. Highlights from our conversation are below.

What’s the biggest mistake people make when trying to display sports memorabilia?
It can get a little themey and feel a bit juvenile when there is just too much of it and there’s no real artistic or aesthetic interest in the pieces being selected. If the same care, attention and parameters are used in selecting sports memorabilia that might be used to select any other type of art and accessories in a home, it can be beautiful and fun.

Sports memorabilia can often times be associated with man caves, and confined to places of the home where “the men hang out.” How can sports memorabilia be displayed throughout the home in a gender-neutral way?
This kind of goes with my earlier answer, but there are some amazing pieces of sports memorabilia out there—cool vintage cards, flags, balls, posters, etc. I think it’s about selecting pieces that are special in and of themselves, so that they’re appealing and artistically interesting in general, and not aimed at a particular gender.

Should memorabilia be contained to one room, or spread out across the home?
It depends upon the person who lives in the home. If it’s something they want to see in daily life, I’m all for designing with what you love, but I think it can often have more of an impact and wow-factor when it’s all grouped together.

What’s your advice on curating sports memorabilia (or any collectible items) to create a story in the home?
Comb places like thrift stores, flea markets, antique shops and online for interesting one-of-a-kind things. A collection of something is almost always appealing when displayed beautifully en masse. Think about walls as collection opportunities and create a focal point out of each one.

Should memorabilia just be framed or kept in a display in order for it to look good?
Not necessarily. I love things that are hung up, such as flags, nets and pieces of sports equipment.

What are some items of sports memorabilia that should never be displayed in a home?
I’m sort of a never-say-never type, but I would recommend that all memorabilia feel timeless and authentic. Color photography from WWF wrestling in the ’80s, for example, will always feel cheesier than say old black-and-white baseball photos, but in the end, it’s really about what’s floating your boat and what you love. So if Hulk Hogan is your thing, I can’t blame you.

For more interior decorating tips, subscribe to our weekly Home newsletter.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

4 hot home listings in Northern Virginia for July

Westlake Legal Group House-1-outside 4 hot home listings in Northern Virginia for July sales renovation real estate agents real estate market houses Home for sale agents
Photo courtesy of David Adams

11906 Whitstone Place, Reston, VA 20194

  • Price: $1,275,000
  • Bedrooms: 5
  • Bathrooms: 4.5
  • Square Footage: 4,006
  • Year Built: 2002
Westlake Legal Group House-1-bath 4 hot home listings in Northern Virginia for July sales renovation real estate agents real estate market houses Home for sale agents
Photo courtesy of David Adams

Amenities:

  • Finished garage with epoxy floor and overhead storage
  • Finished lower level with an art media room, several game rooms, office, full bath and a custom-designed wet bar
  • The gourmet kitchen includes must-have features such as S/S Bosch double ovens and dishwasher, sub-zero refrigerator, JennAir gas range and granite counters
Westlake Legal Group Hosue-1-basement 4 hot home listings in Northern Virginia for July sales renovation real estate agents real estate market houses Home for sale agents
Photo courtesy of David Adams

Agent info: David Adams (Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate) // 703-471-7220

Westlake Legal Group house-2-front 4 hot home listings in Northern Virginia for July sales renovation real estate agents real estate market houses Home for sale agents
Photo courtesy of Laurie Mensing

1205 Daviswood Drive, McLean, VA 22102

  • Price: $3,500,000
  • Bedrooms: 5
  • Bathrooms: 5.5
  • Square Footage: 6,885
  • Year Built: 1999
Westlake Legal Group house-2-backyard 4 hot home listings in Northern Virginia for July sales renovation real estate agents real estate market houses Home for sale agents
Photo courtesy of Laurie Mensing

Amenities:

  • Backs to pond in neighborhood
  • Beautiful custom floor plan with vaulted ceilings, pond view, gourmet kitchen with open floor plan to family room
  • All bedrooms on upper level with en-suite bathrooms
  • Custom master bathroom with bent shower enclosure and custom closets
  • Sited on 1 acre
Westlake Legal Group house-2-inside 4 hot home listings in Northern Virginia for July sales renovation real estate agents real estate market houses Home for sale agents
Photo courtesy of Laurie Mensing

Agent info: Laurie Mensing (Long & Foster / Christie’s International) // 703-873-5193

Westlake Legal Group hOUSE-3-OUTSIDE 4 hot home listings in Northern Virginia for July sales renovation real estate agents real estate market houses Home for sale agents
Photo courtesy of Cathy Poungmalai

1956 Rockingham St., Mclean, VA 22101

  • Price: $1,575,000
  • Bedrooms: 5
  • Bathrooms: 4.5
  • Square Footage: 6,300
  • Year Built: 2007
Westlake Legal Group house-3-kitchen 4 hot home listings in Northern Virginia for July sales renovation real estate agents real estate market houses Home for sale agents
Photo courtesy of athy Poungmalai

Amenities:

  • Situated on a large half-acre lot
  • Two-story foyer
  • The gourmet kitchen has granite countertops, abundant cabinetry, a large pantry, stainless steel appliances including a six-burner gas cooktop
  • Two walk-in closets and a spa-like bath
  • Spacious rec room

Agent info: Cathy Poungmalai (IHD Real Estate Group of Frankly Real Estate) // 703-786-5776

Westlake Legal Group House-4-outside 4 hot home listings in Northern Virginia for July sales renovation real estate agents real estate market houses Home for sale agents
Photo courtesy of Windy Harris

2550 Vale Ridge Court, Oakton, VA, 22124

  • Price: $2,244,500
  • Bedrooms: 5
  • Bathrooms: 5.5
  • Square Footage: 6,900+
  • Year Built: 2019
Westlake Legal Group House-4 4 hot home listings in Northern Virginia for July sales renovation real estate agents real estate market houses Home for sale agents
Photo courtesy of Windy Harris

Amenities:

  • Private and surrounded by woods
  • Complete walk out basement
  • Stone fireplace
  • Huge master retreat with dual-sided fireplace
  • A walk-out finished basement with full windows, media room and complete wet bar
Westlake Legal Group House-4_2 4 hot home listings in Northern Virginia for July sales renovation real estate agents real estate market houses Home for sale agents
Photo courtesy of Windy Harris

Agent info: Windy Harris (Hunt Country Sotheby’s International Realty) // 703-554-3185

This post originally appeared in our July 2019 issue. Subscribe to our Home newsletter for more real estate coverage.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Want an outdoor fire pit? Here’s what you need to know

Westlake Legal Group fire-place Want an outdoor fire pit? Here’s what you need to know summer design Summer Outdoor Living Home & Design Home fireplace fire pits design Architecture aesthetic
Photo courtesy of Miller & Smith

While summer spreads heat waves across the country, there’s another thing bringing heat to the nation, too: outdoor fire pits and fireplaces.

For the past three years, the amenity has been ranked as the most popular outdoor design element by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). Plus, as of this past April, creating an ideal outdoor environment was one of the most searched topics on Pinterest.

While the 2019 survey from ASLA hasn’t been published yet, the trend continues to grow, even here in Northern Virginia. McLean-based home building company Miller & Smith incorporates fire pits in outdoor settings throughout NoVA, including its recent town home collection, Upton Row at One Loudoun, that is set to open this fall. Here, Patti Wynkoop, leader of architectural design and product development, shares what it takes to design outdoor fire features in the region. 

Fireplaces seem to be highly desired for outdoor spaces here in NoVA. How do you make a fire pit fit aesthetically fit an outdoor environment of a home?
If you’re a family who wants to enjoy the outdoors all year round, an outdoor fireplace or fire pit is a great go-to. The biggest aesthetic challenge for fire pits is designing an outdoor area that is large enough to accommodate the fixture—especially when incorporating the piece in a rooftop terrace and/or deck layout. Cozying up by the fire is only enjoyable so long as there is enough room to gather, move freely and truly enjoy the outdoor living space. It’s also important to pay attention to furnishings that complement the fire pit/fireplace. For outdoor entertainment, composite furniture such as sofas, lounge chairs and end tables are notoriously maintenance-free, fade-resistant and easy on the eyes. Just like indoor furniture, you can add cushions and fade-resistant throw pillows to your outdoor furniture for comfort and enjoyability throughout the year. 

What are the challenges that come with building an outdoor fire area?
There are a couple of key considerations when incorporating an outdoor fire pit or fireplace. First is access to space for ongoing maintenance tasks, such as power washing and snow removal. Especially in our area, weatherproofing against wind, snow and rain is a huge challenge. And for obvious safety reasons, it’s also important to consider the weight of a fireplace or fire pit when designing outdoor terrace and deck floor systems.

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Are there any trends with fire pit areas that are unique to the NoVA region?
In terms of style of a fire pit or fireplace, about half of our homebuyers prefer the super-traditional rustic aesthetic, while others lean toward transitional materials that are clean, sleek and a bit edgy. A covered or partially covered terrace or deck is the most requested setting for a fireplace or fire pit. Homebuyers in our area want to enjoy their outdoor spaces and fire pits for at least three seasons. 

How do Northern Virginians want to design their backyards compared to years past, and what features are frequently requested?
Over the years, outdoor living spaces have come a long way in terms of design. What once was a space to simply store the grill and place a plastic picnic set has now evolved to lavishly landscaped patios, ornate outdoor family rooms and beautiful spots for “backyard staycations.” Thanks in part to the HGTV phenomenon and saturation of home improvement shows, we’re also seeing more California-inspired living designs, where the great room sliders open up to a covered terrace, giving the space the feel of one big room. We no longer see the separation of spaces as today’s homebuyers are hungry for seamless indoor/outdoor living. Outdoor spaces also have evolved into entertainment hubs of many homes as outdoor music and speaker systems are trending—even more so than TVs. 

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