Category Archives: Current Projects

What I am doing now and the design strategies it illustrates.

The Fruits of Labors

Filed under Arlington Rooftop, Current Projects

The Arlington Rooftop Bar and Grill opened today.  Quietly, but not without notice.  ARL now was there:

“The restaurant is a bit hard to describe: it’s a mash-up of a number of different styles. The oldies pumped through the speaker system, the Prohibition-era woodwork behind the bar, the generally upscale, modern surroundings and the reasonably-priced menu — together defy easy comparisons.”

I like that the blogger used ‘mash-up’ as I am a huge Glee fan.  I don’t, however, think he/she has any idea how hard pulling that off was.

I didn’t realize how stressful it would be to read the comments on the articles.  Being a blogger and a regular commenter and a stir-the-pot Facebooker, I thought I would be immune. 

I haven’t been there yet.  I did notice from the pictures that my custom wallpaper is not hung.  I have no idea why.  I missed the Friends and Family event yesterday because I am in the midst of my second professional production

I took these photos from the ARL now website. 

Stripes and Semicircles

Filed under Arlington Rooftop, Current Projects

I just realized I never showed you the furniture I designed for The Arlington Rooftop Bar and Grill.  The shipment arrived from New York in August while I was at the beach so I missed all the excitement.  A crane had to be rented and a bank of windows removed in order to get the semicircular booths inside. 

I am very happy with the final product.  They arrived looking pretty much like they did inside my brain, which I have to be honest and admit surprised me.  The order of the stripes on the booths isn’t exactly what I remember, but when you consider the designs were described in English and HANDWRITTEN in Cantonese, well…

Instead of looking at these crappy iPhone photos, why don’t you head over there and view the whole shebang yourself?  I let you know the minute the doors open for business, I promise.

Excuses Excuses

Filed under Current Projects, The Undecorated Life

It’s been forever, I know.  You’re probably sick of my reason…I have been busy.  Just so you don’t think I am full of excuses, let me try to explain.

In the past four months:

  • Spent weeks where I visited the Arlington Rooftop Bar and Grill jobsite at least 4 days out of the week.   Made a million little decisions no one will notice and few big ones that everyone will.
  • Painted a 20’ x 12’ backdrop, and saved the show by redoing the Princess’s 27 mattresses the day before opening night. 
  • Produced four weeks of theater day camp, one of which ran simultaneously (during the day) to The Princess and the Pea (performing in the evening).
  • Produced another full scale musical, The Wizard of Oz.  Created a series of ten posters and hung them everywhere that would allow me. 
  • Agreed to be the Producer AND to assistant direct (what the…) The Christmas Carol.
  • Began another big project, a 30,000 sq/ft grocery store.
  • Went to the beach. Three times.
  • Organized and managed an ad sales fundraising program for my daughter’s high school, formatted the resulting 80 page football program, and created 5 covers to grace the front.
  • Agreed to be the lead parent for my daughter’s cheerleading squad the year they finally have a winning team. 
  • Saved a dog from the worst possible conditions

Even with all that, I can say I probably COULD have blogged.  I certainly had a lot to write about.  But last April I got serious about finally sticking to an exercise regimen.  I began running every day, and I have to be honest and say that hour replaced the hour I would have otherwise spent writing.  I feel great physically, even with the little voice of guilt telling me I should carve out time to Design Strategies.

A Glimmer of Recovery? Maybe Not.

Filed under Arlington Rooftop, Current Projects

I planned to add a tiny bit more sparkle to the Arlington Rooftop women’s restroom.  The overall design of the entire restaurant tends toward the masculine so I wanted this area, right off the entrance to the Main Dining Room, to follow the scheme of the rest of the space, only a touch fancier.  As if it were wearing jewelry.  I found a few perfect pieces, in distressed gold, open and lacy, but not too feminine; to give me just the touch of bauble I was after.

I purchased a matching pair of pendants to hang between the sinks.  And I found gorgeous mirrors to compliment them. Or so I thought. 

This is my rendering of a plan that is not going to happen.  The Agusto Mirrors are from Uttermost. They are skinny and tall, with open metalwork and hints of gold.  I found out today that they are backordered until August.

We ran into this problem with the light fixtures for the mezzanine as well.  Due to the decrease in demand, Philips, the manufacturer of Forecast Lighting, reduced production drastically.  Every style I chose was gone, completely unavailable in the Philips warehouses.    And they won’t be produced until October.  In China.

And another victim of the economy:  this may be old news to some of you, but I just found out Z Gallerie closed in Tyson’s Corner.

Don’t Even Suggest We Need Another Car

Filed under Arlington Rooftop, Current Projects, The Undecorated Life

Who would have thought it would take 45 minutes, 2,000 questions and 2,000 dollars to order seven interior doors? 

I don’t consider myself a working mother.  After having no paycheck for 12 years, it is still hard to identify myself as someone with a job.  Even though I get dressed and go out the door every single day.  Sometimes not acknowledging the fact that I work bites me in the behind.  Like today. 

It is nearly the end of the school year, and my oldest is on an exam schedule.  She only had to go to school for two hours today.  My husband was able to take her, but I needed to pick her up.  Sure, no problem. I will just run into Precision Doors, which is on the way home, and place the necessary order.  I ran in, all right.  But it was over an hour before I walked out.

My client and I needed to purchase seven interior doors, each with a different set of measurements and use requirements.  Lounel Barnabas was wonderful at helping us sort it all.  But in the meantime, my phone was vibrating all over the place with text messages from my daughter wondering where I was.  Due to the jacked up schedule, her friend needed a ride as well.  I thought I had a perfect solution.  Since they were together and it wasn’t yet raining, I suggested they walk to Starbucks and wait for me there. 

That didn’t go over well with my husband.  He left his work in the middle of a meeting, and drove from Ballston to Woodbridge to pick them up then promptly drove BACK to work. 

I’m thinking he’s going to struggle a bit with the fact that she will go away to college in one short year.  And I can only hope he didn’t buy his wasted gas at BP…

Contemplating Horizontal Stripes

Filed under Arlington Rooftop, Color, Current Projects, Design Principles, Trend Spotting

I have two areas of monstrous blank walls I have to deal with.  The sheetrock installation gave me a revelation.  Wide but variegated, horizontal stripes would be striking in my color palettes, some in my beloved metallic paint.  I went to the web for some inspiration:

via Todd Riches Interiors

via PadCandy
also via PadCandy
via Apartment Therapy
via The Lennoxx
via Your Decorating Hotline
via Harlequin
via Mary McDonald

…On to work it out in Photoshop.

Barstool Choices

Filed under Current Projects, Kitchens, Rooms

Cinde’s backsplash and counters are now installed.  The new rug we ordered has arrived and the Garland Casual Dining Set is on sale and will be purchased this week.  She gave me some options for barstools that she is considering.  My choices are in order from best to worse:   1   2   3   4   5   6

Three Years and a Failed Market Later

Filed under Current Projects, Home Staging

I first met Michele and Stan in the winter of 2007.  They understood that the once swift real estate market was changing and they hired me to help them prepare their residence for sale.  In a series of consultations over the course of many months, we worked diligently to update and improve their well-loved home. 

Finally, here in the spring of 2010, the house is listed. I think it shows very well on the virtual tour.  I have had success staging homes in this area of Lake Ridge, Virginia.  Let’s hope the luck holds for these two wonderful people.  (The third pair, coincidentally, to retire to the Carolinas!)

Here are some befores and afters:

The Living Room before decluttering, new floors and fresh paint.

The Living Room after:



The Family Room before: (This is after we painted the paneling white.  The photos of the paneling in its natural state were too dark for posting.)


The Family Room after:


The Kitchen before:


  The Kitchen after new counters, appliances and wallpaper removal:


The Dining Room before:


  The Dining Room after:

Bedroom before:


Bedroom after:

Back At Ya

Filed under Arlington Rooftop, Current Projects, The Undecorated Life


I know it’s been awhile.  Since I’ve been gone :

  • The exterior I designed for the Arlington Rooftop Bar and Grill is half completed.
  • Suzy has sent me photos of her finished Kitchen.
  • My production of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown closed Sunday.  My sets were a big hit.
  • And I finally got my Kindle!! My appreciation of such a wonderful gift is so deep, and I am hoping my team at TheaterWorksVA, who gifted it to me, are focused on the success of our company, as I may lose my real job if I don’t stop reading!

Pictures of all of the above starting tomorrow….

Three Assistants

Filed under Arlington Rooftop, Current Projects

Yesterday was the first time I have been to the construction site when it was deserted.  Even when we had two feet of snow, there still have been lots of activity.   The restaurant beneath had a customer or two, and the Subway was closed.  All of the construction workers, to the surprise of my client, took Easter off.

I enlisted the help of my husband and two daughters.  I filled a composition notebook with drawings and measurements, and barked orders.  “Hold the tape higher.  You’re not measuring all the way to the corner.  Stand on your toes.  STOP TEXTING AND GET OVER HERE…”  Yea, I have teens.

It was a perfect day of 75 degrees and fresh spring sunshine.  We stood on the rooftop for a while, ate a wonderful Indian buffet, and drove the few more miles into DC.  The girls wanted to see the MTV Real World House, then we sat bumper to bumper along the National Mall looking at the cherry blossoms about three days past peak.