Category Archives: Arlington Rooftop

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.

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.

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….

The Virginia Room

Filed under Arlington Rooftop, Current Projects

The wonderful thing about living outside a city like DC is the vast amounts of historical documentation.    My client and I spent hours in the Virginia Room of the Arlington Public Library.  We were so engrossed in pouring over the many books, albums and catalogues of archival photos that two hours flew by. 

We are planning to use photos of the restaurant location through its history for wall art.  The Arlington Courthouse, just across the street, has had three incarnations and lots of photos exist of it.  The oldest photo of the area very near the restaurant is of a horse and carriage from 1911.  Everything within view is farmland. 

The librarian was very kind and helpful.  We made a list of photos we want pulled  to view for possible use and have an appointment next week with the archivist to discuss scanning them.

Design Board

Filed under Arlington Rooftop, Current Projects, Friday Collage

Today’s Friday Collage is not digital.  It’s real.


Filed under Arlington Rooftop, Current Projects

The building on which the restaurant is being constructed is long and narrow.  I am very conscious of this as I plan the design and the look of the furnishings.  I am trying to add motion wherever possible, and incorporating circles on patterns and in details.  There will be penny round tiles upon entering, a huge round table in front of a curved window looking out into Arlington, and the barstools have a line of circles drilled in the back.

When I was in New York, I designed three circular booths for the center of the Main Dining Room.  They will each be upholstered in a high quality vinyl with a metallic curlicue design.  The colors and the pattern harmonize very well with the glass tiles that will be placed on the enormous columns between the equally large windows. 

It was love at first sight when I saw the vinyl.  The pattern reminds me of my mother’s very 1962 Boomerang laminate countertops. I am using five colors to create wide stripes on the seatback of the ten regular booths.

The Bowery

Filed under Arlington Rooftop, Current Projects

Shopping in the New York City Bowery Restaurant Furniture District was a foreign experience.  Not just because the shops are run directly by representatives from the Chinese factories, many of whom I did not hear speak one word of English. 

My clients are first generation Indian, and out of habit — and because they are so at ease with me they forget I can’t understand Hindi– tend to slip into their native tongue. 

Top that off by the STYLE of shopping.  Going to New York to buy, rather than sightsee, well, that is unusual enough.  But here in the Bowery, nothing is as it seems.  Marked Prices mean nothing.  I am used to and comfortable in dealing with the typical American shopping experience where the marked price is the reference.  Sometimes that is what you pay.  Often you pay a very figure-able percentage less, in the form of clear discounts or sales.  I rarely pay “retail”, but “retail” is the standard—the place where you begin.

In the Bowery, the marked prices are useless, if they exist at all.  The entire deal rests on the bargaining process.  I watched in awe as my client worked Linda, the salesperson.  And she was a tough cookie.  She worked him equally as hard.

Imagine the scene: I sit between my clients exhausted from making so many selections.  They discuss the finances in Hindi over my head.  They hardball with Linda in English.  She, in turn, discusses the propositions with the owner in Cantonese.  He gets angry and yells.  His son, just a toddler, races around the store screaming.  Strange food smells overtake the shop in regular intervals.  Outside there is the endless honking of traffic.  Little scraps of paper are everywhere.  The shop is overrun by clutter, toys, samples, and empty food containers.  We spend tens of thousands of dollars and the young woman at the desk does not willingly give us a needed paperclip.  Do they offer us parking?  Laughable.  They only grudgingly allow us to use their restroom after hours—no DAYS– in the shop.  A drink?  There is a vendor a few blocks down…

I’d go back and do it all again in a heartbeat.