Jodi Macklin, who designed the Dewey Beach house featured on our cover this week, joined the weekly chat.

May 26, 2011

Jodi Macklin, who designed the Dewey Beach house featured on our cover this week, joined Jura Koncius and Terri Sapienza for their weekly Home Front chat. Together, they gave advice on interior decorating and home improvement.

Well, it's Memorial Day weekend and hopefully a lot of you will be going to the beach. Today's Local Living has a cover story featuring a seaside home in Dewey Beach designed by Jodi Macklin, who is here with us today. So let's talk summer living.

Hi.  Looking forward to hearing your questions! Loving the enthusiasm over the beach house- it was truly a fun project to be a part of.

I'm looking for a place, preferably in NoVA (Arlington/Alexandria/Falls Church), where I can get a custom sized glass table top. I want something that's about a half inch thick, with beveled edges. Any suggestions?

Have you tried the Mirror and Glass Center in Alexandria? 

I love decorating my house for the summer, LOVE IT. Feel like I get ripped off though when I go shopping in summery-beach destinations. Are there any chain stores that sell nice (not cheesy) beach decor thats cheaper than, say, an Annapolis boutique? Would love some recommendations!

Oh, I would say that most stores sell "beach decor," especially right now with summer starting. No need to stick to boutiques.

Hi ladies, Love the chats! We are moving into a larger home in about a month which needs a lot of interior painting done. We are trying to save our money for bigger ticket items (appliances, countertops) and Benjamin Moore or Farrow and Ball paint is too expensive for the quantity of paint we need to buy. Do you have recommendations of lower-priced paint brands from Lowes or other stores? Thanks!

You can absolutely use Behr paints sold at Home Depot or Valspar at Lowes.  I always recommend sampling a couple of colors in each space before you commit to the color.  The same paint color can look very different in each space depending on the light it recieves. 

LOVE that beach house! Practical yet gorgeous. Colors are stunning. Where was the headboard in the master bedroom purchased? It's great.

It is the Donghia Merbau headboard that unfortunately is no longer being produced.  We love it, too!

how did you go about picking those lights in the kitchen? Can you give us more information about them? Love them!

The lights are by Allison Berger for Holly Hunt.  We wanted something that would be sculptural and create a beautiful glow without taking up too much visual space.

After repeatedly searching vendors to try and find a TV stand to fit a small (36" wide) bumpout on my living room wall (it is the only reasonable option for the TV in the space), I've given up and decided to hire a carpenter to build something to my liking. 1) How do I get recommendations other than going to Craigslist? My neighbors haven't had anything like this done. 2) How specific will they expect me to be with plans other than basic dimensions and some proposed pictures? 3) What kind of price range should I expect? I want mostly hardwood if I'm buying it, but am looking for a black finish with relatively clean lines rather than a more traditional stained and detailed piece.

I think it's a great that you've decided to have a custom piece built, but have you really exhausted all pre-made options? A 36-inch wide cabinet/table shouldn't be too difficult to find. Where have you looked and what is your budget?

Hi there. I'd love to get a picnic table or some sort of outside dining stuff (though very informal) for my house. But I'm scared to death that Maryland's yucky weather will ruin anything I buy. Any recommendations on products that stand up to the heat and humidity without lots of care? Thanks!

Hi.  The outdoor furniture manufacturers have already thought about this for you.  There are many new synthetic materials that are being made to look like the real thing but can stand up to the elements much better.

Hi, Terri and Jura! I'm hoping y'all can give me a hand. We have an open floor plan with the kitchen, living room and dining room only separated with quarter walls. We painted our dining room Benjamin moore's driftwood and we love it. But now we have to find a good color for the kitchen. I know it's been recommended to use a color in the same swatch, but they're all too purple for my taste. Any neutral suggestions? Thanks! Love the chats!

Just looked at the paint deck strip with Driftwood. What about the one at the very top: Cloudy Gray?

What do you recommend for some great summer-beachy neutrals? Love the energy in the kids' rooms in the Dewey house, but they're a little bright for my taste.

We love Benjamin Moore Glass Slipper- its a pale blue gray.  We also love Muslin by the same company- its more of a sandy color.  Also, from Farrow and Ball try Skimming Stone or Slipper Satin.  Another favorite from F&B is Skylight.

Hi! This may not be your wheelhouse, but I thought I'd ask. We have a number of beautiful quilts made by my late mother-in-law. I have no idea what to do about cleaning them! One gets regular use on our master bed; the rest are on beds that don't get much use, but we do have a cat who likes to sit (and shed) on them. What's the best way to take care of these beauties?

Expensive but well worth it if its something important to you- Parkway Cleaners on Connecticut Ave in Chevy Chase, Maryland

Good Morning - love the beach house! Any ideas/pictures with suggestions on how to make these high on the wall small basement windows look better? We thought bamboo shades but would need black out material in them - will that make it look very thick? And they would need to be outside mounted? I cannot find examples - thanks for any pointers

Blackout lining will not make it look thicker and will not detract from the texture of the natural shade.  I would always prefer an outside mounted shade- it makes your window look larger.

I am having a baby late fall and have serious panic about creating a nursery. There are not very many stores that carry nursery furniture and I'm not sure where to get ideas. Because of the limited selection I will likely look other places for furniture, aside from the crib itself. Do either of you or any of your readers have suggestions on where to get ideas or thoughts on where to buy furniture? Thanks so much!

First: Congratulations. Second: stop panicking. You have plenty of time to get a room together, and neither you or the baby will care if it's not perfect once he/she arrives.  Plus, i think you're already on the right track. It's not necessary to buy dedicated "baby furniture" for a nursery. In fact, beside the crib, of course, I would advise against it. Instead, look for furniture that you love and that you'll want to continue to use when the baby becomes a toddler and beyond. Think in terms of longevity when picking pieces for a nursery. And check out flea markets and Craigslist in addition to furniture stores. you have lots of options.   

You can try West Elm and the new CB2 in Georgetown for fun beachy decor!  While you are in Georgetown peek around at the great garden stores scattered throughout that part of town- you are bound to come across some great finds.   If you are in the Rehoboth Beach area there is a great store called Mod Cottage.

HI, I just finished renovating my master bathroom and am looking for a medium intensity Taupe colored paint to be paired with white trim to continue the relaxing "spa bath" look I'm trying to achieve. I also plan to paint my existing white vanity to coordinate with the walls. My tile is a porcelain tile which is called sage but tends to look grey-green. Any suggestions? I prefer Ben Moore paints, but would consider others Thanks for your hep.

How about a gray to go with the tile instead? Nothing that matches exactly, but that's within the same color family.

The kitchen in the News beach house is beautiful. It looks like a chef's kitchen. Is it practical for cooking at the beach? Do they use it to cook as well as entertain?

Cheryl is a fabulous cook and LOVES to cook and entertain in this house.  The AGA range with four different ovens allows for specific cooking purposes.  The local fresh summer produce isnt so bad either!

Could someone please explain to me why most lamps are so ugly...and expensive as well. Sigh. I feel the person in the restaurant joke complaining that the food was bad and there wasn't enough of it.

Hmmm...makes me wonder where you are looking for your lamps? I think there are lots of lovely lamp options around and not all expensive. What do you consider expensive for a lamp?

I found that for the darker colors, the more expensive paint works better. I have a cranberry bedroom which took 4 coats of behr paint. After a roof leak, I repainted, with the same color but using benjamin moore, and it took 2 coats. Ended up spending the same amount of money (since the bm paint was an astronomical $70!), but I saved some sweat equity. I also find that the touch-ups with the BM paint blend better. I still buy the Behr paint, just not for dark colors. Sincerely, Cheap Amateur Painter

Good to know. Thanks for sharing.

Simply love the entire house -- just wish there were more pictures in the online slideshow! Am particularly intrigued by the kitchen floor. What type of tile is that? Also, is Architectural Ceramics to the trade only?

Architectural Ceramics is open to anyone.  The flooring on the first floor is from a manufacterer called Fabbrica del Vignola and is a tile made to look like Vintage Wood

Nice job but I am not sure I would spend the money decorating my beach house that way. Its been almost 40 years since the Delmarva beaches took a direct hit from hurricane. It has to happen soon. As a taxpayer and someone who has homeowners insurance I dont think folks with beach houses should have their losses covered from storm damage. if they wont to get homewoners insurance from a special pool that doesnt effect everyone else's rates thats fine and taxpayers should not subsidize.

Well thats looking at the glass half empty!

My daughter wants to move her bedrooms into one of our larger bedrooms, but I have a dilemma with the window treatments. There is one traditional double hung window facing the street, and a palladian window on the side wall. The palladian window faces east, so it gets lots of sunlight in the morning. What do I do for window treatments? Can I put some kind of blinds on the palladian window? I don't want it to be blocked off all the time, but we have to do something about the morning sun as the window faces right onto the bed. Thanks.

How lucky of your daughter to have such a nice architectural feature in her bedroom! Some options for you: 1. have a shade made to fit the Palladian window.    2. Hang floor-length curtain panels above the window to pull shut.

The poster might want to look into unfinished furniture stores, which can order cabinets, etc. in many sizes and styles. We LOVE Bare Woods in Chantilly. Their furniture is all-wood, high quality, and the buyer can either finish it (stain/paint) or the store will finish it to specifications.

Great idea. thank you.

Hello. I just inherited a lovely lamp from my late grandmother and it needs a lamp shade. What is a good store to go to to get some help in picking one out? Thanks.

Go to Gaylords in Bethesda- bring the lamp with you and they will help you find a perfect shade

Compatible with my kitchen Benjamin Moore Beacon Hill Damask CH-2? I hate to go too tan or grey because I want color in my life. Maybe a cool blue (don't say Paladian Blue! I love it, but...).

Rather than use 4 coats of dark paint, get your primer - which is less expensive - tinted to match. The reason it takes more paint is because you are working to cover up white.

Yes, yes, yes. Good point. thank you.

If you type in '36" TV Stand" into google, you get a number of options. No idea if they are your style or level of quality you are looking for, but they are out there.

Yep. Like I said: lots of options out there for this size piece of furniture.

While you'll have more choices outside of dedicated 'baby' furniture shops, wherever you shop one thing to keep in mind is non-toxic finishes. Friends of mine got a great bookcase on craigslist for their child, but it turned out to be finished with lead-based paint. If you're buying new pieces, ask appropriate questions. (Especially on items made in China.) If you're buying used, you may want to test a paint chip to be sure.

There are a few great baby boutiques in the area like Daisy Baby in Bethesda and Dawn Price Baby on Capital Hill.

Is wainscoting (specifically board and batten) appropriate for a small bathroom (5' X 8')? Would tile be a better choice?

I think either is a great choice.

Hey Jodi - loved the job you did on the beach house. Any strategies for de-cluttering and organizing for those of us who need more closet space? I love the simple vibe they have going on in Dewey, but us city-dwellers need more room!!

We all tend to collect much more than we ever use or need.  The first step is spending a weekend cleaning out!  The less you have- the easier it will be to organize.  We love using baskets or bins (woven, metal, leather, etc) to store items.  We always recommend calling the professionals when it comes to closets- having California Closets or Container Store arrange your closets will maximize every inch of space you have.

I agree completely! We have been looking to upgrade from an old plain black torchiere floor lamp and are finding nothing that 1) we like the look of, 2) is not crazy expensive, and 3) will put out enough light for the room.

Don't know what your style or budget is, but have you checked out Shades of Light?

Hi, im looking for a color for my master bath. All fixtures- including floor- are stark white- not my choice just builder design. We are putting in new cinnamon color vanities. My original thought was a soft green, but would a taupe/sand color work with vanities that color? any suggestions would be welcome.

I think leaning away from the green is the right move!  Try a soft tan like Clay Beige or Ballet White- both from Benjamin Moore has some nice lighting. You have to wade through a lot of hideous ones to find them, but they are there and usually really cheap.

thanks for the suggestion.

Good morning! I have recently removed ivy and its sticky feet from the front of my home. (Not a job for the weak at heart..) Mostly reddish brick, occasional black. Shutters were shot so removed them also. I want to replace them, but being a lover of color, I would like to have a color on the shutters and maybe a different color on the front door. My vinyl soffit/siding/etc is a very pale yellow. Shingles are black, as were the old shutters. Any color suggestions? Thanks!

Could you be daring enough to paint your door red??  It would look great with the yellow.  As for the shutters, you could do a great blue if you are really a lover of color.  Check out Newberg Green (its actually blue!) from Benjamin Moore

How would you go about finding/hiring a kitchen designer?

Check out all of the local publications (like Home and Design) and see if you are responding to any kitchens.  The resources are typically listed.  Also, start asking around about other peoples experiences.  There are lots of great kitchen designers in the area so you should have no problem!

Holy moly! Most of their lamps (ONE LAMP) are in the $200-$500 range. Go back to the original poster's question, "why are they so expensive." I got a pair of lamps at BBB a few years ago for less than $200.

As I said, I didn't know what the original poster's taste or price range was, but Shades of Light has lots of nice options (and not all in that range).


I've gotten great lamps at West Elm, at a reasonable price.

High end designers like Thomas O'Brien have started lines for Target and other reasonable priced stores offering some of their beautiful designs at great prices.

Just wanted to say how much I love the backsplash in the kitchen -- subtle yet so stunning!

It is great looking.

The poster with the yellow siding who wants blue shutters and you rec a red door - better be sure they are not running afoul of any homeowners' association rules about conforming color. IMHO, that three-part combo against red brick would be hideous.

Good point.

I love this look,  which would work well with her colors.


For outdoor furniture, if you aren't sure, you can always apply a water sealant on the furniture before painting (or even after painting). Once water sealed, the humidity will be less of a problem. And you'll be able to wash the mold and mildew off more easily as they don't tend to penetrate through the sealant.

Yes. The mold and mildew is a real problem in damp and muggy DC.

you can have a gathered fabric "half circle" made to fit the semicircular window top, either is a voile or something heavier. it's a nice finished look; try to have it installed without hardware or using velcro so you can pop it out for a good dusting once in a while.

Velcro is amazing. We don't think of using it enough in home furnishing applications.

I was born a preemie; so early, in fact, that my parents were caught unprepared. Consequently, I spent the first few weeks sleeping in a padded dresser drawer. No ill effects. Don't worry so much about nursery decor.

So reassuring!

oops- in our attempt to get all of your questions answered we missed the red brick and were focusing on the yellow siding.  Thanks for pointing that out. 

Jodi, Wondering if you have spec'd any materials for outdoor decking or a front porch. We're putting a front porch on our red brick colonial.

Look into Ipe- its resistant to rot and mildew

Here's a wonderful weather for spending time outdoors this weekend. Jodi, thanks so much for sharing your beach and other decorating tips. See you next Thursday.

In This Chat
Jura Koncius
Jura Koncius uses her years of experience as a home expert and her network of well-placed sources to help you choose everything from paint type and colors to how to de-shed sofas from pet hair to where to find the best designer fabrics at a discount.

Home Q&A archive
Terri Sapienza
Terri Sapienza is a staff writer for The Washington Post.
Jodi Macklin
Jodi Macklin, an interior designer based in Chevy Chase, masterfully decorated the Dewey Beach house featured on this week's Local Living cover. Previously, she has been featured in House Beautiful, Decor and Southern Living magazines.
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