Category Archives: Inspired

More Spaces: Orcondo


I’ve been following Orlando Soria since watching him craft up cool DIY projects with Emily Henderson (who is also an inspiration) on her HGTV show some years ago. I was ecstatic when he announced that he would be moving to and renovating a condo in Silver Lake (that he graciously named “Orcondo”), and I was even more ecstatic (read: envious) to watch the space blossom into an extremely well-designed home.

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Follow along with Orlando on his blog and Instagram (which is a treat to follow), and check out Emily Henderson’s blog where he frequently writes guests posts!

Photos via Hommemaker and Homepolish.

More Spaces: A Swedish State of Mind


8a1b1c1cb8b11046336246b1b2f37682One mainstay in my daily inspiration regimen is to check out Stadshem, a Swedish real estate company that uses the talents of some spectacular stylists and photographers to design and shoot their spaces. I could seriously leave for Sweden today and cozy up in the corner of any one of these rooms until they kick me out for being a crazed American squatter. Stadshem only shows homes built before 1970, so all of their spaces have an authentic European charm.

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If you want to be inspired to become a lunatic squatter like me, be sure to follow these guys on Instagram and Pinterest. They kill it every single time.

All photos from Stadshem.

Inspired: Bidwell


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Union Market, located in Northeast DC, is an awesome place to be. The large warehouse space is home to dozens of pop-up food retailers that would suit any taste, as well as a few boutique retail stores. The only full-service restaurant in Union Market is Bidwell, and they were kind enough to let me bug them for a morning with tons of questions about their well-designed space and brand.

The first thing that I noticed about Bidwell was the implementation of their logo as signage (on subway tile, to boot). I chatted with the manager about how the logo came about, which led to a pretty interesting story. The designer noticed that a bidwell melon (I didn’t know that bidwell melons were a thing until this story!), cut in half, revealed an interesting shape, that ended up being used as the form of the logo. As a designer, I love getting into these spaces and hearing cool stories about how certain design elements come about. Super inspiring.

The bread and butter (not literally) of Bidwell come from their rooftop garden, where they grow all of their own vegetables for their dishes. Unfortunately, I visited during off-season, so my photos of the rooftop don’t tell an accurate story of how lush the vegetation can get during the spring and summer.

Inspired: Barcelona Wine Bar and Restaurant


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You might notice a trend around here lately if you’re familiar with the D.C. area… The last three featured environments have all been within the same two block radius on 14th Street. Heh. I think that says a lot about the area, though. With so many new and interesting spaces popping up (new to me, anyway), it’s soooo hard to pass any of them by without stopping in capture a little inspiration.

This is Barcelona, a wine bar and restaurant that is overflowing with a style that’s unlike anything else I’ve seen in the area. It’s impossible not to take notice of the space when walking by, mainly because of the beautiful al fresco dining space that looks like it came straight out of a magazine. That aspect of the brand continues into the interior with a myriad of natural elements used throughout the space.

Inspired: Pearl Dive



Good design lies in the details.

Truer words were never spoken about Pearl Dive; whose brand relies on maritime-inspired surfaces, cool blues, and some excellent uses of typography to tell it’s story. Pearl Dive is connected to Black Jack (they’re both owned by Black Restaurant Group), which I featured here last week. Some friends put me on to both of the spaces, and I’m glad that they did!

As a graphic designer, a good logo used in interesting ways always tends to catch my eye. Both the tiled wordmark and the wall mural pictured above are prime examples. The worn textures and whitewashed patina visible throughout the space makes it feel like Pearl Dive has been a 14th Street staple for decades, when it’s only a few years old. It’s a casual and approachable brand, but the food feels pretty upscale; their clam po’ boy is probablyyyy the best that I’ve ever tasted.


Inspired: Black Jack


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Salvaged materials, rich colors, and moody vibes all pretty much sum up the brand of Black Jack. Reflecting the craft cocktail movement that it represents, Black Jack’s style harks back to an old school speakeasy, complete with dim lighting and luxuriously rich (but perfectly worn) textures throughout the space. AND there are indoor bocce courts, if the drinks and ambience aren’t enough to draw you in.

I sat down with E. Jay, the bar manager of Black Jack, to talk a little more about the brand and how it’s reflected in the way the interior is designed. He walked me through the space to show how reliant the design is on reclaimed materials, such as the “GOLF'” signage, old tufted furniture, and old pipes used for the beer taps. We also talked about repeated elements of the brand throughout the space, as you can see in the custom wallpaper that’s also used on coasters. The angry monkey on the other side of the coaster is repeated as a crazy mural in the space as well, but my photography skills failed me when it came to shooting it, unfortunately… Check out the restaurant to see it in person!

It’s been a while since I’ve published an Inspired post! Life has been hectic for the past few weeks, so I’ve had to move some priorities around a bit, but I have a full slate of fun things to show and discuss over the summer! Stay tuned!

Inspired: El Centro D.F.


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Located in the heart of Georgetown (and with another location close to U Street), the authentically inspiring El Centro D.F. showcases an aesthetic that ties the brand directly to it’s Mexican-inspired menu. Richly dark woods and exposed brick walls contrast against other raw materials to create a truly inspiring space. Now, exposed wood beams and brick walls aren’t exactly novel concepts in the world of hospitality design these days, but it’s so refreshing to see a space like this one that utilizes those elements in a way that makes you feel transported to a different time and place. The space definitely has a darker vibe to it, but it’s lightened up through the use of skylights and and an open floor plan.

I’m digging the repeated display of skulls throughout the restaurant, usually in the form of wall murals, that are reminiscent of Día de Muertos. You already know that I’m a sucker for a brand’s logo being used in interesting ways, so I love seeing it implemented here as the mouth of a skull, as you can see in one of the above photos. You also already know that I’m a sucker for amazing food, which El Centro showcases in bounds!

Inspired: Bluejacket


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This place is just too cool.

Bluejacket is an awesome brewery and restaurant located in southeast Washington, DC, right by Nats stadium. The space is housed in a former factory where workers once built boilers for ships, which is an aesthetic that fits the brand pretty perfectly. A palette of cool industrial elements, warm wooden accents, and an authentically classic-inspired brand combine to create an environment that speaks directly to the tradition of brewing great beer and creating good vibes.

Bluejacket is actually the name of the brewery, while The Arsenal is the the name of the restaurant and bar housed within the brewery. A very interesting dynamic! The handcrafted design of the identity for both Bluejacket and The Arsenal, used in a variety of forms throughout the space, reflect the handcrafted brews and food served at the restaurant. Unique branding for each of the beers that Bluejacket produces is also a pretty sweet touch.

I wish that I was more of a beer connoisseur so that I could speak more to the beers that I sampled while shooting the space, but I can definitely say that I was not disappointed!

Inspired: Farmers Fishers Bakers


ffb1ffb3ffb5Processed with VSCOcamffb9ffb8ffb6ffb7ffb4Welcome to Farmers Fishers Bakers, an awesome restaurant on the Georgetown waterfront that is influenced by farm-fresh and locally inspired comfort food. Complete with both rustic accents and timely details (read: paint dipped coat hangers and captain’s mirrors), FFB is a prime example of a space designed appropriately for it’s brand. After an unfortunate flood hit the restaurant (and the rest of the Georgetown waterfront), in 2011, the team decided to rebrand the restaurant to fit more in line with it’s sister restaurant, Founding Farmers (which I featured here a few weeks ago), and some primo stuff ensued. I love a good fusion of styles in a space like this. At FFB, you get a little farmhouse/americana, a little modern, a little quirky, and a lot of personality.

I’d like to give a HUGE shout out to the management at both Farmers Fishers Bakers and Founding Farmers for being so open to letting me creep around their spaces with my camera to capture these photos! I couldn’t be more appreciative.

Inspired: Founding Farmers


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I’m TOO stoked to be posting about one of my favorite restaurants.

The lovely people at Founding Farmers were kind enough to let me spend a morning in the restaurant to chat about their brand and to take a few pictures of the inspiring space (and to enjoy a delicious egg scramble breakfast). Founding Farmers provides an awesome Farm-to-Table American dining experience that’s unlike anything else I’ve seen in the DC area. The restaurant is owned and represented by the North Dakota Farmers Union, which is reflected in the heartland-inspired menu. On top of that, Founding Farmers is the Greenest restaurant in DC, boasting a LEED Gold Certification.

The space itself is also reflective of the environmentally focused brand, with somewhat of a playfully casual spin, which can be seen in the puffy cloud-like light fixtures in the photo above. The walls are lined with steel shelving and pickling jars, further tying into the earthiness of the overall design, but contrasted against more modern fixtures in the form of lighting and typography. I like how the shelving throughout the restaurant showcases Founding Farmers cookbooks (which I might just have to cop), but they also kind of holistically serve as a complimentary design element on their own.

And now I will go dream of their cornbread skillet.