If you're looking for a great historic house museum to visit in DC, we've got a stop that's perfect for history buffs, old house nerds, and fans of "absolutely do touch" museum experiences.

It is we'll known that the seat of power in Washington, DC is held at the address 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, but did you know that in 1814 The White House had to be temporarily "moved" just a few blocks away to 1799 New York Ave?

Not only does the house that occupied this address still stand, it's also open to the public and offers a unique "hands on" museum experience that can give you a sense of life's joys and hardships for all of the inhabitants of the home in the early 1800s.

This home that played the role of The White House for six months in the early 19th century is the known as the Octagon House, and it also happens to be one of the Federal City's (DC) early inhabitants. And this temporary relocation of power was necessitated by the burning of The White House by British forces in August 1814, toward the end of The War of 1812.


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Comments 3

When Alex and I moved into our first apartment, we were decorating novices. While we tried our best, we came up short in many ways, the most obvious being that we were so anxious to have our new home "finished," that we rushed out and bought what we needed. This resulted in a cookie-cutter straight-out-of-a-catalog look that did little to reflect our personalities, hobbies, or style. 

As the years have passed, I've learned to better appreciate the approach of curating a carefully selected mix of both new and old. Working in vintage finds, souvenirs and art from our travel adventures, and pieces passed down to us from family and friends along with new pieces creates a more layered, inviting, and less cookie cutter look. It's ultimately a formula that I've found results in the successful completion of a space that is comfortable, interesting to look at, and reflective of our personalities and who we are. 

Now that the majority of our focus is on renovating, decorating, and projects in our new home, my approach to its decor is to heavily use these lessons I've learned over the years. While many people's first reaction in a new space is to run out and buy as many news things to fill it as they can, we're taking a much more measured (and budget friendly) approach to our home's decor. We've been extremely fortunate to have many friends and family members gift furniture and accessories that they could no longer use. So last year when our neighbors offered us a pair of vintage garden chairs that didn't quite work in their home (and couldn't be returned), we jumped at the chance to become their new owners.

As you can see, this pair of vintage metal arm chairs have a beautiful patina and I loved the blend of several shades of green and turquoise. However, they were pretty rusty, so I knew I wanted to clean them up while still preserving much of the original paint. The goal was to both seal them to better protect them from outdoor weather while preserving their patina, and also preserving the pants of anyone that might choose to sit on these beauties. 


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After two full years, we're ready for our living room's grand reveal!

That's right! We've been slowly working on this project since early 2015 and can finally say we're done! (Well, okay, 98% done.) But more importantly, we can also say we absolutely love it!

I mean, just look at the before from the very same angle!!

What a difference!


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Comments 26

Over a year and a half ago, way back on September 1, 2015, we asked a question in a blog post. We had a mantel we'd need to build any day, and we needed to make a determination on just how that mantel in our living room should look.

Well, we've been slowly working on this living room project and have finally reached a point where that day has arrived.

Before we get into details, let's recap (in case you don't remember our blog post from a year and a half ago). The original mantel in the room was a poorly made pre-fab mantel from the early 90s. Too small for the room and fireplace, and just not all that attractive. It had an odd style, rounded corners, and just didn't fit with the style and age of the house.

While it looked just fine at first glance, that old mantel essentially fell off the wall because I looked at it sideways. In other words, it really wasn't installed very well, which made it rather easy to remove.


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Now that the two and a half year long renovation of our new home's living room is nearing completion, it's finally time to launch into the decorating phase. And while the thought of that excites me to no end, it's also somewhat terrifying. 

It's at this critical stage where I can't help but have nagging concerns. What if I make a costly mistake? What if we start purchasing furniture and accessories that don't work together or don't achieve the look we're going for in our home? How do I even begin to tackle decorating a room that's roughly 13 feet wide by 32 feet long?? For reference, this room is nearly as wide as our entire home in Old Town and almost half our home's length!(Here's a look at the home's full floor plan.

Getting started always seems like the toughest part. But luckily I've had quite some time to obsess think about it and plan for this phase of the renovation. So where did I start? With a floor plan, of course, as having a well defined but flexible plan provides me with a roadmap to get me from start to finish on any room's design.

In a room that feels like a cavernous bowling alley, I knew it would be important to create several different zones to break up the long, narrow space. Mentally I'm approaching the room as three different spaces: 


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