March  2016
Hello and Happy March!

Thank you for visiting.This month, we will feast our eyes on the finest of Old World craftmanship in a Virginia dining room, learn how to relax when navigating downtown Austin, take a peek at where LBJ and Lady Bird had their first date, and discover ways to beautifully chill a plain glass of water.


Old World Elegance, McLean, Virginia.

Undoubtedly, one of the most elegant projects ever produced by Capitol Design,  it is hard to believe this room was once a mediocre, styleless reflection of some rather poor design elements from the 1980's .However, Capitol Design, in conjunction with Neff Cabinetry and the finest intarsia and marquetry craftsmanship from Portugal, accomplished a stunning transformation into the sophisticated formal dining room the client desired.

The homeowner, a newly married CEO of a multinational corporation in Arlington, Virginia, had purchased a stately, colonial home in McLean, Virginia. He wanted the interior to reflect the timeless beauty consistent with the architecture of the home, which required changing some very obvious visual aspects of the room, and some not so obvious design issues.   

he room was previously furnished with maple cabinetry which was reflected in outdated ceiling to wainscoting mirrors. The client specifically wanted the room to have continuity with the rest of their remodeled home.

The client's wife desired a buffet and serving area with glass shelving in the cabinetry which would complement her exquisite mahogany dining table and chairs. The footprint of the room could not be altered in any way, so the installation of all materials had to be precise. The greatest challenge, however, involved the off-center fireplace.

 To create balance in the lopsided wall, the placement of the fireplace had to be shifted to allow for symmetrical cabinet installation on either side of the fireplace.  This took some creative thinking and beautiful materials to accomplish the final results.
Design Quote

This Issue
Old World Elegance
The Driskill Grill
ATX News Spotlight
March in Austin, the "Live Music Capitol of the World," is famous for the SXSW festival, where people gather from everywhere. Founded in 1987 with 177 acts, SXSW 2016 featured more than 2,200 acts from more than 60 countries.

Above, people gather at the Bob Bullock Texas History Museum for a concert.

Inside the museum, none other than the legendary Junior Brown regales his audience with the style that put him in a league of his own. His country gentlemen bearing, his rare blend of tradition and innovation and his unparalleled mastery of the "guit-steel" guitar of his own invention never fail to please.

Quick Links

Here are 3 hints to chill and add simple beauty to an everyday glass of water:
1. To achieve clear ice cubes, boil filtered water before you freeze it. This dissolves air and decompresses minerals in the water.
2. Fill a muffin pan with water and add sliced lemons, oranges, strawberries, mint, etc.
3. Instead of ice cubes altogether, use frozen green or red seedless grapes to cool your drink.

All Around Austin / Design Talk / Good Eats
What's up in ATX
An old world custom that yet survives in fast paced Austin is the lovely, old fashioned, horse drawn carriage ride waiting for you in front of the world renown Driskill Hotel.
Given that downtown Austin traffic is world renown as impossible, and if you don't want to walk or use a pedicab, then just climb in and take a tour of downtown at a leisurely pace guaranteed to lower your stress levels.
Above, happily ensconced in the red velvet seats of their carriage, hotel patrons embark on their tour courtesy of real horse power.
Virtual Rendering
Do you have trouble visualizing an idea, a room? How about color? Do you feel uncertain about mixing colors and textures in a room? You're not alone, most people find it difficult to picture in their mind's eye, what their project will look like. 
read more

The Driskill Grill
The closest thing to Old World Elegance in Austin is the historic Driskill Hotel, built in 1886 and located downtown at 6th and Brazos. On the 2nd floor of the hotel is the Driskill Grill, an Austin institution since 1929.
The Grill has world class service and cuisine, has been included in Zagat's top 25 hotel restaurants and won the coveted Fodor's choice award.
Formerly The Driskill Dining Parlor, President Lyndon B. Johnson took future First Lady Claudia (Lady Bird) Taylor on their first date at the Parlor in 1934.

ATX News Spotlight, continued.

Here, with all the thousands of people on the streets day and night, members of the APD Mounted Patrol and their faithful steeds help maintain safety so that SXSW remains memorable to attendees for good times.
Virtual rendering continued...
Floorplans, elevations and perspectives give you a technical understanding of the room, but what will it really look like?

Now, with modern technology, wicked fast computers and eyepopping, photo realistic software, you can actually see what your new room will look like! Your tile, floor, cabinet and countertop choices can be scanned and inserted into a virtual rendering of your design project. Even your child's artwork can be scanned and displayed on your refrigerator!

You're able to see what the kitchen looks like with tile or hardwood. Do the furniture and drapes go together in the living room? What does the bathroom look like with a pedestal sink instead of a cabinet. You can feel confident about the materials you have chosen because now you can see them in the room!

The NEFF family tradition began in Canada over 40 years ago when Paul Neff began carefully building a reputation for creating Extraordinary Kitchen Environments. Today, now under the ownership of Paul Gardner, this family tradition committed to the highest standards of quality, service, style and function continues with a focus on providing cabinetry solutions for the entire home.

Our selection, functionality, and craftsmanship provide design solutions with incredible value; and our emphasis on eco-sensitive manufacturing processes and social responsibility reflects our dedication to make sure more than just your cabinets last.

At Bellmont Cabinet Company, we really are building more than just cabinets. We are building lives through the values we practice daily. They may be considered old-fashioned, but tried and true principles are the ones that last.


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Whether your style is Modern, Classic, Eclectic or Rustic, your home is where your heart is. Choosing the right cabinetry to fit your style will create a space that's warm, inviting and personalized. Woodland offers thousands of color, door style and organizational combinations that are sure to fit your exacting tastes.


Woodland's flexibility and affordability allow you to pick and choose the features that fit your style, your life, your budget... and your dreams.


Old World Elegance, McLean, Va., continued

Unlike most fireplaces that go back inside the wall, this one was flush with the wall, as seen to the left.  To move the fireplace, we needed to install a gas fireplace insert and reroute the exhaust out of the original chimney. Normally, the mantle of a fireplace begins at the front of the insert, with the mantle shelf extending beyond the mantle shaft. But due the needed space for the dining room table, the normal route was not possible.

The firebox and mantle had to be within specific space restrictions, yet needed to be designed proportionately to the rest of the room-and in keeping with its lavish style .After much time and effort, we solved the problem by aligning the mantle shelf evenly with the mantle and enhanced its design with massive lion feet from Enkeboll, the source of the world's finest hand carvings. The insert was camouflaged within the mantle with rich emerald green marble which was also used on the graceful bow front buffet finished with a  graceful double ogee edge.( see below)



The regal cabinetry is what really elevated this room to the level of magnificence the client desired. World class Louis XIV cabinetry by Neff; it is a mixture of rich mahogany, cherry, and olive ash burl. The intricate intarsia and marquetry of the inlaid panels were created by 17 Portuguese craftsmen reputed to be the best of of their kind in the world. They skillfully used elaborate, specialized equipment which allowed them to stitch their own veneers. They ensured all veneers were pulled from the same batch, and then intricately machine stitched together which produced panels as smooth as glass, as shown in the the pictures below.

The awe inspiring superiority of the cabinetry work required equally fine installation work. Paul Johnson, of Paul Johnson Interiors expertly installed the myriad of pieces. Not a single nail was used in the installation. All the miter joints were glued and the cabinets installed using invisible fasteners. Hutchison Glass, a company in business since 1925, custom cut the glass to fit the curved  double-hooped mullions in the cabinet door openings, as seen above, left.

By the time we were finished, the client and his wife were very pleased with the final results.  The buffet was exquisite, the fireplace was pleasingly centered and embraced by perfectly symmetrical and gorgeous cabinetry, and the beautiful dining furniture and splendid Belgium crystal chandelier remained the central focus of the room - an elegant addition to a fine, stately home.
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Thanks for perusing our newsletter.  I trust you have found it informative and even a little entertaining.  If I can be helpful regarding a project or you just have a question, please don't hesitate to contact me.



Joe Currie
Capitol Design


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