Cockeysville + Hunt Valley

Cockeysville, Maryland, located in Baltimore County, has both the history of a major city and the peace and quiet associated with rural living. To see historical artifacts from the founding fathers, visit The Grand Lodge of Maryland. Dating back to 1787, the Grand Lodge was established by the freemasons and the Lodge upholds Masonic traditions to this day. Nearby, the Grand Lodge Museum and Library houses the desk where George Washington resigned his commission as Commander-in-Chief as well as many other relics from the American Revolution. The quarry used to produce marble for the Washington Monument is also located in Cockeysville.

Hunt Valley’s name was based on being just east of Maryand’s more traditionally known “Hunt Country.” Each year the Maryland Hunt Cup steeplechase horse racing and jumping championship is held in Hunt Valley.

At the end of each summer, the Timonium Race Track hosts the annual Maryland State Fair. The fair features rides, concessions, and live entertainment and lasts for 11 days to conclude the summer.

For some of the best barbeque in Baltimore, stop by Andy Nelson’s Southern Pit Barbeque. Former Colts player Andy Nelson makes all of his barbeque from scratch and uses family recipes to make delicious and unique BBQ dishes. The Hunt Valley Town Center also has a variety of restaurants and shops. For traditional and fresh American cuisine, try Barrett’s Grill. In the summer, you can stop by the Town Center’s Friday Night Concert Series and check out local talent. 

Up & Coming: At Home with Rafael Anta

This father's Day DHM brings you a unique toy idea inspired by a man's love for his son and an appreciation of architecture

District Home Magazine: Where are you from originally? What is your background?
Rafael Anta:
 I was born in Orense and raised in Barcelona, Spain. I have a degree in Computer Science and my professional experience is a mix of entrepreneurship, technology consulting, and innovation.

DHM: How did you end up in Washington, DC?
: After several years working in the business and technology consulting space, mostly in Europe, in 2005 I joined the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the largest source of development financing for Latin America and the Caribbean to reduce poverty and inequality, at its headquarters in Washington DC. I have the privilege to work in a great institution, with brilliant minds, enthusiastic and restless people who have something in common: passion for development.

DHM: Where did your passion for architecture stem from? How did you come up with the concept of PlayAssembly?
I have loved architecture since I was 5 or 6 years old. In my childhood, I spent a big part of my free time playing with Legos, painting and making some sculpture. I think that part of this influence comes from our very talented and iconic Spanish architects (Gaudi, Bofill, Miralles, Moneo, ...) and also from traveling. The concept of PlayAssembly comes from three different sources: first and most important, I wanted to spend quality time with my son Pau who is 9 years old. We go biking, sailing and play tennis but I also wanted to do something with him where we can use our imagination and design skills. I wanted him to live the experience of developing an idea, from the concept to the product. Second, because of my passion for architecture and third, because I found that crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter are a real provocation for people who have creative ideas. After some thought, we decided to focus on developing a construction toy that allows you to build geodesic domes. We wanted to create something new that allows you to build humansize structures. I don't know if we will reach our funding goal but here is something that I hope my son Pau will nevel forget from this experience: the process, the adventure, the uncertainty, the will to create something new. I hope all these will craft some of his skills.

DHM: Where can someone order the Assembly Kit?
PlayAssembly is a young startup in stealth mode. We are running a crowdfunding campaign on, the world's largest funding platform for creative projects, to bring the Assembly Kit to market. Until July 8th, people can pledge for the Assembly Kit and other great rewards. If we reach our funding goal, then we will begin manufacturing and shipping. Eventually, people could order the Assembly Kit in our website

Floating Between Two Infinities

The space was designed for a corporate client as an inner retreat. It could easily have been in a home or an office building.

Quiet is its essence. Baffled walls absorb all echoes of unwanted sound. Color on the walls behind the wood baffles evaporates in disappearing shades to simulate dawn and dusk, the quiet inner times of the day. The BangOlufsen console seeks soothing tonal vibes as wanted. The Odegard carpet echoes Tibetan Prayer Flags dissipating into winds as prayers into the universe. At one end lit yellow bowls of water cast infinite reflections left and right into a curving infinity drawing on memories of burning candles surrounding Bodhnath Temple in Kathmandu. At the other end a high definition screen in “real time” shows the earth turning from a dedicated NASA satellite. Time turns excruciatingly slow, yet at speeds unimagined. It is the only truth left on a TV these days! One rocks on the drifting sofa, pulled by two infinities, one real, one digital, rock on ! 

The Woodley: An exquisite Rental Experience

When Megan Boone of The Blacklist came to town last December, her sponsors searched for a sophisticated venue for a holiday party that would feature her as their special guest. They chose The Woodley. Tucked in one of Washington’s most prestigious neighborhoods, The Woodley blends the best of Washington luxury living—classic and cutting-edge.

The Woodley’s custom penthouses, stunning foyer with marble floors and two-story high ceilings, and “uber” amenities exude power and the pleasures of luxury living. Classic lines from European-inspired custom moldings and vaulted ceilings frame gourmet kitchens of stone countertops and top-line appliances. Entertainment spaces are open with loads of natural light and views of a meticulously maintained meditation gardens.

The premier apartment community offers amenities that go beyond the physical—a wood-paneled library, state-of-the-art fitness center, infinity edge pool, and rooftop terrace with grills. Rooftop entertaining—a must-have for elite Washington living—is enhanced by The Woodley’s spectacular views of natural vistas dotted with iconic DC landmarks.

Amenities at The Woodley cater to a refined lifestyle. Its 24-hour concierge service takes care of all those little life luxuries, from laundry service to yoga mats. Catering to intellectual and social interests of residents, The Woodley organizes monthly signature events, including jazz in the Meditation Garden, catered breakfast with top area chefs, afternoon high teas and cocktail hours featuring wines and spirits from around the world in the library, and book signings in the clubroom. There’s even a pet spa for furry members of the family to keep up appearances.

The Woodley sets the bar for an exceptional and elite experience in D.C. living. Currently available are spacious penthouses, multiple bedroom and studio apartments with more than 100 different floor plans.

The Woodley
2700 Woodley Road, NW
Washington, DC 20008

Pictured below: Model Room Interior (Photo by Sam Kittner Photography)

Q+A with Travis Price of Travis Price Architects

District Home takes an inside look into the use of shipping containers to revitalize urban life with warmer, sophisticated modernism that is both durable and sustainable.

District Home Magazine: What tends to be the most appealing feature about your custom container homes to prospective clients?
Travis Price:
Modernism with its spatial freedom, large views in touch with nature and urban life, very warm wood interiors that feed our natural hunger, and an honest use of real containers as an aesthetic; no phony historic cartoons like a Tuscany house in a rainy Seattle.

DHM: What are some of the challenges you face with shipping container homes?
The main challenge was not technical, not codes, nor financing. It was largely a lack of education about the advances of modernism in the past 2 decades. Most people are now overcoming the initial “sterile–slick ” modernist image of modern and embracing a warmer, natural, and more sophisticated idea that modern has many faces including glass, wood, and functional exposed metal. This is a big cultural shift in millennials and ironically many retiring purchasers.

DHM: How have you overcome this lack of education and what are the main takeaways?
Inspired and reasonably easy to build design compositions that make the ordinariness of corrugated metal, plywood, and large industrial glass feel more like a sublimely exciting iPhone than a sterile lost box. The ecological message is met with re-purposed fallow sea containers and more importantly great natural materials are preserved inside with the feelings of nature close to the touch. People are looking for the honesty of authenticity of the times with the container as home. Yes they will cost less and that is a great advantage as well as the speed of construction. Further, they are even more durable and a much better value for life than standard stick construction. Whether they will sell for less will be a market issue, but the bang for the buck is without a doubt a great asset.

DHM: You have been contemplating floating sea container apartments and a homeless village on the river to serve Georgetown. What do you envision in a project of this sort?
Besides a larger on-land village of containers in the city, we would like to float the same 200 units on elegant barges and create mixed-use containers on the riverfronts. This is done in Holland and would be an updated and sophisticated Sausalito inspiration. The best part is that it would create what most Washingtonians would love most; urban life on the water. This is the future of cities. The US has an abundance of natural rivers and parks. Cities really don’t need to keep their River Fronts completely pristine. Bruges in Belgium, Florence, and Venice, Italy are all echoes of a richer history of life on the water in a dense environment. This is not only loveable but also more valuable. Think of the vast amount of money spent each year to visit such places as well as the huge investment in metal and glass condominiums and you suddenly realize the containers are simply an evolution of using less materials and human technical genius to provide more with less. The river ecology is far better preserved with responsible living than open parks that are costly and hard to maintain. Good ecology comes when a person has to eat and sleep where they live!

DHM: What do you see in the future for container housing?
The re-purposing of containers is a growing and a long-term market. The genius of mass-produced space that endures the roughest seas will diminish one day as they are all used up. Further if we start to ship them out with American products, this would be great for us. However, the ideas will live on and actually become a housing production model that works as a new aesthetic. Twenty years ago, IKEA was a fresh odd start. Now it is the largest manufacturer of furniture in the world and a widely embraced aesthetic much like those weird metal machines we worship more than houses, cars and iPads! Pre fabrication and mass customization are continuing by necessity and more importantly, they have become the romantic vision of the 21st century. Much like the smart phone appendage we all enjoy, these innovations will become the expected and enjoyed norm. The tipping point is here. It is not a technical revolution as most of the components are not new, it’s a cultural evolution! 

Sea Change

SeaUA is the first sea container housing project in the nation’s capital, Washington DC. The 18 sea containers were marketed to millennials abutting the Catholic University of America (CUA) at the Brookland Metro stop. A second similar project in the vicinity is also envisioned. The housing units are all sustainable engineered wood interiors using high performance energy conservation designs.

Repurposing sea containers has been proliferating globally for years, however today with over 700,000 fallow sea containers alone in the US, their reuse is not only an ecological necessity, but one that will be putting the US construction industry back to work locally. As important is the private entrepreneurship of recent local CUA graduates Matt Grace & Sean Joiner, to finance, design, and envision these endeavors without taxing government. Kelly Davies, project architect at TPA, also a CUA graduate has guided the project from concept to completion and has generated the DC government's terrific support for the sea container initiative. 

Breaking more ground on the groundswell of a new modernism for DC was the design mission. The distinctive modern design movement from Ikea, to million dollar condos, to single homes and commercial buildings is now finding its way to a profoundly less costly market with the SeaUA project.

SeaUA uses additional modernist traits besides the water tight steel sea containers. The transparent polygal stair coverings as well as eco engineered walkways and balconies are fully sustainable. Every effort has been made to evolve these units into ultra-low energy consumption. The design directive is to demonstrate a highly efficient, humanely warm, and modern lower cost housing option. Besides custom luxury homes, future plans range from a floating Sea Container apartment complex for millennials on the Potomac to a floating Sea Container village for the homeless near Georgetown. Needless to say the small apartment and condo market will continue to evolve with sea containers. 

Up & Coming: Thomson & Cooke Architects

After navigating the industry as a young architect, Neal Thomson decided to begin a boutique architectural firm with another industry figure. After more than a decade of collaboration with Patrick Cooke, Thomson & Cooke Architects has emerged on the scene, ready to cater to a Washington landscape that craves redesigned spaces and fresh buildings. Neal Thomson talked to us about his path to the helm of his own firm and the excitement of “being on the come up.”

District Home Magazine: What’s it like to head your own firm now? How does that compare to past experiences?

Thomson & Cooke Architect : Last year was a really exciting year. We decided to take the leap and start Thomson & Cooke Architects fulfilling a long-time goal for both of us. As owners, we feel a greater responsibility to our clients as trusted advisors and we're personally invested in the success of each of our projects in a way we never were before.

We’ve always worked for full service architecture firms—those that provide feasibility and concept design through construction documents, interiors and move-in. It is important to us that our own firm offers that same level of service. It helps us maintain our design standards and allows us to remain involved from start to finish.

DHM: What are the benefits of working with a boutique firm, from a client’s perspective?

TCA: For us, as a newer firm we bring a lot of energy and spirit to our projects, and it's important that we're accessible to our clients. We prefer the small scale of our office so that we can both be directly involved day to day in the project work. That provides our clients with a lot of comfort and trust.

We emphasize quality and craftsmanship and create custom designs for each of our clients. Getting the clients involved in our process is critical in our design development; we don’t dust off old drawings and reuse them, rather we take the time to listen to our clients needs and design a home that works for them.

DHM: What are some upcoming projects for Thomson & Cooke Architects?

TCA: We have a broad portfolio of work on the boards both geographically, from Capitol Hill to Arlington to Chevy Chase, and project type, from interior renovations to new homes and to historic condo conversions. The mix is what excites us and keeps us on our toes. A few projects on the boards include a new house under design with an incredible team in the Palisades neighborhood of DC and a historic restoration in Chevy Chase, MD.

DHM: What are some of the fun projects you’ve done since starting the firm?

TCA: We’ve worked with a developer to design three new homes in Arlington that are now under construction. This was new for us. We had never designed on spec before and found the process exciting for different reasons than our client-focused work. In Chevy Chase, MD we designed renovations for three families who are neighbors. It was fun to get to know the families and the proximity made scheduling meetings easy! 

A Home for the Holidays: A conversation with Interior Designer Mary Douglas Drysdale

How would you describe your overall design aesthetic?

I would describe my style as “traditionally based with a modern lens.” In terms of scope, I look to find and develop a balance between art, architecture and decoration.

I started my practice in Washington, DC in my late 20’s and the work I was doing then was very minimal and spare, what I would describe as more modernist than traditional. However, working in Washington, which is after all the “Federal” city, I realized that the architecture here is often historic, and even those buildings that are recent or currently being built are more often than not inspired by traditional architectural styles. As the years passed, I found that my style became more architecturally traditionally based in terms of details, but remained modern in terms of furniture layouts and overall sparseness from a decorative impact perspective. I tend to incorporate modern art in many of my jobs, as often times my clients are collectors, and I have found that this contrast of modern art with traditional detailing gives a fresh and clean decorative look.

Where do you find inspiration aside from actual furniture and décor?

History. To borrow a line from T. S. Eliot, “that which we know comes from those who came before” (or something close to that). I have a wonderful library of books which I have collected for years and I refer to it often. I have learned from the best by accessing their work through books that share their thoughts and pictures of their work. I tend to be inspired by those in history who have taken a full and complete look at design and its elements, from Thomas Jefferson to Frank Lloyd Wright. It is the completeness of the work, as much as their individual talent, that makes their houses and buildings so memorable.

What qualities do you think make a room really stand out?

For me it is a remarkably difficult balance between completeness and iconic thinking. A room should be rich in idea, balanced in application, and furnish the inhabitants with sufficient amusement or interest via view to an outside space or focus on an interior object or art work. I spend a good part of my day looking at things, there is no formula for this, but “memorable” is a quality that I ascribe to few rooms or places, and it is achieving this quality of specialness that for me makes a room stand out.

How do you create a holiday ambiance in your home or in your client’s homes?

Growing up in Charlottesville, Virginia, we used to spend weeks decorating for Christmas. I think that in today’s world few of us have that kind of time to allocate to holiday decorating. I have a townhouse and only two smallish trees. I put white lights in the trees as many on my block do, which adds a festive look to the neighborhood. The nice thing about tree lights is that they don’t look stale after the first of January.— people tend to keep them up all winter. The same cannot be said of an electrified Santa on the roof. A wreath is also an easy, highly decorative element that doesn’t need to come down quite so quickly.

On the interior, I think holiday flower arrangements are lovely. I have never limited my person palette to green and red or blue. The holidays are, in my opinion, a time of sharing and celebration of friends and family that should not be governed by a predetermined color scheme.

Over the years I have collected and made many ornaments which at one time I would put on a giant tree. I now make smaller arrangements for tabletop use and interior wreaths to display my collection of ornaments. I also like to just have a bowl of ornaments, like a bowl of fruit. In book shelves, I place ornaments and holly. Often I will add some holly to a chandelier, but only if the design is appropriate. People often stack books on tables and I have found interesting papers and made sort of architectural assemblies of decorated boxes to convey the season. The most important part of holiday decorating is to make it personal and not to overwhelm the space. Christmas should be in your heart and in your mind, it is a time of sharing. Be generous, with your friends and family and those who are less well off.

What are some quick fixes that can transform a home for the holiday season?

I like to take everything that is not necessary in a room out, and then bring back only the things that you really need or really like one by one. Stop bringing things back in when you reach the “enough is enough” point. Reorganizing is a great mood lifter and always freshens a room, and Christmas is a great time of year to make a charitable contribution. Try rearranging your furniture, try one piece less or one piece more, and see if you feel more comfortable. Clean your space thoroughly and make sure that the baseboards and chair rails are done. Get an air cleaner (not an air freshening candle) and really make your house or apartment smell clean! Make or get a new flower arrangement each week of the holiday season and place it where you and your guests will enjoy it. In a powder room or bathroom, get new towels if you can, and buy some candles to light up for holiday parties. Get some mint and thyme and other herbs and let those herbs infuse the scent of your home. If time and budget allow, re-paint a prominent area of your house. There is no decorating tool which can so quickly change the look and feel of a room.

When it comes to the holidays, would you describe yourself as traditional?

I like to remember the wonderful times I have had with my family and friends and I always want to honor the traditions of my community and friends. I always look to the future and plan for the best, and I recommend carrying the spirit of Christmas with one all year round and celebrating life every day!

Interview by Caitlin Moore 

Marketing the District: A Conversation with Lynn Hackney of Urban Pace

Lynn Hackney, President of Urban Pace, is responsible for founding one of the most innovative and successful real estate sales and marketing firms in the DC area. Here, she gives District Home a glimpse into what goes into her booming business, her new 14th Street location, and a vision of the future of Urban Pace.

How did you start your business?

I was working in partnership with one of the Washington area’s largest and most influential developers, now called EYA, and was exposed to the company’s expertise in the marketing and sales of their award-winning residential communities and product. Seeing the opportunity to provide this type of assistance to other developers, I decided to form Urban Pace in 2001.

What does Urban Pace do?

Urban Pace is the leading condominium sales and marketing firm in the Nation's capital. We have been number one in market share in our field for many years, even during the financial downturn, during which Urban Pace experienced record-breaking prices and sales pace. Urban Pace focuses on unique historic buildings in urban neighborhoods, and as such has developed an expertise in historic rehabilitation. Unlike all of our competitors, we employ a unique business model, with all sales managers serving as employees, which means that they have higher compensation and truly function as a team. We handle all aspects of projects from conceptual design to financing to exit strategy. Using our deep knowledge of the city government, we play a critical role in helping clients obtain project entitlements and public support. And we have a relationship with an equity investment firm to assist on the financing side as well.

What sets Urban Pace apart?

For one thing, Urban Pace is the only woman-owned major brokerage firm – including both commercial and residential brokerage -- in the Washington metropolitan area. We specialize in new multifamily for-sale product in select urban neighborhoods – working exclusively with developers. We provide a range of services that goes well beyond marketing and sales, and offer our clients unique advantages such as our UP Velocity™ digital marketing program, which saves our clients thousands of dollars by reducing traditional marketing budgets. This system creates an ideal sales process for each customer by placing the right sales representative with each individual buyer at just the right time. 

Interview by Caitlin Moore 

Meet the Designer: Deborah Kalkstein

 Deborah Kalkstein was raised and educated in Peru. When it was time to pursue a career, she decided to study architecture because her father did not agree to send her to the Milan Polytechnico to study industrial design, which was her dream career. In addition, at the time in Peru, interior design was not a career but a decorator course and she wanted her future profession to be something deeper. Finally, she loved working at her uncle’s office that was still one of the top contemporary architects in Lima. She worked in his office doing all the interior work. Therefore, after graduation from the Universidad Ricardo Palma in Lima, she looked for a way to combine her love for furniture, interiors, and architecture. A store seemed to be the obvious conglomerate of the three.

She moved to the United States in 1989 and then in 1999, she opened Contemporaria in an Old printed Warehouse owned by an Italian architect in Bethesda. Ten years ago, she moved her business to Georgetown and opened up her current store in Cady’s Alley. Now offering a complete range of services from interior design and interior architectures to remodeling and construction, Contemporaria is a full service design firm and showroom that sets it apart from other retailers in the area. Her modern and design aesthetic has brought in an array of clients that have made her business the hotspot it is today.

For Deborah, the client is the most important part of her work. In her words, “clients want great service, great prices, great design, great ideas, great solutions, great products. Sometimes we can give it all and sometimes we can’t. But we always try.” They are truly the center of her design philosophy and the reason behind her tremendous success.

Other than the pleasing the client, her success has come from her commitment to her own aesthetic, declaring, “I am not a trend follower and that is the reason that I believe we are still in business and some of our counterparts are gone. I believe in lasting things.”

Deborah’s classic yet contemporary aesthetic has set her apart from other firms and showrooms in the area. With her commitment to the design and the client, she has created lasting relationships and a lasting reputation as one of Georgetown’s very best. 

Best in Design: Peter Sallick

When it comes to bath and kitchen design, Pater Sallick and his company, Waterworks, is an easy go-to for a trustworthy and beautiful design. Waterworks is the leading high-end design brand for the bath. Peter, as CEO, blends his entrepreneurial and management success in the design industry with an investment orientation allowing for incredible success in recent years. Under Peter’s leadership, Waterworks has achieved excellence in product, design and innovation, and as set a new standard for service and overall excellence. He has been a part of the development of hundreds of original products and has established a global specialty supply chain. He has always dreamed of a highly distinguished design company and with Waterworks, he has achieved it. Although Peter Sallick is an incredibly busy man, he has been generous enough to answer a few questions that give us some insight into his success, Waterworks, and what is up ahead for them this fall.

How did you get started in the business?

Waterworks is a family business. My parents Barbara and Robert Sallick founded the company in 1978 and since the beginning Waterworks has been committed to creating incredible products that are not only visually appealing, but perform to the highest standards. I joined the company in 1993 with the vision to reestablish the company as a full-service destination for bath offerings that not only were design-driven, but also set a new standard for client service. I continue to champion product development across the multitude of categories.

What’s on the horizon for you and Waterworks?

We’re excited to be launching our Waterworks Kitchen business this year. It’s an entirely new brand that is giving our customers a fully realized kitchen portfolio. Our approach to the kitchen is the same as our approach to the bath: we provide all the items you need to fully design and customize your space.

Why are your kitchens unique? What’s special about your craft?

At Waterworks Kitchen, you’ll find everything from cabinetry offered in multiple finishes or custom Waterworks Kitchen paint colors, a full collection of hardware, a wide variety of sinks, fittings, lighting, and furnishings – ranging from serving items to kitchen towels. We’re focusing on providing customers with transitional American design, which incorporates mid-century and traditional design elements.

What are some particularly exciting upcoming kitchen trends?

We’re seeing a resurgence of color in the Kitchen space. In choosing colors for our kitchen spaces we’ve selected rich hues like blues, greys and eggplant. Color is making its way back into the kitchen and it’s not exclusive to backsplash, its floor to ceiling.

What sort of things do clients want?

Our clients want and look for excellent client service, custom-design options and a wide scale of product offerings. We work hard to give our customers an environment that feels like a design destination so they can explore numerous options, find what they need, plan their space and get professional assistance along the way.

What do you design around? What’s the mainstay of the space?

Understanding and valuing the core function of the Kitchen is really important when designing a space. At Waterworks we are constantly evaluating the form and function of our designs. One thing that became very clear to us was that the kitchen sink truly should be classified as a home appliance – after all, it is hardest working piece in the room. Within the Waterworks Kitchen line we’re offering everything from small bar sinks to 5ft. long industrial designs, multiple bowl and drain board configurations as well as double kitchen faucets and pot fillers. This is all set up to increase functionality and help prevent the natural bottleneck within the kitchen space. 

Up & Coming: Ezio Mattiace, Arte Modus

Meandering down 31st street in Georgetown, with Italian restaurants such as Ristorante Piccolo and Il Canale lining the street, it feels as if you have been transported to a little section of Italy in DC. It is no surprise then to find Ezio Mattiace’s Arte Modus nestled off of the courtyard of Canal Square. Ezio, an Italian furniture retailer and interior designer, who recently moved his showroom to 31st street, loves his new location because it reminds him of his home country, Italy. Removed from the bustle of the busy Georgetown streets, it gives him the space to focus on his wonderful clients. Ezio arrived from Italy to the United States in 1996, working as a project manager for a construction company. However, even though his job was to work on the shell of a building, he was particularly interested in the interiors and what went inside the walls that he helped put up. Interiors were a new world for him but after receiving a master’s degree in business administration from Johns Hopkins, he was sure that he wanted to use his new love of interior design to become an entrepreneur. He started his own company of Italian manufacturers and has been importing fabulous Italian furniture for the past 12 years.

Just last year, Ezio expanded outside his original 3 companies that he sold in his showroom. Now he represents designers and furniture pieces from Italy, Belgium, England, and even America. From floors identical to those that rest under Michelangelo Da Vinci in Florence to flooring made from wood extracted from the Venice Laguna, to office furniture to kitchen designs, Ezio has it all.

He is a self-proclaimed furniture treasure hunter and he focuses on finding unique products to bring to the American design scene. His design aesthetic is contemporary classic, which becomes obvious as soon as you step into the showroom. Out on the floor, Ezio has an office display furnished by the Italian company Tecno, a high-end office furniture designer. The desk in the set was designed last year while the chairs by Tecno were designed in 1956 and 1963. The paring of modern pieces with classic speaks to Ezio’s passions.

Ezio, while he sells many different types of home furnishings, flooring and lighting, has a particular interest in kitchens. He is the regional head of Arclinea, an Italian manufacturer of kitchen cabinetry. For his own kitchen clients, he is one hundred percent involved in the design. He quickly understands what the client needs for their personal taste and use and then goes from there with a full service. He imports products from Italy and creates beautiful, unique kitchens.

For other clients doing other sort of home design, he is there to provide them with ideas and purchase products. He is in constant contact with Italian manufacturers and has three to four trips to Italy a year; to hand pick designs for his clients and his showroom.

These days, Ezio remains very busy but he does not see things slowing down anytime soon. He will be one to watch as he continues to bring incredible and unique Italian designs to the DC area. 

Matt Haley’s Ingredients for Humanitarian Success

Matt Haley’s Ingredients for Humanitarian Success As the winner of the James Beard Foundation’s 2014 Humanitarian of the year award, the International Association of Culinary Professionals National Humanitarian award, and the National Restaurant Associations 2014 Cornerstone Humanitarian award, Matt Haley has become quite the celebrity this spring. Yet, Haley does not take this as a personal success. Rather, he sees this as recognition of the work of his company including his coworkers, and his community. For him, “this organization does not exist in our community, but rather, for and because of our community, both local & global.” Being honored by these three organizations all at once is a bit overwhelming, but this restaurateur remains grateful and humble in the face of amazing success.

While Haley was born and raised and first learned the culinary business in Washington, D.C., he has always felt a deep connection to Delaware. He recalls fond childhood memories of enjoying summer crab, steak, and fresh sweet corn with his mother on Bethany Beach. These memories instilled in him a love for the area and for good food. In 1999, he moved to Delaware, planning to stay for a season, but there was no going back and it quickly became his home. In 2001, he went out on a limb and opened his first restaurant, now called Bluecoast Seafood Grill, in the sleepy beach town of Bethany that quickly found incredible acclaim, becoming a culinary destination. Today, his restaurant group, SoDel Concepts, consistently offers locally grown plates and tastes with multiple locations including, Fish On! in Lewes, NorthEast Seafood Kitchen in Ocean View, Catch54 in Fenwick Island, Papa Grande’s in Fenwick Island and Rehoboth, Lupo Di Mare in Rehoboth, Matt’s Fish Camp in North Bethany, and Plate Catering. For Haley, this has become a perfect way to combine two of his greatest passions: the beach and simple, fresh food.

Still, he has a third great passion for giving back that shines through in his humanitarian work. Matt Haley is a byproduct of people who helped him and were there for him when he could not be there for himself. These people have inspired his deep involvement in service – both locally and globally. Living the way he lives, he understands the importance of community and friendship, bringing that into his restaurants and the many communities he is a part of. Just one of the many ways he gives back is as an active member of the Latino community surrounding Papa Grande’s. He gives a portion of the profits back into the community and also goes into local schools to work with the students offering support and mentorship.

In the end, the greatest part of the job is creating a business that employs people, especially those who may not be that employable, so they can have a good life, feed their children, and be happy. That is the simple but noble mission of Matt Haley Companies (MHC).

Right now, MHC is expanding to 27 businesses and bringing in about $50 million dollars in revenue. In the future, they hope to have 100 businesses bringing in about $250 million. The goal is to create revenue and leverage the profits for good. Whether that means opening up a factory near a prison for work release, a coffee plantation in Nepal for women who are coming out of bonded labor so they can make a decent leaving and feed their families, or hiring autistic young adults in their restaurants (something they already do), Matt Haley infuses a commitment to others in every step of the process.

While for many people, his recent awards would be the culmination of a life’s work; they are just the beginning for Haley. He will absolutely be one to watch as he continues to make great food and an even greater difference in communities around the world. 

By Courtney Ingard