Best Apartment Communities in DC | Spring 2018

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The Best Apartment Communities in Washington DC | Spring 2018 Edition

Washington, DC has over 3,500 apartment communities to choose from when deciding where to live….To say apartment hunting in DC is overwhelming would be a slight understatement.  We culled the options by checking out review sites like Google, Yelp, and Apartment Ratings. Below is our list of our favorites and what the reviews say are the best apartment communities in DC.

This isn’t the first time Park Chelsea is making the list of Best Apartment Communities in DC.  In 2017, they made Washington City Paper’s Best of lists.  The warm classic finishes paired with an endless list of amenities make Park Chelsea a must see.  Residents at Park Chelsea get access to free weekly yoga and spin classes, monthly social events like mixology and pizza making demonstrations, and a list of amenities that include an indoor pool and steam room and rooftop pool with monument views. While Park Chelsea is just about 100% occupied, phase 2 of the community, The Agora just opened.  Residents of the two buildings get reciprocal access to each other’s amenities. And when the Whole Foods opens on the ground floor of the Agora, you’ll be saying Yes to this address.

Brunswick House is not only rated one of the best apartments in DC, but its ratings on multiple reviews sites also rank it as one of the best apartments in the country.  Interestingly, Brunswick House is not a new luxury apartment community.  Instead, it is an older, albeit well-maintained building with a stellar location and a phenomenal staff.  Reviews describe it as, “a place with a warm sense of community, wonderful neighbors, and an amazing management team.”  Brunswick House is a rent control building, meaning that rent is only increased a marginal amount each year.  This makes it the best deal in the city for anyone planning to stay in one apartment for an extended period.  Located just off of the Dupont Metro station, you can live a car-free and carefree life at this community.

When ranking apartments as the best in DC, one of the factors must be location.  The Swift at Petworth is one block from the metro and has a Safeway grocery built on the first floor pushing this apartment community to the top of our list. The Swift at Petworth apartment finishes are stunning and include all the right extras; washers and dryers in the apartments and kitchens to die for. If you are new to DC, you’l appreciate the programmed resident events.  One review stated, “The events they hold and the community atmosphere they create truly sets this building apart.”

City Market at O isn’t the newest building in DC, but they continue to rank high in Google and Apartment Rating reviews.  The amenities at this building show how the developer really thought about the residents and their needs.  The indoor/outdoor fireplace is one of our favorite features.  They also thought about your furry family members’ needs with a rooftop pet park.   One review summed it up with, “In my experience, City Market at O is the best apartment community in the city. The staff are friendly, the residents are sociable, and the amenities are top-notch.”

Located in the Cathedral heights neighborhood of DC, 3333 Wisconsin is one of DC’s best apartment communities for those looking for a bit more residential feel.  The apartment community backs up to a neighborhood full of gorgeous houses and parks and is just a stone’s throw away from the National Cathedral.  Runners and walkers love the wide sidewalks lining the streets and mature trees that provide fantastic shade.  But this neighborhood isn’t all houses!  DC institutions like 2Amy’s Pizza and Cactus Cantina are right outside 3333 Wisconsin’s front door.  You also have a Giant grocery store, CVS, Barcelona Restuarant, Solidcore, Pure Barre and countless other conveniences.  The apartment community has a theater room, fitness center and a rooftop deck to take in the city views.  One reviewer wrote, “Convenient location, excellent amenities and amazing staff. The concierge service in this building was impeccable.”

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Also published on Medium.


Idea to Steal: A Mini Gallery Wall

We all know gallery walls are a consistent style winner. They’re certainly instagram gold as this recent post illustrates. But they’re also a touch ubiquitous. Search gallery wall on Pinterest and you get a litany of pics, many of them virtually, if not exactly, the same.

So what if we swapped things up a bit? I’m not saying nix the gallery wall entirely. But what if we went with a mini gallery wall instead?

Idea to Steal: A Mini Gallery Wall on apartment 34

Specifically, I fell in love with the 3-piece gallery when I visited the Nomad Hotel in Los Angeles in the fall. Our entire room was decorated in nothing but little groupings of art, all combined in threes – as shown below. I was obsessed.

Idea to Steal: A Mini Gallery Wall on apartment 34

In my current quest to whittle our homes down to their essence, I’m really feeling the idea of limiting your art wall to just three pieces.

It makes sense that the look feels so good. Three is a magic number when it comes to styling as it offers variation but also balance. When styling a coffee table, bookshelf or console, the golden rule is to group things in threes. So it only makes sense that this rule should apply to our walls too.

Idea to Steal: A Mini Gallery Wall on apartment 34

Technically the vignette above does feature four pieces but I think it would look so much better if you took one away.

Idea to Steal: A Mini Gallery Wall on apartment 34

And while you can group like with like, using similar themes, color palettes or frames, I actually think you should introduce as much eclecticism into a mini art grouping as you can. Play with scale, feature different subject matter, different techniques and a variety of frames. Make a guest want to walk up and look more closely.

Idea to Steal: A Mini Gallery Wall on apartment 34

So rather than scramble to find a million art prints, why not select just a few extra special favorites and give them their time in the sun? You can even swap your art in and out – a quick and easy way to update your space without having to buy something new.

What say you? Are you ready to take down the giant gallery wall and give the mini gallery wall a go instead?

For more Ideas to Steal, CLICK HERE.

images via brady tolbert  / apartment 34sfgirlbybay & sfgirlbybay / avenue lifestyle 



Decorating With Faux Plants: An Amazon Shopping Guide

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The Best Faux Plants You Can Buy On Amazon Right Now

There are few things that breathe life into a space better than fresh, live plant.  Lush greenery can make your apartment feel more welcoming and calming, but maintaining live plants is not a task all people are capable of or interested in.  Whether you travel often, have a busy schedule or simply possess a black thumb, faux plants may be the best bet for you and your home.  When you think of faux plants, you may imagine tacky, plastic-looking eye-sores, but luckily for all of us, faux plants have come a long way in the past few years.  Just take a look at the collection of beautiful options below that can all be at your door in two days with Amazon Prime:

Faux Boston Fern

Decorating With Faux Plants | Faux Boston Fern

Faux Boxwood Topiary

Decorating With Faux Plants | Faux Boxwood Topiary

Faux Mini Green Grass & Flowers

Decorating With Faux Plants | Faux Mini Grass & Flowers

Faux Philodendron Hanging Basket

Decorating With Faux Plants | Faux Philodendron Hanging Basket

Faux Tabletop Plants In Glass Pots

Decorating With Faux Plants | Faux Tabletop Plants In Glass Pots

Faux Lemon Tree Topiary

Decorating With Faux Plants | Faux Lemon Tree Topiary

Faux Succulent Trio in White Ceramic Vases

Decorating With Faux Plants | Faux Succulent Trio In White Ceramic Pots

Faux Cactus Garden In Cement Planter

Decorating With Faux Plants | Faux Cactus Garden In Cement Planter

Faux Snake Plant In Black Planter

Decorating With Faux Plants | Faux Snake Plant

Faux Fiddle Leaf Tree

Decorating With Faux Plants | Faux Fiddle Leaf Tree

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Brand New Apartments in DC

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Desk Accessories |

New apartments are popping up all over DC and the construction cranes dotting the skyline tell us there’s more to come.  We went snooping around some of the newest communities to see what new amenities and luxury finishes the brand new apartments are introducing to the DC market.  From saunas to spin rooms, these communities are serving up serious spa-like settings, luxury amenities, and breathtaking views.  Check out our list of six brand new must see apartment communities.


The Edison

1240 4th Street NE
Washington, DC 20002

We don’t know what’s better…a Trader Joes on the ground floor or the first-month free move-in promotion!  The Edison is an Instagrammer’s dream.  The courtyard features a gorgeous mural by a local artist and a super relaxing water feature.  What’s more, the Edison is set in the Union Market District-one of our favorite spots in all of DC.  This location puts you two blocks from the Noma Metro red line and one block to Union Market and all their glorious vendors and Insta worthy artwork.


Agora at the Collective

800 New Jersey Ave SE
Washington, DC 20003

Agora is the brand new second building of the luxury apartment community called The Collective. Located in the Capitol Riverfront at 800 New Jersey Ave SE Washington, DC, Agora boasts amenities such as an infinity pool with unmatched Capitol views, Peloton cycling room, massage rooms, and golf simulator. Agora offers studio to three-bedroom apartment homes ranging in size from 400 to 3113 sq.ft. This rental community is pet-friendly, welcoming both cats and dogs. However, you can opt to live on a pet-free floor.


The Channel

950 Maine Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20024

With the Anthem music venue on the ground floor…this truly is DC living amplified.  The Channel District Wharf is a brand new apartment community in one of DC’s newest neighborhoods.  From the infinity pool overlooking the waterfront to the custom art installations in the common areas, there is always something new to see.  The location puts you walking distance to the monuments and the National Mall and of course, living at the Wharf, you have several bars and restaurants at your doorstep.  They are currently offering one month free, so if you are looking to move this summer, add them to your list!


South Cathedral Mansions

2900 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008

South Cathedral Mansions is the best of both worlds; modern luxury with charming old-world architecture.  This fully restored community is stunning.  Be sure to check out their 6000 square foot fitness center including steam rooms.  The apartments feature smart home features like keyless entry and smart thermostats.  The brand new apartments also have washers and dryers in the apartments, quartz countertops, and our favorite gas stoves.


The District

1401 S St NW
Washington, DC 20009

Located in the Logan Circle – U Street neighborhood that’s redefining fashion, food, and fun in D.C., District is refreshingly sophisticated. Blending the best of old and new, the 125-residence building contrasts a historic warm, worn brick with a sleek, modern façade. Inside, each high-quality residence creates an urban oasis. Whether it’s to curl up with a good read by the fireplace in the lounge or impress dinner party guests with panoramic views on the rooftop terrace, District has the right atmosphere and amenities.


Willow and Maple

6918 Willow Street NW
Washington, DC 20012

Cutting edge amenities, meticulously-groomed grounds, and a dedicated staff contribute to a higher standard of living. Convenient shopping, award-winning schools, local museums, and parks are all close at hand, with sponsored activities to develop new hobbies while getting to know your neighbors.

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6 Artists I Found on Instagram

As I attempt to call my house done, one key detail has continued to elude. Art! It can feel really challenging to find something you love. There are plenty an art site that offer good place holders, but I’m attempting to move beyond the cheap print everyone already has phase. Enter Instagram. I recently fell down the artist-on-Instagram rabbit hole and WOW. There are so many talented people out there just killing it! I seriously want to buy multiple pieces from all the artists listed below. Their work is beautiful, so if you have some bare walls in your life, definitely look to these folks to serve up some major inspiration.

6 Artists I Found on Instagram

First up is The Poster Club. This isn’t specifically one artist, but it’s a Copenhagen-based online store offering a unique curated selection of high-quality posters and art prints from both upcoming and established artists. I am obsessed with their website and pretty much every piece of art. These are prints rather than originals, but price point is so affordable, there’s really no excuse for not having cool piece in your life. They also ship worldwide, so I’m not sure what we’re all waiting for?

6 Artists I Found on Instagram

I’m convinced Bobby Clark is my long lost Scottish soul sister or something. I would do a gallery wall of her work in every room of my house if it wouldn’t be considered weird. You know all the cool sculptural knock off art you’re seeing in department stores? They’re copying Bobby’s work. She’s the legit OG. And the price to snag a print is honestly not bad at all!

6 Artists I Found on Instagram

When I think of soft colors in a Scandinavian inspired space, Saar Manche’s art immediately comes to mind. I mean, one look at her Instagram feed and I instantly feel calmer. Her work is muted with soft edges and one of her faceless portraits would fit perfectly in my home.

6 Artists I Found on Instagram

Next, we have the works of Amelie Hegardt. She is regarded as a fashion illustrator, but as you can see from her Instagram, her work goes far beyond that. The silhouettes and lines of her pieces fascinate me and I’d love love love to snag an original.

6 Artists I Found on Instagram

It shouldn’t surprise you that another Denmark-based artist made this list. His name is Carsten Nielsen of Bycdesign studio. You can actually buy his work through The Poster Club, but I highly recommend following him on Instagram for daily looks at his pieces. It says on his site he’s inspired by geometry and shapes and combines them with his affinity for color and form. All I know is whatever he’s doing, it is absolutely working.

6 Artists I Found on Instagram

If you’re looking for something a bit more abstract with colorful flair, look no further than Maureen Meyer. With a previous career as a graphic designer, Maureen’s work is mixed media, so she incorporates a lot of paper and excess print materials into her pieces. It’s very multidimensional, which in my opinion is a very welcome breath of fresh air.

You can buy from these artists or not, but there’s no doubt they will, at the very least, spice up your Insta feed. That I can promise!

For more of my favorite Instagram finds, CLICK HERE.



I Didn’t Open All of These Accounts on My Credit Report. What Should I Do?

Free Credit Report Summary - Payment History

See your payment history?

Payment history is the record of when—and if—you pay your bills. And, it’s one of the main things that creditors look at. Payment history makes up 35% of your credit score—the biggest part. Your report card shows your grade, total late payments and more. See your payment history now »

See How You’re Using Available Credit

How you use credit affects your credit score. Use too much and your score goes down. Your credit utilization ratio, or how much of your credit limit you use, makes up 30% of your credit score. Your credit report card shows your ratio, credit card debt, credit limit and how different factors affect your score. Get your debt usage now »

Free Credit Report Summary - Debt Utilization Free Credit Report Summary - Number of Inquiries

Take a Peek at Your Credit’s Age

Credit age, aka credit history, is the age of your oldest account, not how long you’ve used credit. Creditors want older credit histories. And older accounts are better for your score. Credit age makes up 15% of your score. See your credit history and the ages of the oldest and newest account on your credit report card. Know your credit age now »

See Your Account Mix

Revolving credit, installment loans and the mix of the two—student loans, auto loans, mortgages, etc.—make up 10% of your credit score. A good mix shows creditors you can handle different types of debts. See how many revolving credit accounts and loans you have in your free credit report summary. Check your account mix »

Free Credit Report Summary - Age of Accounts Free Credit Report Summary - Account Mix

Know How Many Inquiries You Have

Every time you apply for a new credit card or loan, it can show up as a hard inquiry on your credit report. That’s true even for denied credit. And hard inquiries make up 10% of your score and can cause it to drop. Applying for credit too frequently is a red flag to creditors. When was your last inquiry? See how many inquiries you have and how long you’ve had them on your report card. Check your inquiries now »

See Why—and How—Your Score Changed

If you want the details of why your score changed, it’s all there. Simply select “See details” for “Why did my score change” to see the historical view of your credit score—and what’s changed it.

Free Credit Report Summary - Age of Accounts


What is a 401(k) Profit Sharing Plan?

Like a traditional 401(k) plan, a 401(k) profit share plan is an employee benefit that can provide a vehicle for tax-free retirement savings. But the biggest difference between an employer-sponsored 401(k) and a 401(k) profit share plan is that in a profit share plan, employers have control over how much money—if any—they contribute to the employee’s account from year to year.

In other ways, the 401(k) profit-sharing plan works similarly to a traditional employer-sponsored 401(k). Under a 401(k) profit share plan, as with a regular 401(k) plan, an employee can allocate a portion of pre-tax income into a 401(k) account, up to a maximum of $19,500 per year (in 2020 and 2021).

At year’s end, employers can choose to contribute part of their profits to employee’s plans, tax-deferred. As with a traditional 401(k), maximum total contributions to an account must be the lesser of 100% of the employee’s salary or $58,000 a year per the IRS; that number jumps to $64,500 for older employees who are making catch-up contributions.

How Does 401(k) Profit Sharing Work?

There are several types of 401(k) profit-sharing setups employers can choose from. Each of these distributes funds in slightly different ways.

Pro-Rata Plans

In this common type of plan, all employees receive employer contributions at the same rate. In other words, the employer can make the decision to contribute 3% (or any percentage they choose) of an employees compensation as an employer contribution. The amount an employer can share is capped at 25% of total employee compensation paid to participants in the plan.

New Comparability 401(k) Profit Sharing

In this plan, employers can group employees when outlining a contribution plan. For example, executives could receive a certain percentage of their compensation as contribution, while other employees could receive a different percentage. This might be an option for a small business with several owners that wish to be compensated through a profit-sharing plan.

Age-Weighted Plans

This plan calculates percentage contributions based on retirement age. In other words, older employees will receive a greater percentage of their salary than younger employees, by birth date. This can be a way for employers to retain talent over time.

Integrated Profit Sharing

This type of plan uses Social Security (SS) taxable income levels to calculate the amount the employer shares with employees. Because Social Security benefits are only paid on compensation below a certain threshold, this method allows employers to make up for lost SS compensation to high earners, by giving them a larger cut of the profit sharing.

Pros and Cons of 401(k) Profit Sharing

There are benefits and drawbacks for both employers and employees who participate in a profit-sharing 401(k) plan.

Employer Pro: Flexibility of Employer Contributions

Flexibility with plan contribution amounts is one reason profit share plans are popular with employers. An employer can set aside a portion of their pre-tax earnings to share with employees at the end of the year. If the business doesn’t do well, they may not allocate any dollars. But if the business does do well, they can allow employees to benefit from the additional profits.

Employer Pro: Flexibility in Distributions

Profit sharing also gives employers flexibility in how they wish to distribute funds among employees, using the Pro-Rata, New Comparability, Age-Weighted, or Integrated profit sharing strategy.

Employer Pro: Lower Tax Liability

Another advantage of profit share plans is that they allow employers to lower tax liability during profitable years. A traditional employer contribution to a 401k does not have the flexibility of changing the contribution based on profits, so this strategy can help a company maintain financial liquidity during lean years and lower tax liability during profitable years.

Employee Pro: Larger Contribution Potential

Some employees might appreciate that their employer 401(k) contribution is tied to profits, as the compensation might feel like a more direct reflection of the hard work they and others put into the company. When the company succeeds, they feel the love in their contribution amounts.

Additionally, depending on the type of distribution strategy the employer utilizes, certain employees may find a profit-sharing 401(k) plan to be more lucrative than a traditional 401(k) plan. For example, an executive in a company that follows the New Compatibility approach might be pleased with the larger percentage of profits shared, versus more junior staffers.

Employee Con: Inconsistent Contributions

While employers may consider the flexibility in contributions from year to year a positive, it’s possible that employees might find that same attribute of profit sharing 401(k) plans to be a negative. The unpredictability of profit share plans can be disconcerting to some employees who may have come from an employer who had a traditional, consistent match set up.

Employee/Employer Pro: Solo 401(k) Contributions

A profit share strategy can be one way solo business owners can maximize their retirement savings. Once a solo 401(k) is set up with profit sharing, a business owner can put up to $19,000 a year into the account, plus up to 25% of net earnings, up to a total of $58,000. This retirement savings vehicle also provides flexibility from year to year, depending on profits.

Withdrawals and Taxes on 401(k) Profit Share Plans

A 401(k) with a generous profit share plan can grow quite quickly. So what about when you’re ready to take out distributions? A 401(k) withdrawal will have penalties if you withdraw funds before you’re 59 ½ (barring certain circumstances laid out by the IRS) but the money will still be taxable income once you reach retirement age. Additionally, like traditional 401(k) plans, a profit-sharing 401(k) plan has required minimum distribution requirements (RMDs) once an account holder turns 72.

Investors who anticipate being in a high tax bracket during their retirement years may consider different strategies to lower their tax liability in the future. For some, this could include converting the 401(k) into a Roth IRA. This is sometimes called a “backdoor Roth IRA” because rolling over the 401(k) does not subject an investor to the income limitations that cap Roth contributions.

An investor would need to pay taxes on the money they convert into a Roth IRA, but distributions in retirement years would not be taxed the way they would have if they were kept in a 401(k). Any 401(k) owner who qualifies for a Roth IRA can do this, but the additional funds in a 401(k) profit share account can make these moves that much more impactful in the future.

The Takeaway

A 401(k) profit share plan allows employees to contribute pre-tax dollars to their retirement savings, as well as benefit from their employer’s profitability. But because profit share plans can take multiple forms, it’s important for employees to understand what their employer is offering. That way, employees can create a robust retirement savings strategy that works for them.

There are many retirement savings options besides an employer-sponsored 401(k) (profit-sharing or not), and some investors invest in a combination of different plans that suits their short-term and long-term needs. SoFi Invest® offers both Roth and traditional IRA accounts, both of which can help make saving for retirement easier.

Find out how to open an IRA with SoFi.

SoFi Invest®
The information provided is not meant to provide investment or financial advice. Investment decisions should be based on an individual’s specific financial needs, goals and risk profile. SoFi can’t guarantee future financial performance. Advisory services offered through SoFi Wealth, LLC. SoFi Securities, LLC, member FINRA / SIPC . The umbrella term “SoFi Invest” refers to the three investment and trading platforms operated by Social Finance, Inc. and its affiliates (described below). Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of the platforms below.
1) Automated Investing—The Automated Investing platform is owned by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor (“Sofi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC, an affiliated SEC registered broker dealer and member FINRA/SIPC, (“Sofi Securities).

2) Active Investing—The Active Investing platform is owned by SoFi Securities LLC. Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.

3) Digital Assets—The Digital Assets platform is owned by SoFi Digital Assets, LLC, a FinCEN registered Money Service Business.

For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above, including state licensure of Sofi Digital Assets, LLC,

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.


5 Gorgeous Sofas You Will Love, All For Less Than $1,800!

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Infused Water Recipes To Help You Hydrate & Detox In The New Year

Decorating an apartment should be fun and exciting, but we know it doesn’t always go that way. Picking out your furniture and decor can become a daunting task, especially when you start looking at price tags. Furniture is expensive, and there really is no way of getting around that. That being said, there are some affordable options out there, and you won’t have to sacrifice your style. We’ve put together 5 of our favorite gorgeous sofas, ranging from sofa beds to sectionals. The best part? These beauties are all under $1,800. Happy shopping! 

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5 Measurements You Need To Take Before You Take The Apartment

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5 Apartment Measurements To Take

I once drove a couch from Venice, Florida to Orlando only to find out there was no way to get it through the front door. It was because of how tall the back of the couch was. It was so wide, there was no angle that worked to get it in. My roommate and I had every maintenance guy the neighborhood trying to make it work before we just had to give up and donate it. We don’t want you to ever experience that pain, so read below for the five measurements you must take before moving in.

Will it fit your queen size mattress or sectional couch? You don’t want to be lugging these up the stairs!


This often overlooked detail can be the difference between a year of apartment bliss or bust. Walking to and from your car is no big deal on a regular day, but how about every time you have groceries? How many trips are you struggling with 16 bags on your arms and balancing the laundry detergent bottle on your head? While you are checking the grounds, also figure out where you have to drop your trash. This again, can be a huge factor in your day-to-day renter life.

Is there still room for your bed and space to walk around it when the closet doors are open? If not, ask the landlord before you submit an application if they are willing to remove the doors and store them prior to your move in. Many landlords will not be willing to do this, so be sure you ask and not assume.

Another silly one, but I promise, it’s a mistake detail you do not want to overlook. How far are the outlets in your bedroom from where your actual nightstand will be? If you are like 83% of Americans, your phone is never more than two feet away from your body. That’s because we use it as an alarm clock, a camera and a lifeline…so we assume you want to charge that bad boy right? But still have it close enough to the bed to hit snooze three or thirteen times? Then you better check where those outlets are!

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