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March 2011  
IFDA Washington Chapter Newsletter
In This Issue
Calendar of Upcoming Events
Spotlight on John Petro
Denise + Lauren + Design House
From the President
Dream Home at the WDC
We Would Like To Thank The Following Sponsors:
International Sponsor
Benjamin Moore & Co.
Silver Level
Charles Luck Stone Center
HOME & DESIGN Magazine
Petro Design/Build
Salvations Architectural Furnishings
Quick Links

Welcome to Our March Newsletter!
Spring is in the air! We have an exciting couple of weeks ahead of us as the warm weather brings some great events for IFDA Washington members. Read on to learn more about the happenings of IFDA and hear from two IFDA designers who will be showcased in the upcoming DC Design House, which opens to the public April 9th. 

Calendar of Events For Spring 2011:  

April 7th - Luncheon at Barry Broadway from 11-1, featuring the work of Lisa Tureson
Lisa T

Join us for a very exciting luncheon hosted by fellow IFDA members, Barry Broadway and Lisa Tureson!
Wednesday, April 7th
11-1pm at Broadway Galleries
5641B General Washington Drive
Alexandria, VA 22312

We will have the ultimate experience of viewing the art of Lisa Tureson while she discusses the inspirations behind her works.

This will be followed by a delightful luncheon, where Barry will teach us about the different products and services he offers at Broadway Galleries.

Don't miss this super fun event! RSVP to Laura Fox at or by phone, 202-333-8111 by Tuesday the 5th of April before noon.

April 13th - JANUS et Cie Spring Cocktail Party with owner, Janice Feldman:
Join us for the Annual JANUS et Cie Spring Cocktail Reception from 5pm- 8pm with Janice Feldman. We will have cocktails & hor d'oeuvres as well as a Jazz Band. There will probably be valet parking, but we are not 100% sure at this point.

JANUS et Cie
3304 M Street, NW
Washington, DC 20007
5pm- 8pm
RSVP to or by calling, 202.333.8111
April 20th - Design House Tour: Meet at the house at 11am. Enjoy a group tour through the home and get to meet many of the designers....including a couple of our very own IFDA Members, Denise Willard and Lauren Liess, whom we are so proud of!

Tickets are $20 each at the door. Please allow yourself time to purchase tickets at the door before 11am or, online at We will be doing lunch after the show house. Restaurant is to be determined. If you plan on attending this event, please RSVP to Laura Fox at or 202-333-8111.

3134 Ellicott St NW
Washington, DC 20008
May 5th - Hillwood Estate Tour, 10:30am: This event was rescheduled for May. We thought the gardens would be even more beautiful by this time of year. If you'd like to attend this event, please send a check for $15 (make it out to IFDA) per person to Laura Fox, 3304 M Street, NW Washington, DC, 20007 by April 29th. We will be pre-purchasing tickets for the tour.

Hillwood Museum:
4155 Linnean Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20008

10:30am: We will have a guided tour through the gardens
11:30am: We will enjoy a guided tour through the mansion.
12:30pm: For those who would like to stay, we will be eating lunch in the Hillwood Café.

We would like to have the money no later than Monday, April 4th. Call me with questions, 202.333.8111. We will meet at 10:15; the Garden Tour starts at 10:30am, House Tour at 11:30am. Unfortunately, Tea is only served on Sundays, but we can eat at the Café for those who want to stay.
May 10th - Mosaic Tile Tour, 6-8pm: Come see the latest trends and technology in tile! Mosaic Tile Company's recently remodeled Design Center in Fairfax will be hosting an Open House event May 10th, 6-8pm. Meet the Design Consultants and Sales Representatives available to assist you and your clients with all your ceramic tile and stone needs. Refreshments will be provided.

8400 Hilltop Road
Fairfax, VA 22031
Please RSVP by Thursday, April 5th to Laura Fox, or by phone, 202.333.8111

In the Spotlight: John Petro

In 1972, at the age of 18, John Petro with Bill Boone, both local Prince Georgians, started a landscape maintenance business in Bill's house. In 1974 John founded J.J. Petro Landscaping offering lawn cutting services and landscaping to primarily local commercial clients. In 1978 John's company worked closely with Arnold Palmer to build Woodmore golf course; their largest contract at the time.  



One of John's residential clients was Fred and Francis Watkins of the local Watkins hardware store in Seat Pleasant who had built their manor-style dream home on a 52 acre farm at the corner of Central Ave. and Church Rd. John had admired their farm for years and was thrilled when they called for him to cut their grass. John and the Watkins became good friends and when the Watkins later moved to a more manageable home in Enterprise Estates, John was first in line to purchase theirs in 1980.

The original farm road to the property, off of Central Ave., accessed the tenant house and barn and a winding road from there connected to the main house entrance on Church Rd. Two white brick entrance columns with white iron gates marked the home's entrance on Church Rd. John immediately went to work adding a fish-stocked pond and built a shop for his expanding landscape business. He used the property to grow and harvest sod and house and grow nursery stock for his projects. John's active involvement with the Maryland Turf Grass Association later led to his founding of the Maryland Seeding Association.

In 1981 John met Kathleen Litchfield, who was active in the Landscape Contractor's Association, and invited her to join his team in 1982. Kathleen, with her extensive background and degree in horticulture and landscape design, was instrumental in redirecting the company's business profile and building it into its present day operation. She not only helped change the face of the company but also eventually became John's wife.

1981 was also when Petro's company was awarded the design/build contract for the redevelopment of the then Adventure World Theme Park, later Six Flags. Since then they have been contracted to design, install and manage the exterior and interior elements of the U.S. Senior Open at Congressional Country Club and design, install and maintain several marina landscapes and large commercial renovations and developments.  


In the late 1980's John developed the neighborhood of Grovehurst; following the trend of surrounding farms. He kept his beloved manor house and a surrounding buffer of 5 acres.

The company's preliminary business model, as a large commercial enterprise, evolved in the 1990s and is now a smaller, more personalized full service, design-build organization, offering new construction, renovation, remodeling and landscaping. They have been featured and published in many local and national magazines and selected to display their work in numerous area show houses. They are active members of many of affiliated organizations.

John and Kathleen's life outside of their business is spent giving back to the community. Since 1982 Kathleen has been involved with the Foundation for Applied Construction Technology for Students F.A.C.T.S. (a foundation who supports the building of a house with the Prince George's School students) and is current and past chair. John has been the president of the Prince George's Historic Society since 2002, has organized the Christmas party for the Kennedy Institute (a school for mentally and physically challenged children and adults) for over 10 years, and serves on the board of many charitable foundations & Non-Profit organizations.

John and Kathleen still reside and entertain in the original, now historic, manor home.

Denise + Lauren + Design House 2011!

DC Design house

Two members of IFDA Washington Chapter are designers participating in this year's DC DESIGN HOUSE. Denise Willard of Decor by Denise and Lauren Liess of Lauren Liess Interiors are generously donating their time, energy and financial support to the event, which benefits the Children's National Medical Center. The breathtaking English Tudor home, site of this year's event, was originally built for Charles Woodward, co-founder of Woodward & Lothrop department store and as such, hosted numerous high-profile business, political and social events.


The 4th annual Design House is open to the public from April 9th to May 8th, 2011 from 10am to 3pm weekdays, and noon to 5pm on weekends. The design house is closed on Mondays. The cost is $20.00. For more information, go to





Denise's Jewel Box Powder Room: Denise Willard has turned one of the smallest rooms in the house, a powder room on the main level, into an elegant showstopper that she calls a little "jewel box" of a room. One of the most striking changes is a multi-layered Venetian plaster treatment on the walls and ceiling, and the addition of beautiful sconces and a chandelier from Fine Art Lamps. Luxurious fabrics and trims from Rodolph, Robert Allen, Houles and Highland Court bring the powder room to life and compliment the antique gold and plum color scheme. Finishing touches tie everything together to create a design that will appeal to the most discriminating house guest.   


Lauren's 'Hideaway' Bedroom: Lauren Liess has created a



'hideaway' in what was formerly a bedroom, and created a room in which to relax, read a book, take a nap, write or just hang out. A window seat was constructed and layered with "Princess and the Pea" style mattresses in various fabrics, and the mix of antique and modern furnishings gives a collected feel to the space. Of special note: a pair of Mad Hatter chairs covered in fabric from her new upholstery line.

From the President - Jackie Passaro

Jackie Mug


One of our goals for 2011 is to foster relationships with the various design schools in the Washington, DC metro market. As a result, we've had a busy month spent visiting with design students at George Washington University, the Art Institute of Washington and Northern Virginia Community College.


I have, along with Student Liaison Cotty Farcas, introduced IFDA to the design students of the aforementioned schools. It has been an extremely rewarding experience to be able to share with them all of the outstanding benefits that membership in IFDA offers. As a result we have already gained some new student members! Please let me know ( if you are an alumnus of a local design school and would like us to schedule a presentation.


Respectfully Submitted,  

Jackie Passaro
Washington Chapter President  

Another Gem of a Showhouse...    

dream home 2011 

With a lovely cocktail party, the Spring 2011 DREAM HOME at the Washington Design Center opened to the public on March 17th. Featuring the considerable talents of eight Washington area designers, the individual spaces were each inspired by a piece of stunning jewelry generously supplied by a local jeweler, and designed around furnishings and furniture from the showrooms in the Design Center. The collaboration makes for an intriguing showhouse that's been referred to as "jewel tones of design".


Admission to the Dream Home is free of charge and will be open Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm through December 9th, 2011.  

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For more information about IFDA Washington, visit our website or check out our facebook page.   


IFDA Washington Chapter