Page 1


WINTER 2016 | PAGE 15

R��� E����� W����� 2016

New Tech Shows the Future Of Holiday Home Decoration



Each holiday season brings with it new toys to be had, and for the area’s dedicated bunch of Christmas decorators that means new technologies to outfit their holiday light displays with. But the real question is, are the decorators buying in? Light displays have gone from rudimentary to technologically diverse in recent years. From discrete changes such as moving on from power-sucking incandescent string lights to making way for energy- and environmentally-efficient LED lights, to more significant alterations such as supple-

menting string lights altogether with laser light projectors, new tech has staked its claim in the mind of decorators new and old. Falls Church’s Home Depot in Seven Corners is stocked with many of these new gadgets. “Obviously any time the holiday kicks in there’s a lot of excitement for what’s new,” says Joe Zuniga, district manager of Washington D.C. and Maryland-area Home Depot stores. “For those tech-savvy people that includes mobile apps [and] it is what’s really popular now.” AppLights, a string-light set and accompanying mobile app that can change light colors, theme and effects, is a product

that Zuniga has noticed elevated interest in this holiday season. The versatility and ease of use with the lights have made it a highlysought after addition to residential light displays, and along with motion-exclusive projectors like the Star Shower Motion Laser Light Projector, serve as Home Depot’s heavy-hitters for holiday decorating. Even with all the efforts to promote new technology, however, Christmas remains a very traditional holiday. The Clarke Griswolds of the world are the people who give the season its cheerful glow and who deck out

Continued on Page 17

MANY HOMES STILL USE analog lights to decorate their homes for the holidays, like the ones seen in the photo above on Riley Street in Falls Church. But there are several other options that have been on the market for a few years now. (P����: D��� C������/N���-P����)

MORE INSIDE: Snyders Look to Church Property for Home Project ���� 19 | F.C. Real Estate #’s ���� RE-20 | Top F.C. Home Sales ���� RE-21

6299 Leesburg Pike Falls Church, VA 22044

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PAGE 16 | DECEMBER 1 – 7, 2016




WINTER 2016 | PAGE 17

Falls Church trusts McEnearney Associates

THE STAR SHOWER LASER LIGHT, seen being used on the Northern Virginia home above, has been a popular alternative to string lights. (P����: D��� C������/N���-P����)

Holiday Digital vs. Analog Debate Continued from Page 15

their houses from head to toe in lights and ornaments. As expected, they’re also the folks who give retailers like Home Depot a bulk of their holiday business. But they aren’t jumping at the new tech the way novice decorators are. “A lot of people haven’t made the transition to these new technologies. In fact, there’s some resistance because there’s a lot of tradition related to Christmas,” president of Christmas Decor Inc, a Texas-based holiday lights installation company, Brandon Stephens tells the News-Press. “Very few people call and ask for RGB lights (a close substitute for AppLights) just off the cusp since it’s still at that stage where the people that want it are the early adopters.” Stephens does acknowledge that these technologies are steadily gaining traction in the market and will one day become staples of holiday decor industry. Christmas Decor Inc is a major proponent of the innovations and they work with manufacturers to help refine the products and ensure they can acquire some footing on store shelves. Still, change is incremental, and currently these items are sideshow attractions to the more intricate and time-consuming light displays. They have yet to supercede mainstream string lights and inflatable Santa Clauses altogether. “The world is beginning to move into a phase where people like convenience, and they want good results, but they also like options” Stephens adds. “I think you’re always going to have your traditional folks – and we love those people, that’s what makes up the bulk of our clients – but it’s also nice to have something for that [person] who wants the latest and greatest thing.” So what exactly do the locals think of the new decorating technologies? The results are mixed. “I use the Star Shower and a few [string] lights in front of the house,” Arlington’s Nadia Conyers tells the News-Press. “It’s much easier [to set up] and gives you a lot more bang for your buck.” She said that since she acquired her Star Shower a year ago, she’s never thought of going back to the old way of decorating. But others lean

more traditional with their holiday designs. “Until there’s a reason not to, we’ll probably just stick to the old school way of doing it,” Mike Horn, who sets up his mother’s Christmas lights in McLean, says. “There’s definitely something to say about the hard work and doing the strings and all the bushes versus using a [Star Shower], where you can buy one of those things, push a button and you’re done.” Marguerite Shaffer, a resident of Falls Church whose grandchildren decorate her house on Roosevelt Street every year, echoed Horn’s sentiments. “I prefer the [traditional way] over new technology because it’s more thoughtful and allows you to be different from everyone else,” Shaffer says. Retailers have lured in more casual decorators for sure, but they have a while to go before the new products become must-have items for the traditional crowd. But that doesn’t stop Zuniga. “You’ve got people who’re stuck in their ways, and I was one of those guys,” he said. “But is it really worth spending an entire day [decorating] when you can get this thing done [with new technology] in a fraction of the time?

there when it counts

Falls Church $865,000

Falls Church $699,900

Falls Church $585,000

Arlington $900,000

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Spacious 4-bedroom, 3-bath home on 1/2 acre off Annandale Road in central Falls Church. Huge garage and space for vehicles. 2923 Random Rd 22042 Brian Siebel 703.851.0979

Updated kitchen & baths, hardwood floors. Lower level rec room with fireplace & optional bedroom. Close to WFC Metro & Falls Church City amenities! 6714 Walnut St 22046 Martha Floyd 703.408.9478

Madison Manor 0.5-mile walk to EFC Metro! 3-bedroom, 3.5-bath, 3-level updated colonial. Expanded kitchen, family room, master with private bath. 1210 N Quantico St 22205 Terry Bozzo 703.201.2375

meet karen trainor For over 25 years, Karen Trainor has lived and breathed residential real estate. As McEnearney’s Arlington Managing Broker, her experience and knowledge is unparalleled throughout the DC metro region winning her numerous accolades including NVAR Chairman of the Board.

Ge�ng Your Holiday Light Fix On the Web To get a beat on what the Little City and other local decorating habits are, Holly’s Tacky Christmas Lights has it covered. The website scours Northern Virginia and Southern Maryland during the holiday season to profile the area’s best light displays. And before all the fussing about a home being labeled “tacky,” just know it’s a term of endearment that’s meant to poke fun at the gaudy nature of houses encased in Christmas spirit. Holly’s Tacky Christmas Lights can be found at

Karen joined the McEnearney team because she values the company for its integrity, strength in the marketplace and overall respect and high standards it adheres to, and it means everything to Karen that McEnearney clients can count on her and her team to be there when it counts. Stop in the Arlington Office to meet Karen and her extraordinary team!

Trusted. Everywhere. Karen Trainor 703.717.6133 |

Serving the Washington, DC Metro Area since 1980. 703.525.1900 | 4720 Lee Highway | Arlington, VA 22207


PAGE 18 | WINTER 2016


A Falls Church News-Press Advertorial

Meet Falls Church’s Real Estate Experts M��� C�������� ��� M������ K����, L��� � F�����

It’s called, “Sales.” But, what we actually do is to help people transition through the real estate changes in their lives. What a great job! Our expertise covers NOVA, with a focus on Falls Church, McLean and Arlington. We provide full spectrum Real Estate Sales Solutions for you via our L&F “one stop shop.” We handle the Real Estate Purchases and Sales. L&F also provides in-house Financing, Insurance and Closing services. Our business as usual is Top Service and Results for Clients. Our mission is Client Relationships for Life, and that we all Live The Good Life through Real Estate! Mike Castorina was born and raised in Arlington, and then moved to Falls Church. Having never left NOVA, he really knows neighborhoods! He is an Associate Broker, with Appraisal, Mortgage Lending and Investment Property background. Mike is expert in Negotiation, Property Valuation and the Contract, smoothly facilitating from Contract to Closing. Melissa Klein also started out in Arlington, landed in New York City condo and coop Sales before returning to NOVA roots. She has broad marketing and diverse housing product expertise, and is really good at holding those hands! “MK” has earned Seniors Real Estate Specialist (1.5 percent of agents, nationwide) Designation, to better serve Clients as they and older family members need to change housing due to aging. A staunch supporter of pets as part of the family, MK uses her animal welfare background to help Clients dealing with pets in their housing moves.

Mike Castorina and Melissa Klein, Long and Foster Real Estate 6299 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22044 703-966-4839 (Mike) • 703-201-4525 (Melissa)

B������ E����, L��� � F����� Bethany is a hard-working, ethical and detail-oriented market leader in real estate. She serves all of NOVA and is now licensed in D.C. Bethany is a full-time real estate agent who will communicate with you and listen to you. Throughout the entire process, she will deal with any hiccups while valuing your input. From your first meeting until closing, Bethany will ensure your experience is enjoyable and seamless. Bethany’s goal is to build a long-term relationship with her clients so she can help you, your friends and your family, for years to come.

When you are ready to buy, sell, invest, move up or downsize, contact Bethany. Her expertise and experience will help guide you through the complexities of the real estate market.

Bethany Ellis, Long & Foster, McLean Sales Office, 1355 Beverly Road, Suite 109, McLean, VA 22101 703-307-7003 •

M������ K���, M�E������� A��������� Falls Church City is my family’s home, and I have had the privilege of being a REALTOR® here since 1970. My husband Art and I raised our children here and I’m delighted that my daughter Karin Kaye Morrison joined us in the business. I remain as passionate about serving the needs of my clients today as I was the day I started. And that’s because it’s not just about selling homes – it’s about selling the unmatched quality of life we have in Falls Church and being a committed member of the community. I served on the Falls Church City Historic Commission and the BIE, I was a founding member of the Friends of Cherry Hill, and am president of Historic Falls Church. For years I served on the Mt. Daniel Library Committee putting on Book Fairs featuring famous children’s book authors. I love Falls Church, and the fact that I have had the opportunity to serve many of my clients, and their children, multiple times is the strongest testimony that I have the knowledge and the marketing and negotiating skills to assure your smooth home buying or selling experience. It has been my privilege to have sold more real estate in The City than anyone. There is no substitute for experience and passion.

Merelyn Kaye, McEnearney Associates 1320 Old Chain Bridge Rd., Suite 350, McLean, VA 22101 703-362-1112 •

M�E������� A��������� Our focus has always been on doing what is right for the client. Delivering an unmatched experience for our clients is a personal responsibility for every Associate and every employee of McEnearney Associates. We believe we make a difference for our clients because of our Knowledge, Experience and our Results: Knowledge: There’s lots of information available to buyers and sellers alike these days, but information is not the same thing as knowledge. As market leaders in metropolitan Washington real estate since 1980, we have the in-depth knowledge of market trends, neighborhoods, builders, contracts, negotiating and a host of other things that are integral to

the home buying and selling process. Experience: Our Sales Associates average over 17 years of experience in residential real estate. They thrive on building and nurturing relationships, and providing effective solutions for their clients. We have successfully counseled tens of thousands of home sellers over the years, and all of our Associates benefit from that accumulated wisdom. Our Managing Brokers average over 25 years of experience – they’ve seen it all. Results: All the tools, the knowledge, the experience are great, but results are what really matter. Getting a home sold for the most money and in the least time. We have tracked our results for the last twelve years, and we consistently sell our listings closer to the list price and in less time than the competition. And for our buyers, it’s about helping them find the right house and negotiating the right price, terms and conditions. We are there when it counts.

McEnearney Associates, Inc 4720 Lee Highway, Arlington, VA 22207 703-717-6350 •

T��� M�K�����, K����� W������� Tori McKinney moved to Falls Church City in 1998 and initially owned a concert PR firm where she worked with New Orleans bands to produce shows throughout the East Coast. In 2005, Tori reentered the real estate industry having previously enjoyed a 10-year career in the Boston area. From the concert stage, Tori brought the ROCK STAR with her, as she promises “ROCK STAR Service” to all of her clients. As a resident of the Little City for nearly two decades, Tori believes a sense of community requires active participation, and she leads by example. She actively supports: Falls Church City Schools, Business in Education, Falls Church Education Foundation, Falls Church Chamber of Commerce, FIRSTFriday/Art-a-Lot, Tinner Hill Blues Festival, Falls Church Arts, and Taste of Falls Church. Tori is also Vice Chair of the Housing Commission, a member of Business in Education, named Pillar of the Community by the Falls Church Chamber, named one of the Top Producing Real Estate Agents by Washingtonian Magazine, Northern Virginia Magazine, and for the 5th consecutive year, has been voted Best Real Estate Agent in the Falls Church News Press ‘Best of Falls Church’. As a tireless Falls Church advocate, Tori has helped countless people buy and sell homes over the past 12 years. Tori puts her heart and soul into the Falls Church City community and gets so much in return.

Tori McKinney, ROCK STAR Realty, Keller Williams Realty 2101 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201 703-867-8674 •

7004 Hickory Hill Road, Falls Church

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IF THE PROJECT IS APPROVED, the Snyders would build an additional house in their backyard, using the land they currently own and the land they want to buy from Columbia Baptist Church. (Photo: Drew Costley/News-Press)

Snyder Family Seeks Columbia Baptist Land for House Project

by Drew Costley

Falls Church News-Press

Over the last several months, Columbia Baptist Church and Edie and Sarah Snyder, the wife and daughter of longtime Falls Church City Council member Dave Snyder, respectively, have been trying to get approval from the City for a project that would allow the Snyders to build a new house for Sarah in their backyard and add additional parking to the church’s property. The project would also help “secure the historic and residential character of the 300 block of North Maple Avenue for the foreseeable future,” Edie said in a letter to the News-Press. The four other houses on the east side of the block are all Victorianstyle homes registered with the Victorian Society of Falls Church.

The project began when Edie and Sarah approached Columbia Baptist and asked the church if they would be willing to sell 1,400 square feet of land to create a lot for Sarah to build a house on. The additional land that would come from the church would allow Sarah to build on the Snyders property while maintaining the 11,250 square-foot lot size the City requires for historic homes like the ones the Snyders currently live in. Brett Flanders, executive director of Columbia Baptist Church, said that by adjusting the lot lines of the properties they own next to where Sarah’s house would be built, they would be able to add 30-35 parking spots to property. Flanders said the church currently has problems with capacity in its parking lot, especially during weekdays when the church’s Child Development Center is in

session. This results in church patrons resorting to street parking or parking across the street from the church and traversing N. Washington Street to get to the church. “Our biggest parking challenge is during the week….We have a pretty good amount of parking on Sunday, but during the week we have 350 preschoolers here every day,” Flanders said. “And we have 1,000 people who come through our doors on a daily basis, so it’s a challenge to make sure that everyone can safely park and can get in and out as easily as possible. “So that’s our biggest driver – to get people off the street, so that they’re not parking on the street, so that they’re not walking across the street – to make sure we can provide as much safe parking as we can get.” The situation seems like it

would be a win for all parties involved, including the City, but the approval process has taken longer than the Snyders expected. “Our efforts have been in keeping with code, public policies, and City plans and have been completely transparent. We have engaged with our neighbors, going door to door, describing the project and listening to their recommendations,” Edie said. “We have worked extensively with City staff and discussed our proposal at several City Council and Planning Commission work sessions and with interested committees to learn how we might make it better.” In a discussion with the NewsPress, Sarah said that she and her mother have met with City staff approximately 15 times to discuss the project. As a result of their desire to gather and respond to feedback on the project, the Snyders have recently submitted an amended application for the project which includes a sidewalk on the east side of the 300 block of N. Maple Avenue where one currently does not exist. Flanders said that he is a accustomed to the time that projects like these can take to get approval from the City. “We know that there’s always going to be challenges that we’re going to have to overcome in order to make sure that we’re all on the same page, that the City is happy with what we’re doing [and] the neighbors are happy,” Flanders said. “So, personally I’m kind of used to these things taking quite a bit of time. I kind of expected it to take some time, so it’s not unexpected, but we’re happy to work with the City and make sure that we’re dotting all the Is and crossing the Ts.” Then, in the days leading up to Edie and Sarah readying their final application to go City Council for a first reading, Edie said that she began to hear rumors suggesting that “there may be a perception that” David has used undue influence to ensure that the project is approved. David is the longest serving council member currently

A MOCKUP OF THE 300 BLOCK OF MAPLE AVENUE that includes the proposed Snyder house (far right). (Courtesy of Edie Snyder)

WINTER 2016 | PAGE 19

on City Council and former vice mayor, but the City said in a statement to the News-Press that he has recused himself from any discussion of the project any time it’s come before council. “Council member David Snyder, who is a party to this application, has recused himself from the discussion every time the matter has come before Council,” the City said in a statement. “Mayor David Tarter and Council member Dan Sze have also recused themselves from the discussion.” Sarah said they don’t even talk about the project at their house, where she lives, and Flanders said he hasn’t seen David involve himself in the matter other than to give support to his wife and daughter outside of council. “I would like to think that the service he has provided to this city wouldn’t hinder this project, but I’m a little worried that it has,” Sarah said. Edie said that hearing the rumors about her husband was “discouraging.” “I think it makes me feel sad,” Edie said. “Our daughter, she’s grown up in the City, she’s lived here since she was six months old, went all the way through the school system, she had a different view of what Falls Church was about when we started this project then she does now.” The City said that the application will go through “the usual process of going before the Planning Commission for a recommendation for the rezoning and approval of the subdivision and to City Council for final approval of the rezoning.” But the time that the process has taken has essentially put Sarah’s life on hold, she said. “I’m currently living with my parents. I’m a school counselor in Arlington. I’ve had a solid job for years,” Sarah said. “I’m 30. I’ve had a boyfriend of nine years. We actually both went through the school system in Falls Church…. So I think the thing is that we’d like to move forward with our life and I’d like to do that next to my parents. We have a really solid relationship.”


PAGE 20 | WINTER 2016


Falls Church Area Housing Market — 3rd Quarter 2016 Report Zip Code


Average Price

Number of Homes Sold

Average Days on Market


Falls Church City





Bailey’s Crossroads





Sleepy Hollow





Pimmit Hills





Lake Barcroft




Home Sales Vs. 1 Year Ago

Home Prices Vs. 1 Year Ago

Change in # of Homes Sold: 3Q ‘16 vs 3Q ‘15

Change in Average Home Price: 3Q ‘16 vs 3Q ‘15


Change in Falls Church City (22046)


Change in Falls Church City (22046)


Change in Bailey’s X-roads (22041)


Change in Bailey’s X-roads (22041)


Change in Sleepy Hollow (22042)


Change in Sleepy Hollow (22042)


Change in Pimmit Hills (22043)


Change in Pimmit Hills (22043)


Change in Lake Barcroft (22044)


Change in Lake Barcroft (22044)

Source: Metropolitan Regional Information Systems, Inc. Copyright © 2016 Metropolitan Regional Information Systems, Inc.



Real Estate

WINTER 2016 | PAGE 21

Top Falls Church Home Sales


#1 $1,597,120

#2 $1,559,190

#4 $1,510,000 #3 $1,520,000 Top 5 F.C. Home Sales September 1 – November 30, 2016 Address BR #1 6600 Rockmont Ct. 7 #2 6608 Quinten St. 6 #3 6512 Lakeview Dr. 5 #4 6821 Stockwell Manor Dr. 4 #5 2140 Powhatan St. 4


6 5 3 3 3

HB 1 1 0 1 1

List Price

$1,595,000 $1,540,000 $1,625,000 $1,550,000 $1,497,000

Sale Price

$1,597,120 $1,559,190 $1,520,000 $1,510,000 $1,425,000


22043 22043 22041 22043 22043

Date Sold 9/2/16 10/27/16 9/16/16 10/7/16 10/19/16

Source: MRIS, Inc.; Photos: MRIS, Falls Church News-Press

#5 $1,425,000


Falls Church News-Press Winer Real Estate Guide 2016

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