Slate Properties, a boutique real estate firm, recently moved into a new office at 1810 Florida Ave. NW. (Courtesy of Slate Properties/COURTESY OF SLATE PROPERTIES)

For boutique brokerage, office space matches its vision

When boutique residential real estate and property management brokerage Slate Properties set out to find office space to reflect its “urban real estate — refined” tag­line, it settled on what it considered to be a perfect site: 1810 Florida Ave. NW.

“The building was underutilized before,” says the firm’s founder, Andrew Turczyn, a former sales manager with Monument Realty and a graduate of the George Washington University School of Business. “We like the fact that it’s street-level space, so we can easily attract walking traffic. We’ll keep a list of rental homes at the front desk to help people who are looking for apartments in the area.”

The new company headquarters — where Dupont Circle, Adams Morgan and the U Street corridor meet — was designed around the original exposed-brick walls and concrete floors. It contains a meeting room for the nine full- and part-time staff members, a marketing center for new properties and a home base for the property management team.

“We wanted a divided front waiting area with an industrial-looking window, but we could only find walls of glass that cost $5,000,” Turczyn said. “We started searching for something we could re-purpose, and at a store in Baltimore called Second Chance, we found an old factory window that works great. It cost about $400, and all we had to do was paint it.”

Slate Properties’ agents work with buyers and sellers of residential real estate in the District, and renters and developers of two- and three-unit condominium projects. In addition, they provide property management services.

Tip of the week

While virtually all home buyers go online to find information about searching for and purchasing property, a new Web site, , walks them through the buying process and provides education at each step to help them make appropriate decisions.

“We launched the site about a year ago for real estate agents to use to work with their clients, but we found that buyers who weren’t working with an agent yet wanted to use the site,” says Michele Serro, founder and chief executive of Doorsteps. “We developed a free version of the site for pre-buyers, to turn the curious buyer to a confident buyer and a committed buyer.”

Doorsteps, which was recently purchased by Move, offers a six-phase interactive process that helps people decide whether they should buy, assess how much they should spend, find the right home, negotiate the best price, prepare for settlement, close and move in.

As buyers complete each step, the information they provide is summarized on a user profile, which they can share with a real estate agent or lender.

“As you approach step two and step three, you have the option to connect with a real estate agent and a lender,” Serro says. “They can choose to share the information on their profile with one of our lenders or agents. We’re also working on adding the ability to share your profile with your own lender or Realtor, but that’s not available yet.”

Serro says more than 5,000 buyers are using the site, which became available to consumers in April.

Serro, who has a background in design, decided to create the site after becoming frustrated by her home-buying experience.

“I like the idea of using the power of design to make the home-buying experience more like a journey, with the ability to share your journey with the professionals who are involved along the way,” she says.

Studio makes a case for high-tech design

Case Design/Remodeling, a residential remodeling firm in business for 52 years, has a new high-tech design studio at 4701 Sangamore Rd., in Bethesda’s North Plaza.

The design studio allows homeowners to see and experience new kitchen and bath products, along with the latest LED lighting options and a home automation system that includes iPad-controlled lighting and entertainment systems.

Products on display include custom-designed and semi-custom cabinetry; granite, marble, soapstone and quartz countertops; and glass, porcelain, ceramic and stone tiles. Customers will be able to mix and match finishes and products.

On Saturday, Case will hold a kitchen- and bath-remodeling seminar from 10:30 a.m. to noon, followed by an open house from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.

To register for the seminar, call 800-513-2250 or go to

— Michele Lerner

Lerner is a freelance writer. To pass on a tip or news item, contact us at and put “Town Square” in the subject line.