Poplar Springs Redesign

It’s my pleasure to present the new redesign of Poplar Springs, a family-owned restaurant, spa and hotel nestled in northern Virginia’s wine country. Working on the project over the last six months had been challenging but also rewarding.

When I first met the owner and chef Howard Foer and his team, I knew immediately they would need a content strategist. Mary Dempsey, a fantastic writer and journalist who I had the pleasure to work with at The George Washington University School of Business, came to mind. We brought her on board and she did an outstanding job of getting the contents from the client and writing them in a short, concise approach. Our collaboration worked out so well that I would love to bring her on for future projects.

With the content out of my way, I was able to focus on the design and development part of the site. My first task was to redesign the logo. The previous logo was slapped together using Edwardian Script. The logo looked outdated and not legible. With the new design, I kept the poplar leaf and used clean, thin Futura for a modern look and feel. With the new brand, I created a simple layout to show off the beautiful property, the mouth-watering dishes and the relaxing activities in the countryside.

The front-end design was built using HTML5 and CSS3 with a responsive layout. The most impressive part of the site is using MODx Revolution as a content management system. Before selecting a CMS for the site, I faced with two choices: WordPress and MODX. Poplar Springs is not a complex site; therefore, both platform could do the job well. WordPress could have been an easier choice for me, but I determined to use the project to learn MODX. Nothing beats learning by actually doing it. It was quite an incredible journey. Even though I ran into the wall in a few stages, I have learned so much about MODX. After this project, MODX will be my choice of CMS moving forward. With just a bit of knowledge, I could build the entire site with the exact codes I marked up. Nothing makes a designer happier than viewing the source code to see the exact output he had intended. Try that with Drupal.

I am extremely satisfied with the outcome of the site. Thanks to Howard and his team for putting their trust in me and thanks to Mary for a fruitful teamwork.