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Christopher Ralston is a native of Chicago, Illinois and an expert in retail marketing and management.  He spent the first 10 years of his career managing General Growth Properties shopping malls in TX, Chicago and Washington DC. For his work managing the Grand Opening of the sprawling Woodlands Mall in Houston, Texas, Christopher received the MAXI award, the retail industry’s highest marketing award.  Christopher was featured numerous times in USA Today as a expert in his field and has travelled nationally speaking on the subject of portfolio management.  He is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers and the National Retail Federation.

He moved to the DC area in 1997 to manage the elegant Tysons Galleria in McLean, Virginia and then later launched CDR Group, a retail management-consulting firm. Sensing the expansion of the 7th Street Arts District, Christopher secured a prime real estate opportunity and in 1999 opened Apartment Zero with Douglas Burton.

Christopher is also a recurring designer on the popular HGTV program “Curb Appeal” where he can be seen 8 times over the past few years collaborating with DC metro homeowners as they reconstruct, renovate and redesign the exteriors of their homes. To see examples of his work,  log onto www.hgtv.com.

Christopher travels internationally to conduct management seminars and to foster relationships between local venues in the U.S. and international contemporary designers.


Douglas Burton began his career in Houston, Texas as owner of Douglas Burton Visual Display and was a leader in the city’s visual merchandising and special events arena for more than 8 years. He worked with independent retailers, shopping mall developers, restaurants, museums, and art galleries.  He also served as Visual Director for 4 large shopping malls in the Houston area creating and designing complete mall displays and holiday installations, and was called upon to design fundraising balls for several leading non-profit arts organizations. Douglas travelled extensively as a featured public speaker on the topic of industrial design for The Phillips Collection-Washington, Hillwood Museum-Washington, The Embassy of Sweden-Washington, the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA)- Washington, The International Appraisers Association- Washington, The World Trade Center-Dallas, The Seattle Gift Market, the High Point NC Market, The Specialty Leasing Conference-Nashville, The Netherlands Embassy-Washington, The Art Institute-Washington and the Corcoran Gallery of Art-Washington.

Their design gallery, Apartment Zero, has appeared locally on ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC stations and appeared nationally on HGTV, the Style Network and the BBC and has been featured in the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, Surface, Wallpaper, Dwell, Food and Wine, Travel and Leisure, Details, GQ, Metropolitan Home, Conde Nast Traveller, Azure, Elle Decor, InStyle, Metropolis, Interior Design, I.D., Lucky, Domino, House Beautiful, Elle, Fodors, Dezeen, VM+SD, Home and Design, DC Modern Luxury, Southern Living, Oprah Magazine, Abitare and more.

Apartment Zero was the recipient of the Momentum Award from the city of Washington DC for its efforts to raise awareness of poverty through design fundraising with the Royal Netherlands embassy of Marcel Wanders.

Apartment Zero has collaborated with the National Museum of Women in the Arts, The Corcoran Gallery of Art, The National Building Museum, the Hirshhorn Museum, the Smithsonian Institution, The Phillips Collection, Hillwood Museum, MICA, the Cooper-Hewitt and the Embassies of Spain, Australia, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Canada, Netherlands and Switzerland.

The following industrial designers travelled to Washington DC at the invitation of Apartment Zero and/or collaborated with Apartment Zero : James Dyson, Marcel Wanders, Karim Rashid, Ingegard Raman, Constantin and Laurene Boym, Harry Allen, Peter Danko, Martin Azua, Juli Capella, Jonah Takagi, Robert Foster, Jurgen Bey, Ellen Lupton, Oiva Toikka, Norway Says, Jonathan Adler, Angela Adams.