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, marketing and special events arena for more than 10 years. He worked with independent retailers, shopping mall developers, restaurants, museums, and art galleries. He also served as Visual Director for 4 retail shopping mall developments in the Houston area while creating and designing complete shopping mall displays and holiday installations, and additionally was called upon to design fundraising balls for several leading non-profit arts organizations.

In 1999, Douglas opened Apartment Zero with Christopher Ralston. Douglas travels extensively as a featured public speaker on the topic of industrial design and has spoken before The Phillips Collection – Washington DC, Hillwood Museum and Gardens – Washington DC, The Embassy of Sweden – Washington DC, the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) – Washington DC, The International Appraisers Association – Washington DC, The European Union – Washington DC, The World Trade Center – Dallas, The Seattle Design Center, the High Point International Market, The Specialty Leasing Conference, The Netherlands Embassy – Washington DC, The Art Institute – Washington DC, The Spanish Embassy – Washington DC and the Corcoran Gallery of Art – Washington DC. Douglas has been a guest critic of student design work at Marymount University, Catholic University and George Washington University.



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 centers in Houston TX, Chicago, IL 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 an expert in his field and has traveled 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 Washington 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 Washington DC metro homeowners as they reconstruct, renovate and redesign the exteriors of their homes. See examples of his work, such as Beach Theme For Country HouseContemporary Suburbanand more at 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.