Name: Elizabeth and Daniel, Georgia the dog and Edmond the cat
Location: Hampden — Baltimore, Maryland
Size: 900 square feet (mostly in length, not width!)
Years lived in: almost 2
We were first introduced to Elizabeth and Daniel's home when they entered our Room for Color Contest back in October. It was such a visual treat we contacted them with hopes that they would allow us to peak into the rest of their digs. Not only were they gracious enough to allow us inside — and I do mean gracious since they are both in school and cramming for finals — but I soon found out that my new contact, was also my neighbor!
Elizabeth and Daniel's rowhome is nestled in Hampden, a hip and artsy neighborhood located in Baltimore city. While Hampden isn't enormous by any means, this community-oriented neighborhood spans more than just a few blocks. But as I set out for this tour, no directions or car were needed. I walked out my door, a half a block up my street and I was there! I was immediately greeted by the home owners and Georgia, their incredibly cute and friendly dog. We started chatting away, Daniel offered me tea while Georgia offered her ball, and I could immediately tell what kind of home I had walked into. A casually cozy home where your hosts do the most to make you feel welcome; something that comes effortlessly even when they're meeting you for the first time.
Finding we had more than just a street in common, we moved right into our war stories. As someone who's recently dealt with a flooded basement — caused by the city's failure to adequately maintain sewage and drainage lines — it was somewhat comforting to know I wasn't alone. They too had gone through the same exact thing, which resulted in an entire overhaul of their own basement. You could tell it was a painful, inconvenient process, but they turned their lemons into lemonade and walked away with a new and improved basement remodel. I felt a smidge better, with new hope that my own situation was perhaps not quite as daunting.
As the morning rolled on, we talked about how their house has evolved since they first bought it almost 2 years ago. The kitchen was a great DIY, as well as a lesson in how small, inexpensive improvements can make a huge impact. They painted the fridge in chalkboard paint (to anyone attempting this, Elizabeth highly recommends sanding it first to prevent chipping), painted the cabinets and added hardware. They also tiled the backsplash and a pegboard was installed on one wall to hold their kitchen essentials — a crucial feature since their tiny kitchen has limited cabinet space. While there's a lovely office upstairs, they confess they rarely use it. Instead, more-often-than-not, the two laptops can be found resting on the beautiful marble-topped Saarinen table in the dining area that was a hand-me-down from her mom.
That lead us into a story about how the table ended up in their possession and how they managed to move it in, which is also how the top became chipped (note to self, never roll a marble tabletop, regardless of how heavy it is!). But, as heartbreaking as that was, it's the kind of house where a chip or two are not really that big of a deal. You'll find animals sleeping on the furniture, a chair scratched up by Edmond the cat, oh — and a missing door upstairs. Like something out of the movies, they recently found themselves trapped in the bedroom by a faulty door, hence why it's missing! They now have quite a humorous tale to tell, one that I imagine will be told over a drink, while Georgia amuses the guests with her ball rolling skills. This is all part of the charm and one can tell that a cheery, welcoming space is exactly the kind of home Elizabeth and Daniel wanted! While those perfect minimalist homes are fun to look at, they can't imagine how people manage to live that way. So yes, it's very fitting that they both found themselves residing in Charm City.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: Bright and happy, eclectic, welcoming. We hope to entice guests into relaxing and staying over longer than they anticipated!
Inspiration: Dan and I are both students and I also work full-time, so we are crazy busy all of the time. We wanted our home to be a place we can go to relax and re-energize. I grew up in a crazy artistic-looking Texas house (think bowling balls, twinkle lights and giant carved wooden animals) and my family collects prints. Dan grew up in modern and natural surroundings in Seattle. We tried to combine the two backgrounds into something we can both call home. I also spend far too much time on Design Sponge, The Art of Doing Stuff, Etsy, and, of course, Apartment Therapy.
Favorite Element: It would have to be a tie between the lime green couch in the living room and the three walls of windows. Usually rowhomes have windows on only 2 sides but we lucked out with an end-of-group, so we have a lot more light than a normal rowhouse! We also have an unintentional bird theme that inspires a lot of comments (and future gifts) from friends.
Biggest Challenge: The width! Yes, it is a rowhouse, but it is a NARROW rowhouse (around 9 feet wide depending on where in the house you are) so trying to make the house feel balanced is difficult. There are only so many ways to rearrange the furniture! Something is always broken so it always feels like we are playing catch-up with the house. We also had a major sewage flood in the basement and lost everything down there that wasn't made of metal. We got the opportunity to redo the whole thing, which was fun, but ripping out the asbestos tile and the faux wood paneling was quite an adventure! The whole house is still a work in progress.
What Friends Say: This is exactly what I thought your house would look like.
Biggest Embarrassment: The windows and HVAC system. Our house is definitely not energy efficient and is reminiscent of a wind tunnel in the winter. Replacing the windows and our million year old furnace is on our list of to-do's. Our lack of air conditioning in the summer isn't really a crowd-pleaser either. A lot of things in our house could be described as "the original...".
Proudest DIY: The kitchen! We didn't install the appliances but we painted the walls and cabinets (and the fridge!) and installed the tile and pegboard. It is a tiny tiny kitchen and we have really maximized the space. I have also painted just about every square inch of this place.
Biggest Indulgence: Our duvet cover. I absolutely love it, but white is not the most practical color to have in a house with animals.
Best Advice: If you see something you love, get it! You can always get decorative pieces at Target, but the pieces you will end up loving are the ones you find in random places with stories attached. Let what you love take center stage. We are both avid readers so we try to use books to decorate when possible. Also, if you paint a room and don't like it, paint again! Don't let color antagonize you, make it right!
Dream Sources: Maine Cottage Furniture, Anthropologie, Red Tree, DesignPublic, the Old Lucketts Store
Resources of Note:
The green couch is from Arhaus Furniture. It was a floor model nobody wanted! The burlap chair and the green sunflower seed chair are from the Old Lucketts Store. Everything else is a combination of Crate & Barrel, IKEA, Craigslist finds (usually spray painted...I have a spray paint addiction) and family hand-me-downs like the Saarinen table (thanks, Mom!).
Most of the photographs are mine. The two prints above the green couch are by my cousin, Greg Daiker. The rest of the art we collected here and there and we can certainly provide artist names upon request! Lots of our prints and knickknacks are locally sourced; from stores like Red Tree and In Watermelon Sugar, as well as from members of the Charm City Craft Mafia.
Living Room Walls: Silver Half Dollar by Benjamin Moore.
Thanks, Elizabeth and Daniel!
Images: Kimberly Watson
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