Name: Kristi and Isaac Maiselman, and Koda, their 4-year-old Chow/Australian cattle dog mix
Location: Penn Quarter, Washington, DC
Size: 863 square feet
Years lived in: 10 years; Owned
The radiator in the entry hall is art. The piece, by DC sculptor Ben Jurgensen, is
fitted out with speakers, and when you plug it in it snaps and
crackles, just like the real thing. Kristi and Isaac Maiselman live at Penn
Quarter's Mather Studios, in one of the building's 12 dedicated "artist
lofts" — live/work
spaces that were offered to creatives in 2003 at a special rate.
Avid collectors, the Maiselmans are steeped in the arts: Kristi is a research associate for development at the National Gallery of Art, and Isaac is a principal at The Photographers Gallery, a commercial photography studio. The building suits them.
Presently the loft is flooded with light, a perk that Kristi and Isaac hadn't anticipated — there used to be a building next door that sat 24 feet from their own. It has since been demolished, but a taller building
is being constructed to go up only 8 feet from their window. When they renovated two
years ago, they did so with this in mind, selecting paint colors and
installing the ceiling track fixtures to maximize ambient lighting.
As for their art collection, it's growing bit by bit — they give each other new artwork for every birthday, holiday, and celebration
Standouts in the space right now include the large, colorful canvas over the
dining table ("A Reunion," by Adam de Boer
) and a pair of drawings by
that bookend the bedroom gallery wall and feature images of Woody Allen and Jesus Christ (strange bedfellows, yes). Their
latest addition was a gift from Kristi to Isaac, a William Powhida
that is stacked on the wall in Isaac's "man corner," with his speakers
and his record player.
"And ironically," Kristi tells me, "it's called 'Why You Shouldn't Buy Art.'"
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style/Inspiration: Modern with a few mid-century elements. We like clean lines and well-curated
clutter (if you consider our collection of vinyl records, art and cookbooks
clutter). Since we live in a relatively small space, design has to be
functional. We love Design Within Reach, Notcot, Dwell, and Cool Hunting, but sometimes
those spaces look as if no one actually lives there. We want our home to be
cozy, comfortable and lived-in.
Favorite Element: The best thing about this
condo is that we have the ceiling height and wall space to show off our modest
little art collection that includes work by artists Yves Netzhammer, Henry
Taylor, Hell’o Monsters, Marcel Dzama, and William Powhida, as well as local
artists like Chan Chao, Mary Coble, Erik Sandberg, Adam de Boer, Cara Ober, Ben Jurgensen, Akemi Maegawa,
and Jeffery Herrity. Isaac is also particularly fond of his “man corner” that
contains his Eames Rocker and his custom Zu Audio speakers.
Biggest Challenge: Two years ago when we renovated, we knew the building next door that was
24 feet from our window would be demolished and ultimately rebuilt 8 feet from
our window. The challenge was trying to
anticipate how our condo and the design elements would be affected
by the decrease in light. So we tried to pick wall colors and floor colors in
anticipation of less natural light, while at the same time maximizing the
ambient lighting. Right now the building is demolished and we have more natural
light than we could have imagined, as well as great views of the Smithsonian
American Art Museum/National Portrait Gallery and the Mies van der Rohe designed Martin Luther King Library. The new building won’t be finished
until December 2014, so the jury’s still out on our lighting challenge.
What Friends Say: We love to entertain, and our friends and family still can’t believe that
despite the size of our place, we have a dining room table the seats 10
comfortably, 12 if we have to.
Biggest Embarrassment: We have this fake orchid that someone bought Isaac before we were
married, when he first moved into his own condo.
We have tons of succulents and a real terrarium, yet we still have this
fake orchid. Somehow it made the move
two years ago, and we still haven’t gotten rid of it. The height of it seems to
balance out the console table and mirror in the entryway, and I just haven’t
found a suitable replacement. The dining room table also had a run-in with a
bottle of nail polish which removed a noticeable amount of the finish. We tried
every touch-up stain pen and marker available, and it’s still all I notice. Needless to say, whenever we have guests it
Isaac does a pretty good job of cable management. He works tirelessly to hide and minimize all
of the wires from his countless electronics. He also has most of the house
wired so that we can control the lights and music all from remotes or iPhones and
the UltraCraft cabinets in the kitchen. It was a hard expense to justify, but in
the end it was the right choice and we absolutely love them. Also, the Philippe Starck Louis Ghost Chairs
in the dining area. We first bought 4
and have slowly added a couple every year when DWR has their chair sale. We’re
up to 8 at this point.
Everything is a work in progress, and there has to be balance. Not everything has to be from Design Within
Reach. Places like IKEA, West Elm, and
Room and Board make it easy to mix and match and achieve good design on a
variety of budgets. Over time you can
always upgrade; we have our Saarinen Dining Table all picked out, and we’re just waiting for the right time!
Dream Sources: Did I mention Design Within
Resources of Note:
PAINT & COLORS
Behr Parisian Taupe
Behr Deep Aubergine
Sofas - Room and Board
Pillows - mix of West
Elm, Home Goods, the large polka dot pillows were handmade by Kristi, from
fabric from Picnic Design in Buenos Aires
- Ottoman - Room and Board
- Rug - CB2
Bookshelves - Room and
Eames Molded Plastic
Rocker - Design Within Reach
Speakers - Zu Audio
Record player -
- "The Dude" artwork- Mike Mitchell
TV stand- Room and
- Round side table between sofas - Vastu on
Bar cabinet - West Elm
- Artwork over bar cabinet - Adam de Boer
Table - West Elm
Louis Ghost Chairs designed
by Philippe Starck for Kartell
Big painting - “A
Reunion,” by Adam de Boer
Console behind table
against window wall - West Elm
Cabinetry - UltraCraft
Appliances - GE Cafe
Jar decals - Found in a little design shop in
Palermo Hollywood in Buenos Aires
Coffeemaker - Jasper Morrisson for Rowenta, Design Within Reach
Bed - West Elm
Bedding - West Elm
Bedside tables - West
Fan - Artemis
- Artwork over bed - Marcel Dzama, Matthew Mouras
- "Accordian" lights
over bed - West Elm
Thanks, Kristi and Isaac!
(Images: Natalie Grasso)
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