Name: Kyle J. Avarell, Erin Berteaux, and Buddha the cat
Location: U Street Corridor, Washington DC
Size: 594 square feet
Years lived in:1 ½ years, rented
Down to their beautifully blue-eyed cat's food dish, Kyle and Erin have brought style and personality to every aspect of their penthouse home. In turn, the modern apartment makes a great backdrop for their collection of locally sourced vintage furniture, strategic Ikea buys, and handmade projects.
"That guy's got a toilet in his backyard!" Erin laughed when I visited, noticing a home below where she surmised the neighbor was doing renovations. For better far more often than for worse, from their penthouse perch Kyle and Erin can see their neighbors' roof decks and yards, the football field of nearby Cardozo Senior High School, and, when they really peak around to the right, the Capitol building. These California natives' apartment is the kind of place where everyone must want to hang out to catch the Fourth of July fireworks.
In addition to providing that panoramic view, the eastern-facing floor-to-ceiling windows let in an enviable amount of natural light. Exposed ductwork and concrete ceilings give the apartment an industrial feel, which is contrasted by the warm wood, the couple's colorful furnishings, and Kyle's graphic paintings. He and Erin have a great sense of humor and are humble about their stylish home — Kyle ironically intones that the lemon painting over their bed took him a whole year to complete.
His creative mark can be seen throughout the apartment — from the paintings in the bedroom and living room to the Ikea hack light fixture over the dining table (as seen in their Small, Cool entry). Erin says that it seems like whenever she goes out of town, she comes home to find his newest paintings drying. This approach gives the couple large-scale art without a big price tag, and it adds a personal touch that gets friends talking.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: We moved from a pre-war building in Dupont Circle so our style evolved when we moved in to our current apartment which is much more clean and contemporary. We are always having friends over and we didn't want an uncomfortably modern furnished home so we went with a more welcoming mid-century modern look. Most of our furniture we bought after we moved in from nearby vintage furniture spots, Craigslist, and the always reliable Ikea.
Inspiration: Kyle's inspired by finding furniture for cheaper than it should be sold for and snatching it up. All of our furniture finds were pretty good deals.
Favorite Element: The floor to ceiling windows. They span the entire apartment and let in a ton of natural light. The views of the city are amazing especially at night. We also like having a kitchen table to sit at, something we didn't have at our old place.
Biggest Challenge: We love the layout of the apartment considering we have less than 600 sq. ft. but it did create a challenge when it came time to buy and arrange our furniture. We really had to measure twice and make sure we weren't going to have to block our view with any furniture. We did pretty well with the exception of the dresser drawers in the bedroom that we have to have due to a lack of storage space.
What Friends Say: "Who painted the lemon?"
Biggest Embarrassment: Buddha the cat has been unemployed for 11 years and just sleeps on the couch all day.
Proudest DIY: The Ikea wire fruit basket hacked in to a pendant lamp over our kitchen table.
Biggest Indulgence: Our couch was our biggest indulgence only because we had a perfectly good couch for our first three years living in DC but we fell in love with the CB2 parlour couch so we bought it and ditched the old one. We would call that indulgent.
Best Advice: Wait for the best piece of furniture for your space to pop up somewhere and buy it on the spot. In the meantime fill the empty space with Ikea.
Dream Sources: A furniture shop that serves cocktails as you shop. We would never leave.
Resources of Note:
- • Round hanging mirror from GoodWood on U Street
- • Tullsta chair from Ikea
• Vintage recliner with ottoman from Ruff & Ready on 14 Street
• Mid-Century modern credenza from Modern Montage (Kyle removed the base and added the legs)
• Mid-Century modern coffee table from Modern Montage
• Mid-Century modern side table from Modernicus
• Parlour Lemongrass sofa from CB2
• Saarinen-inspired side table from Ruff & Ready on 14th Street (base and marble top bought separately & pieced together)
- • Saarinen-inspired kitchen table by Burke found on Craigslist
• Herman Miller swivel chairs found on Craigslist
- • Mandal bed frame from Ikea
• Desk from Ikea
• Nightstand from Target
• Regate bedding by Lacoste
- • Godmorgon wall cabinet from Ikea
- • All paintings painted by Kyle (even the lemon)
Thanks, Kyle and Erin!
Images: Kim Rinehimer
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