Liz's Exuberant Row House

House Tour

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Location: Bloomingdale, Washington, DC
Size: 2,800 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years; Owned

Before you even ask, yes, people have tipped Gypsy the cow. Liz had to cement her in. "When I move again, I'm planning to dig her up and take her with me," she said. After all, Gypsy is more than just a goofy lawn ornament. Liz grew up in Arizona, where her father is a cattle rancher. Gypsy is an homage to her childhood. "What better way to celebrate my roots than putting a life-size cow in the front yard, right?" she said, laughing. "She's become the neighborhood mascot."

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Liz's personality and, by extension, home, burst with this exuberance. Color! Pattern! Picture frames! "I have an obsession with throw pillows, too," she said. "I view them like I view my bracelets — if one is good... ten are great!"

With paint, however, she's exercised restraint, maintaining a clean backdrop for those ebullient "POCs" (her shorthand for pops of color).

"I painted the walls facing the windows darker shades to help soften the space and make it look larger," she said. Elsewhere, she's used contrasting blues and grays to help reflect the light.

Liz added that, being a real estate agent, she finds it difficult not to absorb the styles she sees in other homes. "Being surrounded by other styles and ideas has me always itching for a change, or something new," she said. "I just have to remind myself that homes are always a work in progress, that Rome was not built in a day."

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Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: An eclectic mix of traditional and modern. Staying true to my Arizona roots while at the same time pushing the boundaries of color and cultural style. I want my home to an inviting place for friends to relax in and drink a margarita!

Inspiration: Traveling inspires me to change things up. I try to buy something new and different every place that I go to add a new element of surprise. Every piece in my home has a story and a history — I like to make everything matter.

Favorite Element: I collect religious artifacts and lucky symbols (Buddha’s, crosses, elephants, evil eyes, menorahs… basically anything that has meaning to someone else). The idea that these pieces have spiritual powers to others from around the world makes them very special and cool to me. They help to diversify my home and spark conversation among guests. They are definitely some of my favorite pieces and they're things that you might have to look a little closer to notice.

Biggest Challenge: As a real estate agent, I am constantly touring and seeing new homes. Being surrounded by people’s styles and ideas has me always itching for a change!

What Friends Say: Wow, that’s a lot of “POC”!

Biggest Embarrassment: My house was built in 1906. Part of the allure of living in an old home also has its drawbacks. I call my slanted floors and anything that is just a little “off” the perks of “DC Charm”. You learn to appreciate and love the flaws over time.

Proudest DIY: Putting the huge brick “K” in my backyard for my last name was definitely a long weekend project. I thought it was funny to stamp my territory!

Biggest Indulgence: My cow, Gypsy, was my housewarming treat to myself. I am in love with her and she will go with me everywhere.

Best Advice: Never be afraid of adding or mixing colors. A POC (“pop of color”) goes a long way. It is important to make your home fun and inviting. Color is a great way to make things stand out and draw people in.

Dream Sources: The world and the people living in it. People always amaze me with how creative they are. And Harriet's General in Culpeper, Virginia is also a favorite of mine and is the place that I got my “Gypsy” signage. Everything in the store is made in America and I like that that offsets my other pieces and exposes my roots.

Resources of Note:

PAINT & COLORS

  • I used all Sherwin-Williams paints, mixed, but I don't remember the names.

LIVING ROOM

  • Coffee table – Etsy. It's a mirrored shadow box table to help display my grandmother’s collection of Limoges boxes. I thought it would be the perfect way to display all of the beautiful pieces without making them look knick-knacky.
  • Jackie O poster – I had it framed at Hobby Lobby. The picture was too big to fit in any car, so I had to rent a U-Haul to drive it down from Maryland. It was worth every minute of it! I thought it was important, being that I live in our nation’s capital, to have an iconic political woman grace my walls. It is a daily reminder to keep it classy and to never leave the house without your sunglasses.
  • Throw pillows – I buy the fabric from around the world and then have them made into pillows. You can never have too many pillows! My pillows with wording come from Etsy.
  • Green window chest – An antique piece that I had stripped and painted. I again was looking for something to stand out while still offering more storage. It is amazing how much stuff you acquire and how you always need more drawer and cabinet space.
  • Hookah – Istanbul, Turkey. I love to mix in beautiful old pieces of culture with modern styles.

DINING ROOM

  • Tall chest / bar – I had thismade by a woman on Etsy. She buys antique pieces and then paints them to the customers liking. I went with bright green with a blue wash to tie in the living space. The piece also hides my downstairs basement which I rent out to a separate tenant. Functional and crafty!
  • Big jars – This is a trick that I learned from my grandmother. There are jars around my house filled with matches, pennies, Swedish Fish, business cards, foreign currency. If you have a lot of it, jar it!

MASTER BEDROOM

  • Bedding – Ralph Lauren
  • Pink pillows – Made from fabric I found in Jaipur, India
  • Mirrored vanity – Pier 1

UPSTAIRS HALLWAY

  • Framed deed – My next door neighbor found and gave me the original deed of my home as a housewarming gift. I had it framed and wish every day that you could still buy a DC row house for $7,500…

GUEST BEDROOM / "THE ARIZONA ROOM"

  • Bed – Made in Oklahoma from barn wood
  • Arizona flag – I framed this myself. As a West Coast girl I thought it only appropriate to theme my guest room in a way to showcase my roots. I am proud to be from Arizona and having a room that reminds me of its beauty helps on the cold DC nights.
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Thanks, Liz!

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(Image credits: Natalie Grasso)

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