Virginia & Kelly's Industrial Loft in DC

House Tour

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Name: Virginia Arrisueño of DeNada designs, Kelly Towles, and son Atticus
Location: Washington, DC
Size: 1200 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years; Rented

Virginia Arrisueño and her husband Kelly Towles are excellent representatives of DC artistic cool and ingenuity. They represent the District to the max in just about every capacity, and their industrial loft, one of the few you’ll find in DC, is filled with reclaimed and salvaged items from local vendors and original artworks from fellow artists.

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Neither Kelly nor Virginia will ever be accused of having idle hands. Virginia is the chief designer and owner of the knit and accessories line DeNada designs, co-producer of the DC MEET Market, co-Creative Director of a monthly DIY workshop called Topaz + Arrow, Ulysses Room events coordinator, wife of an equally in-demand and hardworking artist, and doting mother of a cute toddler. Whew! And when Kelly isn’t being commissioned to create large-scale installations and murals across some of DC’s most iconic spaces, he's designing logos for DC's hometown beer, DC Brau, and co-producing the MEET Market.

For their home, the couple wanted an industrial-like space where they would have the capacity to work on their individual projects. Knowing they were expecting a child at the time, they also wanted a space where they could carve out a niche for a nursery. Their home was originally an actual artist studio that had been rented and was no doubt a fixer-upper. 

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Because the space was a working studio and not set up for cooking, Virginia and Kelly basically had to create a kitchen from scratch. They installed everything from the shelving to the piping, cabinetry, sink and storage, and plumbing. The ceiling had silver insulation, so Kelly ripped out all of that to reveal the beautiful wooden rafters beneath. And in addition to that, they built Kelly’s studio from an empty wall space. His in-home office that now holds his various power tools, paints, bikes, and smaller murals was once just a blank wall. They even found a way to separate his office from the dining room by repurposing salvaged barn doors. 

To preserve the feeling of a working artistic space, they decided to leave the old paint splatters on the floor just as they were, for added character. And because neither artist likes to sit on ideas for long, all of these renovations happened within in a matter of just three months, all while Virginia was pregnant.

Click through the slideshow for a peek at some "before" photos.

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Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style:  As artists, parents, and dog owners, our style definitely revolves around functionality and comfort, with an appreciation for both reclaimed and contemporary aesthetics.

Inspiration: As for inspirations, we pull a lot of inspirations from visiting local warehouses that sell salvaged and repurposed furniture, décor items, and building materials. There are a few close to where we live, and we tend to visit at least one of them monthly. A lot of these places are massive in size,     with their inventory constantly changing. This makes it both fun and creatively inspiring for us to go and see what they have.

Favorite Element: The open layout of our loft space is our favorite element of our home. We’ve never been fond of walls, and always felt them to be restrictive in past homes. When we first saw this place, its open layout definitely caught our eyes. The only separated rooms in our loft are the bathroom and my husband’s workspace. Other than those two rooms, our home is open. The closest thing we have to walls are ceiling to floor suede curtains in the bedroom and closet areas, which can be used to curtain off those areas for privacy or to just hide our storage space.

Biggest Challenge: When we first moved in, our space was an empty shell that needed a lot of work. From the long list of things that we had to do to fix up our home, our biggest challenge was installing our kitchen and building my husband’s workspace.

What Friends Say: A lot of our friends say that our home is very comfortable and cool.

Biggest Embarrassment: The bathroom is definitely our biggest embarrassment – hence, no photos of that room are shown here. With the move and renovation of our home and the birth of our son, we never had the chance to completely finish it up. We are slowly getting there.

Proudest DIY:  The kitchen is definitely our proudest DIY. When we first moved into our loft, the kitchen was very simple and only included a refrigerator and a stove/oven top. We installed everything from the wooden countertops with piping fixtures to the cast iron sink, and the reclaimed wooden shelves, with hanging ceiling lights above.

Biggest Indulgence: Our biggest indulgence was our vintage librarian's ladder. Though we could have purchased a newer ladder at a lower cost, we opted to get this one because it has so much more character and definitely adds to our home.

Best Advice: Rather than risk overlooking important details, the best advice that we can give to others is to work on one room at a time.

Dream Sources: Houswerks- (Baltimore, MD), Second Chance (Baltimore, MD), Community Forklift (Hyattsville, MD), Restoration Hardware Catalogs.

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Resources of Note:

KELLY WORKSPACE STUDIO

  • Reclaimed barn doors: Community Forklift
  • Drawers: Ikea
  • Laboratory Table: University of Maryland
  • Projector: University of Maryland
  • Masks: Peru, Mexico, and various places

LIVING ROOM

  • Black Leather Chair: Ikea
  • Basket: TJ Maxx
  • Lantern: Ikea
  • Artwork: Jeremy Fish
  • Family Portrait: by Kelly Towles
  • Table: Crate and Barrel
  • Lamp: Marshalls
  • Pillows: Peru and Ikea
  • SUENO letters: Housewerks
  • Locker: Ikea
  • Couch: Ikea

DINING ROOM

  • Plants Jars: Ikea
  • Green Locker: University of Maryland surplus store
  • Librarian Chair: Second Chance in Baltimore
  • Table and Chairs: Craigslist
  • Vintage Lights Fixtures: Housewerks
  • Locker: Craigslist
  • Barber Chair: Kelly's from years ago
  • Vintage Step Ladder: Second Chance in Baltimore
  • Mannequin Bust: gifted from a friend
  • Bookshelf: Ikea

KITCHEN

  • Reclaimed Cabinet Shelves: Second Chance in Baltimore
  • Mason jars holding spices: om their wedding
  • Counter: Wood from Ikea
  • Cast Iron Sink: Second Chance
  • Light Fixtures: Ikea

BEDROOM

  • Closet: Virginia and Kelly Built
  • Clothing Rack: Ikea
  • Shelves: Reclaimed wood
  • Curtains: Curtain Works
  • Bedding: Crate and Barrel
  • Pillows: TJ Maxx and Marshalls
  • Baby letter mat: Gifted from family
  • Carnival Tent: Ikea

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Thanks, Virginia and Kelly!

(Images: Nicole Crowder )

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