Alex & Alina’s Lovingly Layered Home

published Feb 12, 2013
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(Image credit: Nicole Crowder)

Name: Alina Gonzalez, Project Manager for FDA + Writer for Refinery 29 and her lifestyle blog The Hyperbalist, and Alex White, Internet Strategy Consultant
Location: Meridian Hill, Washington D.C.
Size: 815 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year, 4 months; Renting

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It’s not easy mixing industrial and geometric graphic prints with an affinity for livestock and pastoral themes. But Alina and her boyfriend Alex seamlessly merge their many influences (his, more coastal, hers, more bohemian) with their shared love for art, history, and travel and their appreciation for four-legged species.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Nicole Crowder)

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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

One thing you have to know about Alina (other than her killer style and incredibly friendly personality) is her memory. She can recall exactly where she purchased an item, how much it cost down to the penny, and I’m sure she could tell you what the sales clerk who sold it to her was wearing. This is all to emphasize just how special each item in their home is to her. And the couple are perfectly in synch with their aesthetics, too. While Alina likes her clothes a bit more girly, she takes her home decor with a more masculine edge, which Alex can appreciate.”I like that her taste doesn’t skew girly. In fact, her taste is very masculine in a way that still feels soft. I don’t have to worry about glitter lamps or flower carpets because that’s just not her style.”

Their warm home is an eclectic mix of textures and patterns, lovingly sprinkled with trinkets and décor from their many trips to vintage and secondhand markets, Los Angeles, and of course the DC treasure trove of unique housewares: Goodwood. “I go in religiously. At least three times a week if I can,” says Alina. She’s also great friends with the owners, who change their stock every day. And this is not the only friend in high places the couple has. Alina became such good friends with rising DC graffiti artist Kelly Towles that he created two original pieces of art for their home.

The couple also have a strong affinity for livestock; a portrait of a beautiful horse sits prominently over the nail bed consul table in the living room. A family heirloom painting of turkeys called “The Boss” that Alex contributed, and that Alina once didn’t want in the house at all, now sits prominently on the entertainment stand in the living room. A brass duck and a beautiful second-hand llama rug adorn the bedroom near her clothing rack of printed dresses, giving a pastoral-meets-Prada feel (Alina’s closet of shoes is swoon worthy). The home’s semi-nomadic feel, with its plush fur carpets and antlers, contrasts with an equally nautical aesthetic. The foyer is painted in a rich Old Navy blue by Benjamin Moore, and a vintage plaque that once belonged to a Navy Lieutenant hangs above the bathroom door. Navy stripes accent the couch in their bedroom. A massive photo of a fish and scuba diver hangs in the living room, as does a silver metallic sea urchin-like sculpture and brass crab.

(Image credit: Nicole Crowder)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: I’m really into high-contrast, neutrals, and graphic anything with natural elements. I love texture and bohemian layers. I like wood, fur, flokati, kilims. I never met a stripe or black-and-white photograph I didn’t like. I find it hard to say no to white lacquer and lucite. In terms of rugs, baskets, and textiles, I love me a nice tribal Southwestern print. I like graphic posters, magazines, typography, graffiti, geometric shapes. Industrial elements like exposed metal shelving, hardware, and wheels. Huge statement pieces of art, animal skulls, ridiculously over-sized underwater photographs, etc. I’m drawn most towards furniture and styles from the 50’s through 70’s. Mid-century modern especially.

Inspiration: I’m inspired most by the inside of my favorite store (in the world, not just DC): GoodWood. I go religiously and soak in the stimulation, and find new, amazing pieces. I obsessively stalk home tours on Apartment Therapy and Refinery 29 and my favorite design blogs.

Favorite Element: I have this inexplicable love for all things livestock. Cows, horses, buffalo, moose, deer, sheep, turkeys, llamas — and their antlers and skulls. I just love art, photography, and objects that depict animal-related things. We currently own more skulls and photos of animals/animal objects than actual taxidermy, but it’s only a matter of time. You’d also think we grew up on a submarine because I have a weird amount of objects related to the sea. A human-sized photograph of a scuba diver, a glass-encased jellyfish, a brass crab, and these amazing plaques from a retired Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy. I’m going to turn our house into a zoo. And I love it.

Biggest Challenge: My biggest challenge is managing my constantly changing taste and inability to commit to something/like anything longer than a week. I still don’t know what I want and don’t know if I ever will. As soon as I have a round dining table, I am desperate for a long, rectangular farm-style table. I buy white chairs and then want a bench instead. I don’t really know how anyone ever settles on anything.

What Friends Say: “It’s cozy!” And, “Where do you find this stuff?”

Biggest Embarrassment: Where do I start? The yellow bathroom tile, the linoleum kitchen floors. Lack of dishwasher and garbage disposal. But mostly the yellow bathroom tile. I’m in denial about it. It’s like Stockholm syndrome. It’s had me hostage for 1.5 years and now I feel like I’m almost starting to feel warm and fuzzy about it, even though I know it’s a travesty.

Proudest DIY: If painting a chalkboard wall is a DIY, then that’s my proudest one. But I could take credit for a DIY my resourceful Macgyver dad did. Our kitchen is truly a shoebox with zero counter space and minimal storage options, so he rigged together a rack from Home Depot with random hooks and things from Ikea and made us a whole exposed kitchen storage unit for $12 bucks. We can hang pots and pans and utensils and there’s a little hanging bread box and a place to hang champagne and wine glasses and spices.

Biggest Indulgence: I guess our closet could be considered an indulgence. But it’s not our fault that the rental came with such a fabulously large closet.

Best Advice: Scale is everything; don’t make the TV the center piece of your living room (i.e. don’t have all of your chairs facing towards it); and pillows/objects in threes.

Dream Sources: GoodWood is my dream source. What owners Dan and Anna Kahoe do with that store is truly the stuff of my dreams. I don’t fantasize about being able to afford ABC Home or Room and Board. I just want to walk into GoodWood and say “I’ll take everything”. When I go in, I don’t know how to leave. It’s not just about having the talent for finding incredible, one-of-a-kind, never-seen-anything-like-it-antiques and oddities; they are masters at arranging the pieces they’ve collected in the most inspiring and creative ways. Every single corner, wall, and vignette in the store is perfection. Things sell so quickly that the store is basically a new place every 24 hours, so it’s pure delight for my eyes each trip. I’ve never met such talented people. I don’t know why anyone would want to shop anywhere else. It’s design candy land. Between GoodWood/The Kahoes, and Kelly Towles, I have enough reason to never leave DC.


Resources of Note:


• Paint: Benjamin Moore Old Navy
• Gold chair: Goodwood
• Runner:
• Plaque: Foundry


• Couch: Miss Pixies
• Textile saw: GoodWood
• Equestrian print: Apartment Therapy Classifieds
• Scuba diver photo: Art. Com
• Glass side table: Good wood (and items on it)
• Ash tray: Foundry
• Wooden dice: New Stone Age in LA
• Coffee table: Ikea Lack
• Posters: Agate MOMA store
• Brass crab: Etsy
• Candle holders: CB2
• Bowl; GoodWood
• Lamp: GoodWood
• Mirror: Free (found in their apartment building)
• Bookshelf: Free (elevator in their apartment building)
• Basket: Home Goods
• Fur Throw Blanket: World Market
• Ikea entertainment set and TV: Alex’
• Roman sculpture: Good wood
• Pot: Goodwood
• Rabbit ears Antennae: RadioShack
• Duck Painting: Heirloom from Alex’ family
• Blue Adirondack chair: Goodwood
• Glass cube side table: Pier 1
• Moroccan bowl: Goodwod
• Turquoise Rug: Rugs
• Metallic urchin: Trina Turk Home Store in Palm Springs
• White chair with fur: TJ Maxx
• Bench: TJ Maxx
• Frames: Random
• Map: Eastern Market
• Antlers: Etsy (High Street Market)
• Kelly Towles: Original Commissioned artwork
• Large Picture Frame: Miss Pixies
• Pencil: Wood from Homegoods
• White lamp: Home Goods
• Chair: Pottery Barn
• Giant horse painting:
• Nail bed table: Miss Pixies
• Black pot: GoodWood
• Old books: Goodwood and books from Stoneridge book sale
• Pillows: burlap: CB2
• Blue velvet pillows: Ikea


• Barware: CB2,
• Tiered stand: CB2
• Table: Goodwood
• White shell chairs: Amazon
• Glass consul table: Pier 1
• Lucite Bar tray: CB2
• Painting GoodWood
• Stacked cubed lamps: Home Goods
• White Shoe bins: Pier 1
• Chalkboard wall: Paint: RustOleum
• Skull: Old Lucketts in Virginia
• Pot: Goodwood
• Gold bucket: Goodwod
• Trash bucket: Urban Outfitters
• Flower canisters: Etsy
• Tray: Good wood
• Basket: Home Goods
• Geometric rug: goodwood
• Marble slab: Goodwood
• Plant: Homegoods


• Bamboo Directors Chair: TJ Maxx (gift from Alina’s mom)
• Ikea shelving : Custom built by her dad
• Knife rack: Ikea
• Blue timer: Bed bath and beyond
• Sugar canister: Target:
• Flower vase: Anthropolgie
• Measuring cup and bowls: Anthropologie


• Netted wood side tables: Goodwood
• Bamboo chair: TJ Maxx
• Chevron pillow: Homegoods
• Hooks: Foundry
• Feather quill pen and notebook: Goodwood
• Wooden pencil: Homegoods
• Lacquer dresser: Ikea
• Dresser frames: CB2 and West Elm
• Matches: Goodwood
• Cup: Goodwood
• Monkey skull: Goodwood
• Antler: Gift from Grandfather
• Lamp: Homegoods
• Wire basket: Trohv
• Curtains: Nate Berkus for Target
• Couch: Ikea
• Graffiti art: Commissioned art by Kelly Towles
• Striped pillows: Crate and Barrel and Ikea
• Carved Jewelry box: Goodwood
• Print over bed: West Elm
• Bedding: Martha Stewart
• Velvet pillows: Ikea
• Burlap pillow: CB2
• Clothing rack: gift from Alex
• Dresser: Belonged to Alina’s father
• Llama rug: Good wood

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Thanks, Alex and Alina!

(Images: Nicole Crowder)

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