Ashley & Andy's Homemade Home

Ashley & Andy's Homemade Home

Lindsay Wood
Nov 16, 2010

Name: Ashley & Andy
Location: Petworth — Washington, DC
Size: 1438 square feet
Years lived in: Owned, 6 months

Ashley and Andy are something of an anomaly among their peers – a young couple of modest means that has managed to navigate the high-priced real estate scene in D.C. to become homeowners. In a city where desk jobs and dark suits are the norm, Ashley and Andy have redefined what it takes to become homeowners in the nation's capital. To other urbanites who feel intimidated by the home buying process, Ashley and Andy are an inspiring reminder that living in the city and owning your own place do not have to be mutually exclusive.

The couple had already been living together for 2 ½ years when Ashley casually suggested to Andy that it might be a good time to start looking for a place of their own. Andy seemed hesitant to believe that they had the time and resources to devote to finding a house, but after some convincing from Ashley, they decided to go for it. Both are bartenders (Ashley at Velvet Lounge, Andy at Pharmacy Bar) who work long hours, so finding the time to browse listings and view properties was definitely a challenge. They agreed that unless a place was perfect in every way, they would stay put – a decision that allowed them to be selective about their requirements. Eventually, they came across a listing for an early 1900s row house that sparked their interest. Though the place was in need of repair, the original architectural features, reasonable price, and convenient location were just what they were looking for. They knew immediately upon entering the house that they had found their dream home... even if it meant spending more time to make it their own.

For most young homeowners, the process of making a house into a home is something that takes place over the course of several years, while money is carefully put aside for contractors and weekend projects. Rather than wait, they relied on the kindness of friends (and the power of IOUs) to help with improvements. In just six months, Ashley and Andy have transformed a rundown row house into a delightfully cozy setting that remains true to both the original character of the home and the unique charm of its new owners.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Beat up nostalgia with some humor mixed in. Both of us are drawn to old, classic things, but we're also a couple of goofballs who want to be immature forever.

Inspiration: The house itself. We fell in love within five minutes of entering it and it wasn't in good shape. So the structure itself was the inspiration. The transom windows over the doors, the wood floors, the old heat registers -- there was a lot of character under it all.

Favorite Element: We love just coming home and opening the door to the place. As new homeowners, we're still pretty excited and wondering if it'll fade soon, but for now the entryway is our favorite for those reasons. We also love the front porch. Having a stoop in DC is pretty rad, especially when you can perch on it with your cats and watch it all go down at the rowdy bars across the way.

Biggest Challenge: The back yard. It's still a mess, and it's not even much more than a patio. It's going to take a while for it to grow into the secret garden we want it to be. We spent the insane heat wave this summer digging, hauling, and replacing dirt, laying sod, and trying to get things to grow. Oh well!

What Friends Say: You lucky bastards

Biggest Embarrassment: Aside from the back, probably the den upstairs. We have always had a man cave, but we need to update the furniture from the stuff we both carried over from singledom.

Proudest DIY: For Andy, it would be the bar cabinet. He built the thing out of an old wardrobe we rescued from our favorite junk place in Sperryville and some discarded wood he "reclaimed" from a trash pile down near U street. That's how we recycle. For Ashley, it would be the front yard. It was a pile of mud and rocks and now it's cheery and inviting. Maybe a little too inviting, as we keep finding people we don't know hanging out in it.

Biggest Indulgence: The dining room table. That thing is over the top. It's our Batman table. It's ten feet long, and it rules.

Best Advice: Ask for help. Your friends will surprise you, and when family and friends get involved, a place becomes everyone's. Plus, when you entertain, folks can brag about moving this or painting that.

Dream Sources: We don't look for new expensive furniture -- at least at this stage in our lives. We love finding things together by accident or just looking for specific things and happening upon them randomly.

Resources of Note:

(All paints are either Benjamin Moore or Ace's name brand.)
Railing paint: Basalt
Stair risers: Cannonball
Living Room: Grass Green
Dining Room: Snickerdoodle
Kitchen: Buttercream
Bedroom: Moxie
Dressing Room: Pale Vista

I surprised Andy with the awesome Death Machines poster by Mike Giant. It's one of my favorite things. Our bikes were built by Shawn Smith, who rules. The creepy wooden carved things were bought at various thrift stores. The rugs are from Craigslist and the light fixture Schoolhouse Electric (they are the best with customer service.)

I inherited/rescued the chess table from my mother's garage. The bookcase built for us by our friend Darryl Vaughn. Most of the artwork in here was given to us by friends. The couch was a Craigslist purchase, and it was the first thing Andy and I bought "together." The chairs are from Craigslist, Goodwood, and Georgia Avenue Thrift.

The light fixtures are from Schoolhouse Electric, but the mounting was a piece of wood Andy "salvaged" from behind a bar off 14th Street, and then treated for the ceiling. The table from is from Goodwood and the chairs are a random mix from all over the country. The converted bar cabinet was found at Copper Fox Antiques in Sperryville, VA, which is best junk shop out there -- the front is filled with lovely antiques, but out back is where we found that gem. The trucks were collected over time, and a few are from Miss Pixie's.

The fridge is from Bars and Booths in West Virginia. We found the stove on Craigslist from a place in Frederick, MD (a great antiques town). The cabinets are original -- we took them apart, painted them, and fitted them with an IKEA counter and sink. The light fixture is from Schoolhouse Electric.

The bed is from Pottery Barn, I think. The anatomy chart from is from Ebay. The bookcase was built by Andy's father. The birdcages were from a display in the MAC Cosmetics store I used to work in.

The bathroom was remodeled by FW&D. The tub is from Craigslist. The small curious painting is from our friend's visit to Costa Rica. The sink and medicine cabinet were also found on Craigslist. We repurposed the weird firewood thing we got at Miss Pixie's for towels. The small light fixture is from Schoolhouse Electric.

There is a lot of IKEA and Target furniture. The little kid robot vinyls were collected by Andy over the last five years. Every year or so, we find He-Man stuff at Rock-n-Shop at the Black Cat. We were both totally obsessed with the show as kids. And then there's the rad elliptical trainer we bought off of Craigslist.

The repurposed bookcase is from Miss Pixie's. The linen cabinet is from Marshalls, the vanity is from Craigslist, and the clothing rack from is from Garment Racks Etc (and it's incredibly sturdy).

Thanks, Ashley & Andy!

Images: Lindsay Wood

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