Calvin’s Naturally Stylish DC Home

updated Feb 20, 2019
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(Image credit: Liana Hayles Newton)

Name: Calvin Gilbreath
Location: Capitol Hill, Washington DC
Size: 1,000 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years; Owned

“Natural” is an apt term for the look and feel of Calvin’s Capitol Hill apartment — not just for the materials that make it up, but his innate ability to mix (and repurpose) high and low decor into a truly fashionable space. And I’ve never wanted to steal someone’s bathroom trash can until I toured Calvin’s home. Come inside and see for yourself!

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Calvin’s day job involves working for the Department of Health, but he feeds his love for fashion and interior design by working as a part-time interior designer, setting up houses for Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel, and DC’s famed Z Gallerie. His future goal is to launch his own interior design consulting business. Good design sense seems to run in the family; his mother had a knack for being able to reimagine a space after just a few looks. After visiting the open house for his current apartment, Calvin sketched out a blueprint for how he wanted the space to be, and within just a few months’ time (including contract work) had the apartment fully furnished and decorated.

Calvin’s taste is a beautiful and effortless mix of high and low design. Louis Vuitton, custom built armoires, and Z Gallerie purchases fit comfortably next to items sourced from Craigslist, Pier 1,Target, and other budget-friendly spots. He transformed shadow boxes into jewelry boxes for his bedroom, and converted a mirror into a high-end tray that sits on his coffee table — which, incidentally, he made using two wicker storage baskets he purchased from Pier 1 Imports. And he turned items that were meant for storage into art by hanging three black baskets of various sizes over his dining table. To maximize his apartment’s footprint, Calvin believes in elevating as many items as possible off the floor — everything from vases to books to baskets to large pieces of art.

Calvin’s bathroom may be the smallest room in the house, but it packs several personal touches, including his trash can, a teak wood colored basket and a “Trash” sign he created using an old place card holder from Pottery Barn. Glass jars sit atop lucite shelves and hold cotton balls and Q-tips so guests never have to go searching for them in the medicine cabinet (ahem). And monogrammed towels are elegantly draped using napkin rings.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: My style is a little bit of ZGallerie, West Elm, Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, and Crate and Barrel. I love earth tone colors — I find them very relaxing after a long day.

Favorite Element: My bedroom is my favorite element in my apartment. I can sleep for days…

Biggest Challenge: Making furniture fit in a small space without looking stuffy.

What Friends Say: Most of my friends say my place looks like something off the pages of Home Décor, or Metropolitan Magazine . Everything is in its place and in order.

Biggest Embarrassment: Sometimes my place collects large dust balls from the central air conditioning unit.

Proudest DIY: Sectioning off my kitchen with curtains and tie backs to make a small utility storage area, making a large shade for my kitchen light, and adding clear shelves in my bathroom for storage.

Biggest Indulgence: Shoes, Shoes, Shoes!!!!!!!!

Best Advice: Your space and life is what you make of it, so do it and live it well!

Dream Sources: The Hotels on South Beach, Miami, and HGTV.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Resources of Note:


  • Chocolate brown: restoration hardware
  • Sea Blue: Restoration Hardware


  • Basket/cage: Pier 1
    • Stand: Z Gallerie

    • Desk and Cabinet: Target
    • Chair: Pier 1 Imports
    • Mirror: Z Gallerie
    • Zebra: Z Gallerie
    • Vase: Pier 1
    • Sofa: Bloomingdales
    • Carpet: Ikea
    • Raw silk dining Chairs: Bombay
    • Table: top Drawer
    • Storage Baskets on the wall: Z Gallerie
    • Bench and vases: Z Gallerie
    • Basket/painting: Pier 1
    • Pillows/lkea
    • Baskets for coffee table: Target online
    • Mirror: Ikea
    • Consul: Z Gallerie


    • Cologne: Crate and Barrel
    • Lucite shelves: Container store
    • Trashcan: Pottery barn label


    • Chalkboard: Z Gallerie
    • Wine holders/lkea
    • Rack: Home Depot


    • Carpet: Anthropologie leather
    • blue: sea blue restoration hardware
    • Armoire: Custom built
    • Silver vases: West Elm and Z Gallerie
    • Jewelery boxes: Michael’s
    • Frmes:Z Gallerie
    • Leather bed: had for years from New York
    • Fauc crocodile trunks: Z Gallerie
    (Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

    Thanks, Calvin!

    (Images: Nicole Crowder)

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