This Colorful Home Has Incredibly Creative DIYs and IKEA Hacks

published Oct 1, 2018

This Colorful Home Has Incredibly Creative DIYs and IKEA Hacks

published Oct 1, 2018
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Name: Emily Yeskel Rubin, Carl Rubin, Cecelia Rubin, and pup Griswald
Location: Bethesda, Maryland
Size: 2,200 square feet
Years lived in: 4 months, owned

This home is just like the family that resides in it: fun, whimsical, and energetic. It’s full of color and “feel good rooms!” They’ve designed the house with plenty of space to play, whether it be their daughter’s light-filled garage-turned-playroom, a bedroom that feels like springtime all year long, or the arts and crafts studio in the basement.

Emily, Carl, and their daughter Cecelia moved into their new home in Bethesda only four months ago, but Emily’s already designed the house from top to bottom and filled it with beautiful pieces. “A collected home,” the space is a mixture of old and new. Emily scouts and collects vintage furniture, and has amassed an enviable collection. And she puts her signature spin on many of them with crafty DIYs, like painting and reupholstering vintage chairs, or hacking IKEA cabinets. “I am not afraid of paint,” says Emily, “because it can always be changed.”

The house is also home to Emily’s business and workspace, District DabbleLab. In the basement, the DabbleLab offers craft classes, workshops, and parties for all ages. As with the rest of the house, Emily pieced together the studio herself and decorated throughout, which she cites as her proudest DIY. “I cannot wait to start business this fall and do fun craft projects with kids!”

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Happy, eclectic, mix-and-match, vintage, mid-century modern, colorful, whimsical, artsy.

Inspiration: My daughter, vintage finds, color, art…We live a fun and happy life and I want us to feel that when we walk into our house. It’s nice to have calmer rooms, like the master bedroom, but the rooms that we really “live” in are vibrant and full of energy and whimsy.

Favorite Element: Mercury… ha, just kidding. My daughter Cece’s room. I have envisioned this room for a while, and I finally brought it to life when we moved here. I wanted her space to feel like spring and sunshine all of the time. A place that would bring her joy every time she walked in.

Biggest Challenge: Space. We moved into this house after our furniture and stuff had been in storage for nine months. We didn’t know what we had in the storage unit. Even though this house is bigger than our last house, there are more rooms (our previous house was a completely open floor plan) and slightly lower ceilings. So, big wall units, nightstands, and dressers didn’t fit. Also, the previous owners insulated the attic, so it is unusable. What we lack in storage space gave us really good reason to weed out things and give away a bunch of furniture, housewares, and clothing to charity. It felt so good to thin out our lives in this way.

What Friends Say: “Wow!” The previous owners had a completely different style than us. Lots of browns and dark reds, decorative tile everywhere, heavy light fixtures and curtains… very sort of sad and drab. My friends think I am very brave with my choices. I’m not afraid to take chances. I figure it is mostly cosmetic things that I can change in the future if I get sick of them.

Biggest Embarrassment: I do a lot of hanging and building by myself, so behind some things hanging on the walls there could be, possibly, an extra hole or two, or three… oops.

Proudest DIY: Building out my Arts + Crafts Studio, District DabbleLab, in the basement. I put all of the furniture together, attached it to the walls, painted and decorated walls, stools, tables, and stair rails. I cannot wait to start business this fall and do fun craft projects with kids!

Biggest Indulgence: Honestly, we’ve done and bought so much for the house lately, because we just moved in. Pushing out the garage to create a bigger and light-filled playroom for Cece was probably something we could have waited on, but it is by far one of the most “worth it” projects in the house.

Best Advice: Do You! I do what I want when it comes to design; you don’t need to follow rules as long as you like it and are proud of it. I mix and match furniture styles, colors, fabrics, etc. Somehow it all works and I think that is because it’s a mix of everything that my family loves.

Dream Sources: I don’t think I dream like that; if I want something that is super high-end, I will figure out how to get it or I will try to find the look for less. For me, the cost or label on something doesn’t make it the best… if I love something, no matter the price tag or brand, that’s what makes it the best for me.


Fireplace screen — Crate & Barrel (was bronze, I painted gold)
Brass sculptures — Jonathan Adler
Carafe and brass pineapple — Vintage
Upholstered stool — HomeGoods
Coffee table — Vintage brass base, purchased on Ebay, and we purchased a round piece of glass from a glassmaker
Bench — Jonathan Adler
Couch — Jonathan Adler
Pillows — H&M
Lucite rolling vanity stool — Vintage (found at an estate sale, I took the casters off and recovered in a wool houndstooth)

Dining table — West Elm
Dining chairs — Vintage (Craigslist find)
Curtains — IKEA
Bar cart — Vintage (a gift from my sister who did the wall mural)
Rattan chair — Vintage (painted a pearly silver)
Stool — HomeGoods
Chrome and glass ookshelves — Vintage (Craigslist find)
“Cheers” sign — West Elm

Chairs — Target
Hanging light fixture — Wayfair
Mirrors — Mix of vintage and new, mostly vintage

Glider chair — West Elm (from Cece’s nursery in our old house)
Wooden chair — Vintage (reupholstered in wool houndstooth)
Gold pouf — Joss & Main
Cowhide rug — Safavieh
Stadium seats — Vintage (Craigslist find)
DIY white and gold dresser — IKEA
Bar cart — Vintage (Craigslist find)
Plant pot — HomeGoods
Rattan side table — Vintage (spray painted black)

DIY white and black sideboard — IKEA
Gold mirror — Ruelala
Gold nesting tables — Vintage (estate sale find)
White vase — HomeGoods

Gray chaises — IKEA
Pillows — Jonathan Adler
Rattan peacock chair — Vintage (spray painted blue)
Peacock chair cushion — Oh Joy! for Target
White side table — HomeGoods
Orange pouf — Target
Rug — Safavieh
“C” light — Etsy
Curtains — Bed, Bath & Beyond
Desk — Vintage
Shelves and hanging organizers — IKEA
Blue kitchen playset — KidKraft

Curtains — Zulily
DIY flower wall — Faux boxwood tiles from Amazon, flowers from Michael’s
Rug — Momeni
Dresser — Z Gallerie
Bedding — Marimekko
Pillows — IKEA, H&M
Bird cage — Vintage (estate sale find)
Stool — Target (recovered in flower fabric)

Dresser — Vintage (Craigslist find)
Bedding — DwellStudio

Stools — IKEA (decoupaged paper for seat covers and wrapped yarn on legs)
Tables — IKEA
Teal rolling cart — IKEA
Shelving/drawers — IKEA

Thanks, Emily, Carl, and Cecelia!

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

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