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A Bold, Eclectic, Vintage Small/Cool Space

Name: Heather Bien

Size: 849 sq ft

Home type: Condo in row home

Location: Washington, D.C., United States

Years lived in: 1 year, owned

Household: Husband and elderly cat

Have any design professionals worked on this space: No

Describe your space:

Our space is ever-changing. I always have to leave room for my next antiquing find! However, it's all grounded in a look that's a little bit quirky, a little bit traditional, and influenced by mid-century silhouettes. I love finding standout vintage pieces that I can combine with basics like a practical, budget-friendly IKEA sofa. Ornate gold frames and antique lithograph prints are at home next to a Sputnik chandelier. But, what makes my space the coolest is the way I've woven in our history: My grandmother's mod Windsor chairs and my husband's great-grandfather's portraits find a place here.

Did you DIY anything in your space? And, if so, what's your favorite DIY?

Oh my gosh, so much! We've DIYed everything from the 22-foot-wide gallery wall to floating shelves to painting furniture and replacing kitchen hardware. However, I'd say the DIY that made the biggest impact was changing out every single light fixture in the entire condo. The seller had gone with a "glam" look and, the minute we moved in, I started ordering new light fixtures and fans for every room. We became amateur electricians in a matter of days, but it's the first thing anyone notices in our dining room, the hall, our bedroom, etc. One minor electric shock was totally worth it.

What's your favorite product that you bought for your space and where did it come from?

My living room coffee table will forever be my most prized possession. I knew I wanted a large glass and brass coffee table, but this was six or seven years ago, when my budget was nonexistent and the options I was finding online were not cutting it. One day, I was perusing Craigslist and saw my dream table listed for $40. A woman a few years older than me was selling a bunch of antiques her parents had pawned off on her—she had NO idea what she had. I marched off proudly with that table...and found out it's from the '70s and sells for over $4,000 typically. Yes, I saved $3,960.

What inspires you?

Of course, there are the traditional routes—my Pinterest and Instagram saved boards are overflowing. But, my favorite is to stroll through massive antique malls. The ideas you can get from looking at the lines, carvings, colors, and details on pieces throughout the decades and centuries is never-ending. My style leans more modern, but I believe the classics have a place in informing my design. Also, I'm endlessly inspired by the fact I dreamt as a small child of living in an old, old row home decorated in a super modern style that would be walkable to everything—and here I am.