Susan & Fred's Compromise

Susan & Fred's Compromise

Aug 10, 2010

Name: Susan & Fred
Location: Dupont Circle — Washington, DC
Like marriage, city living is all about compromises. Bigger space often equals the need to carry mace at all times, while a swanky neighborhood means cramped conditions. My husband and I inhabit 700 square feet in the center of Dupont Circle and did I mention I work from home? Every aspect of our condo is designed around creating space and balancing my funky aesthetic with my husband's more conservative taste.

Our living room presented the biggest challenge due to its long rectangular shape. With the kitchen off to one side and the walkway on the other, there was no place to set-up a traditional living area. Our solution? Hang the television against the wall of the walkway and place our sofa in the middle of the room. This had an added benefit. It defined a space behind the sofa used for a dining table, or what has turned into an informal office area for my husband. Since the dining table was no longer serviceable, we needed to fit a large coffee table in front of the sofa without overwhelming the tiny space. The obvious answer was to fill the space with material, but keep it optically clean. That's what lucite's for, right? Unfortunately, lucite did not fit into the traditional décor required by my husband, so we opted for a glass top table with an open iron bottom shelf. The simple iron pattern complements the rug underneath. Though, I've told my husband, if we ever get a second home, all the furniture will be lucite with sparkling multi-colored LED lights on the floor and ceiling. He has tacitly agreed.

We both agreed a bright strong yellow could be incorporated into the living room to give a much needed touch of pizzazz. I found the perfect shade of yellow and painted over an old canvas I found in my grandmother's storage unit. I bought a yellow pillow, lacquered box and an Egon Schiele print. Eh voila, a room full of pear green, beige and black now looked modern and sophisticated.

I carried the black and yellow of the living room into the bathroom and added turquoise accents as a bridge into the serene blues of the bedroom. I have trouble sleeping so I try to keep the psychological and physical fuss out of the room I sleep in. In the bedroom there are no compromises. My husband and I both find the sea foam walls soothing. I discovered two antique glass orb lamps on ebay and placed them on both sides of the bed on top of our individual french provincial knock-off nightstands. Then we placed a chandelier panel, which serves as an elegant nightlight, across from the bed to give the room an ethereal glow. The bedroom opens into my office with steel blue walls, white cabinets and the bright colors I crave. Since there is no overhead light, I took two shadeless lamps and wrapped the light bulbs in Tord Boontje folksy cutouts echoing the whimsy of the attached bedroom. Then I placed swirls of lime green, blood red and neon orange on my desk and I was done.

In the end, I love my tiny tiny condo, and my husband does too. Compromise fueled my creativity by forcing me to problem solve beyond my individual imagination.

-Susan Mitchell

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