A Casual Contemporary Home in Downtown D.C.

updated Feb 19, 2019
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(Image credit: Liz Calka)

Name: Liz and Brendan, and cat Vincent
Location: Mount Vernon Square — Washington, D.C.
Size: 900 square feet
Years lived in: Renting 10 months

Inviting, modern, and thoughtful. Like most people, Brendan and I have sought to make our living space representative of who we are. When we combined our homes last year, we had to be intentional about what came with us.

(Image credit: Liz Calka)

Brendan is a web developer and I’m a graphic designer. We also take photos, make music, create short films, travel whenever possible, and play board games, avidly. We met while working at a production company downtown and, after years of battling beltway traffic to spend time together, finally found the perfect place to call home in the middle of the city.

Merging our belongings resulted in an eclectic mix of artwork and an overflow of books. I had an extensive collection of furniture and décor plucked from flea markets, yard sales, the side of the road, and even a few dumpsters. Brendan arrived with a full kitchen of cookware and an elaborate entertainment center set-up.

After much culling and downsizing, we’ve created a relaxed, delightful space full of the things we love. We are enjoying exploring our new neighborhood and walking everywhere.

(Image credit: Liz Calka)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style:
Brendan – Casual, comfortable, utilitarian.
Liz – Beautiful, organized, tells a story. A mix of new and old.

Brendan – Making room for entertaining.
Liz – Pinterest forever. Scandinavian design magazines. Weird antique stores.

Favorite Element:
Brendan – The kitchen.
Liz – The balcony.

Biggest Challenge:
Brendan – Downsizing.
Liz – Storage/closet space. The laundry closet is working some serious overtime.

What Friends Say:
Brendan – Good for napping.
Liz – “Is your apartment always this clean?”

(Image credit: Liz Calka)

Biggest Embarrassment:
Brendan & Liz – The litter box.

Proudest DIY:
Brendan – My concert ticket board.
Liz – The plant bench! It’s such a gorgeous piece of wood. Vincent loves it and the plants are happy there.

Biggest Indulgence:
Brendan – The bookshelves.
Liz – The Belgian linen sheets.

(Image credit: Liz Calka)

Best Advice:
Brendan – Get rid of stuff.
Liz – Yeah, I’ll echo that. Don’t be afraid to downsize and switch out anything that’s cramping your style, donate it to someone else who will appreciate it. Allow room for the things you need and the things you love most, whatever brings meaning to your nest. Also, if you’re looking for something specific and affordable, I can’t recommend Craigslist enough. There are some real furniture gems on there.

Dream Sources:
Brendan – A Game of Thrones set.
Liz – The estate sale of someone who’s lived a raucous and fulfilling life. (Is that grim? There’s nothing like finding a treasure with a story…)

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View from the entrance. Our kitchen, dining area, living room, and desk nooks are all in the main room of the apartment. (Image credit: Liz Calka)

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