Jenia & Sergey’s Victorian Row House

published Sep 5, 2015
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(Image credit: Natalie Grasso)

Name: Jenia and Sergey
Location: Bloomingdale; Washington, D.C.
Size: 1,600 square feet
Years lived in: 5 years; Owned

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Jenia and Sergey bought this Victorian row house in D.C.’s Bloomingdale neighborhood five years ago. They’ve spent the intervening years giving it love: tearing up carpet, painting the walls, gutting the kitchen and bathrooms, and documenting it all on their home renovation blog, Victorian in Bloom.

(Image credit: Natalie Grasso)

A case of wanderlust set in midway through the renovation, so they put their brushes down and took off on an 14-month trip around the world, which they documented on a separate blog, House to Laos. Back stateside for the foreseeable future, they’re about to begin the third and final phase of their renovation, which includes the master bedroom and the basement (which aren’t pictured here, but fear not: they’ll be documenting it all on their blog, which also includes a few fun before-and-afters of the finished rooms, featured herein).

(Image credit: Natalie Grasso)
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Jenia and Sergey in their kitchen. (Image credit: Natalie Grasso)

Apartment Therapy Survey

Our Style: Blend of historic and modern, with a lot of Eurasian influence and elements.

Inspiration: Our friends’ homes — we have a lot of friends with great taste! And I am kind of obsessed with sneak peeks into the front windows of beautiful row houses around DC. Central Asian textiles for pattern and color combinations. Travel.

Virtually, I do a lot of blog stalking. Also, running our own home renovation blog — which is about to pick up pace as we kick off phase three of renovation — has actually kept me more on track and inspired to keep on going than I would have ever guessed when we first logged on back in March 2010.

Favorite Element: The original details in our house: heart of pine floors, moldings, pocket doors. We love, love, love the layout of our house. We entertain a lot, and the first floor has such a great flow to it.

Biggest Challenge: Dreaming up the space. When we moved in, there was a rather large half bathroom on the first floor, a small door into the kitchen, and another small door leading to the patio. We talked for years about how to best change things up, and then spent hours thinking of the best layout. The opening from dining room to the kitchen is new, as are the patio doors. The kitchen layout is completely different as is the powder bath.

What Friends Say: A dear friend recently told us that when he helped us move into the house back in March 2010, he secretly thought we were making a pretty big mistake. He has since changed his mind! I think what our friends have enjoyed the most about our home is watching it evolve from an unloved eyesore to something cozy and comfortable.

Biggest Embarrassment: Unfinished projects. Our master bedroom is in dire need of improvements, but we held off for the last five years in order to really do it right and add a master bathroom. Another big one is the halfway done paint strip job on the newel post for the staircase. But stripping paint is such a pain!

Proudest DIY: Built-in shelf in the dining room, which hides our ginormous A/C vent. Sergey designed and built everything from scratch. Same with the storage trunk in the living room bay window, which fits just perfectly and stores so much stuff. I am responsible for the house “vision” and do all of our GC duties, which I am pretty proud of.

Biggest Indulgence: Heated floors in the two bathrooms and the kitchen.

Best Advice: “Every room needs a bit of ugly”. This quote pops up from time to time in design magazines and blogs, and we really take it to heart. Yes, we love our beautiful home, but we don’t obsess over all the details being just so perfect. We would much rather have an ugly (but useful) media console for years, rather than spend a ton of money on a new piece, or buy something more reasonable that we don’t love. Plus that way there is always room for improvement!

Dream Sources: Off the Beaten Track is a treasure trove and our go-to for special pieces— they have the BEST rugs (among wonderful everything else). Furniture and art auctions for awesome bargains. Picking up mementos when we travel — rugs, textiles, homewares — we’ve brought something back pretty much from every trip we’ve taken. We have been very lucky to travel (and blog about it) quite a bit in recent years, and we literally pack and ship boxes as we go.


(Image credit: Natalie Grasso)


  • Entry: Benjamin Moore Deep River
  • Living room: Farrow & Ball Elephant’s Breath
  • Dining room: Benjamin Moore Tucson Red
  • Kitchen: Farrow & Ball Cornforth White on the walls; whitewash on the brick
  • Office/small guest bedroom (above): custom-tinted Benjamin Moore
  • Guest bedroom: Martha Stewart Mouse Gray
  • Bathroom ceiling: Benjamin Moore Aura Bath Midnight Dream
(Image credit: Natalie Grasso)


(Image credit: Natalie Grasso)


  • Trunk: custom-made by Sergey
  • Sculpture bust: found in Siem Reap, Cambodia
  • Lamps: Ruff & Ready
  • Eames-style chair: Off the Beaten Track
  • Berber rug: found in Morocco
  • Kilim: from Afghanistan, purchased in India
  • Coffee table: Ikea
  • Wall sconces: Ikea
  • Sofa: Craigslist freebie
  • Pillow covers: made by Sergey’s mom from fabric purchased at Miss Pixie’s
  • Tall side tables: Weschler’s Auctioneer
  • Korean inlaid bench: Weschler’s Auctioneer
  • Stacking tables: Georgia Ave. Thrift Store
  • Lacquer tray: found in Myanmar
(Image credit: Natalie Grasso)


  • Light fixture: assembled ourselves with directions from One Kings Lane
  • Pfeiffer-style dining table: Craigslist
  • Mid-century chairs: Craigslist
  • Barrister bookcase: Craigslist
  • Pillow covers: made by Sergey’s mom with fabric from Miss Pixie’s
  • Mirror: found on a street corner
  • Pouf: Ruff & Ready, reupholstered by Jenia
  • Side table: Weschler’s Auctioneer
  • Custom built-in: made by Sergey
  • Painting of St. Basil’s Cathedral: Ruff & Ready
  • Street scene art: purchased on the street in Belgrade
  • Photograph of a fairy blowing gold dust on the mantle: Geordie Wood
(Image credit: Natalie Grasso)


  • Floor tiles: Luxetile
  • Ceiling tin tiles: bought salvaged from now-defunct Brass Knob Warehouse
  • Cornice: purchased new from Tin Ceiling Xpress
  • Cabinets: Ikea Applad
  • Cabinet hardware: Liberty Artesia line in Sedona Bronze
  • Countertops: Ikea butcher block stained with India ink and sealed with poly
  • Island countertop and under-cabinet shelves: reclaimed wood from the original joists that used to support our house
  • Faucet: vintage from the now-defunct Brass Knob Warehouse
  • Sink: Blanco Precis
  • Banquette: custom-designed by Jenia, built by contractors
  • Kilim pillows: purchased in Ankara, Turkey
  • Over-the-island lights: West Elm
  • French doors: Weathershield from Quality Window and Door
  • 1960s map: sourced at Ruff & Ready
(Image credit: Natalie Grasso)


  • Door and hinges: Community Forklift
  • Wallpaper: Anthropologie
  • Lock set and handle: Loading Dock
  • Floor tile: Russian 10 kopeik coins
  • Sink and faucet: Craigslist
  • Mirror: Ruff & Ready
(Image credit: Natalie Grasso)


  • Side table and dresser: Ikea Lack and Malm
  • Mirror: gift from friends
  • Spray painted lamp: Ruff and Ready
  • Lampshade: Target
  • Rug: purchased in India
  • Pouf: purchased in Morocco
  • Print on canvas above the bed: taken by Sergey in Tagong, Tibet
  • Americana lady and sailboat oil paintings: Weschler’s
(Image credit: Natalie Grasso)


  • Floor tiles: Casalgrande Padana in Argento from
  • Wall tiles: white subway and cove tiles from Home Depot
  • Console sink base: Craigslist
  • Medicine cabinet: Pottery Barn Outlet
  • Sconces: Pottery Barn Outlet
  • Faucet: Pottery Barn Outlet
  • Sink: Kohler
  • Vintage clawfoot tub: Craigslist
  • Shower system: Signature Hardware (came with clawfoot purchase)
  • Print: Jenny Bellin
(Image credit: Natalie Grasso)


  • Desk: Dixie’s Auction
  • Red and white vase: from Romania, gifted to us by friends
  • Chair: Craigslist
  • Side table: found on the street
  • Lamp: Urban Outfitters
  • Pencil study drawing: Russian painter VIK, purchased at Off the Beaten Track
  • Paris street painting: purchased by Jenia’s grandmother in France in the 1960s
  • Rainbow photograph: Sergey

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Thanks, Jenia & Sergey!