Kelly's Globe-Trotting DC Condo

Kelly's Globe-Trotting DC Condo

Nicole Crowder
Jan 9, 2013

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Name: Kelly Kielsing, Technology for Health in developing countries
Location: Car Barn Apartments, Washington, DC
Size: Just under 1000 sq ft
Years lived in: 2 1/2 years; Own

If your job description involved venturing across the globe more than you're at home, you too might become accustomed to the idea that minimal equipment is best. Where most globe trotters' homes resemble mini bazaars, Kelly decided to take a more minimal, naturalistic approach by focusing on natural woods and neutral color palettes.

The Car Barn apartments where Kelly lives are a signature building in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of D.C. They were converted in the 1980s from stables into condos. There were a few things that Kelly had in mind when searching for a home: good lighting, a high ceiling, open space, combined living room + kitchen, and character. The high ceilings were the selling point. "I told my realtor that I needed a space that was large enough where I could play racquetball. A kitchen I could do without, but I wanted a lot of space."

In Kelly's home, the arrangement of each room purposefully creates the feeling of being in a gallery or museum setting. You almost get the feeling you're walking through a mini museum of natural history. Kelly enjoys incorporating objects that were useful, either to blacksmiths, carpenters, woodworkers, sailors, or tribesmen. The "artifacts" are all objects with distinct design that served a purpose in another historical era.

The photos strung along the living room wall like a mosaic are all photos from Kelly's travels abroad over the years. And the display of ethnic items from all over the world that juts out from the navy blue wall in his bedroom is purposeful. "I wanted the bedroom styling to be minimal, but I wanted the focus to be on this one wall that was a display like you would see in a museum."

Apartment Therapy Survey:

MYStyle: Clean modern meets natural meets foreign culture.

Favorite Element: Wood. My grandfather did a lot of woodwork, and I guess it rubbed off.

Biggest Challenge: Underestimating how long it will take to do anything.

What Friends Say: "What is that?"

Biggest Embarrassment: The holes I drill in the wrong places.

Proudest DIY: The 13-foot sculpture over my stairway. Putting it up there was a feat of acrobatics and engineering. And naiveté.

Biggest Indulgence: A chaise lounge. I do a lot of work at home, so I might as well be comfy.

Best Advice: Daydream about what you want, then when you see something that comes close, grab it up.

Dream Sources: Museums.

Resources of Note:


• Chairs and stool set: grandparents from Mexico
• Couch: Ikea
• Butterfly chair: CB2
• Anchor: Marine supply store
• Canoe: Purchased it from gentleman online
• Basket: Pottery Barn
• Wood: Redwood National Forest:
• Rungu: Spectors that Kenyan men use. Men carry it around as a sign of manhood
• Photos: All taken by Kelly
• Working clamps: His grandfather made them.


• Desk table: Grandfather built
• Chair: Mexico
• Black Hat: Argentina
• Blanket: Mexico
• Woven basket: Kenya
• Red: Thailand
• Reindeer: Zambia
• Tapestry: Peru
• Wooden saddle frame: Mexico
• Massai beads: Kenya
• Shield and Bow: Damascus, Syria
• Desk: Ikea
• Compass that his grandfather built
• Compass watch: St. Petersburg
• Stool: Middle East

Thanks, Kelly!

(Images: Nicole Crowder)

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