Marya & Rick’s Layered & Luminous Arlington Retreat

updated Apr 7, 2019
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Name: Rick, Marya, baby James & Sadie the cat
Location: Arlington, Virginia
Size: 1000 square feet (including the basement)
Years lived in: 1.5

If there’s a perfect balance between cozy and clean, fresh and welcoming, Marya and Rick have found it. Marya knows how to make the most of the old home’s small rooms without letting it feel the least bit contrived or overly decorated. She’s mixed those elusive qualities of natural homeyness and spare calm that so many of us strive to welcome into our own homes.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

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The front door enters directly into the living room, so Marya added a console as a catchall for keys and purses. The door on the right leads to the kitchen. (Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
Karlton Kelly Design, I expected that her home was going to be beautiful. But I didn’t quite anticipate the sense of ease that her home conveys or the variety of aesthetic influences, which made coming up with a title for the tour a little trickier than I expected. It’s a little bit cottage, a little modern, a little traditional, a little cozy, and little bit spare— all the while remaining cohesive, which is no small task when it comes to small space living.

What struck me most was Marya’s ability to bring out the home’s warmth and quality of light. My first visit was on a gray rainy day, but stepping inside it felt fresh and inviting, and the upstairs rooms possessed a certain luminous quality that was almost ethereal. Through her spot on color choices, it was apparent from the get go that Marya knows how to highlight each room’s naturally strong qualities: the basement’s cozy charm, the bedrooms’ airiness, the snuggery’s warmth.

For details and a better sense of the house’s flow, check out the captions in the gallery tour.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Style: Marya’s style – colorful, layered & cozy, Rick’s style – neutral, uncluttered & calm. Our house is a compromise of the two!

Inspiration: We draw inspiration from many sources – elements from our childhood homes, places we travel, anything that just makes us happy. We both like the classic East Coast style, but try to keep things fresh and young, and not too buttoned-up. One source of inspiration for me has been the John Rosselli Antiques shop here in DC. Even though most of the items are completely out of my price range, I love to poke around in there because the shop is just lovely, and has a wonderfully curated mix of cool antiques and fresh, bright textiles. One of my first non-Ikea purchases was to splurge on a couple yards of their fabric and recover a $45 flea market chair, hoping to recreate that feel at home.

Favorite Element: The ‘snuggery’ – what we call the little sun-porch room. It’s the smallest room in the house but has the most uses – coffee & design mags, dinner with friends, jam sessions, occasional home office, storytime, bird-watching (Sadie), and cocktail bar during parties. Rick installed new windows so that we can really use it year-round now.

Biggest Challenge: nothing new to Apartment Therapy, but the biggest challenge has been trying to configure and furnish each room in a way that maxes out the square footage. Like making a non-eat-in kitchen into an eat-in, and making an entry “hall” where there is none. With the basement we had to work around all kinds of pipes & HVAC equipment but we managed to eek out just enough space for what we needed.

Other than that, I’d say a challenge has been working in pieces that we bought for specific uses in different apartments – even though this is our first house, it’s the fifth place we’ve lived together so we’ve accrued a mixed bag of furniture & accessories along the way, but have been able to re-use almost everything. We’ve stayed neutral on the big pieces through the years, and that has made it easier to redecorate with new pillows & accessories without breaking the bank.

What Friends Say: A few friends have said that we’ve really made the most of the small spaces with the right furniture layouts and to me that is always the nicest compliment. It’s great to hear if someone likes your taste too, but decor is much more subjective and ever-changing.

Biggest Embarrassment: popcorn ceiling in the living room – it’s next up on the to-do list!!

Proudest DIY: For me (Marya), fully reupholstering the settee in the snuggery (an estate sale score)- it’s far from perfect, but it’s sturdy and super comfy! For Rick, finishing the basement has been an ongoing and pride-inducing job. As you will see in the pics, it’s still not totally done, but we’re very psyched to have a comfy play area, especially as James is becoming mobile.

Biggest Indulgence: That’s easy – the Tim Groen collage in the kitchen because it made no sense for me to buy it at the time – it didn’t go with anything we had, I didn’t have a place for it, and it cost me about a week’s pay. But five years later I still love it!

Best Advice: I stick to the one-in, one-out rule. If we’re buying something new, I donate something comparable to goodwill – we don’t have room for a lot of storage, and this forces me to consider if the new item is something we really need.

The best advice I should have listened to is to do the messy stuff before you move in if you can, because you may not want to deal with it later (see above- biggest embarassment :)).

Dream Sources: Pratesi sheets & Raoul Textiles fabrics

Other Inspiration: the Apartment Therapy community – that’s where I learned about Jeeto & Paper Pot!

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Resources of Note:
Front Door – C2 ‘Foliage’
Our Bedroom – Behr ‘Silver Sky’
James’ Room – Behr ‘Morning Breeze’
Bathroom – C2 ‘Grey Cup’
Kitchen – Behr ‘Parchment Paper’
Trim & interior doors (and dresser drawer fronts) – Behr ‘White’
Living Room & Hall – we haven’t re-painted it yet, but it looks close to Behr ‘Nude’
Family Room (basement) – Martha Stewart ‘Gray Squirrel’

Furniture – Urban Country Clearance Shop, Old Luckett’s Store, Random Harvest, Ikea, The Pine Mine, Miss Pixie’s, craigslist, flea markets, my brother’s garage, eBay, Crate & Barrel, & West Elm
Beds: Ikea (our bed & blue daybed in James’ room), Walmart (James’ crib)

Lighting & Lamps: eBay, Visual Comfort, GoodWood, Restoration Hardware, Anthropologie, PBTeen, Gaylord’s (for shades), my neighbor’s trash

Artwork: our own or made by friends, Etsy, Torpedo Factory, Jeeto, Urban Outfitters, Keep Calm Gallery, Susan Calloway Gallery, Velocity, Poster Cabaret, Eastern Market

Pillows, Throws & Bedding: Pottery Barn & PBTeen, Company Store, Ikea, Hable, John Robshaw, Etsy, Crate & Barrel, Unison, & Jonathan Adler, Serena & Lily, Nate Berkus for HSN

Rugs:the antique carpets are from the shop of our friend, Osman Can, in Turkey –, James’ rug was on sale at WS Home.

Window Treatments: Ikea, Home Depot, Pottery Barn

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Thanks, Marya, Rick, and James!

Images: Leah Moss

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