Nyakinyua & Ivan’s Chic Victorian in Washington DC

updated Feb 20, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Nasozi Kakembo)

Name: Nyakinyua Gill, Ivan Iricanin, and Baby Vuk
Location: Howard University-Shaw; Washington DC
Size: 1,800 square feet
Years lived in: 1.5 years; Owned

Nyakinya Gill (affectionately known as Nya) and her husband Ivan Iricanin are no strangers to the interior design industry. Ivan is an international restaurateur, with award-winning venues in Washington, DC, New York City, and Serbia, and Nya has played lead interior designer to some of these establishments. So when it came to their gut-reno starter home in the historic Howard University-Shaw neighborhood of Washington, DC, Nya jumped at the opportunity to this time express her family’s personal style, no holds barred.

*Re-edited from a tour originally published in 2014

(Image credit: Nasozi Kakembo)

The family’s design and decor aesthetic derives from both Nya and Ivan’s backgrounds. Nya was raised in the Boerum Hill neighborhood, nestled in Brooklyn’s Brownstone Belt, long before high-rise condos dotted the cityscape. Ivan is from Serbia where a rich cultural history has given way to a timeworn genre of design. Victorian, Elizabethan, and even medieval furniture and fixtures define the home without it feeling forced or fuddy-duddy. Whimsical but strategically placed decor accents sprinkled throughout the home guarantee its contemporary vibe, like the bullhorns that crown the master bathroom entry or fire engine red light fixtures in the kitchen and dining spaces (they were originally bronze). Not to mention the double-ended slipper tub and complementary faucets that conjure up a glamorous era.

Ultimately Nya and Ivan’s home feels like exactly what it is; a live, work, and play space for this family of three. They remain loyal to the Victorian architecture of their home while blending it with decor elements that are relevant to today’s families and lifestyles. Their 20-month-old son can play freely in their home without their decor being compromised, and they can also entertain friends and family in style. And congratulations to Nyakinyua, who during the course of this spectacular renovation decided to return to school for her Masters in Interior Architecture, a degree which she is now pursuing full-time as of August 2014.

(Image credit: Nasozi Kakembo)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Bohemian Chic

Inspiration: Everything

Favorite Element: Artwork

Biggest Challenge: Making it child-friendly and still stylish at the same time.

What Friends Say: They feel like they’re floating on our white-washed wooden floors!

Biggest Embarrassment: I have yet to reupholster the dining room chairs!

Proudest DIY: The custom bar mirror made from a salvaged piece of carved wood that dates back to the year 1850

Biggest Indulgence: Custom window treatments

Best Advice: Do what you like and don’t blindly follow trends. You are the one who has to live in your space in the end.

Dream Sources: Murano glass chandeliers and Roche Bobois sofas

(Image credit: Nasozi Kakembo)

Resources of Note:


  • Custom cabinet (where we hide our shoes)
  • Glass box- Crate and Barrel
  • Painting- Gift from a friend, by Nicolas Goldstein
  • Railings- Powder coated still, custom designed by Nya


  • Paint- Benjamin Moore Desert Light
  • Sofa- Restoration Hardware
  • Rug- Jonathan Adler for JC Penny
  • Green Ottoman- Urban Outfitters
  • White and Leopard Ottoman- Refurbished by Nya
  • Curtains- Half Price Drapes
  • Throw Pillows- Margo Selby
  • Pyramid table lamp- Bentley’s Vintage Shop


  • Paint- Benjamin Moore Desert Light
  • Dining table- 1920s Jacobean reproduction
  • Vintage Jacobean chairs- Craigslist
  • Curtains- Half Price Drapes
  • Custom Bar
  • Lighting- Vintage brass painted red


  • Open shelving- Reclaimed floor joists from the renovation
  • Range- Verona
  • Fridge- Fisher & Paykel
  • Counter- Brazilian soapstone
  • Lighting- Vintage brass painted red
  • Wall decor (above counter island)- Serbian Coat of Arms


  • Headboard- Custom design and paint color
  • Accent bed pillow- Nicole Miller Home
  • Artwork- Kenya Masai Mara Painting, artist Unknown, circa 1983
  • Bullhorns- A gift from Argentina
  • Ivory Settee- Tag sale



  • Curtains- West Elm
  • Bookends- a gift
  • Vintage rocking chair- Tag sale
(Image credit: Nasozi Kakembo)

Thanks, Nya and Ivan!

• HOUSE TOUR ARCHIVE: Check out past house tours here.
• Interested in sharing your home with Apartment Therapy? Contact the editors through our House Tour Submission Form.
• Are you a designer/architect/decorator interested in sharing a residential project with Apartment Therapy readers? Contact the editors through our Professional Submission Form.

Updated daily with fresh tours full of photos for you to pin & enjoy!