This Artist’s Small DC Rental Is an Absolutely Vibrant Plant-Filled Bohemian Oasis
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Name: Erin Shirley, with dog, Aster, and cat, Szutt
Location: Washington, DC area
Size: 849 square feet
Type of Home: Apartment
Years lived in: 10 months, renting
Apartment Therapy alum and DC artist Erin Shirley has been growing her plant collection — and her enamel pin business, Aster & Tulips — from her bright and lush apartment just north of DC for some time.
Her living room is her oasis, filled with sunlight, colorful artwork such as her Pinklomein prints, DIY pieces like the sideboard she refurbished from her mom, and her many plants, which serve not only as inspiration for her pin designs but as a daily reminder “to have patience and persevere.”
“My home is my own little oasis of peace!” writes Erin. “I found my apartment a year ago; the building was built to create a community for artists. This really appealed to me, and I knew this would be a place for me to be creative, free, and grow my enamel pin business. The lighting in my apartment is perfect for my plants, and that was a huge factor for selecting this space. I pass time in my apartment by repotting plants, reading, journaling, and working on new enamel pin ideas. I also tend to do most of my DIY projects in the house as well. My home allows me to stay grounded.”
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: My style is free, colorful, and bohemian.
Inspiration: My mom inspires me daily! My mother passed when I was in high school due to mental health struggles. It’s a constant reminder to myself to create the space and life that I can flourish in, to come home to a place that screams “ ERIN!” My plants inspire me and assist in my daily growth as well, a reminder to have patience and persevere.
Favorite Element: My favorite thing about my home is the living room. It’s the first space I started curating to reflect my style. I wanted it to be 100 percent reflective of me and cultivate an oasis that I can retreat to for peace.
Biggest Challenge: I wish my place had just one more closet for storage; for now I hide things in the clothes closet and I have a couple of junk drawers!
Proudest DIY: My proudest DIY is my pink sideboard cabinet! This cabinet was put together by my mom about 15+ years ago; it was originally a birch color wood and knobs. Since her passing 11 years ago, the cabinet lived with a family member over the years and made its way back to me a year ago. I remember purchasing this cabinet for our kitchen was a huge deal to my mom back then. I figured now that I have it my home, I had to put my touch to it! I sanded it down, spray-painted it pink, and added floral blue knobs as a nod to my mom and her love for floral patterns. DEFINITELY A SPECIAL PIECE!
Biggest Indulgence: My sofa cost the most, and definitely was worth it!
What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? My favorite products I have bought for my home:
- My plants — it wouldn’t be home without them!
- My sofa — this was the exact green I was looking for.
- My boho bench — I wanted to have something I could use as a foot rest and a coffee table.
Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: Adding things to your wall and up the wall (if possible). It makes the space feel full but still plenty of floor space.
Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? My decorating advice is to go with the flow and bring in items with intention. Your home should be your safe place and reflection of your true self. Don’t be afraid to mix patterns!
PAINT & COLORS
- Living room — Benjamin Moore “Black Forest Green”
This house tour’s responses were edited for length and clarity.
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