A Dated Apartment’s Chic Redo Is Thanks to Renter-Friendly DIYs and Hacks 

published Feb 7, 2024

A Dated Apartment’s Chic Redo Is Thanks to Renter-Friendly DIYs and Hacks 

published Feb 7, 2024
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Shenel and Hassan Shaikh aren’t just spouses — they are also the co-founders of Elementerre, an interior design studio launched in 2023. And before their recent move to the West Coast (where their business is now based), this 1200-square-foot rental apartment located in a Beaux-Arts-style building in DC was their home.

Credit: Yesi Laver

“We found the home on Apartments.com while we were still living in Los Angeles and signed the lease sight unseen. We were instantly drawn to the apartment’s expansive bay windows and lively location, but the interior was outfitted with dated, builder-grade finishes and in desperate need of some love (which we were thrilled to provide!),” Shenel explains.

Credit: Yesi Laver

“We moved into the space mid-pandemic as two attorneys fresh out of Los Angeles and hopeful for some kind of change,” Shenel begins. “Our apartment delivered — it became the unexpected catalyst for our studio’s launch! Between billable hours, we worked to unlock the power of the space through textured, layered elements, locally sourced vintage and artisan-made objects, and intricate restorations. The passion project was so fulfilling (and so lauded by guests to our home), that it became the push I needed to follow my heart and move on from my legal career to launch Elementerre. Since launching, our drive to build a diverse and unique portfolio has landed us a number of projects from coast to coast.”

Credit: Yesi Laver

For Shenel, a passion for design started young. “I remember the feeling of being pulled out of bed and strapped into my car seat while the sky was still dark to bounce around flea markets and antique auctions,” she writes. “Growing up around my mom’s curious and creative spirit was a huge part of my childhood. It ignited my own curiosities and helped me find the value of creativity from an early age. She’s always been entrepreneurial, open-minded, and inquisitive about the world, and all of this influenced how she parented me: without judgment or fences, always encouraging me to think, ask, and act for myself. I inherited those values and her deep love for design.”


Credit: Yesi Laver


  • Powder Room — Farrow & Ball “Hague Blue”
  • Bedroom — Benjamin Moore “Mudslide”
  • Kitchen — Benjamin Moore “White Dove” (kitchen cabinets); Benjamin Moore “Bradstreet Beige” (kitchen bar)
  • Dining Room — Benjamin Moore “Toasted Brown”



  • Gavin Geometric Linen Pendant Light — Crate & Barrel
  • Havsta Cabinet — IKEA
  • Domes Black Marble Table Lamp — CB2


  • Tarva Dresser — IKEA
  • Lenia Bed — Article
  • European Linen Duvet Cover — Quince
  • Walker Performance Wine Rug — AllModern
  • Mid-Century Modern Broyhill Emphasis Walnut Nightstands — 1st Dibs


  • Irregular Brass Framed Wall Mirror — UNZIPE

Thanks, Shenel!

This tour’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.