Ryan’s Georgetown Vintage Americana

published Jul 26, 2011
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Name: Ryan Zagone
Location: Georgetown — Washington, DC
Size: 330 square feet
Years lived in: 1.5 — Rented

In a leafy corner of Georgetown that is also a quick walk to Dupont Circle, Ryan has made a studio apartment into an efficient home. He has drawn on some of the District’s best resources for vintage and antiques while adding contemporary pieces and travel finds. The result is distinctly masculine and simultaneously rustic and refined.

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

When we saw Ryan’s studio in this year’s Small Cool contest, I was especially impressed by his organized open-door closet. The room’s furniture configuration means that the doors can’t be closed, which works well considering how neat Ryan keeps his closet. His button-downs add color to the studio, and his shoes become stylish accessories for the room, not just his feet. (The closet also extends to the right behind the wall, where Ryan keeps T-shirts and other clothes.)

Overall, he has created a layout that flows naturally, maximizes the functionality of each corner, and even leaves room for purely decorative touches. The placement of the couch and chair clearly designates a space for socializing — which is important to Ryan, considering he hosts up to fifteen people in his apartment for dinner parties. When the weather is better, they move out to his apartment building’s lush courtyard to grill. Freeing up the extra space at the end of his kitchen, he has brought in a desk and fashioned a small office area.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Vintage industrial southern Americana

Inspiration: I am inspired most by items that were made for a certain purpose, have a distinct utility value, or are remnants of America’s industrial age – chairs, tools, and architectural pieces from warehouses, etc. I like cities that have developed around industrial areas and decrepit factories, making use of those resources and that heritage.

Being raised in Louisiana and living in Mississippi for a while, I enjoy a rustic, southern aesthetic, and find my home typically carries those undertones.

Favorite Element: Most all of the my art, antiques, and small accessories I have either acquired from local artists and storeowners that I’ve become friends with or were picked up while traveling. Aside from being nice pieces, they have a sentimental value and carry a story of the people who have inspired me.

Biggest Challenge: I thought the biggest challenge would be creating a floorplan in the small studio that would fit all of my furniture. However, that seemed to happen naturally and solved itself. After living here over a year, the biggest challenge is entertaining large groups.

What Friends Say: Don’t listen to what others say about your home. Do what makes you happy. (I’ve received criticism over some pieces — mostly the cowhide rug — but you have to let those thoughts go.)

Biggest Embarrassment: I tried hanging a heavy frame on my living room wall and got a fairly large bolt stuck in the stud. I still haven’t been able to get it out.

Biggest Indulgence: Unless I’m really drawn to a piece (the large American flag painting & white reclaimed wood kitchen shelf), most of my purchases have been under $100. I like older pieces with character and actually prefer that a piece is a little beat up. Finding items on floor sales or flea markets is ideal and doesn’t require a large budget. The most expensive item was the couch, which was purchased while living in a previous place.

Best Advice: See “What do friends say about your home?”

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Resources of Note:


    • Black entryway shelf — old window shutter and hardwood from a collapsed barn in Pennsylvania.
    • White kitchen shelf — repurposed wood and antique hardware. Both pieces constructed by Sharon and Morris (“Mars”) Friend, owners of the Country Funk pop-up shop in Eastern Market, DC.


    • Velvet couch & arm chair and Bed — Crate & Barrel
    • Metal and glass desk — CB2
    • Bistro table and chairs (in the kitchen) — IKEA
    • Tree stump side table — Craigslist (originally from West Elm)
    • Leather coffee table & wood/metal side tables — floor sample sales, Crate & Barrel


    • Vintage drink crates – Georgetown Flea Market
    • Vintage courthouse bench (in the closet, holding my shoes) – GoodWood, DC
    • Vintage briefcase and doctor’s bag – Portobello Street Market, London
    • Antique picture frame with chalkboard – GoodWood, DC
    • Wooden sphere sculpture of reclaimed wood – From The Source, NYC
    • Rusted warehouse stool and highback chair in the kitchen- GoodWood, DC
    • The picture frames are either IKEA or purchased damaged from The Royal Standard (Baton Rouge, LA)
    • Tony Lama cowboy boots and Ralph Lauren duck boots


    • The lamps are West Elm, purchased either during a sample sale or during the DC store closing


    • Cowhide rug – Saddleman’s of Santa Fe


    • American flag paintings – Marlo “Jackson” Collins, Mississippi native. Jackson paints on the weekends at Eastern Market in DC.
    • Sunset photography from the Mississippi Delta
    • Yellow abstract painting in my kitchen by Maria Underwood
    • Black and white photography from Steve Miller, DC
    • DC map (in the bathroom) by Karen M O’Leary via her Etsy store, Studiokmo

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Thanks, Ryan!

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