Wendy's Bright & Bold Rowhouse

Wendy's Bright & Bold Rowhouse

Lindsey Roberts
Jan 7, 2010

Name: Wendy Carter
Location: Washington, DC
Size: 960 square feet
Years lived in: 10 months

Wendy Carter went looking for a home in downtown, Washington, DC last year, and was surprised when she found this Adams Morgan rowhouse. The walls were painted red, yellow, lime green, blue and khaki — and Carter loved color. "I had to ask myself, do I want this house because of the paint, or because I like the house?" she says.

Carter decided she loved it despite the color, although that is now her favorite part of the house. Her already colorful furnishings fit the scheme perfectly, a match made in homeowner heaven. The only challenges were getting furniture into the tiny three-story house and then finding a home for her books.

She was convinced that her stainless steel desk wouldn't fit up the stairs, but some unbelievable maneuvering landed it safely in her office space. But she did have to buy a new bed set, because her old one couldn't pass through the twisty stairs. As for her books, she has resigned herself to a Kindle and constant whittling.

Most of her furnishings were found at various flea markets, vintage stores and through friends. Carter is a native to Britain, a fact belied by her bravery in the eclectic territory. And she has a knack for making that instinctive eclectic taste fit right in in the states, primarily through her use of color — although the recycled art map of the United States certainly helps.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My style: Nothing I could name. Certainly eclectic. I like strong shapes and colors and things that look as if they have a story behind them; even better if there is a story.

Inspiration: Nothing conscious, but probably more influence from my childhood home that I like to admit.

Favorite Element: The oversized green loveseat with the yellow lamp and woodcut print above it.

Biggest Challenge: Finding space for books. In my imagination the house I bought was going to have an office/library/guest room and all the books would happily find a home there. The office is just too
small for this to work. After various painful attempts at reconfiguring (taking all the books off the shelves before I moved them and then putting the books back) I finally had to admit defeat and scatter the books around the house, but it is the aspect of the house I am least satisfied with. Solution is buying a Kindle and
gradually whittling down the book collection. I donated many books to Books for America and am planning on making another pass and getting rid of more.

What Friends Say: It is a love/hate kind of house. Many friends adore it, including the friend who suggested I have an Apartment Therapy house tour. But for others, while they are too polite to say, I can tell that they find it a bit overwhelming.

Biggest Embarrassment: I haven't tackled the walls with spackle and paint successfully to address nail holes and marks.

Proudest DIY: Disguising the gouges an old office chair that was too wide made in my desk with wood filler and paint. Would not pass muster with anyone who actually does DIY, but looks much better than it did before so I consider it a success.

Biggest Indulgence: New dining room table.

Best advice: Don't give away the desk. It might make it up that tight staircase if the legs are removed.

Resources of Note:

Former owners of the house. Loved their colors, especially the accent walls and the lime green, which I would never have picked myself but delight in.

Skynear for sofa, Vastu for wall unit, Urban Essentials for arm chairs, CB2 for rug, Ruff and Ready for coat rack and coffee table TV sits on.

Pottery Barn for the table; former owners for the fabulous red hutch (I think it is IKEA); Goodwood for buffet and chairs; yard sales and friends for anything else.

Crate & Barrel for the bed; Miss Pixie's for the sofa and bookshelf and nesting tables.

Skynear for desk, Eastern Market flea market for chest of drawers, Miss Pixie's for hand-build shelf.

Friends, Artomatic, Etsy, local small galleries.

Thanks, Wendy!


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