Our friend Kaylin has been living the nomad life for more than 15 years. As a dedicated English language teacher, she's spent her 20s and early 30s living part time in the US, and moving between different countries on different continents for a few months or years at a time. But after living in so many different places, she finally decided to plant some roots in the DC area, and asked us for help getting settled in her new home.
Her place is a gem in the DC rental market, with a spacious, eat-in kitchen and a sizeable bedroom with great storage--but the living room is tricky. It's narrow, with doors and doorways taking over half of the available space already. Moreover, the dingy yellow paint (which was painted on the entire ceiling, as well) did nothing to help with the lighting in the room. Here's the before:
Our biggest goal was to make a room that felt cozy and sophisticated. Kaylin loves to host friends, so she needed a space that would feel warm and inviting, with room for playing games or conversing for hours. We needed to brighten the space with additional light sources and a better paint color. But most importantly, we needed to show off all the excellent pieces she's collected throughout her travels. Mix all of that with a fresh coat of paint, and here's what we put together for her!
Absolutely the first thing Kaylin's told us was that she wanted to display her collection of baskets from Ethiopia, where she spent her most recent stint abroad. These baskets, along with the rug, were the primary guiding points for the color scheme we selected. The second most beloved items were the hand carved stools, which serve as extra seating for when guests come over.
Space is at a premium in this tiny room, so we knew we wanted a coffee table that would provide lots of space for playing games or eating, without feeling heavy or adding to the weight of the room. The acrylic coffee table is perfect for letting the excellent vintage rug and the hand-carved stools shine.
For seating, we needed pieces that would feel generous, without taking up too much space. The green velvet chairs are incredibly comfy to sit on, but the lack of arms keep the space flowing freely. The leather sofa is another piece that lends a relaxed sophistication to the room, with the added benefit of being easily wiped clean.
The bookshelves were another crucial piece for Kaylin. Additional items collected from her travels, along with beloved books and lots and lots of plants, were precisely what she was looking for!
We were so grateful to be able to help Kaylin plant roots in a new, beautiful space she can call home.