By Shani Silver

Published on February 26, 2016

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Photography by BONNIE SEN
ART  collection of photos and art from traveling, large black & white photo is from Marrakesh

text by SHANI SILVER

photography by BONNIE SEN
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before

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after

RUG Morocco   CHAIRS  Dwell Studios

Kiera Kushlan, Design Principal at Residents Understood recently shared with us the before & after transformation of her home in DC’s Kalorama neighborhood. The 1200 square foot unit is housed in a building built by renowned DC developer Harry Wardman in 1910. With any before & after, we’re always interested in the big reveal, but upon closer inspection it’s really the details here that make this space stand out to us. Read on to learn more about Kiera’s design process, and get ready to pin–this place is everything.

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Photography by BONNIE SEN

ART  (map above fireplace) from a flea market in Paris

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR DESIGN AESTHETIC IN THREE WORDS?

Fresh, unexpected, modern.

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WHAT DREW YOU TO THIS HOME INITIALLY?

I love historic buildings, particularly from the early 1900’s – beautiful molding, wood floors, etc. really make the perfect base for my personal design aesthetic.

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before

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after

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WHAT WERE YOUR DESIGN GOALS FOR THIS SPACE?

To bring the unit back to its original glory! It had been neglected for years and seen several unfortunate renovations in the 70’s and 90’s which had stripped away a lot of it’s original charm and features. So adding elements that looked like they would have been in the unit from the beginning was really overall goal. We added the herringbone floors, molding, five panel doors, all the built-ins and the fireplace.

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before
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after

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RUG Urban Outfitters

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WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MEMORY OF THIS DESIGN PROCESS?

Walking into the space the day the herringbone floors were installed – I actually started to cry when I saw them for the first time.

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WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE?

Living in the unit while it was under renovation! My husband and I lived close to three months there while it was under renovation. We had a bed, tv, and folding chairs setup in the master bedroom where we did all of our sleeping, eating, and working.

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before

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after

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WALL DOTS Twelve9Printing etsy.com  RUG School House Electric

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before

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WALLPAPER Kathryn Zaremba Company katezarembacompany.com  RUG Dash and Albert

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WHAT IS THE BIGGEST SPLURGE IN YOUR HOME?

The herringbone floors – but they are also my favorite feature. I always tell my clients to spend the largest portion of their budget on things that will make them smile everyday and my floors do that for me!

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CRIB Land of Nod

WHAT IS THE BEST STEAL?

The refrigerator. I love to cook and our last kitchen was a small galley style space with a tiny fridge, so with this new kitchen I really wanted some “grown up” appliances. We lucked out when we found a great floor sample that saved us a ton of money.

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WHAT DESIGN ELEMENTS DID YOU USE IN THIS SPACE THAT OUR READERS SHOULD TRY FOR THEMSELVES?

Decorating with personal items that mean something to you. The greatest compliment anyone can ever give me as a designer is that we helped create a home that truly reflects them. The best way to make a space your own to decorate with the things that mean the most to you.

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before

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after

WHAT IS ONE THING THAT DESIGNING YOUR HOME TAUGHT YOU?

Designing for yourself is always a thousand times harder than designing for someone else. It reminds me to take the advice we give clients “there are no right or wrong answers in design”. If you stick with your gut on decisions you will end up happy 95% of the time!

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