Katrina Johnston and her boyfriend, Shane Smith, had been stalking Craigslist for months when they found this one bedroom apartment in Kingman Park. They’d previously lived in a basement studio in Shaw that didn’t get any sun, so they were ecstatic to land on this home with great natural light, hardwood floors, a backyard, and a parking spot.
Katrina, a Peace Corps program specialist, and Shane, who works for the Transportation Security Administration, both love to bike, so the apartment’s proximity to the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail is a huge bonus. As is the residential vibe of the neighborhood: “I love seeing how everyone landscapes their yards,” says Katrina.
It’s a small space, but its crisp, intentional decor keeps it feeling light. Emphasis on intentional: Katrina makes a point not to buy anything full-price. Everything they have is secondhand or was on sale or found in the street. “I’ll do just about anything for a good deal.”
Who lives there: Katrina Johnston and Shane Smith
Neighborhood: Kingman Park
Approximate square feet: 450 square feet
How long they’ve lived there: One year
Favorite piece of furniture: The glass BoConcept coffee table in their living room, which retails for $800 but Katrina found on Craigslist for $150. She arrived without a car to pick it up, not realizing how heavy it was. Luckily, the guy selling it felt bad for her, gave her a ride home, and helped her carry it into the house. “This guy definitely thought I was a little crazy.”
Favorite home interior store: West Elm and Salt & Sundry. “I love to see the pieces they have, and then I set out to find either the original piece on Craigslist, or a similar one elsewhere [for cheaper].
Favorite DIY: All of their “plant babies,” which include succulents and clippings she keeps in Jrink juice jars.
Splurge: Katrina calls herself frugal, and her biggest splurge was a $375 mid-century credenza she bought secondhand on Facebook Marketplace. “It is the most perfect piece, and I just couldn’t pass it up.”
Steal: The grey crushed velvet chair in the living room, which Katrina found in the alley behind her house. After, her sister-in-law sent her a link to a $419 Wayfair chair that looked exactly the same. “I’m so mad that I didn’t keep the second chair and sell it off!”
Design advice: When you’re on a budget, be patient. “I am proud to say that I haven’t really splurged, [but] I still have an apartment that I absolutely love,” says Katrina. “I try really hard not to buy things just because I like them. I only buy things when I love them.”
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