Elizabeth Mahon is the owner of District Baking Co. and a nanny, and she lives by herself in a one-bedroom apartment by Union Market. The DC native moved to Florida in high school, but moved back to the area after college. Her 550-square-foot space is filled with a mixture of thrifted finds, pieces gifted by family, and some discounted steals.
She’s been in her spot for just over a year, and in that time, the neighborhood has developed at a fast rate. “When I first moved into my apartment, Union Market was one of the only places around here, but now there are a ton of great restaurants, coffeeshops, and retail shops,” she says. “I love watching the neighborhood grow.”
Who lives there: Elizabeth Mahon, 29
How long they’ve lived there: Just over a year
Approximate square footage: 550
Number of beds: One
Number of bathrooms: One
Favorite piece of furniture: A hand-carved Thai elephant saddle that Elizabeth uses as a chair in her living room. Her grandfather was in the military, and he and her grandmother brought it back after one of his tours in Asia during the 1960s.
Favorite home interior store: Most of the pieces in her home were either found second-hand or gifted by family members, but she also loves Room & Board, West Elm, Salt & Sundry, and Anthropologie. (And is always on the hunt for good sales, of course.)
Favorite DIY: The fun floral wallpaper in the living room. “I wanted wallpaper for a long time, so when I found inexpensive, removable wallpaper from Target, I snatched up a few rolls,” she says. “It was so easy to install and it made a huge difference in the look of my apartment.”
Splurge: The West Elm couch in the living room. Even though it was on sale, it was still pricey, but “worth every penny,” says Elizabeth. “It is the most comfortable piece of furniture in my house, and I love snuggling up on it, especially on a rainy day.”
Steal: Her mattress, which she got on Craigslist. “A couple had just bought the mattress for their guest room, then found out they were expecting a baby and needed the room for a nursery. The mattress had never been slept on, but the couple was just outside of the return period. I ended up getting a $1,500 mattress for $150.”
Design advice: The decorating process doesn’t have to be finished right after you move in, she says—take your time to find pieces you really love. “People feel like they have to fill up their home as soon as they move in, which is not only stressful and expensive, but seldom leads to a home that feels thoughtfully decorated or interesting.”
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