Design & Home

Look Inside My Home: A Columbia Heights Apartment Inspired by the 1970s

This woman wanted her bedroom "to look like grandma's house-meets-70s velvet lounge."

All photographs by Laura Metzler.

Libby Rasmussen, an event planner, has lived in her Columbia Heights apartment for four years (you might have seen her popular Instagram account, Libby Living Colorfully). She loves the location for its proximity to some of her favorite spots: “It’s central to all of the places I love. Thip Khao, Each Peach, Haydee’s, Elle, the Raven, Wonderland Ballroom, the Mount Pleasant library. I could spend an entire day in a span of a few blocks.”

When she decided to redo her bedroom and bathroom, she enlisted the help of interior designer Shannon Claire Smith. She wanted a bold, fun look to match her outgoing personality, complete with tons of fabrics in the room. So much fabric, in fact, that the two started calling her room “the coffin,” and the whole renovation process was documented via the hashtag #projectsexycoffin (“Yes, it’s a real hashtag,” says Libby).

Living up to her Instagram handle, Libby is all about keeping things bright and interesting. “Have fun and explore with color and textures,” she says about her design aesthetic. “If I see one more neutral apartment with perfect white counters, I’m going to lose my mind.”

Who lives there: Libby Rasmussen, 28, and her two roommates.
How long she’s lived there: Four years.
Approximate square feet: 1,200 sq. ft.
Number of beds: Three.
Number of bathrooms: Two.
Favorite pieces of furniture: Her huge disco ball, which makes her entire room glow when the afternoon light hits it. Also, the matching persimmon chairs in her room. “It’s my favorite place to sit with a friend, light some sage, and have an Aperol spritz. I call them my talk show chairs.”
Favorite home interior stores: Goodwood, For Your Eyes Only, the Christ Child Society Opportunity Shop in Georgetown, CB2, and One Kings Lane
Favorite DIY: The velvet ceilings which she installed with her decorator after deciding she wanted her room “to look like grandma’s house-meets-70s velvet lounge.”
Splurge: The Gray Malin photography pieces.
Steal: The floor-to-ceiling faux-velvet curtains in her room, which are from Walmart. “They’re really well-made, are super heavy, and block out the light.”
Design advice: “Add some character to your space with timeless pieces like your great-aunt’s mid-century lamp or a colorful painting from an artist you’re fan-girling over on Instagram. Oh, and do that, too—buy art from local artists or people you admire at small galleries. You’ll cherish these pieces for a lifetime, and won’t have that same abstract print that everyone has from Target.”

Have a house you’d like to be featured in a Look Inside My Home post? Post a picture of your space on Instagram and tag it with #WashMagHome.

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Associate Editor

Mimi Montgomery joined Washingtonian in 2018. She previously was the editorial assistant at Walter Magazine in Raleigh, North Carolina, and her work has appeared in Outside Magazine, Washington City Paper, DCist, and PoPVille. Originally from North Carolina, she now lives in Adams Morgan.