When Heather Bien, a copywriter and digital content director from Richmond, and her now-husband, Adam Shapiro, a government employee, were moving in together, it required a bit of compromise. Heather loved the walkability of her Dupont Circle neighborhood, while Adam loved his easy work commute from Hill East.
The middle ground? The H Street apartment in which they now live, which provides easy walkability for Heather and a 20-minute commute for Adam.
Though the cozy apartment required a bit of strategy to furnish (it’s only 614 square-feet, and two of the walls in the bedroom are all-windows), Heather was able to pull it off with a mix of vintage, Craigslist, Ikea, and Etsy finds. Above all else, Heather wants her home to be a space that’s actually lived in, not a staged Instagram. “And, yes, that means books in the bookcase and liquor on the bar cart,” she says.
Who lives there: Heather Bien, her husband Adam Shapiro, and their cat Hampden
Approximate square footage: 614 square feet
Number of bedrooms: One
Number of bathrooms: One
Favorite piece of furniture: The 1970s Mastercraft brass coffee table with a Greek key motif. Heather snagged it in a $40 Craigslist steal from a woman who was cleaning out her parents’ antiques, but she’s seen the same kind of table listed elsewhere for $4,000. “It’s a glamorous statement piece that adds a little bit of unexpected Hollywood Regency to our space,” she says. “It’s massive, but I’m hanging on to this for life!”
Favorite home interior store: Of course, she loves local favorite Miss Pixie’s, but she’s also a big fan of vintage stores in general. “I love spending an afternoon strolling through antique stores searching for another mid-century piece to lust after (that won’t fit in our apartment) or a quirky print to work into our gallery wall.”
Favorite DIY: Heather’s not really a DIY person, she says (although she did spray-paint the kitchen chairs), preferring the thrill of the hunt to a craft project. She put a lot of work into the living room gallery wall, though, making sure to incorporate things that represent the two as a couple, such as old photos or nods to Texas and Virginia.
Splurge: Heather knew she wanted a lingerie chest for the bedroom, not only because she loves the style, but also because they were working with minimal space. She found a vintage 1970s one from an Etsy seller in Chicago, and even though it wasn’t a steal, she says it was worth it for its old-school quality.
Steal: Their home is an affordable mix of Ikea and antiques, but Heather’s favorites are the ones from her grandmother. The bamboo-style Windsor chairs are courtesy of her (currently spray-painted a dark gray), as is the centuries-old steamer chest that sits at the foot of the couple’s bed. “[It’s] been with me since my first apartment out of college,” says Heather, “and while it’s taken a beating over those years, I love that it looks like it’s lived.”
Design advice: “Design your space to live in it! From our bar cart to our bookshelves, our home is lived in above all else. While I love looking at a well-styled bookshelf vignette on Instagram, I believe that you can achieve great style using pieces as they were meant to function.”
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