Design & Home

Look Inside My Home: A 14th Street Apartment With Wallpaper Made of Electrical Tape

"Spray paint is your best friend," says the 29-year-old renter of his DIY decor.

All photographs courtesy of Brendan August.

Brendan August has lived in this 14th Street apartment for more than two years. The 29-year-old landscape architect lives with his roommate, and they’re fans of the neighborhood for its liveliness and walkability.

“I love the vibrancy of the street,” says August, originally from Pittsburgh. “There’s always something going on and something to see. Our apartment overlooks 14th Street, so it’s great for people watching.”

The apartment is a reflection of the two young guys who live there, filled with fun touches and plenty of DIY projects. August loves to host, so instead of oversized furniture, he selected a bunch of smaller pieces that would seat more guests. And the decor makes for a good party, too: He calls the painted walls, framed photos, and knicknacks “conversation starters.”

Who lives there: Brendan August and his roommate.
Approximate square-footage: 850 square-feet (“Most of it is in my roommate’s closet, though,” says August).
Number of bedrooms: One, plus a den they also use as a bedroom (August sleeps in the den).
Number of bathrooms: Two.
Favorite piece of furniture: August calls the Ikea couch “a lifesaver,” as it pulls out into a queen-sized bed and is perfect for guests.
Favorite home interior store: “I love West Elm and CB2, but it’s hard to justify some of the purchases there,” says August. “So I tend to opt for Ikea or HomeGoods and then make my own modifications to them.”
Favorite DIY: August built a console table out of two-by-fours and wood glue. It’s held up after five years and two coats of paint, and now serves as the apartment’s bar cart.
Splurge: A piece of driftwood that cost $120, and a rose-gold statue made out of twisted metal.
Steal: The wall behind the couch. “The design is inspired by a very expensive wallpaper that I could not justify purchasing,” he says. “I used a combination of washi tape and electric tape to recreate the pattern,” which only cost $20 and took an hour.
Design advice: “Just have fun with it and be bold, if that’s what your personality is,” August says. “Your apartment is a reflection of you, so that should carry through the decorations and furniture.” Oh, and don’t forget: “Spray paint is your best friend.”

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 or email Mimi Montgomery at mmontgomery@washingtonian.com. 

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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 Washington City Paper, DCist, and PoPVille. Originally from North Carolina, she now lives in Adams Morgan.