Stefanie Salazar, 35, and Juan Luis Salazar, 36, met when Salazar was a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala, where Juan Luis is from. Salazar, who works for the federal government and blogs at Project Makes Perfect, and Juan Luis, who owns La Coop Coffee Co., were searching for a home to purchase a few years ago, but were striking out. They’d seen plenty of fixer-uppers they liked, but kept getting out-bid. That is, until their now-home went on the market in the Takoma neighborhood over Labor Day weekend. The duo ditched their travel plans, put in an offer, and “the rest is history,” says Salazar.
“I didn’t know anything about Takoma before we moved here,” she says, “but after some nudging from my husband and our very patient realtor Eric Broermann to look just outside of where I thought my comfort zone was, we got everything we wanted and more.”
The duo has lived in their three-bedroom home, which was built in 1931, for over four years with their dog, Lito, who also hails from Guatemala.
Who lives there: Juan Luis Salazar, Stefanie Salazar, and their dog Lito
How long they’ve lived there: Four-and-a-half years
Approximate square-footage: 1,550 square-feet
Number of beds: Three
Number of bathrooms: One-and-a-half
Favorite piece of furniture: A Syrian wedding chest that Salazar purchased on Craigslist for $100. “It has lots of imperfections, but the character and the story behind it is part of what I love about it,” she says. The previous owner was a former foreign service officer who brought the chest back from a tour in Syria, and he and his wife both loved it. When she passed away, he decided it was time to send it to another home. “I was grateful to have the chance to give it a new life,” says Salazar.
Favorite home interior store: Salazar is a fan of West Elm, World Market, Target, Anthropologie, and the Community Forklift in Hyattsville.
Favorite DIY: The former sleeping porch that the couple turned into a walk-in closet. “It took us about a year of nights and weekends here and there to finish it, but it was well worth it,” says Salazar. “We uncovered really amazing rustic wood that we whitewashed, made a copper pipe open closet, and created a spacious dressing area, all with a mix of reused and new materials on a very modest budget.”
Splurge: The textiles from Guatemala that the couple had framed by Framebridge.
Steal: The gray, wood-carved guest room headboard that was originally $2,500 via Anthropologie, but that Stefanie found on Craigslist for $400.
Design advice: “Be resourceful,” says Salazar. “It doesn’t have to cost a fortune to look like a million bucks.”
This interview has been edited and condensed. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.