Imani Keal has lived in her Glover Park studio apartment for two years. The 25-year-old project manager, who’s roommates with her 10-month-old Yorkie, Salazar Slytherin II (aka Sal), originally moved to Glover Park because it was close to her job in Georgetown. She’s now in a permanent work-from-home role, but she says she still loves the neighborhood thanks to local spots like Ghostline. “Also, I get to be neighbors with the VP and fellow Howard grad Kamala Harris,” she says.
At the start of the pandemic, Keal’s home was white and minimalist. But she got bored and decided to switch things up, and launched her home decor Instagram to document the process. Along the way, she’s painted her walls black and pink, installed patterned wallpaper, refreshed her kitchen, and embraced the bold. “I used to want my house to be this serene, minimal place that didn’t have much to it, but that left me feeling like my house had no soul and forced me to keep all my knick-knacks in storage,” says Keal. “Once I started to display the things that I love, my house started to feel real and special. I love everything about it now.”
Loving your home is especially important these days as we all spend more time indoors. Keal calls her 491-square-foot apartment her “sanctuary.”
“In the pandemic, I realized that even though I love to be around people, I shouldn’t design my home around the idea of ‘what other people would like [or] want if they came over,'” she says. “My house is for me and the dog, so I make sure it meets my needs and no one else’s.”
Who lives there: Imani Keal, 25, and her Yorkie, Salazar “Sal” Slytherin II
Approximate square-footage: 491 square-feet
Number of bedrooms: Zero (studio)
Number of bathrooms: One
Favorite piece of furniture: The French provincial dresser and matching lingerie chest from Miss Pixie’s
Favorite place to score home goods: Target, Goodwill, Miss Pixie’s, Ikea, Savers Thrift Store, Georgetown Flea Market, Facebook Marketplace, and Keal’s mom’s house (“Literally, I ‘take’ things from my mom all the time,” she says).
Favorite DIY: The kitchen. “Everything was white and brown. It was gross, so I livened things up with a sophisticated pink (Monticello Rose by Benjamin Moore) and pink-gold contact paper,” says Keal. “I added brass hardware and peel-and-stick floors, too. Finally, I added open shelving above the sink and stove, and used cast iron brackets with hooks on them to double as storage and styling opportunities.”
Splurge: The Farlöv sofa from Ikea
Steal: A gold articulated lamp. Keal purchased it on Facebook Marketplace from a lawyer, whose mother had purchased it years ago for $250. Keal got it for $25.
Design advice: “Don’t buy that cheap-ass couch! Whatever your budget is, add $500 and get something that will last longer and be more comfortable. In two years, you won’t remember paying the extra money, and your back and booty will thank you,” she says. “Also, rug pads aren’t scams. Pay the extra $40 to $60.”