Home & Style

This 16th Street Heights Rowhouse Is Filled With Original Art, Estate Sale Finds, and Historical Details

"I was excited to capture the energy of the house's 100 years and incorporate our style into it."

This 16th Street Heights Rowhouse Is Filled With Original Art, Estate Sale Finds, and Historical Details

“Look Inside My Home” is our series where we peek into the homes of Washingtonians. Want your house featured? Email [email protected]washingtonian.com

Jenna McLaughlin, 30, and her fiancé, Adrian Hamins-Puertolas, 30, purchased their 16th Street Heights rowhouse in November 2021, which they live in with their two domestic shorthair cats, Oso and Abe. The couple lucked out amidst the then-super competitive market—even though they’d toured around 20 homes, this house was the first they’d put an offer in on.

While they had to go in with an aggressive offer, it was worth it, says McLaughin, who is a cybersecurity correspondent for NPR (Hamins-Puertolas is a data analyst). The 2,000-square-foot home, which has four bedrooms and three baths, is right by Rock Creek Park and within walking distance to Columbia Heights’ bars and restaurants. And the duo loved its historical touches. “The beautiful architectural details, many of them original from 1919—like transom windows and the crown molding in the dining room—made us fall in love.” says McLaughlin. “I was excited to capture the energy of the house’s 100 years and incorporate our style into it.”

Here, we speak with McLaughlin about filling her home with abstract art, Scandinavian teak furniture, and estate sale and Facebook Marketplace finds:

Sofa: Room and board; lamp: West Elm; Eames chairs: estate sale and Facebook Marketplace; Noguchi coffee table: Magpie Reclamations; magazine rack: Good Enough Vintage; rug: Etsy; sewing table: estate sale; pendant light: Community Forklift; wooden lamp: Facebook Marketplace; book case: estate sale. Photograph by Jenna McLaughlin.

Sofa: Room and board; lamp: West Elm; Eames chairs: estate sale and Facebook Marketplace; Noguchi coffee table: Magpie Reclamations; magazine rack: Good Enough Vintage; rug: Etsy; sewing table: estate sale; pendant light: Community Forklift; wooden lamp: Facebook Marketplace. Photograph by Jenna McLaughlin.

What was your inspiration for the home’s aesthetic?

“Since it’s an older home, and because of supply chain challenges with ordering new furniture, I knew I wanted to get as much furniture as possible that was vintage and handmade. I wanted it to be warm, bright, colorful, and beautiful, but cozy, comfortable, and approachable at the same time. I’m big into the eclectic look, while Adrian loves modern, clean lines, so we make a lot of compromises and share joint visions that result in a really unique look.

“Adrian and I have been surrounded by art and artists and creativity in our families and throughout our lives, so we are drawn to unique, original art, often textural and abstract in nature—whether that’s weavings and wall hanging or paintings thick with globbed-on paint. We have a lot of our family members’ original art, from my dad’s beautiful watercolor stippled whale shark in our kitchen to Adrian’s grandmother’s tapestries and his mother’s incredible painted cardboard masterpieces. Other pieces we get from estate sales, and we love to bring things home from our travels.

“I wanted to complement those bright colors and unique textures with clean, simple lines and beautiful craftsmanship, which is where our love for teak, Scandinavian furniture comes in.

Eames chairs: estate sale and Facebook Marketplace; Noguchi coffee table: Magpie Reclamations. Photograph by Jenna McLaughlin.
Book case: estate sale. Photograph by Jenna McLaughlin.

What’s the biggest splurge you’ve purchased for your home?

“Our Room and Board couch. We love handmade, vintage wood furniture, but vintage linens and upholstery are another matter, and we wanted a big, cozy couch that we’d have for decades to come. It was a solid choice, particularly the large angled chaise that our cats are big fans of.

Sofa: Room and Board; lamp: West Elm. Photograph by Jenna McLaughlin.
Rug: vintage; pendant light: Home Depot; bench: Facebook Marketplace; mirror: Facebook Marketplace; radiator cover: DIY. Photograph by Jenna McLaughlin.
Radiator cover: DIY. Photograph by Jenna McLaughlin.

What’s the best deal you’ve received on an item for your home?

“We managed to get our beautiful wooden credenza and a second large hutch—both teak and made in Denmark—for $200 and $250, respectively. We lucked out, because they’re extremely heavy, and the folks selling them on Facebook Marketplace just wanted to get rid of them. The only way we managed to snag them was because of our extremely generous family and friends who helped us jump on the chance, actually lift them both, and fit them in the car.

What renovations did you do to the home?

“Luckily, our house didn’t need a ton of immediate renovation work, which is something that drew us to it. The kitchen was redone recently, and central AC was installed. But one thing we really wanted to do was make better use of the space occupied by our very large radiators. We created a beautiful, handmade radiator cover for our entryway using wood and sheets of rattan. My dad designed it and cut the wood, and I helped paint it.

Did you do any DIYs in the house that you’re particularly proud of?

“The radiator covers, and we’re also proud we replaced the light fixtures in the entryway and the living room, because they were extremely old and tricky. (All credit to my dad!) And one of the fixtures was also salvaged for under $100.

Blue chair: Good Enough Vintage; art: Nora Lieberman; dining room furniture: mix of estate sales, vintage resellers, and Facebook Marketplace. Photograph by Jenna McLaughlin.
Art: Nora Lieberman; pitcher: Target. Photograph by Jenna McLaughlin.
Chest: vintage. Photograph by Jenna McLaughlin.

What’s your favorite part of the house?

“I absolutely love the living room and dining room. When we first saw the house, the dining room’s deep navy blue really made a statement. Our living room is extremely cozy—it took us a long time to select the cozy, orange rug from Etsy and find the two original Eames chairs, both tracked down at estate sales and Facebook. I’m also in love with the coffee table, a Noguchi glass piece.

“But our bedroom is also wonderful. We found the perfect vintage dresser, and found a teak nightstand to match the one we inherited from grandparents. We found a super cool Art Deco Lane chest that we keep at the foot of the bed for odds and ends. And above our bed is a special painting my uncle did that hung above my grandparents’ bed. So much of our home is beautiful, but also deeply personal.

Blue salt box: Zero Japan; kitchen mat: gifted. Photograph by Jenna McLaughlin.
Ice bucket: Facebook Marketplace; glass bottle: Goodwill; orange pottery: Buy Nothing group. Photograph by Jenna McLaughlin.

What’s your favorite item in your home?

“The dining room hutch. It has a hidden bar cart compartment, a built-in glass cabinet with a light, doors that slide over the central drawers, and lots of spots for decorative glassware, vases, and knick-knacks. We display books that belonged to each of our grandparents on the shelves, and we can store so much of our fun serving dishes inside.

“Though I have to say, we also have a little sewing table made in Norway in our living room that I adore. We found it buried in the basement of a former diplomats’ house in Washington. We met a vintage collector who said he’d never seen anything like it.

Dresser: estate sale; mountain art: estate sale; lamp: 1830 Vintage; shell painting: gifted; bedside table: Facebook Marketplace; quilt: Schoolhouse; duvet: Cultiver; bed frame: Thuma. Photograph by Jenna McLaughlin.
Tapestries: Hamins-Puertolas’s grandmother; stool: Facebook Marketplace; green chair: Facebook Marketplace; ottoman: estate sale; dresser: 1830 Vintage; side table: 1830 Vintage. Photograph by Jenna McLaughlin.
Photograph by Jenna McLaughlin.

What’s your favorite thing to do in your home?

“Curling up on the couch with a good book and a hot cup of coffee. From our couch, you can see through the glass doors that separate the dining room from my office, essentially a sun room. The southern light from the back of the house is beautiful, and our fiddle leaf plants love it, too.

Who would your top three dream guests be for a dinner party at your home?

“Mia Hamm, Abe Lincoln, and J.R.R. Tolkein, together or separately, would be pretty cool. Not sure any of them would care much about the house itself, but I’d hope they’d be comfortable enough in our home to have a few drinks and share some insights from their fascinating lives.”

Mimi Montgomery Washingtonian
Home & Features Editor

Mimi Montgomery joined Washingtonian in 2018. She’s written for The Washington Post, Garden & Gun, Outside Magazine, Washington City Paper, DCist, and PoPVille. Originally from North Carolina, she now lives in Del Ray.