Joaquín Van Thienen and Luis Trenard live in a two-story condo in LeDroit Park, with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and 1,100 square feet. The couple—they’re engaged to be married, and both are 31 and work in international development—purchased the loft-style home a few months into the pandemic when they were looking for more living space. They weren’t quite ready to leave the city and find a place with a yard, so they settled on this spot, which is across the street from a large park and tucked right off the lively U Street corridor. “Our favorite moment is to walk home after a night out and hear the transition in sounds, from the cars and music on busy Florida Avenue to the birds and silence on T Street,” says Van Thienen.
Other perks: It has the natural light and roomy kitchen they both wanted, plus space for a table that could fit up to ten—the pair hosts friends at least once a week.
Here, we talk to Van Thienen about the couple’s home:
What was your inspiration for the home’s aesthetic?
“We both wanted furniture that would contrast with the kitchen’s overall modern architecture and marble details. A big inspiration for the style came from Mercy Me, the bar and restaurant inside the Yours Truly hotel in West End, with its velvet sofas and large indoor plants. We also followed cues from Soho House and consulted with their interior designers at Soho Home.
What’s the biggest splurge you’ve purchased for your home?
“We probably invested the most in the set of custom-made chairs around the dining table. Coming from Latin families, we are used to long sobremesas. That is, staying around the table for long hours after a meal is over, just talking endlessly. We wanted our chairs to invite guests to stay for conversation rather than standing upright after eating dessert.
What was the best deal you’ve received on an item for your home?
“Half of the pieces in our home have come from GoodWood on U Street. Anything we got there has been a great deal. We go to the store every Sunday, and that’s how we’ve been slowly collecting pieces that we will always carry with us to our next places.
Did you do any DIYs in the house that you’re particularly proud of?
“Painting the entire primary bedroom a deep green, including the ceiling. We wanted the room to feel like a protective cave and a place to rest after busy days at wok. The dark color contrasts perfectly with the rest of the apartment, which is very bright and open.
What’s your favorite part of the house?
“My favorite is the reading corner next to the TV, because from there you can see the entire apartment with all the light beaming in from the large windows.
“Luis’s favorite is the kitchen. He loves the size and the lighting. It’s a great space to cook for and with friends. When we have people over, everyone surrounds the big kitchen aisle. It’s the heart of our home.
What’s your favorite item in your home?
“The bookshelf in the living room, which we shipped from Argentina, Joaquin’s home country. It was designed by the architect Alejandro Sticotti, who recently passed away. This piece is the central element that holds together the vibe we were going for: some kind of Japanese-Scandinavian mix with minimal and functional elements that invite warm, hygge feelings year-round.
What’s your favorite thing to do in your home?
“Cook homemade pasta on Sundays with the same group of friends. We begin around 6 p.m. and top it with whichever HBO show is playing on prime time.
Who would your top-three dream guests be for a dinner party at your home?
“The HAIM sisters.”