Heron and Daniel’s big cozy arty rowhouse in DC

Guest post by Heron

Living roomThe offbeat occupant: Heron, lawyer

Other occupants: Daniel (partner) and Thomasina Pinsky Mayhem Servo-motor (little fuzzy person who lives in our house and relies on us for her well-being)

Approximate square footage: 650-1000 sq. feet

How many bedrooms? 2

Lives in: NE Washington DC

When did you move into this home? 1 1/2 years ago

Let’s start with the neighborhood. What’s it like where you live? Our neighborhood is in a rapidly gentrifying area of DC. 10 years ago, it was a combination of families who had lived here for generations living next to dangerous and abandoned houses. As “Capitol Hill” is spreading north, more young families, hipsters, and urban professionals are moving in, flipping townhouses and building huge condo buildings. We didn’t have a super market within walking distance until a few months ago, but we have dozens of amazing restaurants, bars, bistros, and even an indoor mini-golf course! The area is very vibrant — but there’s definitely tension between the families being pushed out by rising housing costs and the new but beneficial businesses that are causing the prices to rise. But we love it and we’re so happy to live here!


What makes your home offbeat? We have an eclectic style. Pretty much anything we love goes up on the wall or in the bookcase. This is our third home together and we’ve watched our style grow and mature as we’ve gained more precious items together (and just more things in general)! We both like color and having our passions in plain view — and we’re not afraid of clutter. Some of Daniel’s favorite band posters are on the wall in the living room, while my brother’s artwork has its own gallery in the hall. We like to mix styles. We have a lot of DIY (ours and others’) and we’re blessed to have talented family and friends.


What’s the most challenging about this space? How do you deal with the challenge? The bedrooms are ridiculously tiny. Like, bedrooms in the strictest sense of the word: they fit only a bed. Luckily, there is more than one, so we put the bed and bedside tables into one room and painted it light blue with white accents and mirrors to keep it light and airy. The other room is our dressing room and office, with Daniel’s desktop and my “library” and desk. It works out well; if one of us gets up before or goes to bed after the other, we can change without opening and closing the bedroom door.


The light is also challenging. Because we live on the bottom floor of a rowhouse, we get hardly any sunlight in the middle of the apartment. I miss waking up to light in the morning, but the east-facing living room gets a fair amount.

Kitchen into living rooom

What’s your favorite feature of your home? Heron: my favorite feature is our couches. We’ve gone through three sets of living room furniture, from an old couch of Daniel’s to the smallest, most uncomfortable love-seat ever love-sat in. When we moved to this place, we knew we needed real furniture, so we looked for months on Craigslist and found this incredible set for only $250! I love the neutral color, which allows the walls and accessories to be more colorful. I love the pillowcase from Ukraine that reminds me of my service in the Peace Corps. I love the afghan (or half-gan) that I crocheted last winter. The cat loves the matching chair. And the ottoman can convert into a chaise lounge at the end of the sofa, which is like comfy magic!

Daniel: Living room. It has natural light, unlike a lot of the house. I love the New Yorker and Inside prints. I love the open kitchen layout, our comfy couch, and the overflowing bookshelves.

Living room into kitchen

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned from this home? To be true to ourselves and take joy in what we’ve collected. I love looking around the living room/kitchen/library/entertainment salon/parlour and seeing the pieces of our lives that we’ve gathered over the years. The apartment feels like an extension of our personalities and is therefore that much more comfortable.

I’ve been painting the apartment very slowly, room-by-room, as I have the time and inspiration. It makes me feel even more connected to house and home — to see the work that I’ve put into it, to know that I’ve invested more than money: I’ve invested care and work and love.

Living room

What’s your grandest plan for the space? Since we rent, we can’t have that many grand plans, but I would love to continue to find “perfect pieces” to replace the Ikea furniture. Our coffee table is on its last legs, quite literally, and I’d love to find something neutral and inspiring to replace it. I am drawn to mid-century modern furniture, which is usually outside our budget, but which I can scrounge and flea for.

Living room

What advice do you have for other offbeat homies? Be yourselves and allow building your home to be a process, not a definite goal. Let your home change as you do and reflect you as you grow and expand.

Any stuff or services you want to recommend?

Show me the decor porn!

Comments on Heron and Daniel’s big cozy arty rowhouse in DC

  1. Love, love, love the birds on the wall with the frame.

    I would also love, love, love to see Offbeat Home do a piece on gentrification. I live in a neighborhood that’s gentrifying as well and think it would be interesting to see varying opinions.

  2. Full of light and humor and intelligence, just like my daughter and her beau, who are the inhabitants. I think the birds flying in and out of the frame is genius.

  3. I love the house, but what really caught my attention was the name of your cat. I named my first cat Thomasina too, even though it was a boy. That really made me smile!

    • Thanks, Skyeanna! We named her after Tom Servo, the robot in Mystery Science Theater 3000. Then we realized we had to give her a real name of her own, so her full name was born. We usually call her Servo, but a couple of our friends call her Tom or Thomasina!

    • Thanks, Patrick! I liked the numbers, but struggled with how to arrange them. If I put them 10-1, people would be like, what are you counting down to? And if put them in a random order, people would ask whose phone number it was. So I decided to go with 1-10!

  4. My husband and I live in this neighborhood and we LOVE it!! We’ve lived here for 6 years. Beautiful house. I’m jealous we haven’t decorated our tiny row house nearly as well.

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