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Posted by on Nov 18, 2014 | 1 comment

Home Tour: J.P. and Ellen’s Modern, Creative Row House

Home Tour: J.P. and Ellen’s Modern, Creative Row House

We’ve been hinting for weeks of this home tour with J.P. and Ellen, whose fun, modern style we glimpsed on our tour of Rock of Ages Music (ROAM), and when we featured the DIY industrial pipe shelving in their home, and finally their display of vintage postcards – a most unique and charming take on the traditional wedding guestbook. Today, we share a room by room tour of the Del Ray row house they recently bought and redecorated. Let’s start with the real estate “before” photo:


Today, the exterior has a fresh new look, in grey, which stands out nicely on a street of red brick houses, one after the other. They also changed the door color from sunshine yellow to a more subdued lime green. (You can find a source list at the end of the post.)


Living Room

The front living room has a grey accent wall as well, but the rest of the room is white to let keep the space feeling as airy and open as possible. “We both really like mid-century modern,” says Ellen, “so our place is a reflection of that. A lot of mixing old and new, vintage with modern.”


Ellen found this midcentury arm chair on the curb. She had it reupholstered at EC Robinson on Mt Vernon Ave. “The total cost to refurbish the chair,” she says, “$175.” Well done, Ellen!



Ellen showed her ingenious DIY spirit with this side table as well. She bought it from Target and then used spray paint to “dip” the legs and make it look like the more expensive West Elm version.


She also gave the drawer fronts of this midcentury sideboard a coat of white paint.



Here’s another view of the DIY plumbing pipe bookshelves J.P. and Ellen made themselves and fastened to the wall behind the couch. Ellen had fun styling the shelves with “a variety of books both new and old, collected items from travel, a red vase from Anthropologie, owl frame from Urban Outfitters, a gold bowl from Target, and vintage chemistry flasks.”



The kitchen had already been redone when J.P. and Ellen moved in and they’re fine with it, but have plans to make some changes in time. They’d like to swap out the cabinet pulls and maybe install new countertops. But they love the open layout, with the island and sink in the middle.





Often, we see the refrigerator situated on this wall next to the basement door. Taking a refreshing new approach, J.P. and Ellen’s kitchen uses the space for more cabinets and a small countertop.



In the dining area, this regency modern bar cart makes a stunning focal point. Ellen says she found it at an estate stale for $20. “I painted it with antique brass spray paint and styled it vintage liquor bottles and a tray from West Elm,” she says.


And above the cart, she’s hung the framed series of vintage wedding postcards.


Ellen enjoys crafting as much as DIY home improvement and decorating projects. Here is one of her recent projects on display – a mason jar colored with paint in a sunny shade, shaken on the inside. She has another in the basement.



The before photo of J.P. and Ellen’s basement shows off the big open area with exposed air vents, and a door to the outdoors, which is nice to have, but not a given, in row houses.


A fresh coat of paint was all it took for Ellen and J.P. to claim the space their own. They made the smart move of painting the vents white as well, which makes them blend in better.



This is a casual room where J.P. and Ellen hang out with friends and watch movies.


You can see the washer and dryer in the background of this photo, situated at the foot of the steps – another unique choice in layout. Although you can’t see them in the photo, Ellen replaced the legs on the sofa with modern ones from prettypegs “for less of a ‘big box store’ look. is an easy way to make a boring IKEA sofa fun and unique!”



The side tables are “bentwood” tables from Target that Ellen spray painted white. She bought the midcentury modern side table for $10 at an estate sale. She then sanded, refinished, and stained the table and then added a new knob from Anthropologie.


Upstairs Bathroom

This is one of the rooms J.P. and Ellen had completely redone when they moved in. Here’s the “before” bathroom that looks to have the original tiling so typical of these Del Ray row houses. Some people choose to keep the vintage look, but J.P. and Ellen wanted to update their bathroom.


They chose subway tile and a grey accent wall, with vintage lighting and contemporary accessories and furnishings.








Ellen works out of the second bedroom in their home as a real estate associate with Bobi Bomar’s Homes of Alexandria and a certified stager.



She did more fun color blocking on this filing cabinet that she found for free on Craiglist. She got out her trusty spray paint and gave it a new look in two-tone gold and white.


A pair of handsome vintage leather chairs sit side by side on one long wall.


Above the chairs is a a wall dedicated to the memory of Ellen’s father, who worked in the State Department and had an extensive collection of political memorabilia that he passed on to Ellen. Since framing his collection, she has continue to add to it with the newspapers from both of Obama’s inaugurations, and other political photos and souvenirs, as well as an original print of George Washington by Etsy artist Mike Tanoory. Someday, we hope to go back to linger on this iconic collection and hear Ellen’s stories about her father’s career and life.


Thank you J.P. and Ellen for sharing your inspiring home with us!

Source List:

  • House Paint Color: Sherwin Williams, Stamped Concrete
  • Front Door Color: Sherwin Williams, Waterscape

Living Room:

  • Accent wall paint, Pratt & Lambert Delft Blue
  • Sofa, CB2
  • Handmade love pillow, Etsy seller: emilymacg
  • Martini side table, West Elm
  • Fiddle fig tree, Home Depot
  • Modern planter, Design Public
  • Coffee table slat bench, vintage from Off Main in Ellicott City, MD


  • Paint color, gray owl by Benjamin Moore
  • Bentwood side tables, Target.
  • Eero Saarinen womb chair from
  • Stripe pillow, handmade on Etsy: maychen3
  • Tv credenza, CB2
  • Rug, Urban Outfitters
  • Glass lamp from World Market with a shade from Target
  • Chalkboard basket and yellow throw, Target
  • Sofa and ottoman, IKEA karstad.
  • Pink geometric pillow, handmade on Etsy: abigailgracemartin
  • White laquered tray, West Elm
  • Vintage map of France, Lucketts Antique Store
  • I heart DC, Etsy artist: LuciousArt
  • Del Ray map screenprint mounted on wood frame, purchased from Art on the Ave from Sediment Press (we did a studio tour with them).
  • Geometric french bulldog print, gift from friends (but Ellen thinks it’s from Crate & Barrel)

Kitchen & Dining Room:

  • Paint color, Mega Greige by Sherwin Williams
  • Table, West Elm
  • Chairs, Eames eiffel chair replicas by LexMod
  • Bar cart, estate sale find
  • Bar stools, CB2
  • Custom home portrait from Etsy: jpressdesigns
  • United steaks of america print by artist Dominic Episcopo


  • Parsons mini desk, West Elm
  • Gold desk lamp, Land of Nod
  • Pair of vintage mcm black leather chairs from Off Main store in Ellicott City, MD
  • Framed newspapers from both of Obama’s inaugurations

Bathroom Remodel:

  • Shower fixtures, Kohler
  • Toilet, Kohler
  • Sink and vanity, IKEA
  • Mirror, West Elm
  • Brass light fixture, Etsy: triple7recyclef
  • Shower curtain, Anthropologie
  • Art, original print by Etsy artist: PeggyWolfDesign

1 Comment

  1. Would J.P. and Ellen share who did their bathroom remodel? It looks great and I’m in the market for someone to redo mine Thanks!!

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