Sneak Peek: Kiera Kushlan


Kiera Kushlan, her husband Michael, and their 7-year old dog Copeland moved into this Washington DC home in June 2012, following a two-month renovation. The couple fell in love with the building’s classic 1920s feel. Three years ago, Kiera started the interior design firm, Residents Understood with friends from graduate school. The mission was to bring approachable, affordable and personalized design to DC’s young professionals. Each day, Keira works with clients to help them find their design voice and to make their homes a reflection of who they are. This was her first project where she got to take her own advice and take the time to make her house into a home. Thanks, Kiera and Michael! And a big thank you to Katharine Hauschka of Kate Haus Photography for the lovely photographs! – Amy Azzarito

Image above: Our bedroom is one of my favorite rooms in our place. It took me forever to commit to a color scheme but we couldn’t be happier with how the yellow and green accents always have us waking up happy! All of the walls in our place are Benjamin Moore Decorators White – I have a thing for white walls (and white floors for that matter…next house perhaps). After a few months living here we decided the room needed something else so we did a little DIY with a custom stamp and inkpad and added the yellow diamond stamps to just one wall. We couldn’t be happier with how it turned out it!


Image above: Our living room was a labor of love for me – each piece was specifically picked for the room and everyday when I walk into it I still pinch myself. Before I started designing the room I told Michael I would only be adding one major pink piece to the house (because if left to my own devices the entire place would probably be some shade of pink). With compromise in mind, we agreed on the watermelon pink coffee table and it was placed front and center. I managed to sneak a bit more pink through the vintage library map we picked up at the Les Puces de Saint-Ouen flea Market on a trip to Paris.


See more of Kiera’s DC home after the jump!


Image above: In all of the bedrooms we’ve shared as a couple we’ve always hung pictures and mementos from our travels on the wall opposite the bed so we go to bed every night and wake up every morning reminded of all the places we’ve been together.


Image above: These 96” wall mounted bookcases from CB2 are one of my go-to items for a lot of the small spaces we design. They provide a ton of storage and really make great use of the shallow vertical space.


Image above: The big focal point in the dining room and one of our best finds to date is the large produce bag we purchased for 50 cents at the market in Chichicastenango on a trip to Guatemala this past September. My good friend Kaleo Kala of KALA Studios made the amazing walnut frame for it.


Image above: My best friend (and business partner) Jessica gave the 20008 zip code pillow to us as a housewarming gift. Both pillows on the sofa are actually from Etsy – my favorite place to buy throw pillows.


Image above: Michael and I collect books from all the countries we’ve been to and then write about our trip on the front flap of each book (we figure it will help with our memory down the road). In grad school I studied abroad one summer in Copenhagen and Tivoli gardens was one of my favorite spots.


Image above: Ahh Hans my secret (or not so secret crush) – the Hans chair from Dwell Studio was my most coveted item. When we bought this place it was my first big girl furniture purchase.


Image above: The kitchen is the room we spent most of our time, and literal sweat equity, on – the before and after pictures still blow my mind. It was in such disrepair we had to gut it and start from scratch, which included taking down walls to make it a more usable and open space. It’s definitely a point of pride for both of us – we put in a lot of our own blood, sweat, and tears (there were lots of those). The final product is everything we hoped for!


Image above: I’m constantly looking for unique large-scale artwork for my clients and it’s always a challenge to find just the right thing. So, needless to say I had the same design dilemma in my own home. Michael really wanted something unique that represented DC but red didn’t completely fit the design for the space. Michael really wanted to tap his inner artist, so we decided to create our own homage to the city – in the perfect coordinating colors of course. Since then our take on the DC flag has become a hit with all of our friends and neighbors so we started our own Etsy shop and now make custom flags for DC and other select cities in the seasons most popular hues!


Image above: When we first purchased our place the bathroom was put on our long-term renovation list.  We thought, well, it all works; so let’s just leave it.  Even so, we decided to invest a little bit of money in some new fixtures. We then tested our patience with one another and painted the black and white horizontal stripes (which Michael thankfully measured and taped out for me). Once that job was done the entire room felt dramatically different and now we’re not even sure if we’ll change anything else – behold the power of paint.

  1. Thanks for keeping the wonderful comments going! Below is some information on the products you’ve asked about;

    Rug – from a seller in Amsterdam on Ebay (a great resource for vintage rugs)
    Recipe Binder – A gift from my mom many years ago, source unknown :(
    Kitchen Appliances – Frigidaire
    Dog Print – Portraits from Carter Kustera http://portraits.aol.com
    Etsy Pillow – From Earth Cadets on Etsy http://www.etsy.com/shop/EarthCadets
    Kitchen Canisters – From Canvas http://canvashomestore.com/collections/ceramics/products/covered-jars-with-chalk-surface

    Here’s a link to my Pinterest Board which has many of the products I used http://pinterest.com/r_understood/kiera-wants/

  2. Sarah K says:

    This is great! I love your use of wall space, combining both large and small pieces. It adds such depth to the aesthetic! I recently came across some great large scale (and affordable!) artwork at http://www.artistadambuehler.com. Check it out! Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful space!

  3. Meg D says:

    Love your place! I have been thinking about adding a bar/counter similar to your space under the DC flag — I’d like to add bookshelves and a wine rack, too, and was planning to use an Ikea butcher block. Were your cabinets custom made? Thanks!

  4. Carol J. Ditto says:

    This is beautiful and Grandma Dianne is so proud.

  5. Alexandra says:

    Lovely home! Where did you purchase your headboard?

  6. Love so many of the personal items – it’s a truly ‘collected’ home and they’ve done a fantastic job :) Lovely lovely space!

  7. Blythe says:

    I absolutely love the ink nude hanging above your sofa in the final photo. I would love to know who the artist is. Thank you!

  8. Tania says:

    This home is so great but what I especially love is how her enthusiasm for her own living space comes across. You can tell she’s thrilled and I love that!

  9. Michelle Martel says:

    Just beautiful !!! So welcoming and warm .
    I love the sofa and the gorgeous green dresser .
    Amazingly put together and yet it looks so relaxed and not over decorated.

    So inspiring !
    thank you for sharing with us :)

  10. Hi Everyone – here are some more answers to your awesome comments!

    The cabinets weren’t custom – they’re IKEA!
    The headboard was from West Elm but 4 years ago probably
    The nude print is also from IKEA but from several years ago too

  11. Lily Anwar says:

    I am an American living in Norway, our flat is decorated very similar to yours. We have traveled a lot so I have a lot of nostalgia throughout our place from the different countries we have been to. Also, our furniture is all Scandinavian, mainly Danish designed. It is again similar to the different pieces throughout your place. Very nice place!!!

  12. Sally says:

    Love the kitchen and all the framed pictures!

  13. Michelle says:

    I actually saw the same recipe binder (inside pattern anyway) for sale at Barnes and Noble today! Very cute. Love your style!

  14. Trisha Tyo says:

    Kiera this is absolutely stunning and beautiful. It screams you and Im so proud of you both!! Very amazing and love your style one day maybe you can help me out!!

  15. Noel says:

    What was ur inspiration for the color scheme? I would have never thought all those colours would work together so well.

  16. Julia T says:

    I am obsessed with that Map! Please tell me how I can get something similar!

  17. Lauren says:

    Love your home! Where did you find the black and white pillow that you have on the bed? That is so unique!

  18. Karen says:

    I can help with the identity of the RECIPE BINDER…I have one just like it. It is by C. R. Gibson. I bought mine at a local store, but you can order online from the manufacturer. I had to order some refill cards from them. There are all sorts of cute designs to choose from. Just Google C.R. Gibson.

  19. Jenny says:

    Hi there! Gorgeous home. Can you please tell me the paint colour on your bedroom dresser drawers? Thanks!!

  20. Denise says:

    Where can I get the powder blue bean bag chair in your living room?! I’ve been looking for it. Great home!

  21. Diane Anderson says:

    Perfect makeover! Back in the 70’s I owned a co-op at 1835 Phelps Pl.. My windows
    looked out at the old school across the street, is that where your co-op is? The layout
    was very similar to mine. This is just curiosity on my part, it would go no further.
    Thank you.

  22. Sara says:

    So pretty! Where are the pillowcases from? I just love them and have been on the lookout for new linens for a while!

  23. Lisa says:

    Just read about you in the Hartford courant today and went to this site to see more pics. Ditto to all the above comments! Surprised no one asked where you bought the striped throw rugs in the kitchen and bedroom – appear to be black & white. Thanks so much.

  24. UdyRegan says:

    I really admire the entire concept of the house which gives off that ‘street’ feel and really suitable for the environment in DC. I also notice that each room has its very own colour theme that really complements all the furnishings in there. Each room also has its own storage space in the form of a cabinet or shelf which is really abundant, especially in the kitchen which is relatively small but full of storage space.

  25. lottie says:

    Gorgeous! I especially love your artwork. Where did you get that framed map from?

  26. Emily says:

    Where did you get that lovely map from?

  27. Jess says:

    I love the wallpaper in your bedroom! It’s exactly what I’m looking for right now. Where did you get it from?!

  28. Kathy says:

    I’m in love with all of it. Thanks for the information on where to get similar items. I might have missed it but I didn’t see you mention where you purchased the map from? It is beautiful!

  29. Taryn says:

    J’adore. Where is your wonderful sofa from?

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