Living with Less in Washington D.C.

When interior designer Christine Gasparich and husband John moved into this Washington D. C. home, a year and a half ago, they made a pact not to buy furniture and accessories just to fill the space. They committed to not bringing anything into the home that they didn’t really love. They both feel happier living with empty walls and floors without rugs rather than rooms that are filled just for the sake of looking “finished.” The empty space has the added benefit of allowing the details of this 1911 house – wainscoting, a coffered ceiling in the dining room, hardwood floors and the original radiators – to really sing. The pared down space has also allowed Christine to focus on her own business. A little over six months ago she left her job at a D.C. think tank to pursue a long-time goal of working as an interior decorator. She started working with a Bethesda, MD interior designer who has since become a mentor. And she has also started her own business called Christine Alice Interiors. Thanks Christine and John and a big thank you to Caty Smith for the lovely photos!  -Amy

Image above: This is our guest room, which is painted “Black” by Benjamin Moore. The bed was a Craigslist find that I painted white. The bedding is from West Elm. The 19th century red French Provincial quilt at the foot of the bed is probably the most colorful item in our entire house! It was a gift from our friends Bill and Barbara. Barbara passed away shortly after we moved in, and it’s a very sweet reminder of a friend whom we miss very much.

Image above: John and I met at college in the Hudson Valley. My family friend Linda Puiatti who is based in the Hudson Valley painted this for us as a wedding gift, and it’s a view we know and love. The The Hollywood regency palm tree lamp was an eBay find that Caty Smith and I spray painted white just before she took this photo! The bowl is Nate Berkus for Target, and the vase is from Tiffany and was a really sweet wedding gift from our friend, Pat. The mid-century modern dresser was a great vintage find from our favorite store in DC, GoodWood.

Favorite Thing Christine Gasparich

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

Image above: This bedside table belonged to my great-grandmother. The wood was in really bad shape so I sanded it and spray painted it (years ago, I can’t remember the color!) The knobs are from Anthropologie.

Image above: We practically stole two of these Lee Industries barrel chairs from a furniture store in Wilmington, NC, where we lived for a little while when John was in the military. The accordion table is from Urban Outfitters, and for $78, I think it’s the best deal in town. I love fig trees, and can’t believe we’ve kept these two alive for over a year. My secret is to water only once a week!

Image above: Our entire first floor is painted Titanium by Benjamin Moore, which is such a cool and relaxing color. I think it’s the perfect blue/grey. The palm pillows are from Whitlock and Co on Etsy. The Federalist style eagle mirror is another great GoodWood score, and I think it’s a nice nod to our location in the nation’s capitol! Grey sofa is from ABC Carpet & Home. Lamps are Simon Pearce. The cowhide covered chair belonged to my in-laws, and was reupholstered by my mother-in-law, who is an interior designer with the best taste. For years, I complimented this chair every single time I went to their house. The last time I commented on it, she said “ I want you to have it.” I’m guessing she gave it to us just so I would stop jabbering on about it, but I’m incredibly grateful nevertheless!

Image above: This mid-century modern credenza was a flea market find. I wrote a blog post about it hereIt actually folds out into a large dining table! It was originally yellow, but we painted it black and brightened up the handles and leg caps with Rub n’ Buff. I found the knight lamps at a great local shop, Foundry.

Image above: We like to keep our entryway simple! The chair and the desk are both things John and I each (separately!) saw on the side of the road and brought home. I have big plans to learn chair caning in order to repair the seat on this bentwood chair, but in the meantime, I just love its form, and it’s a great place to hang coats. The desk is a catch-all for mail and keys, and also a place to display our collection of striped rocks from Maine (where John grew up.)

Image above: We found this vintage farmhouse table with help from Alice Dunn, the owner of the coolest store in Portland, Maine, Portland Architectural Salvage.  Her store is four floors of heaven. We purchased this table for the apartment we lived in before our current house. Its scale is a little off for this room, but we love it so much, it’s staying put!

Image above: This is the most comfortable seat in the house. It belonged to John’s grandfather, and John remembers sitting on his grandfather’s lap, listening to war stories in this chair. When you sit down, you can sometimes still catch a whiff of his grandfather’s pipe tobacco! The stool is from Restoration Hardware. We installed these container store Elfa shelves when we moved in in order to hold our book collection (which is getting a little out of control!) We both really hate clutter, but I can’t imagine there will ever come a day when we’ll voluntarily part with our books. This is the second time we’ve used these shelves—the first was in our old apartment. They actually only require a few holes in the wall, so they’re great for renters– they’ll move with you.

Image above: The butler tray stand is from West Elm. My grandmother made this painting when she was an art student in Switzerland in the 50’s. We had several of her paintings framed by a fantastic framer in Maine and it makes me so happy to have them in our home. The small wire ice cream parlor chair was a $5 thrift store find that we picked up on a road trip through Pennsylvania.

Image above: Kitchen – succulents


Image above: This is our shared office space (although I prefer working on my laptop in bed, so its mostly John’s!) The desk is vintage Pottery Barn. We hung two Ikea Lack shelves and use them as a rotating gallery. John’s work focuses on the Middle East, so he’s amassed a great Middle Eastern art collection from his travels. The replica Zulu shield was a birthday gift from his mother. This room is painted “Decorator’s White” by Benjamin Moore. It’s a colder white that I think helps the black and white photography pop.

Image above: Our bed is from Restoration Hardware. The bedding is from Coyuchi and I can’t recommend it enough. It’s organic, soft, and has a really nice weight to it. The bench and the throw are both from One King’s Lane sales.  Our bedroom is painted Benjamin Moore’s Titanium, at half-strength.

Image above:  John bought many of these prints while traveling in Egypt. They’re beautiful antique Arabic scripts from the Quaran. The pink roses are actually from our front yard!




Image above: Our favorite “room” in our house. We were incredibly lucky to find a house with an amazing outdoor space. We pretty much live on our roof deck when the temperature goes above 50. I’m developed a real passion for container gardening. This summer we managed to grow a pretty significant herb garden, as well as lettuce, tomatoes, and lots of flowers. We host dinner parties up there, read, and watch the sun set as often as possible. It’s a true little oasis in the city. The best part is that it overlooks a large alley behind our house, and there is always something weird/ interesting to watch. You can really learn a lot about humanity just by quietly observing life in an alley! All of the planters, lounge chairs and table are from CB2. The white chairs are from Ikea, and the umbrella is from Pottery Barn.

Image above: John picked up this brass tray table at the Knan El Khalili Market in Cairo when he was a student there.

Love Most Christine Gasparich

  1. Nicole says:

    Nice to see a place in DC!

  2. Jessica says:

    This home is so beautiful! I love how it feels very grown-up without being stiff or cold. I also love that they actively choose to live with less rather than purchase things for the sake of filling in a space.

  3. The black! wow wow wow!!!!! the metal canopy bed, the eclectic nature and the roof top…Spectacular!

  4. Tara says:

    In addition to being a beautiful home, I find this very timely as I embark on a quest to rid my home of excess clutter. I am going to show this to my husband – both for its aesthetics and inspiration. My favorite room is that crisp and clean bedroom. And the outdoor deck. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Jen says:

    So clean, fresh and sophisticated. I love how spare it is, but also comfortable, and the use of antiques mixed with new is beautifully done.

  6. amanda says:

    This a great idea to avoid acquiring more unnecessary stuff. A place I’d love to be in someday because my husband and I definitely have too much and have had to downsize a lot to fit in our brooklyn apt. This couple seems to have had a lot of great pieces that reflect their style already and also work really well in their newer space.

  7. Nicely done. It’s very safe and conservative, but there are elements of ethnicity and art that really stand out against all the clean lines. Wonderful job on the credenza. And kudos on keeping those fig trees alive. ;-)

  8. Katie says:

    I went through 4 navy shades in my foyer until I found the rich color I was looking for. Finally settled on Sherwin Williams ‘Indigo Batik’ before I learned that going for a blueish BLACK was the easiest way to achieve the deep color I was looking for! (Which I put into practice in my bedroom :)

  9. Nina says:

    This is so inspiring. Right now, I’m trying really hard to minimize the stuff in my house. With 2 kids, it’s challenging, but I really want to make it happen. Not buying something unless we absolutely love it is a good way to start. Right now, we’re trying not to buy anything. It’s strange how one gets into the habit of buying, especially when you move into a new house. Thanks for this!

  10. Susan says:

    Just beautiful! Christine is so talented, just like her Grandmother who did the painting featured in this article. I would love to see this home in person some day! Way to go Christine you have a wonderful talent and I know your success is just beginning!

  11. Deborah says:

    So Beautiful Christine & John! So proud of you!

  12. rebecca m. says:

    I never think of my books as clutter :)

  13. Katy Pendleton says:

    Sent this link to Bill. I am sure he will appreciate your comments. Everything looks so beautiful. Lots of luck in your new venture. Am certain that you will be a great presence in your field!

  14. Francesca says:

    Christine – where did you find the chandelier in the guest room? It’s exactly the kind I’ve been searching for for years!

  15. Andrew says:

    “You can really learn a lot about humanity just by quietly observing life in an alley!” I love this. I just put up a privacy fence along our alley as I tired of observing so many people peeing in the alley.

  16. Mariella says:

    Classic and elegant DC apartment. Love it! Christine has some fabulous style. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Megan says:

    this is such a harmonious mix of high/low, old/new, dark/light. and some great affordable shopping tips! really taken with your home, Christine!

  18. Hilary says:

    Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous! Good call leaving your think tank job – if you do your clients’ homes as beautifully as yours, you’ll never be short of business!

  19. Incredible house, I love the paintings, they go beautifully with the interior. So much inspiration in every paragraph and photo

  20. Christine says:

    Wow, thank you all so much for these kind comments! Francesca-I purchased the chandelier through but I think it’s available elsewhere on the web. It’s the Parlor 4 Light Mini Chandelier from AF Lighting.

  21. Jennifer says:

    Christine – what a beautiful home! Would you mind telling me where you purchased the sailing prints? I’ve been looking for something similar!

  22. Jenn says:

    Christine – would you mind telling me where you purchased the beautiful sailing prints? Thanks in advance!

  23. Lauren C S says:

    Such a lovely DC home! Can’t recommend Foundry highly enough! Also, I think I spotted that salvaged french bistro chair in the Mt. Vernon Triangle area (but could be wrong!)

  24. Lala says:

    Beautiful and inviting

  25. Tatsu says:

    The rooms with dark walls and bookcases are particularly glorious. The painting seems to glow.

    Do you recall where you sourced the bath taps from please?


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