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My Domaine Home Tour: Duke Ellington’s Old Home

2020 has been a year for the record books to say the least! We began this year on a high note traveling and designing a space for a CEO who wanted to reconfigure and update the English basement apartment she had used as a long term rental years. When she decided to repurpose it, she requested a stylish and unique space that could be used for short term stays for her parents and guests alike. She also wanted to be able to entertain in the space.


We hope we gave her that and more! We worked tirelessly to finish the space before the COVID-19 pandemic completely shut down travel. And we were finally able to have it photographed professionally by the incomparable Keyanna Bowen. We could not have asked for a better photographer. Keyanna also provided prop styling for the project and she was simply a joy to work with. We also loved that she is a fellow HBCUer! She and her assistant, Michelle Claire, worked so hard to get every beautiful shot.


We are happy to announce that My Domaine just published the space we designed as a My Domaine Home Tour! We are thrilled for our client who absolutely loves her space. Head on over our My Domaine Home Tour written by Caroline Utz: “Step Inside a Washington, DC Apartment That Once Belonged to a Jazz Legend” and read all about our design philosophy and practice and see how we transformed this space.


I’ve included a ton of before photographs of the space below.


Here's how we started. This is a before shot of the living area. We created a space to fit a full size bed where the windows are.



Here’s a second iteration of a mood board we did for the space. The first used a different sofa. This one is a sleeper from CB2.





Our client initially imagined a twin bed with a head board where the windows are. When we were brought onto the project we made changes to reflect our design plan that made better use of the space. Plus our Feng Shui impulses wouldn't allow us to walk into a room at the foot of the bed. Often, there’s more room than client’s think there is. I recommend using blue tape to mark off space plans so client’s can visualize a room more fully.




The floors were in not so great shape after 14 years of use and the kitchen and bath had tile flooring that needed updating. We designed the space to have one continuous floor tile.


The kitchen cabinets were in great shape but needed updating and some hardware. The budget and time constraints did not allow for new cabinetry or countertops so we worked around them.



Same for the bath. We used color, paint, new flooring, lighting and some styling to change the bath dramatically.



We had a great brick walls to work with.



Oddly, this is the larger bedroom and it looks smaller with the light colored walls than with the dark blue we used from Sherwin Williams. That brown cabinet you see on the left is a stand alone closet we coverted to a built-in for the smaller bedroom we created off the living room.



This is the larger bedroom before we installed the new porcelain wood-look flooring from Home Depot.



With new porcelain floors. The other are in Sherwin Williams Pure White and Naval.



After we framed the newly created smaller bedroom, we tackled the recessed part of the wall remaining in the living room area by building it out.




This bedroom is larger than it looked initally.



Here’s another look back at it once it was drywalled in.



The kitchen cabinets were refreshed and painted Pure White. If budget was not an issue, we would have designed a smaller kitchen and a larger living area.





Because there was so much recessed lighting in the space, we were able to use a darker gray (SW Peppercorn) to contrast against the white of the cabinets and trim.



We added this marble backsplash from Lowes Home Improvement Stores to the kitchen and bath.



Although the bathroom was not part of the photoshoot of the space, these pictures I took are a great example of how paint can dramatically, and in a budget friendly way, transform spaces in your home. We also changed the mirror and light fixture and placed a shower curtain outside the shower since we were not changing the tile inside the shower.



We built our design of the open living area around a wall paper we found at Mitchell Black in Chicago. Pre-COVID, we were able to visit the show room for samples.




We found the print on the left side wall interesting but not right in that color. Instead we chose the gray.



The scale and colorway was exactly what we needed to transform the space.


We will leave it here with the BEFORE photos of the space. Click here to view the My Domain Home Tour and please sign-up below to add your name to our email list. We promise not to spam you and only to provide you more lifestyle content through our Joyfully Designed Blog. Follow us on Instagram and Pinterest at Joyful Designs Studio.