Beth Aklilu moved into her one-bedroom, one-bathroom 567-square-foot apartment in Foggy Bottom in July 2021. The 24-year-old project manager previously lived in a studio next door and his lease was up and he started looking for a bigger place. When She saw this online, she jumped on it—she scrolled through the list the night she saw it and grabbed it.
“Signing the lease was the easiest decision ever because I fell in love as soon as I stepped foot in the apartment,” Aklilu says. Loves that it’s on the top floor so it has great light, beautiful views and easy access to the loft (plus no noisy neighbors living upstairs). She also loves that it’s in an old building with touches full of character, like the arched entrances.
Obsessed with interior design and home decoration since childhood, Aklılu has been using Pinterest, TikTok and Twitter for her own space. Architectural Summary‘s YouTube house tours. Here we chat with him about the joys of finding expression art, creating a cozy space, and living alone:
What was your inspiration for the aesthetics of your home?
“As soon as I toured the apartment, I couldn’t help imagining all the different ways I wanted to decorate it. Most importantly, I knew I wanted it to be a comfortable and inviting space. To get that vibe, I combined modern items with vintage pieces, which required me to do a lot of research at vintage stores (both online and in-store), flea markets, and traditional furniture stores.
“I wanted an apartment with a personality – calming but also colourful. I didn’t want an apartment where people felt they couldn’t touch anything or sit anywhere. To make the space more inviting, I invested in purchasing artwork and interesting statement pieces like rugs and accent chairs.
What’s the biggest splurge you’ve bought for your home?
“To 104-inch sofa. It’s the most comfortable sofa and great for naps, so it’s definitely worth it. And for the money I pay for it, I make sure I’m getting my money’s worth – at least it will stay with me for the next ten years.
What’s the best deal you’ve ever gotten on an item for your home?
“The dresser I got for free from Facebook Marketplace in my bedroom. I have loads of clothes and little trinkets, so it’s been a saving grace.
What’s your favorite DIY in your apartment?
“My favorite DIY is also my favorite part of my apartment: My gallery wall is my pride and joy, and it makes my apartment feel like a museum I love. The setup I created for my records is my second favourite – I combined an old, broken TV stand with steel frames I found on Etsy. I love art and wanted my space to reflect that, so I decided to build the gallery wall and make a dedicated music section.
What is your favorite thing to do at home?
“I really appreciate my solitude and can be meticulous when it comes to my space, so I moved into the apartment by myself. There’s nothing I love more than coming home from work or hanging out with family and friends to a clean, comfortable apartment. I’ve worked really hard to make it my home and a place where I can unplug, relax and regroup.”
This interview was edited and summarized.
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