We've been harboring a big fat girl crush on Morgan Hungerford West for years, now. One of the District's original blogging babes, she never fails to amaze and inspire us with her creative endeavors, from transforming her blog into a much-loved online 'zine to staging the coolest under-the-radar events around town. A freelance visual artist, Morgan uses her background in merchandising for Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie to bring a colorful, eclectic vibe to the Adams Morgan home she shares with her husband.
We took a special tour of her digs and got lost in the details — think antlers and Elvis heads, records galore, and some seriously wild prints. Plus, we spent some time playing dress-up (naturally). Click on over to see some truly inspired interiors, and get steal-able tips on everything from mixing patterns to mastering an effortless beauty look. See, we told you she was crush-worthy!
Photographed by Sebastian Marin
How would you describe your design aesthetic?
"Highly personalized bohemia? I definitely don't subscribe to any single decor aesthetic, and as much as I love minimalism, it's just something I'm completely incapable of. Our walls are ever evolving, and I just try to keep us surrounded with an eclectic mix of pieces that we really love and that reflect who we are — controlled chaos might also be an accurate description!"
Vintage bathrobe-turned-dress, Urban Outfitters belt, and Steve Madden clogs.
Where do you find your furniture and home decor? Any favorite local stores or web sites?
"The short answer is everywhere — I just try to keep my eyes open. I can't tell you how many times I've had to call my dad to come rescue a cabinet or a dresser or some huge mirror off the side of the road with his truck. We've got a framed drawing in the bedroom that I literally peeled off the sidewalk in front of the house.
I love vintage pieces — locally, Miss Pixie's
is probably my favorite place for furniture. We've also got a great bar cart that we scored at GoodWood
— I'm currently not doing it any justice (we're using it as a side table) but I've got big plans for it, if and when we have more space."
What about your personal style?
"It runs the gamut. I'm pretty reliant on a day-to-day uniform of black jeans and a vintage tee or button-down; I'll throw on a blazer and lipstick if I've got a meeting. Keeping it simple during the week makes it all the more fun to get dressed up in the evenings and on weekends, and if the occasion even remotely calls for it, I love to go all out. At the end of the day, though, comfort is key, and if I'm wearing a crazy shoe, there's a solid chance I've got a pair of Chucks in my purse."
Your living room has such an eclectic mix of patterns, but it all looks polished and put-together. What's your secret?
"I'm constantly reorganizing and rearranging presentations. While I don't believe completely in that one-thing-in-the-door, one-thing-out-the-door rule, I do have to force myself to step back, look around objectively, and not get sentimental about stuff. If the walls start to feel heavy, something's got to go, and likewise with the floor. That said, we have, like, 14 chairs in a one-bedroom apartment, so I'm clearly a little lax in my philosophies.
Also, in an apartment this size (less than 800 square feet), I feel like everything has to have a specific place to live — and also, that negative space is important. We have a lot on the walls, but we try very hard to keep tabletops and other surfaces clean and clear, when we can. We're constantly trying to downsize (to varying degrees of success)."
In the living room, Morgan displays a collection of knickknacks culled from thrift stores and flea markets.
Describe your dream home (and wardrobe!).
"If I woke up tomorrow and the kitchen and bathroom in this apartment had been redone, I could honestly say that I'd be content here forever — but I'd be lying if I said I didn't sometimes let myself daydream about a yard and a library wall and hardwood floors and a ten-foot oak dining table. I've also been having to repress some yurt fantasies as of late.
Wardrobe-wise, I wouldn't say no to an endless supply of Levi's, vintage black t-shirts, and footwear-related Chloé offerings — and I'm all about some Sisters of the Black Moon
. Their pieces are all amazing, all the time."
Thrifted men's chambray shirt, Levi's jeans, Sam Edelman booties, Whitney Staiger necklace.
What do you love most about where you live?
"I'm in love with D.C., in general. There's so much going on here, and so many people with really incredible projects (and work ethics to match) — I can't imagine living anywhere else.
And specific to my home, I love its versatility. I [work] from the dining room table; a couple of months ago, we moved every piece of furniture out of the living room to host a dinner party for 25 people; on weekends, my husband will turn the kitchen into a home brewery. (There are two batches of beer fermenting in our pantry as we speak!) Also, I feel lucky to have an upstairs and a downstairs — that division of space makes it feel larger than it actually is."
Morgan's enviable collection of vintage hats serves as wall decor, while an American flag is a dramatic backdrop for favorite necklaces.
A patterned blanket and plenty of quality reading material make for a seriously cozy bedroom.
This dresser tableau is just one of many inspiring vignettes in Morgan's home.
Who says accessories can't be art? Try displaying your favorite pieces vertically, on a unique backdrop, to update your walls.
Where do you look for inspiration for your personal style?
"If I'm stuck on an outfit, I'll flip through my Tumblr feed or spin through street style blogs, but as I've gotten older, I've stopped paying as much attention to trends and have started following my instincts more and more. This sometimes results in my walking around the city in overalls and heeled clogs from two seasons ago, but I like what I like."
Pins & Needles kimono top, Silence & Noise pants, vintage loafers.
What are you coveting right now for your home, and your closet?
"The perfect lampshade, a vintage changeable letter board (diner-style), and a perfectly beat-up leather handbag for fall."
The bright and cheerful living and dining area, filled with salvaged art and decor treasures.
For our visit, Morgan prepped a rustic-chic breakfast of blackberry cornbread, fresh fruit, and coffee — and styled it like a champ, obvi.
Handmade wall art hangs above an antique hutch filled with books and mementos, including an Elvis bust that Morgan's husband found at a thrift store.
Brady, the couple's cat, fits in perfectly with his neutral backdrop.
Walk us through your beauty routine — how do you achieve your effortless-cool look?
"I don't wear a ton of makeup, but I swear by blush. Nars Orgasm is my go-to — I think everybody looks a little more alive with some color on their face. I use Bare Minerals to even out my skin, and if I'm getting dressed up, I'll use eyeliner to draw a little cat-eye. I'm big on drugstore lipstick — it's such an inexpensive way to try out new, fun colors, and I'm kind of excited to veer into darker shades for fall and winter. I always, always, always use a moisturizer with SPF, and I'm fanatical about washing my face before I go to bed."