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Name: Kyla Gallagher and Ben Branison and two rescue dogs, Atticus and Fritz
Lease: Hyattsville Historic District, Maryland
Type of home: Bungalow (Single Family Home)
Size: 1,020 square feet above grade, 500 square feet below grade
Years lived in: 3.5 years, owned
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Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: Ben and I have been together for eight years and were friends before we started dating (and eventually getting married). Atticus is nearly 7 years old, and Fritz is our newest addition at 1 year old. We love to travel, eat, and meet new people. We are absolutely in love with the community we have found in Hyattsville after landing here without any context a few years ago. This is the first home we bought, and we have loved putting ourselves (and our sweat!) into it to make it our own.
A big part of my life has been globetrotting. My mom was born in Czechoslovakia (now Czechia), so I grew up spending my summers there with my grandparents from the time I was 5 years old. I saw most of western Europe before I was 15. Since then, I’ve lived in Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Belgium and traveled to many other places around Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Ben and I both love experiencing new places and really immersing ourselves in different perspectives, cultures, food, and aesthetics. I love grabbing pieces of aesthetics from our travels and incorporating them into our home, whether directly or indirectly. For example, all of our art has been accumulated from local artists (or created ourselves) during our adventures. My love for vibrant colors and big, leafy green plants was inspired by Central American aesthetics: my little backyard in Nicaragua full of mangos, avocados, peppers, bananas, and other tropical treats, and cities across the region where houses are painted in unapologetically bold colors.
Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Funky, eclectic jungle of color
What is your favorite room and why? I love our sun room because it is where so many of my plants grow and thrive! It doesn’t get cold in the winter, and I’ve had so much success with all sorts of different house plants in there. I am so grateful to have a bright, sunny place just off the kitchen to grow my little jungle. Although it’s not quite a “room,” I also really love our front porch. We have so many friends in the neighborhood that I love sitting out there and chatting with the neighborhood as people stroll past. Both spaces are also great during a rainstorm!
What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? The last thing we added was the dining room light, which we actually got from Amazon. Our realtor recommended a similar piece and we loved the idea! We were looking for something to make a statement but also set a cool, calm vibe for dinner parties. I love this piece because it casts a funky spiderweb-like shadow when it’s on, which adds some texture even in a dark room.
Any advice for creating a home you love? Don’t be afraid of color! Especially in small spaces, you don’t need a lot of pieces to make it feel bright and vibrant. In fact, a few big bold pieces (rather than a lot of muted pieces) can help a small space feel alive, airy, and happy (and bigger than it is). Lighting can also make a huge difference. Having “layers” of lighting at different heights in space allows you to change the vibe in a room depending on the mood you are going for without needing to change anything else. More than anything though, let your unique self and experiences shine through — the only person who needs to love your space is YOU!