Undersized Utopias

Utopias come in all styles: from a silly playhouse to a Civil War row house, and from multifunctional to extreme minimal.

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When Ira Tattelman and Brett Abrams were ready for a home of their own, they never imagined they'd have to remake an ugly duckling to get it. Everywhere in Washington, D.C., is surrounded by history. Neighborhoods like Shaw grew out of military camps during the Civil War. The houses here are little but are only steps from the Capitol. And with the southern light coming through the windows of their living room, Tattleman and Abrams created a space where they can live and entertain in this 880-square-foot row house built in the 1870s.

The light-colored bamboo flooring and two-toned walls are a neutral backdrop to their refurbished family hand-me-downs. The long wall that runs through the living room and dining room displays artwork and connects the two areas.