Environs

Cuba meets Kentucky in couple's DC townhome

by Chord Bezerra
Published on November 20, 2003, 12:00am | Comments

Photography by Todd Franson

This is what it looks like when worlds collide in a 3-lvl, 2 BR, 2 BA Dupont townhouse, where a library, den and verdant garden play home to lots of culture and -- of course -- a few tchotchkes.

When Pedro Flores and Troy Reynolds decided it was time to move in together, they lucked out in finding just the right house. But for this native Cuban and small town Kentuckian, the real culture clash loomed in the decorating. Fortunately for them, meshing their styles made a home.

Troy: The house was built around 1882. The previous owner bought it to renovate, so it was ninety-percent there when we bought it. What we had to change was pretty minimal. There was some Victoriana stuff that we didn't necessarily want to stick with. We knocked out some of the moldings that we didn't like and we repainted. That's about it. We lucked into finding the house, because I think we would have killed each other if we renovated it by ourselves.

Pedro: [On the patio] I like this whole little area. The patio and yard is what sold the house for me. The guys who lived here previously did a nice job creating this. We've added our own little things. We planted this little trellis here. They had the fishpond but they didn't keep fish in it, and it was actually in pretty bad shape. So I revitalized it, added some fish and brought it back. Now it's in bad shape again because of the raccoons. They've never been able to catch the fish but they try all the time and every time they try they throw all these stones in and make a big mess.



Troy: [In the kitchen]Pedro cooks a lot.

Pedro: Less so now that I am going to school for my masters. I'm big into Cuban food.


Troy: It's interesting, when we were in Madrid Pedro was all excited that we were going to have traditional Spanish food. So he brings out the Spanish ham and cheese and I'm sitting there going, "Well, it's nice Pedro but I grew up with country ham, and it's no different." If we have a recipe and we can't use the Spanish ham we use the Virginia ham -- it's the same thing.

Pedro: I remember my father saying that to me when I was a kid, because imported Spanish ham is very expensive to get. Virginia ham is cheaper.


Troy: [In the den] When we moved in most of our stuff meshed together pretty well. The furniture in here is Pedro's but the painting was mine. It's by an artist from Louisville and it's of a horse farm outside of Lexington. The painting is called "Dawn." I used to house sit for a good friend who had a farm outside of Lexington. As you drive into the farm during the morning there is a little mist, a little dew that comes up from the ground. It's really beautiful, one of the most beautiful places you ever want to be. I saw that in the painting and snatched it up. She was twenty-one when she painted this. I know her father pretty well, he's also an artist. The father is gay and the daughter is lesbian.

Pedro: [In the master bedroom] This room is kind of a hodge-podge because we haven't bought any bedroom furniture since we started living together. So that's Troy's old dresser and that's my old dresser. I actually kind of like it because it's not a set -- it's two different styles. Except for the end tables. They're a set.

Troy: [In the guest bedroom] These are Pedro's Chinese cabinets he is so proud of.

Pedro: I got them on Ebay. We were walking around Georgetown and saw this antique store with really nice Chinese cabinets, but they were expensive. It occurred to me to look on the Internet. I saw these on Ebay and realized the city of origin was Rockville, which is were I work. I went there and it was a crazy warehouse where there was an amazing amount of Chinese tchotchkes. They were everywhere, piled on top of each other. It was messy and dirty -- the only clean place was a little area about the size of this bed where they photographed everything for Ebay.


Troy: This is a picture of my nephew. He's visited here.

Pedro: He's straight.

Troy: He and his friend went to Universal Gear to get some Diesel jeans. We asked what they did that day and he says in his thick Kentucky accent, "We went to this store on 17th Street and, you know, they were just rude." So I asked him why and he says, "All they did was stare at us." I really didn't have the heart to tell him he just got cruised.

Does your house, condo or apartment have a story to tell? Let Environs know about it. E-mail environs@metroweekly.com. For more Environs, visit www.metroweekly.com.


Call 202-638-6830 to advertise here in Marketplace