In this special “Fandom Month” edition of Real Cool People, Real Cool Apartments, check out the Washington D.C. apartment of Man Repeller community member Minne Atairu. Our intentions behind the creeping: to learn what she’s all about. As with clothes, the way you decorate a room expresses your personality. In its most ideal form, it signals to guests how you interpret yourself. Take a peek into her home and brain, and meet her in the comments.
I live in downtown Washington D.C.
What do you do?
I work as a Digital Content Coordinator for a nonprofit. I also do freelance web design for start-ups and creatives.
How long have you lived here?
I have lived in this building for three years. For the first two years, I shared an apartment with a roommate. Once I graduated from college last year, I decided to live on my own in a larger space but in the same building.
What do you like about living in Washington D.C.?
The joy of living in D.C. is that it gives you the opportunity to meet people from across the globe, work in some of the world’s greatest institution and participate in the most important events of our time, like the Women’s March and March for our Lives.
How does the area influence your interior design choices?
While I’m not sure that living in Washington D.C. has directly influenced my interior design choices, the energy and inspiration I get from the city is undeniable. D.C. is not a creative hub like New York, so most people who walk into my apartment are shocked when they see so many bold colors. The expression on their faces always seems to say, “Why do you live in this city?” Being in D.C. is even more inspiring in this sense, because it pushes me to swim against the tide.
What’s your favorite thing about your home?
It’s a small space so I don’t have to do a lot of cleaning, which is nice. More importantly, though, I love seeing the way visitors experience my apartment, often transitioning from “What the hell is this place?” to actually exploring and learning about its unique design elements.
Do you ever work from home and if so, what’s that like?
I work from home when I’m freelancing, but I have a full-time job where I sit in front of a computer for seven hours a day. I decided not to have a dedicated work space at home because I want my apartment to be a place of relaxation. When I work from home, I’ll move from the couch to my bed, to the mini bar and finally the floor. There’s a sort of freedom that comes with being able to work and move around like that.
Did you have an overall vision in mind when you started decorating?
I started off with the philosophy that my apartment was going to be a space to live in comfortably, not necessarily a space designed to entertain in, but I wanted it to inform my guests, like a mini museum. All my decorating is linked to the idea of communication and creating a message and some sort of connection to everyday life, from migration to the politics of the internet. That’s why pop art and internet culture are a major source of inspiration when I decorate.
What did you think about when decorating? What was the process like?
I started collecting stuff when I didn’t have a place to decorate. At the time, I just got things that caught my attention and put them in a safe place.
Sometimes, I‘ll build around one piece until I feel the need to hit the pause button or take a different direction. The cocktail corner on my breakfast bar began with a golden tray, and then I just kind of found other things that complemented it.
Tell me about your favorite thing you’ve collected.
I’m a diehard Andy Warhol fan. His fascination with the rise of consumer culture and mass production inspires my decor and collecting habits. I find objects from commercial sources and photographs reproduced in the media very interesting. Most recently, I collected a version of Balenciaga’s Paris city bag from my home country, Nigeria. Seeing the bag flood my Instagram feed was shocking because [this style of bag] holds a conflicted history in Nigeria where it is known as “Ghana Must Go.” The said name is an allusion to how over two million Ghanaians packed their belongings when the government ordered a mass deportation of illegal immigrants in the 1980s. The most intriguing thing about decorating pop-inspired objects is that it prompts you to re-examine everyday objects that define our world today.
Do you have any “rules” in the home?
I don’t have many rules because I always end up breaking them. The only rule that guides me and anyone visiting is they have to put things back in their original location.
Photos by Liz Calka.