I promise this move hasn’t been a deep dark secret I’ve been hiding for the past couple of months. It all happened really fast. Just 3 days if you don’t count the two weeks of waiting to hear when I could see it in person. I guess the renting process is always really fast which I think is why I’ve always had a hard time with the transition (emotionally I mean:)). Even with apartments I haven’t loved (i.e. east village bed bug apartment round one), I always get really sentimental. So much happens in our homes and leaving those memories is not something I like to jump at unless it’s really time (or a bed bug infestation). And let me tell you it was TIME.
This incredible, tiny studio apartment means A LOT to me. It was the first place I lived by myself (a dream since I was little), the first place I was able to show the internet my design chops, and the place that keep me safe during the very terrifying start of the pandemic. But now that I work from home it’s tight. My dreams of having enough space for a nightstand next to my bed and the tiniest of an outdoor area would not stop nagging me. So I started the search and immediately got… depressed. I mean I shouldn’t have been surprised. RENT IS WILD OUT HERE. And for not that much more room than I already had. But the very lucky part for me was that I didn’t need to move so I could wait as long as I needed to find the right place. Buuut I had decided I was ready so my impatience was at an all-time high.
Enter my dear friend, Franchesca. We had a belated my birthday/her first wedding anniversary celebration. (Hot tip: Have your friends get married on your birthday! It’s a huge party with free alcohol, dancing and you don’t have to plan it). During this wonderful picnic she put together, I mentioned that I was ready for a bigger place but I had a long list of wants (with a not huge budget) so it was laughably hard. Just for fun, so you can see my crazy in writing, these were my requirements:
- A real one bedroom
- Enough space in the living room for a desk and not feel cramped
- Hardwood floors
- Good natural light in every room
- Some private outdoor space (honestly just enough to fit a single chair)
- No “scary” tile in the bathroom or kitchen
- A decent amount of storage
- A building with character
- Onsite laundry
- A walkable neighborhood
- Not impossible parking for me or guests
- Still on the east side
- Not one million dollars
See? A hilarious list for those who live in LA and know the market (and my budget). But again, I still loved my current apartment and only the dream apartment could tear us apart.
Ok, back to Franchesca. As I was listing my requirements her eyes lit up. After I was done talking she said that her downstairs neighbors were moving out THAT DAY. Now when she said this I hadn’t seen her apartment since she and her husband moved in this past April. But after seeing one photo (apparently normal people don’t take a thousand photos of their homes) I was extremely intrigued. From what she said it sounded like everything on my list was getting checked off. WHAT WAS HAPPENING?! This kind of thing only happens in the movies or to a friend of a friend’s cousin who knows a guy. Not to me.
Obviously, you know how this story ends because I clearly got it and it was everything I wanted (plus friend neighbors which wasn’t on my list because it seemed way too impossible). Let me take you on a tour as we go through my list of checked off demands.
The Living Room with Enough Space For a Desk
Just so you all know I have been pinching myself every day since walking into this apartment and seeing those turret windows. I simply have no words to describe how much I love them and have dreamed of living in a home with them since birth. Plus there’s a fireplace??? It doesn’t work but I really don’t care. The layout is absolutely going to be a challenge but the one and only Julie Rose is already on the job and a post about that will be happening soon (we have a solid alcohol payment plan in place). But as of now, I’m pretty sure my desk is going in the turret because I spend about 10 hours a day at my desk so I might as well be in my favorite area.
The Real One Bedroom (with room for not one but TWO nightstands)
Now as much as I love the turret, this bedroom is beyond my wildest dreams. Ok sure, air conditioning is going to be interesting next summer but that’s future Jess’s problem. Until then I am just going to sit and stare at those windows until the end of time. Also, I am going to finally upgrade to a queen-sized bed! I have been rocking the “full” life for 20 years so this is a very big personal win.
Here we have the entrance to the bathroom (the mirrored door) and a very sizable closet (the other door). I’m thinking that a small tall dresser would be perfect right in between but we’ll see:)
No “Scary” Tile in Bathroom or Kitchen
A lot of the places I saw online had some very “interesting” tile work. And since tile replacement and renting don’t really mix, this is something I always look out for. Ok, sure there are stick and peel options but if I can avoid having to do that I will.
So let’s start with the kitchen. Charm up the wazoo (And SO MUCH STORAGE I COULD CRY). The counter and backsplash tiles are super neutral which I honestly like. It feels way more like a clean canvas to really make your own. The flooring is questionable but with a deep grout clean and a rug it might be totally fine. But there is always stick and peel flooring (even if it’s not my first choice). I mean both Brady and Keyanna have made VERY good cases for it.
Onto the bathroom. I LOVE this tile. It’s beautiful but not too loud and apparently very old. Did I mention the house was built over 100 years ago? I don’t think it’s original since this was initially a family home turned into apartments but still really old. Now for the really fun part…
The toilet. I didn’t think I could love a toilet until now! Can you handle that detail?! Is it possible to feel like a Grecian goddess while peeing? I am here to tell you it is.
A Little Private Outdoor Space
Now back to the bedroom because outside of those incredible doors is a very skinny but very long… balcony!!!!! I’m thinking a bunch of plants and a simple bistro table and two chairs. I could cry knowing I will have a space to sit outside, get some fresh air, and not have to worry about wearing a mask. Again pinching myself, hard.
This is just my initial inspiration board. In this last apartment, I really had to create the story of the space because aside from a few cute architectural accents, it didn’t have a specific style. But with this home, it has a clear historic story that I want to pay homage to while still making it feel like me… if I even know who “me” is anymore. That’s a convo for another day:) The really wonderful thing is that so many of my current pieces should work seamlessly in this new space (VERY sadly not the bench or the banquette so email jess@emilyhenderson design if you are interested in purchasing either or even if you are looking for a place in Silver Lake near Sunset Junction. The location is amazing).
I think the bedroom will be first on the list to tackle because it’s the first time I’m designing a bedroom. Wish me luck and I will keep you all updated!
Love you, mean it.
Opening Photo Credits: Design by Jess Bunge | Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramp | From: Makeover Takeover: Jess’ Long Awaited (Small Space) Living Room Reveal