Location: Santa Monica, California
When I was finally able to afford to move out of my parents house at the grand old age of 28 (law school tuition and incredibly benevolent parents are a surefire way to keep a girl at home) I scoured the earth to find what is now my perfect first apartment and in all honesty, my sanctuary. It is a 1930's bungalow/cottage located in the heart of Santa Monica (my hometown).
What got me was the original hardwood floors, bay windows, sun exposure from all directions, and the overall light, bright, beachy feel. The white walls, lack of popcorn ceilings and crown molding are a unexpected treasure in the land of exhausting (and ruthless) apartment hunting.
Also, a park is just down the street so often I'll see moms walking by with their carriages and couples with their dogs. A true community feeling. Given I am stretching my budget with the rent payment alone, 90% of the furnishings and accessories are IKEA and a couple awesome finds were floor samples from West Elm (rug) and Crate and Barrel (TV stand)
My favorite room is the main living/dining room. During the day it is light and bright and I can't help but smile, and at night, with the candles burning it becomes a type of sanctuary for me. My favorite items are my Paris subway poster and the painting of a typical Dutch brick house, as they remind me of the two other "homes away from home" for me (I was lucky enough to study for some time in Paris and work in Holland and my mother is Dutch.)
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(Image credits: Alexandra Gilinsky)