Jess' Playful and Happy Haven in the Heart of Echo Park

Jess' Playful and Happy Haven in the Heart of Echo Park

Name: Jessica Meaney and her cat, Lucy
Location: Echo Park — Los Angeles, California
Size: 676 Square Feet
Years lived in: 15 years; Rented

Located on the ground floor of a 1930s, Spanish-style triplex, Jess’ home is a light-filled, happy haven. Details like a coved ceiling, an arched entry, creamy white walls, and extensive windows make an inspiring canvas to begin with, and she’s played up the brightness of the place by outfitting it comfortably and infusing the space with loads of visual interest and pops of color throughout. Handmade art and treasures from family and friends have a place here, as do twinkly lights and garlands; the effect is lighthearted and welcoming—a lot like Jess herself.

Jess isn’t one to indulge in high-end home decor; most of her furniture is made up of straightforward IKEA and CB2 grabs with a few solid curb scores and one beautiful antique linen cabinet—given to her by a neighbor—mixed in. Although it can be challenging to imbue a space with character and personality when working with mostly basics, Jess’ place is proof positive that it can be done. You can’t help but have a sense of who she is and what makes her tick after spending any time at all in her joyful home.

In almost every room in her house, you’ll find articles, images, quotes, and poetry tacked up freely on any given wall. The content is far-ranging in subject matter: everything from an uplifting image of seniors engaged in chair yoga and a climber suspended in a perfectly balanced handstand on the edge of a rock cliff to a list of Pope Francis’ 10 Secrets to Happiness. You have the sense she’s not overthinking it; if she likes it, it’s going up—most of the time just with simple tape. Her Los Angeles Walks poster is an exception—a cherished print she opted to frame in a sweet candy pink instead of just taping it up. It’s meaningful not only because she had a hand in the design, thanks to her time on the Steering Committee for the Los Angeles Walks organization, but because it serves as a graphic symbol of the work she cares so much about. Her decor and style may be playful, but she is serious about her mission to affect social change, starting with how people get around.

Currently the managing director of a non-profit transportation planning and policy organization, Investing in Place, Jess has worked in various capacities in the movement to ditch car culture in favor of more equitable, healthy, community-oriented, and sustainable alternatives for the last 10 years. Car-free herself, in a city built around the automobile, she practices what she preaches. Her home suits her lifestyle, and when asked what she values most about living there, it is the centralized location she talks about first. The fact that she is in close proximity to buses, stores, cafes, the laundromat, arts district, and the lake means as much to her as the beautiful windows in her place.

Those windows, the ones that front the street, are typically thrown open to bring in the breeze and the voices of friends hollering to her when they pass by. Given how fitting a place Jess’ home is for her, it’s not so surprising that even in today’s ever-more-transient culture, she’s been content to stay put in her happy abode for almost 15 years now.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Land of Nod without a kid

Inspiration: Art...everything from my nieces' and nephew's creations, to street art, to images found on Instagram and fubiz.

Favorite Element: Location... I love Echo Park and being close to buses, bars, the arts district, and downtown. Also all the windows... when they are all open I get the best cross-breeze coming through.

Biggest Challenge: Layout of the kitchen, and sometimes the lack of privacy the bathroom affords for guests.

What Friends Say: It's cozy... they love coming over and having beer together on the back patio.

Biggest Embarrassment: Probably the couch... even though it comfortably sleeps guests, I don't love the color and it's a little blocky... it's slated for an upgrade.

Proudest DIY: The fluff-ball garlands, or the L.A. Walks poster I helped design.

Biggest Indulgence: I'm pretty frugal about furniture and home stuff... probably my PUBLIC bike. It has such a graceful design, you can sit perfectly upright and the panniers are so useful.

Best Advice: Put up homemade art—from all ages, and add some twinkly lights and seashells, too.

Dream Sources: Crate & Barrel... for an L-shaped gray sofa just like the one my brother's family has... it fit all of us so comfortably for Netflix night on my recent visit there.

Resources

PAINT & COLORS

  • Walls: Benjamin Moore Navajo White

LIVING ROOM

  • Curtains: IKEA
  • Table: CB2
  • Stools: IKEA
  • Orange/cream pouf: CB2
  • Bike: PUBLIC Bikes
  • Office chair: curb score cleaned up with a Magic Eraser
  • Oil paintings: from Jess' grandparents
  • Garlands: Moskatels, homemade

KITCHEN

  • 1990 Chava painting: curb score

BEDROOM

  • Blue dresser: IKEA
  • Curtains: IKEA
  • Framed oceanic print: Angela Adams
  • Lamp: Target
  • Antique linen cabinet: gift from Jess' neighbors

Patio

  • Metal table and chairs: powdercoated in Grand Park Pink

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Thanks, Jess!

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