Name: Thomas & Erin Galvin, with Olive the cat
Location: Echo Park; Los Angeles, CA
Size: 530 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years; Rented
As a new House Tour contributor, I thought the best way for us to get to know each other would be to take you on an extra special house tour of my own apartment. My husband Thomas and I moved in on the heels of a very stressful living situation, determined to make our new apartment into a space that energizes us and helps us recharge. Thomas had not even seen the apartment before we put down the deposit, but the location was just perfect for us and with LA’s housing shortage, we had to be sure to snap it up fast.
Most of our closet space is filled with home-brewed beer (a hazard of Thomas’s business, Eagle Rock Home Brewing Supply) and the supplies to make it. We have done some DIY projects that really help the space work- the pipe shelves, closet organizers, and a window shelf for Olive to hang out on now that she’s a bit bigger and keep her off the kegs we store below- but overall found ourselves thankful for the simplest and most flexible furniture we owned. A pair of utility shelves we had planned to resell wound up becoming our pantry, and old ottoman cubes get pulled out for extra seating when we have friends over. I’m a big fan of flexible art arrangements too, periodically shuffling what we have to accommodate a new piece I make or bring home to keep things interesting.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: High contrast, brights with whites and natural wood. We love things that fill multiple functions or just help make life easier.
Inspiration: We’re more “make it work” people
Favorite Element: We couldn’t agree- Thomas and Olive like the big windows in the living room, Erin likes the wood floors.
Biggest Challenge: Storage! There’s no pantry, barely enough room for dishes, much less beer-making equipment, and security concerns have forced our bikes inside. I think our instincts are more minimal than these photos make us look, but at this point we have no choice but to put a lot of stuff right out in the open.
What Friends Say: They usually comment on the little details, but everyone notices a different thing… one friend summed it up by saying that she felt like every little bit of the place had been designed with intention.
Biggest Embarrassment: No matter what we’ve tried our cat will not stop scratching the couch.
Proudest DIY: The pipe shelves! Erin’s dad helped us build them our first Christmas here, and they make such a great functional anchor for the space.
Biggest Indulgence: Real wood. We’d rather make something ourselves or buy vintage hardwood than get cheap laminate that’s going to look and feel disposable.
Best Advice: Don’t wait to own a home to devote time and energy to your space. We had this mindset for years as renters, but have been much happier since deciding to invest in where we are right now.
Dream Sources: There’s supposed to be an amazing flea market at Pasadena City College, but we’re always too busy to make it out! For furniture, MASHstudios in Mar Vista or TINI in Mid-Wilshire (I know, ironic considering how much IKEA we still own), Granada Tile for when we get a house of our own, and Henrybuilt for if we had an unlimited budget for that house. I also love to hit up Unique LA every year to keep seeing fresh stuff by local artists and craftspeople, but overall in our dream house we would do more custom built-in stuff ourselves.
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