This Cardiologist’s Coastal-Inspired Home Also Features Heart-Shaped Decor

published Feb 15, 2024

This Cardiologist’s Coastal-Inspired Home Also Features Heart-Shaped Decor

published Feb 15, 2024
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.

Elizabeth Epstein, her husband, and their Australian Shepherd dog, Ziggy, share this
850-square-foot, two-bedroom in the Windansea Beach area of La Jolla, California. They pay $3000 a month in rent.

“Because my husband and I are both ocean-lovers (he’s a surfer, and I’m a land-loving groupie), we settled in the cozy Windansea area two blocks from the beach in a tiny apartment on an alleyway. I fell in love with it immediately because of its wood floors, fireplace, brightness, and peekaboo ocean views,” Epstein begins. “And I loved the neighborhood filled with quirky homes and people — a mix of tiny cottages, mid-century gems, and Spanish-style adobes.”

“My husband is a veterinarian and I am a cardiology fellow here in San Diego, so we both value an oasis of comfort to return home to each day and immediately feel at ease. I started exploring design over the last two years to create such a space for us,” she continues. “The color palette is inspired by the colors of the ocean, moss-covered rocks, and sand at Windansea beach. The style is mid-century modern with different textures and touches of Southwestern style. There is also a theme of anatomy throughout the home for obvious reasons: a hand here, an anatomical heart there, a bust there, and body line art wallpaper in the bathroom.”

“I of course identify with hearts because preventing and reversing heart disease is my life’s passion, so I sprinkled a couple throughout the home. We also love this area Windansea, the place where we met, fell in love, moved in together, and got married — so the home reflects this area with its color palette.”

“Lastly, all the art in our home is special to us: tree cross-section prints done by our friend Jesper in Norway, a pen drawing of our dog done by our downstairs neighbor, photography by me, an original work by an artist in Mexico, and an original monoprint done for me by a patient.”

Apartment Therapy Survey

Describe your home’s style in five words or fewer: Quirky coastal Southwestern mid-century.

What is your favorite room and why? My favorite room is the great room — the cozy heart of the home. Here we have the fireplace, over which hangs a cow skull I ordered on Etsy from Bali and stuffed full with succulents. We have our Frame TV, always with a photo of waves displayed. We have a built-in shelving unit that I use as a china cabinet and top with candles, abandoned birds nests we found, and sage sticks. And lastly the room is chock-full of plants: money trees, a palm, a cactus, plant balls from a local La Jolla shop, and succulents galore.

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? Last thing I bought was new coasters with anatomical hearts on them and a tea towel that says I (anatomical heart) San Diego from the cutest shop called Love and Aesthetics located in Little Italy. The owner shares my love of anatomical hearts so much he put it in the logo of his shop and collects anatomical heart art, jewelry, and sculptures from around the world!

Have you done any DIY projects? If yes, tell us a little bit about the project. I replaced the flooring in the kitchen with peel-and-stick vinyl tile from Amazon. I also created the art hanging over the beds, the cow skull, and the succulent planter centerpiece on the table.

What’s your best decorating, shopping, cleaning, or organizing advice? Create a good layout for your house off the bat when you move in so you have your canvas, but then let your design evolve over the coming months or years. I will look at something and then suddenly have the thought, “Ph my goodness, there just needs to be a skull hanging there!” Ideas slowly come and suddenly your house involves into your own unique design and your own perfect space to rest, recover, live, and enjoy life.



  • Solid wood table —
  • Chairs — Target
  • Wooden dough bowl table on the table — A local design shop called The Faded Awning
  • Artwork — By Jesper Kirkeby Brevik, our friend in Norway


  • Flooring from Amazon


  • Gas fireplace — Wayfair
  • Table and chairs — Walmart
  • Lanterns — Crate and Barrel


  • Bed — West Elm
  • Duvet — Urban Outfitters
  • Knit throw — West Elm
  • Dresser — Wayfair
  • Art — By Jesper Kirkeby Brevik
  • Chair — World Market
  • Side table — West Elm
  • Light — IKEA


  • Duvet — Garnet Hill
  • Chair and bedside table — From a local furniture store
  • Rugs — West Elm
  • Lamp — Craigslist with shade from Anthropologie
  • Pendant light — Amazon


  • Wallpaper — Peel and stick from Etsy
  • Soap — Aesop

Thanks, Elizabeth!

This tour’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.