Name: Danica and Robin
Location: Highland Park — Los Angeles, California
Size: 750 square feet
Years lived in: 4 months, rented
When Danica and Robin decided to move to Los Angeles from Oakland, their apartment search began with location in mind. Sure, it'd be nice to have a large space, but it wasn't a priority — especially with a new baby and Los Angeles' tight rental market. They ended up in the Highland Park neighborhood, and luckily, they were able to cross off a ton of amenities off their list: the apartment is clean and minimal, walking distance to fun destinations, and just right for the small family of three.
"Even now that we have a baby, we like to spend a lot of time out of the house," Danica says, though she admits that driving in LA's heavy traffic can be a chore. That's one minor drawback of leaving the Bay Area, but she and Robin have been happy with the move thus far. She also says their new small apartment made it easy to downsize — there's less cleaning involved, and their daughter Mila can roam free without the couple worrying about what she's getting into. "Eventually we'll probably want a yard and a bit more space, but for this time in our lives, it's perfect — and the rent savings don't hurt, either."
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: European-meets-California modern
Inspiration: I [Danica] recently realized how much my parents and my childhood home have influenced my decorating habits. Our home was filled with antiques and textiles, artwork, books, and curiosities. But there was a minimalism to it, too — like all these objects were allowed to exist in a very casual, almost blank space. Robin's an engineer, so he's all about practicality, but he also appreciates good craftsmanship and materials.
Favorite Element: I love the stories behind all our artwork — most pieces were created by friends and family, though some come from flea markets or street vendors. One real heirloom is a painting of my grandmother, done by my grandfather in 1960s Yugoslavia. I also really treasure the large, woven wall hanging by Meghan Shimek in our nursery. It's a gorgeous freeform piece that has made our daughter's room my favorite place to hang out.
Biggest Challenge: When we decided to go for such a small space, we sort of glossed over how little storage space we would have. Our kitchen came with almost no cabinets or counter space, so we mounted some open shelving from IKEA, and repurposed our old bedroom dresser for larger kitchen supplies, linens, and the very necessary junk drawer. We also got a freestanding bar cabinet from CB2 that happened to match our kitchen's cabinets perfectly — it has plenty of room for pantry items, silverware, and more fragile glassware.
What Friends Say: They seem to love the open layout and the use of space, and the big window in the living room is always a hit. The nude portrait of my grandmother (painted by my grandfather) is always a conversation starter, too. Haha!
Biggest Embarrassment: We need to come up with a better solution for hiding the wires coming down from our bookshelves — it sort of makes my eye twitch if I look at them too long!
Proudest DIY: We didn't get too crafty this time around, since we moved in with a crawling baby, but I was pretty happy with our shelf hanging and storage solutions!
Biggest Indulgence: A mid-century walnut console in the living/dining area — another great piece for hideaway storage, and I think it sort of anchors the whole room. And we're both suckers for really soft, woven bath towels. Those were a bit of a splurge.
Best Advice: If you want to downsize but aren't quite ready to part with all your stuff, rent a small storage space. So much of our previous home was filled with stuff that we rarely ever used, like skis. You'll pay a lot less for a storage unit than the same amount of space in your apartment, and you don't have to worry about one more area to keep clean (or in our case, baby proofed)! Also, I'm guessing that after a year of not using the things we have in storage, we'll realize that we need even less than we thought and make a trip to Goodwill.
Dream Sources: I love antiques, especially when they bring up special memories. Every time we visit the South of France (where Robin is from), I dream of shipping back tons of good marketplace finds! But really, travel is always my dream source.
Sofa and slatted coffee table — Found at an estate sale
Solid coffee table in front of sofa — Craigslist (the teeth marks by Mila)
Wall pendant lamp — Vintage via eBay
Pillows and rugs— From Danica's dad, who is a rug merchant
Artwork (near bathroom door) — Funny Bob
Large art piece — Bill Kiley
Nude portrait — Vojaslav Stamenic (Danica's grandfather)
Wall hanging — Ghost Dancer
Hanging ceramic — MQuan Ceramics
Pouf — CB2
Pillow on the floor — from the Alameda flea market
Rocking chair — Zuo
Dining table and console — Sunbeam Vintage
Chairs — IKEA
Shelves — IKEA
Lamps — CB2
Shoe storage bins — IKEA
Artwork on the wall — Ink drawing by Ethan Caflisch
Ceramic object on shelf — Sophie Lourdes-Knight
Ceramic pods — John Sheppard
Hanging shelves — IKEA
Bar — Swig Mini Bar from CB2
Dresser — Vintage via Craigslist
Stools — Joveco
Wall hooks (seen in kitchen and hallway) — IKEA
Artwork next to sink — Antique dutch oil painting found at flea market
Mixed media painting — Sophie Lourdes-Knight
Vintage Serbian oil painting — Gifted from Danica's cousin in Belgrade
Bed frame — Craigslist
Shelving — IKEA
Bench — IKEA
Wall hooks — Vintage
Textile at the foot of the bed — Antique Kurdish embroidery
Rug — Vintage Soumak