A 450-Square-Foot Backyard Bungalow Is Darling

A 450-Square-Foot Backyard Bungalow Is Darling

Jordana Longo
Dec 10, 2018

Name: Nikki Darling, three cats, Fats Domino Darling, King Tut Darling, and Marlowe Cat Darling, and one dog, Raspberry Beret Darling
Location: Highland Park — Los Angeles, California
Size: 450 square feet
Years lived in: 10 years, renting

Writer, artist, and performer Nikki Darling grew up in Los Angeles. After attending undergrad at Cal Arts, she moved back in 2008 and has been in this quaint back house in Highland Park ever since. And says she picked this up-and-coming neighborhood before it was up-and-coming. "I lived here after high school working in vintage retail stores around town. I picked it originally because I grew up in L.A. and it was familiar and between Pasadena where my father lives and where I was working. My grandfather grew up in Highland Park. I did love it because it was off the beaten path and a small neighborhood paradise but the last 10 years it has heavily gentrified. I like that I have coffee close by. I sort of wish it was still marginally less known. C'est la vie."

Among these walls Darling completed her novel Fade Into You, which was recently published by Feminist Press. She is also a regular contributor to Believer Mag and The Rumpus. A lot happens in her tiny home, including her writing as well as her painting.

"You can really tell I paint in here and that my home is also my studio. I pull back the rug and make art in here." This is probably why her home feels just like that, a home. For her, "design is an expression of self through objects, colors, fabrics, history, and cultural inspiration. I pulled inspiration from old movie stars, the '70s, vintage pictures, and a little bit of fantasy. The place has evolved slowly over time and as a result reflects who I am. I love my home."

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy )

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Boho maximalist vintage mish-mash.

Inspiration: The rooms of teenagers in movies, i.e "Valley Girl," "Labyrinth," "Pretty in Pink," "Gas Food Lodging."

Favorite Element: My plants and crystals, my windows.

Biggest Challenge: The gross '70s/'80s laminate floors.

What Friends Say: It's cozy; they feel comfortable.

Biggest Embarrassment: The same laminate floors.

Proudest DIY: The wallpaper in my bathroom that I've been hanging onto for fifteen years that I found on the street in New York after a fancy brownstone renovation that had been thrown out. I finally put it up this year.

Biggest Indulgence: Tempurpedic mattress cover.

Dream Sources: Flea markets!


Print — Leo Politi
Bench — Flea Market
Watercolor— Found
WOMAN poster print — Bullhorn Press
Painting — Max Maslansky
Magazine — The Believer
Dreamcatcher — Ilene Willie
Artwork — Nikki Darling

Found Wallpaper
Vintage Glass Bottles

Poster — Estate Sale

Thanks, Nikki!

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