A Small San Diego Loft Has DIY Art Ideas and Adorable Dogs

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Name: Jeff Campbell, husband Tim Dunphy, two dogs, and revolving cast of foster dogs we rescue from Mexico
Location: Hillcrest neighborhood — San Diego, California
Type of home: Loft Apartment
Size: 740 square feet
Years lived in: 3 years, renting

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: Tim and I and our two little fur sons LOVE our apartment. When we first saw it, we knew we had to have it since there are not very many loft spaces like this in the Hillcrest neighborhood. It’s one big open space with a lofted sleeping area with huge windows facing south and west so we get ample sunlight all throughout the day. Needless to say, our many houseplants love it, too. We can see the ocean from our balcony and even a tiny uninhabited island off the coast of Mexico when the day is clear. It’s truly our indoor/outdoor California dream.

Another view of the living area from loft

We love collecting art everywhere we go, especially during our travels. Our personalities are definitely reflected in the pieces we’ve collected. Jeff is a digital artist so a lot of his work is decorating our walls, too. Some of our favorite pieces are an X-rated watercolor from Florence, a ceramic bowl from Barcelona, and a photo collage from Dublin.

View of the living area looking down from the loft

We also DIYed two large-scale canvases for the space. One is a teal ombre gradient that fits the space perfectly. Tim actually built and stretched the canvas himself and Jeff painted it. The other is a sunburst pattern that we created using leftover “mistake” paint from Home Depot and painters tape. Hot tip: if you want clean lines, definitely go with the green frog tape over the blue painters tape. It’s a lifesaver.

View of the kitchen and our DIY sunburst canvas from the loft

In order to mount the canvas on the concrete wall without damaging it, Tim discovered that he could push old wine corks into some of the support holes and then drill a screw in them to support the weight of the canvas. Who knew you could use old wine corks for that? He’s a super creative problem solver.

We love the hanging pothos and the skylight/vent over our bed in the loft area

We also are not allowed to paint since we are renting. In order to bring warmth and color into a space that is quite hard and sterile with all the concrete, we’ve gone heavy into the warm and organic textures of leather, wood, vintage rugs, and faux furs. Also, to bring is some whimsy, we have two disco balls that light up the space every afternoon.

The balcony where we spend a lot of our time enjoying the SoCal sunshine

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Jungalow meets boho industrial loft

What is your favorite room and why? Our favorite room is our living area/balcony because it’s our urban oasis in the sky. All of our houseplants make it feel like a jungle and we love entertaining all of our friends here. It’s a long and narrow space so we had to get creative with the layouts and what furniture would serve us best in the space.

View of our dining table and balcony from the living space

Because of the big sliding doors, the two spaces almost seem united as one indoor/outdoor space. We spend a lot of time out on our balcony and enjoy eating dinner out there when the weather is warm enough. Because we are renting, we are not allowed to make any permanent holes in the walls but we wanted to mount an outdoor chandelier to light up the space at night. Tim came up with the brilliant idea of zip tying to poles to the corners of the balcony railing and then mounting a cool chandelier on a cord between the two poles. The space functions way better at night with the additional overhead light and it really adds to the ambiance.

View of our living area from the balcony. Note the lazy dogs.

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? We recently purchased a replica Eames Chair and Ottoman online and are very pleased with the quality and how it works in the space. We really wanted a real one but we are dog foster parents and are worried that at the rotating cast of canine companions would ruin it. We also love our new vase we got from our friend Ingram who is a super talented potter in San Diego.

Also, we are obsessed with our crystal and resin sun catcher that glows in the dark after a sunny day from our friend Jen at Club Time Warp. She has shops all across Southern California. And, lastly our HAY LED neon tube light that we got from the MOMA store. It lights up the apt with the coolest vibe at night.

Our "love loft" in the lofted area of the apartment

Any advice for creating a home you love? Creating a home you love is really about creating a space that reflects who you are and what makes you feel happy. Don’t get too caught up in trends or feel the pressure to have everything be perfect. Creating a home is a journey so enjoy the adventures along the way.

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