Monday, August 12, 2013

Sarah's LA Apartment: The Beige Box Challenge

Sarah and family are planning the move to LA for the end of this month, which means that we have had all of no time to find them a new apartment.  Last week, we scheduled a whirlwind of a trip (two days traveling, two days in LA) and were determined to find something that would work.  
We knew we wanted something walkable (which apparently is a dirty word in LA), a reasonable drive from Beverly Hills (where her husband Devin's office is), close to the beach (because why not?), and with at least two bedrooms plus a den (welcome, guests!).  This was a tall order given our time frame and budget constraints, but we chose to remain naive and optimistic.  If it didn't work out, there was always the mini-bar...

We saw a couple SUPER cute bungalows in Venice and fell in love with the commercial strip, Abbott Kinney.  It had a hip, eclectic vibe that we thought we'd never find outside of Brooklyn.  This house was Sarah's favorite, and only one block from the beach, but we ended up passing on it because the kitchen and bathrooms were disastrous, it was pretty far from Devin's office, and he just couldn't see our vision.  We're still a little sad about it.  

After falling in love in Venice for a second time, this time with a house that was way too small but also so so cute, we decided to head north and check out Santa Monica.  While definitely not as cool as Venice, Santa Monica was pristine.  Everything was perfectly pretentious in that--why, yes I'd love a mimosa and a walk on the beach, followed by a shopping spree and a massage--kind of way.  

The first apartment we saw in Santa Monica was a man-cave fantasy: all chrome and hard lines with a living room that didn't get enough sunlight but did get a black leather couch and a 50 inch TV.  Devin loved it.  Sarah and Devin were officially equal on vetoing places that the other adored.
The next place in Santa Monica had a great location--walking distance to the beach, to the 3rd street promenade, to a bunch of shops and restaurants on Montana, and to a park right down the street. We figured with that location, the apartment was bound to be a nightmare.  Instead, we found some good potential, begging for decorating help.  We had to oblige.

What the apartment lacks in soul, it makes up for in size.  All of the rooms are huge, by Brooklyn standards, and there's a den (and a cute patio)!  It checked almost all of the boxes we had named going into our search and seemed to be a great compromise for Sarah and Devin.  Is it their dream apartment?  No.  Do we want to gut the kitchen and bathrooms and rip up all the carpet?  Of course.  But we think that we can work with it so they'll both be happy.  

We can't wait to share our plans with you for turning this boring beige box into the perfect home for Sarah and her family.  Spoiler: we just scored an amazing deal at Restoration Hardware! 

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