Location: San Diego, CA
I've lived in this one-bedroom, 600 square foot Hillcrest apartment with my boyfriend and our golden retriever, Teddy, for the last two years. In 2011, my boyfriend and I quit our NYC jobs — he in finance, me in magazine writing — to backpack around the world for 13 months. We kept our final destination open but chose San Diego for its weather, quality of life, and smaller city size. We didn't have jobs or family or friends in the area, so it was a bold move!
I never cared about making my NYC apartments a home, but it's much different in San Diego. I'm older and now we have square footage to enjoy and play around with. (Also, we have a dishwasher, a balcony, and a closet IN my bedroom, which feels like such a luxury after four years of cramped NYC apartments!)
We both work from home, so it's very important that our place is positive, happy, and pleasing to the eye. For us that meant a vintage, well-traveled look and bright colors.
Our backpacking (and strict budget) inspired us to source most of our furniture from thrift shops and flea markets (like an antique dining table from the '60s) with a few DIY projects, like our front door-turned-headboard, thrown in the mix. We also have so many mementos from our travels—artwork, guidebooks, enlarged photos, a 100-year-old Buddha from Laos, etc. Everywhere we look in our new home, we're inspired by that very special year-long trip and the momentum it's given us to carve our own path.
Now I'm a freelance food and travel writer (Travel + Leisure, Sunset, etc.) and blogger, and he's the CEO of an eco start-up. Teddy just sleeps all day in his many favorite sleeping areas around the apartment, and we wouldn't have it any other way.
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