Wednesday, February 20, 2013

what a difference a month makes

I am my own client these days.

I should mention that Drew and I have been on the hunt for a larger house since July, so much of my focus in the second half of 2012 was finding it.  Like every other buyer, I had my list of the things, necessary and desirable, to make the house work for our lives. 

Well.  Let's just say that I was completely unprepared for how overwhelming and stressful the hunt and the process of buying would be.  

The market here in Los Angeles is absurdly competitive.  Low inventory plus our modest (at least, for L.A.) budget equals a LOT of hustle.  Liza, our  rock star agent, got us in to see houses in many, many neighborhoods the very moment they went on the market.  If we liked a place, she'd often already be writing the offer before we were out the door.

 In total, we toured about 50 homes, made offers on 5 of them.  We were outbid by buyers with cash a few times and we turned down a couple of accepted offers when the places (and the sellers) didn't seem right.  In the end we got our little piece of Los Angeles, and to say that we are lucky is an understatement. 

This is what I see as I come down the hill on La Brea Ave.  Its a whole new view of Los Angeles after a decade at the beach.

We moved in on December 30, 2012 and hit the ground running.  I’ve been working on the layout, the furniture, draperies, and organization since the moment we got our keys, and what a difference a month or so of actually living here makes.  Not only have I been doing my best to make the new stuff work with what we brought from our last house, I've been figuring out this house's quirks, meeting the neighbors and figuring out my new 'hood.  I’m starting to dig in and work out the design for each space inside (We need paint and wallpaper and flooring and tile and SO much more) as well as the back and front gardens (can't wait to get the tomatoes into the ground).  This house has lots of what feels like luxuries to a city dweller used to living in small spaces (like a big backyard and a guest room for all of the out of towners we’ll have visiting).  Both Drew's and my parents have visited from afar and we've hosted two big gatherings for visiting family in this very first month.  Now that I know we can throw a good party here it feels like home. 

I'm loving the open concept and the corner windows in the dining room.

Bay windows in the guest room look out
 at the big tree.

Guest room drapery fabric.

This is the "before" photo, taken the day we got our keys.  Whether the giant rubber tree stays or goes is a matter of great debate right now.

One of of our main search criteria was a space for my studio, and I'm in totally in love with my new spot.  The new MMD HQ is bright and open with a view of the palm trees and bamboo in the backyard.  Its been energizing to start the year doing for myself what I do for clients. 

My desk is still messy, but now with a much better view.

The banana table finds a home in the studio.

The great wall of graphic art has begun.
So.  Now I'm home and I've got a place to do my work.  I am ridiculously excited to get down to it, and watch this place transform in the year to come.

Something else I should mention is the design shop I've been curating on Project Decor.  If you're even a little interested in home design, join the party and you'll have access to great stuff chosen by designers like me.  You can check out my store here: Melissa Mascara's Design Shop

Happy, lucky 2013.


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  2. keep the tree!! at least through one summer... it'll cut your cooling costs and keep your lawn from drying out entirely. srsly. and you cannot just throw another one up if you change your mind.
    love, ramona

    1. It'll be here through at least a summer. Our concern is how aggressive the tree is, with our sewer lines and foundation and the like. Not to mention that it'll almost double in size (and completely cover the house) each year. Lawn is going eventually, too -- just not water efficient. We'll have palm trees and lots of drought tolerant stuff in the front yard!