Lissa's Super-Small Secluded Haven

Lissa's Super-Small Secluded Haven

Kate Stockman
Mar 29, 2011

Name: Lissa
Location: Santa Barbara, California
Size: 390 square feet
Years lived in: 1 — rented

Tucked away behind an abundance of plants and a tall weathered fence, Lissa's place is the perfect escape after a long day. Once inside, it's easy to forget she lives on the corner of a busy street in sunny Santa Barbara. She chose the place "because it's close to the beach, within walking distance to downtown, and is directly adjacent to a community garden".

With a down to earth outlook and an attitude that's always up for something, Lissa has had a lot of fun putting her place together, hunting flea markets and second hand stores for many of her treasures. She's lived in the same area for four years, but last spring she and a few of her neighbors swapped houses, so she's had the exciting challenge of starting over again this last year.

Having an artistic mother and a mushroom farming father, she's gained a lot of inspiration from both her creative heritage and her rural upbringing. She grew up sewing and drawing, later becoming a trained architect. For the last year and a half, she's worked at Design Within Reach, where she dreams of somehow combining her taste for interior design, architectural skills and love of graphic design into a fulfilling career.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Modern scavenger with lots of color.

Inspiration: Apartment Therapy (of course), Office of Word and Image, Dwell, T Style: The New York Times Design Magazine, Anthropologie catalogs and website.

Favorite Element: High ceilings and lots of windows make the space feel a lot bigger than it is.

Biggest Challenge: Making an old, worn out interior look clean and modern as a renter.

What Friends Say: This place is sooooo Lissa.

Biggest Embarrassment: Little black dog hairs everywhere. I cannot keep up. And the linoleum in the kitchen and bathroom. I hate on it every day.

Proudest DIY: Probably the walnut armoire. The weird man that lived in my former house before me left this in our storage unit, so I adopted it. The larger cabinet had a broken thatched overlay sort of thing. I removed the thatched overlay and painted the exposed (non-walnut) wood an off white, then added legs get it up off the floor and look a bit more graceful. While the details are not perfect, it has been a super functional storage space for me.

Biggest Indulgence: The vintage Eames Aluminum Lounge chair in my living room. It was actually a steal at $300 (thank you, Craigslist) but is probably the most expensive piece of furniture I own.

Best Advice: Don't take yourself too seriously and surround yourself with things you love. I have some friends that over-analyze the significance of the things they like, and are hesitant to put things up/around because they get freaked about the items importance in representing who they are. Don't do that. It's really not that much of a commitment. Have fun, put things up temporarily and let them transition into more permanent pieces.

Dream Sources: Bludot, Knoll, Herman Miller, Fritz Hansen

Resources of Note:


    • Pink Pouf: DWR floor sample
    • Sleeper Sofa: Bludot for Urban Outfitters floor sample
    • Rug: IKEA
    • Coffee Table: Salvation Army
    • Eames Aluminum Lounge: Craigslist
    • Metal Bookcase: DWR floor sample
    • Wood Bookcase: Lissa exclusive! Made in woodworking class at Otis School of Design
    • Black Side Table: Target
    • Wood and Marble Dresser: Salvation Army


    • Curtains: IKEA
    • Floor Covering: Chilewich Mat, DWR floor sample


    • Bed: IKEA
    • Side Table: Target
    • Blue Dresser: my childhood desk :) Still smells like homework
    • Orange and White Chair: Alpha Thrift
    • Walnut Armoire: salvaged from weird former neighbor (see DIY section above)
    • Papiro Lamps: DWR


    • Shower Curtains: IKEA
    • Cubitec Shelving: DWR floor sample

Thanks, Lissa!

Images: Kate Stockman

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