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Touring an $837-a-Month Apartment in Santa Monica

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Welcome to House Calls, a new feature in which Curbed tours the lovely, offbeat, or otherwise awesome homes of regular Angelenos. Think your space should be featured next? Drop us a line with a few photos and details about your place.


[Photos by Elizabeth Daniels]

Who lives here?
Brandon, 38; James, 48

What're the stats?
1 bedroom, 1 bathroom, 1 car garage, approximately 950 sq. ft.

What's the rent?
$837.16. This is one of the last vestiges of Santa Monica's very liberal Rent Control policy that has since ended.

How long have you been here?
James has lived here since 1995, while Brandon has since 2009.

What's the best feature of your apartment?
The living room is pretty spacious for a typical 1 bedroom apartment. Also, we get very good light most of the day, year round.

What's the worst feature?
Being so close to our neighbors, sometimes there is a lack of privacy. Also, there is no outdoor space.

What do you love and/or hate about the neighborhood?
We love everything about our neighborhood. But the location is everything. We are 6 blocks from Santa Monica Beach and the bike path, 3 blocks to the Santa Monica Promenade/Santa Monica Place, a 10-minute bike ride to Venice and Abbot Kinney, and 1 block from Montana Avenue. There is great recreation nearby including the Santa Monica stairs, shopping, dining, etc. We're even close to great hiking and mountain biking in the Santa Monica Mountains which are a 15 minute drive. The neighborhood is also very walkable. Most weekends we don't use our cars. Though parking is by permit, sometimes it can be a drag to find parking, especially when coming home late at night.

What's your approach to decorating?
We have a general Mid-Century eclectic theme going on. We tend to find furniture and other décor just about everywhere. Some of our furniture comes from chain stores such as Room & Board, West Elm, and CB2. But a good amount of it comes from local thrift stores, Craigslist, EBay, and estate sales.

Any crazy/interesting stories about your apartment?
We are the only the second tenants since the building was built in 1955.

How'd you end up here?
James saw an ad in the UCLA Bruin paper in 1995, selling rent control apartment lists in Santa Monica for $20. This was the first apartment that he saw. The rent was $500. Brandon lived in Venice for several years and moved in, in 2009. We decided to keep this apartment because the rent was almost $1500 less than Brandon's Venice apartment – it was a no-brainer.

How's your landlord?
We were both taught that if you have nothing nice to say about someone, it's best not to say anything.

If you could have any living situation in LA, what would it be?
Ideally, we'd love a house in the Santa Monica canyon with great indoor/outdoor living – with an ocean view.


· House Calls [Curbed LA]