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Backstory to finding the cottage, decor style & more

Backstory to finding the cottage:

I grew up not too far from where I live now, and I knew that I wanted to move back closer to home, but not to my hometown, so when I was apartment hunting I had a really wide location radius and looked everywhere from Berkeley to SLO. I knew the feeling I was looking for, but I didn’t have specifics on a city/town locked down. I had searched all the online rental websites for probably 4 months and finally found my spot listed on I was familiar enough with Monterey to know that I would love it here and I have friends and family all up and down the coast, so that was a draw to moving back to the area as well. Since moving here I’ve made some lovely friends locally as well, which I’m entirely grateful for. 

I had recently quit my full time job and was going back to freelancing, so that did make applying to apartments a little trickier (I got turned down from a few, but I’m ultimately grateful that I was, otherwise I wouldn't have ended up where I am now... see past blog posts on other spots I looked at!), but I was lucky that my current landlord wasn't flustered by the freelance life and he accepted me quickly! 

What first caught my eye of the cottage was the ceilings. The walls and beams are a very bright welcoming white, and they’re balanced out with this gorgeous natural wood ceiling and stone floor, it was shockingly similar to what I’d saved on my vision boards. I also loved that it wasn't a huge apartment complex, but a back house.

My landlord is a retired architect, and he built this whole unit onto the back of another, bigger, house that he also rents out. His last project was his own house which he now lives in, in Monterey. The unit is fairly new, there are some details that give this away like the IKEA cabinetry and more modern stainless steel door knobs/etc, but it still holds a lovely charm to it; I think stemming from the natural wood ceiling and bright light streaming in from the large patio doors.

I’ve lived in a lot of places throughout my 20’s, from Australia and Sri Lanka, to Boulder CO, Portland OR, throughout LA, and now in Monterey. I’m a sagittarius, so naturally I have the itch to explore the next place and next adventure, however, it seems suiting that in the last year of my 20’s (hellooooo Saturn return) I’ve finally have found a place that I feel settled in;  that I could actually imagine staying in and creating a more permanent life in. Accepting the idea of planting roots somewhere is no longer scary to me, but welcomed and seen as its own next adventure. 

Describing the decor style I chose for the cottage:

Describing my style always feels like a challenge because I feel as if it’s ever changing and evolving (I actually wrote a blog post all about labeling your style and the pros and cons that come with it). I think there’s a challenge that comes with assigning yourself a style because it can be a deeply personal thing to do, and not everyone lives in their dream apartment/house/home, and if you’re designing into your current location, it might not be a canvas that reflects your personal style. With that said, one of the things I did look for when hunting out this apartment was a canvas, so to speak, that would reflect my current style and so I have been able to let that aid my stylistic choices. 

The words “English cottage,” “seaside cottage,” and “Nancy Meyer’s vibe” have all been used in comments on social media to describe my home. Personally, I think I’m leaning into French country with a hint of shabby chic, collected coastal, and possibly some traditional elements too (but again, it’s ever evolving). I love mixing and matching styles, instead of going all in on one style, I think that (plus sourcing furniture with character) is what adds uniqueness to a space… don’t be shy to put your own spin on an existing style.

Challenges with the cottage:

When looking for my apartment I wanted to downsize and pay less than what I was paying at the time. I knew that I was going to dip into savings when I quit my full time job and got started with freelancing again, so I cut my rental budget down by over $500 in order to compensate for the change I was making. With downsizing in budget and space, I knew storage was going to be my top challenge. I’ve gotten creative in different ways though.

I do have a closet in my bedroom which I’m grateful for, but I use it to store more than clothes (luggage, sheets, etc), so I found an armoire on FB marketplace that I use to store sweaters and jeans and extra pillows. In the kitchen my pantry and gadget space is really limited, so classically I use the oven to store things, and I also found some sturdy baskets which live under my kitchen table to store things like a mixer and blender (wonderful idea from a comment someone left on my tiktok). I also store things under my couch and bought a waterproof outdoor storage bench to store items like my toolkit, holiday decor, and other random items which you’d usually find in someone’s garage. 

I’m already pretty intentional with my purchases, but downsizing on space and having limited storage has made me extra aware of what I bring into my home.

Besides storage, I would say the other biggest challenge is knowing that even though it's a bit newer build, it still has older building problems. By that I mean things still break, drains still clog, pests still crawl their way inside... All the normal apartment building things still happen here as well. It looks dreamy, and it is, but it still has it's challenges just like any apartment.

Like always, if you have other questions shoot me an email or DM and I'll add it into my next blog post.

Until next time,

xx Rose


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