Thursday, May 12 2022

Janea Brown has insisted on downsizing for her move from Brooklyn to Los Angeles. Or at least keep the same space as his one-bedroom apartment in Bushwick. ” I am a person ; I don’t need a whole house,” says the creative behind @jnaydaily. But one very early morning – 2 a.m., to be exact – his plan fell through. The content creator had spotted the ideal two-bedroom single-family home in West Hollywood. Marble countertops in the kitchen, oak hardwood floors — the property was a far cry from the laminate tile and beige walls most renters are used to inheriting.

Jane Brown

Owner Chaele Cooper had renovated the Spanish Revival around 1932 thinking she would be the only one to look after it for decades. Then the pandemic hit, and Cooper and her husband realized their two-hour work commute to Burbank might be a thing of the past, so they decided to list the house for rent and move into their beach-adjacent digs in Venice. (another rental building whose tenants had fled north). “I was more nervous than when I decided to tear down the kitchen wall,” Cooper said of finding the right tenant. Finding someone who would look after her beloved breakfast nook and built-in bookcases as if it were their own took time, but the minute Brown applied, Cooper knew she had met this one: “He was someone who would be the caretaker of the house.”

When this creation found a Spanish-style rental, all downsizing plans were scrapped

When this creation found a Spanish-style rental, all downsizing plans were scrapped

For Brown, the house’s Mediterranean roots were the catalyst for trying out a more eclectic decorating style. As she settled in with her best friend-turned-roommate, she found herself choosing vintage rugs and olive branches in favor of her usual pothos vines and wacky-phrase posters. You could say that renting is where Brown’s tastes grew, partly because of the pandemic but also because of creative freedom. “I’ve had roommates in the past who were very involved in the design process, causing a lot of compromise,” she explains. “But this time, I have full control.” (Just a benefit of sharing your space with a friend who understands you.)

When this creation found a Spanish-style rental, all downsizing plans were scrapped

Even as she prepares to move this summer, Brown still treats the place as a training ground. “I was looking to experiment in order to find my pieces forever”, she explains, by which she means “furniture that I will not want to exchange every six months”. Certain items, like his mustard wingback chairs from Maiden Home, were instant keepers. But his antique chest of drawers and slipcovered bed, a McGee & Co. piece, were late purchases. “I feel like I just got my bedroom where I want it, and now I have to take it down again,” she laughs. Swapping things inside and out is especially tempting when the backdrop is white walls to match everything, dressed in old-fashioned crown molding.

When this creation found a Spanish-style rental, all downsizing plans were scrapped

Bed frame, McGee & Co.
When this creation found a Spanish-style rental, all downsizing plans were scrapped

Across the hall in the living room, another blank slate, Brown quickly found his groove. “It all started with canapes,” she says, which took months of searching online to uncover. The cream two-seater Lulu and Georgia, also upholstered, are the dream aesthetic combo that’s casual yet put together (although Brown doesn’t like how much fluff they need after a real housewives frenzy). A vintage rug from Etsy protects Cooper’s beloved floors from his frequent remodeling assignments, while vintage brass sconces provide the ultimate gaming night lighting.

When this creation found a Spanish-style rental, all downsizing plans were scrapped

President, Maiden Home.
When this creation found a Spanish-style rental, all downsizing plans were scrapped

Fake Olive Tree, Pottery Barn.

Although the kitchen and bathroom are already in pristine condition – Cooper made sure there were plenty of cupboards to hide ugly things (even a dedicated cupboard for appliances), and there’s luxury Extra soft-closing drawers – Brown has made a few additions to make the spaces look like her, albeit temporarily. A vintage wooden stool next to the tub makes it easy to lay down her latest read, and open kitchen shelving got Brown’s signature style treatment with decanted kitchen essentials and rustic serving boards ready for a spread deli meats.

When this creation found a Spanish-style rental, all downsizing plans were scrapped

Stool, target.
When this creation found a Spanish-style rental, all downsizing plans were scrapped

Brown may be saying goodbye to the place — she’s really downsizing this time so she can afford to live on her own — but she and Cooper had their hesitations. “Which other tenant is going to take care of features like Janea?” Cooper wonders. Brown will miss the abundance of storage and the notched arches. But while these need to stay put, Brown’s freshly polished style continues at home. And it was the Spanish renaissance where, says Brown, “I cracked the code on what I like to be surrounded by.”

When this creation found a Spanish-style rental, all downsizing plans were scrapped

Cutting boards, Etsy.

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