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Home Decor Journal Joy's House

to all the homes i’ve loved before…

Oh Joy! Living Room - Photo by Monica Wang

Oh Joy! Living Room - Photo by Monica Wang

As we get ready to move into our new home in a few weeks (yay!), I’m getting nostalgic about the home we’ve spent the last 10 years in. We started our life in Los Angeles here, started a family here, and really grew to love Los Angeles here. So, while I’m looking’s a look back at all the place I’ve lived in my adult life starting with my very first solo apartment in Brooklyn Heights after college…

Oh Joy Brooklyn Apt

Oh Joy Brooklyn Apt

Oh Joy Brooklyn Apt

Oh Joy Brooklyn Apt

From 2001-2005, I live in this 400 sq. ft. studio apartment in Brooklyn Heights, New York. This was my first solo apartment as an adult after living with roommates for four years prior. I was in my early 20’s and working at my first couple design jobs out of college while living here. Brooklyn wasn’t yet the cool spot that it is now but it was totally on it’s way, and I loved it SO much. This apartment was on the 3rd floor of some giant house that looked like a haunted mansion from the outside, but it had such character and the best creeky, carpeted steps in the hallway that I will never forget.

I found someone on Craig’s List to make me these stacking, modular boxes that I used as a bookshelf and divider area for my bed. (By the way, I was an early user of Craig’s List and my friends thought I was crazy to find a stranger through a website!). This tiny studio apartment was $1270-1390 per month back in 2001-2005 (which still sounds SO expensive to me for such a tiny space), and I remember being SO broke because it took more than half my pay check each month. But I was young, had no responsibilities, and it was just the place I needed to be at that time in my life.

Oh Joy! Philly Apt

Oh Joy! Philly Apt

Oh Joy! Philly Apt

Oh Joy! Philly Apt

From 2005-2009, we lived in this one bedroom apartment in Philly. I had moved back to Philly (where I’m from) and left New York to live closer to my then-boyfriend, Bob, who had just started a long-term residency in Philly. We had been dating long-distance for 9 years and were ready to live in the same city. This is the apartment we lived in when we got engaged, got married, and had some of our biggest early married couple fights. This is the apartment where I started Oh Joy! back in September 2005. It was about 900 sq. ft. and the perfect size for a newlywed couple and our three cats. This was the apartment where my personal style started to bloom, and I really began to express it more through my slightly expanded use of color! In true Joy form, I found someone on Craig’s List to sew these custom curtains for all these windows we had. Ha!

Oh Joy! San Diego

From 2009-2010, we lived temporarily for a year in Coronado (a tiny island off San Diego) while Bob was doing his last year of training in San Diego for the year. I had Oh Joy! but it was just me, so I worked out of a bedroom in a 3-bedroom duplex we rented for the year. I have no photos of it cause it was completely temporary and we used the owners furniture (so it never really felt like home). So here’s a photo of me outside of it with the Mini Cooper I had at that time!

Oh Joy! Living Room, Photo by Monica Wang

Oh Joy! Kids' Bedroom / Photo by Sasha Guilish for Land of Nod

Oh Joy! Photo by Katherine Rose

From 2010-present (almost 10 years!), we have lived in this duplex (top floor of a house) in Los Angeles. When we rented this apartment back in 2010, we didn’t look at schools or intend to raise our family here. We thought it would be temporary to get our feet wet as new residents of LA. 10 years later, we’ve started our family here and raised two amazing kids, met and grew some of our forever friendships here, had many Friendsgivings here, and really made Los Angeles our home here. Emily Henderson was a huge part of helping us to design our living room, dining room, and Coco’s nursery (before she shared a room with Ruby). This is the home where my personal style really came to life, and it’s fun to see how much my adult homes have evolved over the last 20 years!

I can’t wait to show you what’s next in our very first home that we’ll actually own. If you want to catch up on everything I’ve shared over the past couple years on our progress, you can see it all right here!

(Professional photos above by: Monica Wang, Sasha Gulish, Katherine Rose)


  1. Ooh who makes your couch (current grey one with the long, single cushion) and can you vouch for its quality (comfort, longevity, etc.)? TIA!

  2. Hi Grace!
    It’s by Joybird – it’s great quality. It’s a more firm couch which I like cause it keeps it’s shape!

  3. the philly home – the bookshelf with the pullout drawer, where is it from? i love it!
    actually i love all these homes!

  4. this was so fun to see your past homes! thanks for sharing joy. so excited for you and your dreamy forever home that will outweigh the dread of forever home bills.

  5. Joy, I literally had a black Mini Cooper with white stripes in my past life. I definitely know the feeling of going from
    Mini Cooper to minivan. Love your journey! -Trisha

  6. That was such a fun stroll down your housing memory lane! I didn’t think to take pics in all of my former homes because I didn’t love them as much as the home that I purchased and now live in. Can’t wait to see your personal style reflected in your new home!

  7. Wow what a good post. I’m so surprised that you have rented for all of these years! I’m someone who lives in LA county and always feel like “I need to own!” … you proved that you don’t. I’m so excited to see your forever home!!! I know it’s going to be so good!!!!!

  8. Great engaging information. Thank you for sharing. I found this post engaging and meaningful, which has added value to my understanding. Keep sharing good information. Thanks

  9. Recently stumble upon your blog, and I really love the content you’re sharing. It inspires me to also find my forever home. Keep up the good work!


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