This Writer’s 800-Square-Foot LA Apartment Puts Accessibility First

Having grown up in Los Angeles’s South Bay, Kelly Dawson wanted to experience another part of the sprawling city when she decided to leave her parents’ house and move into her own home. But the writer, editor, and marketing consultant (whose writing frequently appears in AD) had non-negotiable requirements that made her apartment search especially challenging.

Kelly sits in her camel leather Home Goods chair, which she fell in love with immediately.

Laura Bertocci

“I was born with cerebral palsy and it mostly affects my legs, so it makes it difficult to have to live in a place that has a lot of stairs,” she explains. “I looked around the East Side for a while and could not find a place that was accessible. I went to the West Side and that was out of my budget. Finally, I came [back] here.”

About 10 minutes from her childhood home, Kelly found the perfect spot: a ground-floor unit in a beachside building that doesn’t have a single stair at the entrance or in the lobby. She can walk straight from the street into her apartment, without any plane change. Plus the interiors had recently been renovated, yet the rent was significantly discounted because it lacks the Pacific views that the upper levels have.

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“There were a lot of little projects that my dad helped me with around here,” Kelly shares. “I think the biggest one was the curtains, which are from Home Goods. The curtain rod is from Crate & Barrel. And it was really funny. My dad came in here and was like, ‘I’ve been doing all this stuff for your mom for 30-plus years, so I am just a pro.’ I didn’t have to hire a TaskRabbit. My dad was my TaskRabbit.”

Amy Bartlam

“If I’m on the patio and I lean over the edge and the tree in front of me is cut just so, I can still see the ocean,” Kelly jokes. “But really, I loved the natural light. I also loved the fact that the floors were all one level and everything was laid out really well. It’s compact, but it feels spacious enough for one.”

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Self-watering plants make it easier for Kelly to have greenery in her home.

Amy Bartlam

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