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Name: Haley Boyko, boyfriend Nick, and three dogs!
Location: Long Beach, California
Size: 1,400 square feet
Type of Home: Loft
Years Lived In: 1 year, renting
After living in New York City for 11 years, Haley Boyko and her boyfriend Nick (along with their three adorable dogs) made the move to the West Coast. Looking for a place with some walkability, they chose downtown Long Beach, California. Formerly a footwear designer, Haley started her own clothing company in December of 2020 called Boyko. “We decided to move to LA after I landed on a manufacturing facility out here and figured it’s easier to run a business out here,” Haley explains.
As for their new home, the couple scored a partially renovated rental artist loft with tons of potential. “The building was built in 1925 and I believe became residential in the early 1980s,” Haley begins. “There are tons of original tenants still living here and my unit was actually the first one ever purchased as a residence! It’s all mainly studio lofts, some have been heavily renovated and others less so. I think our unit is the only one that has wood floors instead of concrete, which we love! After living in New York with a lot of landlords and buildings who did little to no upkeep it’s amazing living in a space where the building along with every tenant really loves and cares about the building and the landlord is really wonderful.”
Just like her New York City rental that Apartment Therapy toured, this large loft is full of bright colors and bold shapes, something her fashion designs have in common. “My clothes are definitely a reflection of me and my personal style of creating pieces that are loud and fun but functional,” she writes.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: My style is super colorful. I really truly believe that colors can affect your mood, and waking up in a bright, colorful space makes me happy every single day. My landlord here gave me a lot more freedom to go ham with the paint, etc., which was amazing so I definitely took advantage of that! Most of the furniture is second hand, vintage, or made by me!
Inspiration: I am super inspired by abstract vintage furniture, ceramics, and fashion and think I finally have a space that matches my fashion aesthetic.
Favorite Element: I think the living room, bathroom, and closet are my favorites. It’s the first time in my life I have had an extremely spacious living space and it makes SUCH a difference. The bathroom has an amazing bathtub, washer dryer (which has changed our lives) and is really spacious! The floors of the bathroom are vinyl tiles that I placed and then the entire room is covered in wallpaper. The closet is my first ever walk-in closet! I have a lot of clothes and a LOT of shoes, so having a large closet space that I could customize has been incredible.
Biggest Challenge: The budget was by no means large. That is why I really took to second hand. I bought a ton of furniture on OfferUp and Facebook Marketplace for almost nothing, sanded it, fixed it up, and painted it to the colors I wanted. Yes it’s a lot more work but I cannot stress how affordable it is! Not to mention sustainable. Another large challenge was the amount of furniture needed to fill the space. We have lived in apartments in Brooklyn that typically have multiple small rooms and much less square footage than this place, so we have never had to get so much furniture to fill a space.
Proudest DIY: My proudest DIY I think is my coffee table that my boyfriend and I designed together and then I did the woodworking to make it. I also designed and made the dining table as well but I think the coffee table is my favorite piece.
Biggest Indulgence: The couch for sure cost the most but was honestly still pretty affordable. It’s the same couch we had in NY but in orange! I swear I manifested the orange color because when we bought our teal one six years ago I said: “I wish this came in orange.” Fast forward five – six years and they released an orange one! That being said apparently it sold poorly as most people don’t want an orange couch?? so I had to go to literally five different IKEAS to get each sectional piece. One had the corners, the other the covers, the other the middle, etc. Each store offered me a serious discount as the couch had been discontinued and figured most people won’t buy single pieces. I think we paid a total of $1,000 for the entire couch, which I think is less than half what it should have cost us.
Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? I use it for literally everything. We live here, I work from here, I make samples here sometimes, I shoot my collections in this space, it has proven to be an incredibly versatile and useful space! We have never had this much square footage before so it has really come in handy! Also the dogs LOVE having more room to run around in.
What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? The green vintage IKEA chairs may take the cake as one of my favorite purchased items. I got them for $30 a chair at the Rosebowl Flea and I think they really complement the table and the space well. I also really love the little cobalt cabinet in the living room that I got for $10 on OfferUp.
Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: PAINTTTT! Paint. Everyone is so scared to paint their apartments and I am here to report that you can paint it back. It can always be painted back! I always have to repaint our places before we move out but I think the joy that painted walls brings me is absolutely worth the pain of having to paint it all back. Paint is the absolute cheapest way to customize a space. Doing small things like painting door frames (as we did in our old space), half walls, accent walls, etc. is so worth it and so cheap and can really transform a space. Wallpaper and vinyl floor tiles also are a great non-permanent way to customize a space but can sometimes become a bit pricey.
What most people get wrong about using color in their home: I think the only thing people get wrong is by being too afraid to do it. I get that it’s just not for some people but I do think there are so many people too afraid to implement any color at all. As a non homeowner the thing that really makes me sad is when people talk about the resale value and base their design choices on what the next buyer may want. It’s YOUR space, make it your own! And the same can be said for renting. This is the space you live in everyday; make it feel like you and make it fun!
What are the biggest tricks/secrets to using color in decor? My biggest help is knowing how to use illustrator and do digital mockups. My boyfriend does 3D modeling too so we are able to fully mock up a space in some instances before we commit to buying, making, or painting furniture. So we really see what colors we like together before committing. That being said I also do randomly just paint things so it’s not always that planned out.
What’s your favorite wall paint color of all time: Yellow in a home feels like a neutral to me and I think it really elevates the mood of a space, but I have recently been very into green and blue, as you will see!
Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? BUY THE PAINT AND PAINT THE WALLS. If you want to paint the wall paint it. Shop on OfferUp and FB Marketplace because the deals are out of control and they have some incredible pieces. Flea markets are always good! All of our glassware, most of our plates, and our silverware is from the flea market and was all so affordable!
This piece is part of Color Month, where we’re showing you the best ways to inject more color into your home and life. From paint color combos to vibrant house tours, head over here to see it all.