You guys, I had a birthday party. Like, for the first time in YEARS! And it was small and sweet and perfect and oh gosh – I felt so loved!
And I really needed that.
So now. Okay, bear with me here. Let me tell you a story about a fence.
In September of 2013, Jeremy and I were deep in the process of falling in love. An awesome process, to be sure. And we had been long-distance up until then – him living in Redondo Beach, about an hour and a half south of me, in LA. But by September, we were in deep, and he was planning a move to Santa Barbara.
My own house in Santa Barbara? Is a gem. A gem by Santa Barbara standards, which means that it’s old, and neglected, and dilapitaded . . . and CHEAP. Built in 1915, my little beach bungalow boasts 2 whole bedrooms and an entire full-sized fenced yard, in downtown Santa Barbara. And it’s affordable.
This, my friends, is a TREASURE. A unicorn. By Santa Barbara standards, a dream come true.
And in September of 2013, my next door neighbor – occupant of the identical, matching mirror-image bungalow to mine – let me know that he would be moving out at the end of the month. And maybe I wanted to find a friend to move in next door?
Back when I was drowning in the depths of my divorce, I read a lot about one of my greatest heroes, the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. Completely independent, always authentic, incredibly sensitive and incomprehensibly strong, fierce female badass, Frida Kahlo. And I read that she and her husband, renowned muralist Diego Rivera, had decided to build themselves a pair of houses. Two separate houses, side by side. With a sky bridge to connect them.
And I remember thinking, YES!
That is right. That makes sense. That is what I want!
And so, in September of 2013, I asked Jeremy – “Would you like to move into the house next door?”
And him, progressive-minded man that he is, he understood immediately the amazing opportunity that had presented itself.
It was perfect.
And now we have, essentially, our own little compound. “The downtown bohemian compound”, as we sometimes call it. And we named it Los Nidos – “the nests”.
Mostly, we both move freely between the two houses. Now we have one giant yard, plenty of room for gardening, fruit trees, a fire pit, play space for Waits, and we hope, some day, a hot tub. We have 2 kitchens, 2 bathrooms, 2 living spaces. Mirror image homes that are so similar, and yet so different. The dining table is at my house; the TV is at his. I like his bed better, and his bedroom is much bigger than mine. But I totally prefer my kitchen. And we decorate very differently!
We hang out together when we want, and we also take space when we need to. It is so amazing to be able to take space.
And living this way is the best thing I can possibly imagine, just the very best. We have the best of all worlds, and Jeremy and I will continue to live like this, together, separately, side-by-side, in our little downtown compound, for as long as we possibly can.
Los Nidos Forever!
Here’s a shot from the other side, standing in “my” yard and looking through to Jeremy’s house. The teak table is in my yard, with the fence hole behind me, his house beyond, and the fire pit around the fence to the left. On my side of the fence, to the right there, you can see some familiar sights: my roses, my artichoke plant, and just at the edge of the frame, Waits’s play house with the orange tree overhanging.
So now you know. Now you know our unconventional living situation.
Hey, I never claimed I was a normal girl! But I love my weird little life, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. You only get one shot, right? So make sure that you love your life, and live it on your own terms.
Cheers to another trip around the sun!
♥ ♥ ♥