Remember the Cup of Jo reader, Kara Flageollet, who cut her own bangs during quarantine? She’s a law student in North Beach, San Francisco, and she recently moved into her own studio apartment. “I have ALWAYS wanted to live alone,” she told us. “I’m so excited to be independent.” Here, she gives us a tour…
Pillows: Anthropologie, similar.
On finding the apartment: I wasn’t living in San Francisco yet, so I had to put all the money down without even seeing the place! But my brother signed off on it, and I had good energy from the photos. When you first enter the building, it’s really dark — the hallways are domed, the light fixtures are fake candles, my friends call it ‘The Monastery’ — but when I opened the door to my apartment, it was bright and clean, with a gorgeous view. I was THRILLED.
Bedside table: Xuanjia. Fleur-de-lis lamp: vintage, similar. Artwork: Rene Villa (“He’s my uncle’s partner; they live in the Sunset, and they let me shop their garage to borrow a piece.”)
On creating a cozy bed: I’m a really, really bad sleeper but I also sleep a lot. It’s a terrible combination — I’d rather be an excellent sleeper who only sleeps for six hours. I try to make my bed really cozy and soft. My bed’s kind of old, but I have one of those cushy mattress toppers.
On small-space hosting: During parties, when people sit down on my bed, I’m such a wet blanket; I’m like, ‘No no no no no don’t sit on the bed! But come and I’ll make you a drink!’ I try to couch it in something sweet, not just neurotic. Before having people over, I go to great lengths to put folding chairs all around.
Dining chairs: Edloe Finch.
On solo living: I’m an extrovert, but I still relish alone time. I have such bad anxiety, so with roommates, I was always thinking, Oh, is it weird if I cook in the kitchen? It’s nice to have your own space and do your own thing and know that you don’t have to think about anyone else. I’ve liked every single person I’ve ever lived with, but it’s such a peaceful dynamic to live alone.
On a little buddy: A month into living alone, I was like, I must get a pet. Then, last fall, I found Henry at the SF SPCA — he was a pound and a half, and I fell in love. I grew up with dogs and was always kind of scared of cats; I thought cats did their own thing and hid away from you. But Henry has a big personality and is so social. He’s really good at somersaults, which is so fun and cute. When he was a kitten, he would scale from my ankle to my shoulder and just perch there. He sleeps on my chest; I can feel him purring. My mom told me, ‘I read that helps with anxiety!’ He’s my weighted blanket.
On go-to meals: I’m mostly vegetarian at home because cooking meat freaks me out. I roast a lot of vegetables. I make this amazing butternut squash soup from Half-Baked Harvest. And I love toast with goat cheese and TJ’s Everything But the Bagel seasoning.
Sofa: Albany Park. Chair: Edloe Finch. Coffee table: vintage.
On city colors: I’m pretty much always hanging out or studying on the green couch. When I was looking at furniture, I was like, I want my colors to match the aesthetic of San Francisco. The green goes really well with foggy gray!
Gold floor lamp: Target, similar.
On going to law school: Law school gets a bad rap for being intense and boring. It is intense, but it’s not boring. My favorite class I’ve ever taken was Constitutional Law 2 because you get to talk about the big issues — gay marriage, abortion, all the rights that are so important. You’re trying to reconcile the Constitution with what we now see as valuable. You debate what people think the forefathers intended and whether or not that matters. But then it’s very dark when you see the Supreme Court breaking that down. It’s a knife in the heart.
On relaxing at home: Recently, I liked The Sex Lives of College Girls. The characters are so likable. And I watch reruns of New Girl. I 100% have a crush on Nick. Also, I’m currently reading The Idiot. It’s sweet, I was 10% of the way in, and I was like, this narrator is actually my best friend Megan. I texted her, you need to read this; and she texted back immediately and said, that’s actually my favorite book. She thinks like no one else I’ve ever met; she’s a genius, she double majors in human rights and math. I also always have something by Samantha Irby around. She’s so funny and charming and I can always read a few pages.
TV console: Wayfair, similar.
On making friends as an adult: I have a few good friends from law school. But outside of school, when I meet someone cool, sometimes I’ll go for it. A while back, at a party, I was talking to this girl for 5 or 10 minutes. We were shooting the breeze and laughing. And I thought, ok, I’m going all in. I said, ‘Hey, can I have your number? I think we should be really good friends.’ And now we are!
On San Francisco eats: I love the Ferry Building. The farmer’s market there is really beautiful. My favorite restaurant in the entire Bay Area is Sol Food. I also love Mariposa Bakery. And there’s a vegan restaurant Wildseed that’s amazing, even if you’re not vegan.
Thank you so much, Kara!
P.S. More house tours, including a small apartment full of paintings and a Minnesota home with the sweetest old dog. Plus, 12 readers share their cozy corners.
(Photos by Lena Corwin for Cup of Jo.)