Temporary Housing in Los Angeles

Greetings, all...

The Living in Gin Road Show continues. Those of you who know me on Facebook may know that I've accepted a 5-month co-op position with an architecture firm in Santa Monica. With my employment situation worked out, my attention now turns to the logistics of finding a place to live. I've only been to LA once before, for a short site visit last year, and most of that time was spent counting light fixtures inside a department store in Orange County rather than doing much exploring around the city. Aside from that visit, LA is pretty much a mystery to me.

Here's what I'm looking for, in terms of housing:

1) A small studio that can be cheaply furnished with one trip to IKEA, or something that's already furnished. (I have a two-bedroom apartment's worth of furniture here in Cincinnati, but almost all of that is going into storage. Whatever I bring to LA will have to fit into my Grand Cherokee.) I'd be willing to consider a roommate / share arrangement, but I'd much rather have my own place even if it's a tiny studio.

2) I'll be working in Santa Monica, and I'd like to keep my commute under 30-45 minutes each way if possible. In terms of the type of neighborhood, I'm open to anything that's at least half-decent. I'm not expecting Beverly Hills, but I'd like to be someplace where I don't have to worry too much about crime and quality of life.

3) I'll be bringing my cat with me.

4) It has to be quiet. Noise is a huge issue for me, and I'm probably more sensitive to it than most other people. I don't mind traffic noise so much, but I can't live someplace where I'm being subjected to loud stereos or constantly-barking dogs late at night.

5) This will be a short-term thing, lasting from late March through mid-August. I could probably postpone my move-in date to April 1st if I had to. I can pay up to about $1300/mo, but obviously cheaper is better.

So, if you know of anything, or know of any neighborhoods or areas I should check out, I'd love to hear about it. Any other general LA-living advice would also be appreciated, like good bars to check out, things to see, places to explore, etc.

I originally had my heart set on the Pacific Northwest, but nothing in that area worked-out employment-wise. That said, I'm excited about living in Los Angeles for this co-op, and if things work out, I might even consider moving back out there for good once I finish grad school.

Thanks in advance...

Feb 7, 12 8:22 pm

Gin, if you didn't know already this is the standard when it comes to rentals around here. It pays to sign up.


Feb 7, 12 8:32 pm

Santa Monican here, Gin.  Welcome!  Orhan's recommendation is probably right on, though I haven't looked for a place in a very long time.  You might also consider, dare I say it, Craig's List.  (Make sure to check the "No murderers, please" box.)  Seriously, though, your parameters (your own place, pets accepted) while understandable, will cost a premium.  If WR doesn't come through, CL might broaden the possible options.

Neighborhoods to consider: Palms, Culver City, Baldwin Hills, Mid-City...  A good map can be found at

Good luck!

Feb 7, 12 8:58 pm
Living in Gin

Thanks for the links... I've bookmarked them for future reference. I've also been checking craigslist and some apartment complex websites.

Feb 8, 12 7:41 am


Just a word of caution...  I live in a super quaint, quiet, lovely area in Santa Monica.  Frienly neighbors, cross street from park, next to a little church... 

My place was just burglarized 2 weeks ago.  One of my colleague (west LA)  had his stuff cleaned out and his house trashed a week later.

The police said there's a fair amount of that going on EVERY WHERE around LA.  Be sure to consider safety potential of the properties (bar on window, strong door and lock, etc.) beyond what the neighborhood appears to be.

Good luck.

Feb 8, 12 3:40 pm

westside rentals is worth the $$$, as the last two places that I've lived in LA have been found there.

Had a friend who lived on a boat in Marina Del Ray for several years while working at Morphosis to save money - this may be a viable option (if you don't get seasick).

Feb 8, 12 3:46 pm
Living in Gin

Thanks for the heads-up about burglaries... I've spent the past several years living in semi-sketchy parts of NYC and Cincinnati, so I'm used to being conscious about such things, especially if it's a ground-floor apartment.

I'll sign up for when I have the money to do so... Unfortunately that probably won't be until I'm almost ready to head out there. I'll also keep an eye out for boat rentals. In the meantime, I've made reservations at an extended-stay hotel in the valley (cheapest rates) for my first week out there in case I don't have something more permanent lined up when I arrive.

Feb 8, 12 6:41 pm

I moved to LA not that long ago.

I actually stayed at an Airbnb place for the first month here, didn't even cost me 1k, and the location was pretty darn good.

I live in Koreatown now. I can walk to the train and be downtown in 15 min out the door, which is great because that's where i work, to me that was a huge selling point. The area is decent too, and with it's proximity to other stuff, cheap.

1300$ is a pretty decent rent budget, you should do alright.


Jul 4, 14 3:37 am
Living in Gin

Um, I posted this topic over two years ago. I completed my co-op in Los Angeles, finished grad school, and now live in NYC. But thanks anyway.

Jul 4, 14 9:08 pm

nyc sucks.


la is better.

Jul 4, 14 9:29 pm
Lol . I only looked at the date on the post above mine.
Jul 5, 14 1:34 am

When you see an old thread dredged up, 99% of the time it's some spammer. 

How small is your life if you spend your time posting spam to ancient threads dedicated to one of the least successful professions?

Jul 5, 14 12:14 pm

To be fair. There was another post that actually revived the thread, it wasn't mine.

But while I have you hear, what exactly makes Architecture one of the least successful professions?

Do architects tend to live below the poverty line? Do they do physical labor that creates health issues and limits their working lives? Do people loath them or think they are stupid for doing their job?

Jul 6, 14 12:10 am

Hi Living in Gin! Glad to here your back in the Big Apple.  Love to hear your take on things since you have been away.  Who knows maybe you will find your Jeep Cherokee on the streets, and give her a big kiss for being there when you needed her most.

Jul 8, 14 8:14 pm

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