Alisiene Schall has lived in her San Diego, CA rental for 15 years. Needless to say, it’s a space she loves coming home to. As an aspiring interior designer with a background in accounting, Alisiene can’t give enough praise to the creative community she lives in — the one-bedroom Craftsman style apartment that she shares with her two rescue dogs, Lily and Soleil, is located in one of San Diego’s historic neighborhoods, within walking distance of museums, restaurants, and downtown. “When I walked in, I knew immediately I wanted to live here,” Alisiene explains the feeling of seeing her home for the first time. “My favorite part was that when I looked out of every window I saw lots of green, which felt like it was bringing my dream of living by a forest closer to reality.” At the top of her wish list was also a large dining area that could transform into a workspace when needed and accommodate larger dinner parties with friends.
Besides having a generous space to entertain, Alisiene’s emphasis is on the kitchen — when she’s not working, you’ll most likely find her preparing thoughtful meals for friends or teaching cooking classes to underprivileged teens. Although being a renter limited the changes she could make in her kitchen, updating it on a budget with new countertops, removable backsplash and cabinet doors turned out to be one of her most rewarding home projects. “I learned that my background in management and accounting set me up well for the discipline it takes to follow through on projects and meet deadlines I made for myself,” Alisiene shares.
Coming up with thoughtfully tailored design solutions has helped Alisiene gain confidence in her own creative abilities. A couple of years after moving in, she was diagnosed with an advanced stage of Endometriosis, which required big changes in her everyday life, as well as her home. “It was debilitating enough that while my social life drastically changed, my goals for my home also changed with the diagnosis. […] It was a drastic change to my very social, active lifestyle,” she shares. As her home now needed to make her feel better, facilitate social interactions and offer a truly calming space to rest as required, Alisiene set out to transform it with her personal well-being in mind.
To make her home feel like a healing sanctuary, Alisiene had to first determine what that actually meant in her case. She started the process by focusing on color palettes that felt soothing and followed with reducing the number of objects in each space. Another important factor was to ensure that her home remained extremely dog-friendly, with carefully selected textiles and upholstery that met the needs of her furry family members.
Since her diagnosis, Alisiene has added darker tones and combined them with soft textures for a calm atmosphere that complements the original details of her historic home. “Turning this space into a home was pretty fast initially — turning [it] into the home I really wanted happened over time,” Alisiene reflects. Today, the old Craftsman apartment is nothing short of the healing sanctuary that Alisiene set out to create, allowing her and the pups to feel happy, peaceful and always at home as soon as they walk in the door. —Sofia
Image above: Alisiene fell in love with her rental apartment for its historic charm. “It [has] the best qualities of a Craftsman, including beautiful wood floors and built-ins,” she says. To create a healing atmosphere, Alisiene focused on moody tones and elements of nature.