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Homes Inspired by Baja

by Kim Lee Chou

I have always enjoyed spending holidays, long weekends and vacations in Baja California because of the beautiful natural surroundings that the place offers. Even inside the hotel rooms and suites in almost any city in Baja, you are sure to feel the magnificence of the outdoors incorporated inside your comfortable and luxurious living space. It seems to me that with the landscapes of Baja visible through your windows and balconies can transform even the stuffiest and gloomiest room in winter time into a space that feels pleasantly airy and sunny. Because of my love for Baja interiors and atmosphere, I decided to infuse the beach-y and outdoorsy ambiance of Baja California into my two-bedroom apartment in Los Angeles, California.

Like many apartment owners, I have a list of complaints regarding my apartment. For instance, the view from my bedroom window is nothing like that which you might see if you were staying in Baja. Instead of acres and acres of bloom and cacti-carpeted deserts, white sand beaches, impressive mountain ranges or a clear blue sea, my window looks over the window of the apartment across the street. All I see is my single male neighbor age 40 or 50 something who continually sits in front of his television eating microwave dinners. My bathroom also feels very small and bland. It is a small room that whose floor and four walls are tiled with beige bathroom tiles. My bedroom which is suppose to be like a sanctuary from the stress and disorder of everyday life is not at all relaxing and refreshing to be in because of the number of clutter placed all over the room due to lack of storage space and room planning. Described like this, you can well understand why I constantly escape my apartment and come to Baja.

So after much scanning through interior decorating magazines, I went to Baja to look for genuine Mexican furniture and room accessories to begin my apartment make-over. The first place I went to was the Avenida Revolucion in Tijuana because it is very near and also because is is known for its large size and wide variety of items. After a day of scouring the shops for bargains and sales, I was able to purchase a beautifully carved dark wood headboard for my bed, a vanity set of the same material, and plenty of cotton pillows stuffed with duck feathers. The Baja furniture shops I went to all offered delivery services, something I found very convenient since it would be hard to go back to the United States burdened with several large and bulky furniture pieces.

After Avenida Revolucion, I traveled south and was able to buy beautifully terracotta tiles in Rosarito which I intended to use in redecorating my bathroom. Not only were the tiles affordable and durable, their colorful designs were sure to give a touch of life and culture into my apartment bathroom. In Ensenada, I picked up some table lamps made of hand blown colored glass which I though would be perfect for my living room and dining room. I also got two ceiling fans which I will place in my bedroom and in my living room. The fans were really fun because the blades were made to resemble palm leaves. I also got several rolls of cloth which I wanted to transform into bedsheets, pillowcases and curtains. There were also a wide selection of carpets and woven rugs which I was able to choose from.

I guess this would be quite a list if I mention each and every item I bought in Baja California. However, it is a very pleasant surprise that even I was able to afford so many items of fine quality for such low prices. I was able to buy so many furniture and home accessories in Baja for just a fraction of the cost I would have paid if I went shopping in the US. The headboard that I bought for instance, would have cost at least $500 if I bought it in a furniture shop in a US mall. I am pleased to tell you that I paid a mere $165 for that hand-carved wooden headboard in Baja California so that I was able to save a lot of money.

Now, my small Los Angeles apartment has more character because of the small changes a couple of Baja furniture and home accessories were able to give. The bathroom for instance, is a delight to th eyes because of the colorful tiles covering the walls and floor. The living room is now a great place to entertain in because unique accessories I was placed in it. The ceiling fan and glass lamps are great conversation pieces and they are also functional room accessories. My bedroom, now decked in new windows curtains, bed sheets and pillows, is now a very relaxing place to be in. Although the view from my window continues to be the same, because of my new Baja-inspired interiors, I have less reason to look out of it.

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