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First Person

Learning to recognize myself in the bathroom mirror

When I was a teenager, it was the most dangerous room in the house. Today, it’s where I feel most like myself.

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A brief history?of South Park, SF’s oldest—and most underrated—public park

It has a rich and thrilling past, which includes the birthplace of Twitter and setting the stage for an Oscar-winning performance.

Slow streets are the path to a better city

Overnight, slow streets transformed our neighborhood. Everyone should have access to the same opportunity.

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The appeal of the TikTok everyhouse

The clocks look familiar, and the doors are probably from Lowe’s, and the speckles in the granite look like the speckles in your granite.

I only felt at home once my home disappeared

The further we travel from our life in Germantown, the more it reveals itself as the place I belonged.

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Our house was a refuge—until COVID-19 came home

When my kids grow up, I hope they remember watching "Frozen 2," not the pandemic.

The basement where we fell out of love

After the breakup, we created a second bedroom by assembling an Ikea bed in the kitchen.

Living in a hallway made me comfortable with discomfort

I was exhausted all the time, but I knew my temporary sleeping arrangement would serve me in the end.

Learning to love my Brutalist childhood home

The Brunswick’s ugliness once mortified me, but now I appreciate its utopian roots.

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My Brooklyn bedroom has no windows

What originally worried me about the place turned out to be a boon—until lockdown.

My year of free mattresses

I slept on a new one every 100 nights, but I couldn’t scam my way to self-care.

The statement rug that finally made my apartment feel like home

Finding an attractive, affordable, and sustainably-made rug was no easy task.

How to breathe cleaner air, indoors and outside

Protect yourself from what’s out your door, but also make some changes in your home.

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What I learned from living a socially isolated life for the past two years

"It will get easier after you adjust," says Amanda Chicago Lewis.

Finding beautiful baby decor in a sea of plastic

I’d been on the fence about having kids, and one of the reasons I’d wavered for so long was the stuff.

The green dream of Portland

Decades ago, Portland, Oregon established an image as the most environmentally friendly city in the world. But is the progressive city’s progress still too slow?

The mouse in our house

The arrival of the mouse jeopardized the carefree space we’d so deliberately cultivated.

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Why home organizing is my coronavirus coping tool

Faced with a pandemic, I’m sheltering in place—and finding solace in bringing order to my home.

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Why repainting my apartment was a crucial step in my healing process?

I didn’t have the resources to move out of my home, but I’d finally recovered the strength to transform it

I needed help to sort a lifetime of my mother’s belongings

Moving had been a fraught subject even before my mom got sick. After her diagnosis, we found an organizer-slash-diplomat.

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Once upon a time in my Hollywood

Traces of the Hollywood I remember can still be found, if you know where to look.

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Thanks to rent control, I finally get to live alone

For the first time in 45 years.

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Building community in an unfamiliar place

Being a regular at a bar offers routine and a sense of civic involvement, but real relationships can only be built at home.

How your cool new fridge forces you to waste more food

Keeping food cold is a leading contributor to climate change. So why are our refrigerators bigger than ever?

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On our bedbug anniversary, we got bedbugs again

When you have bedbugs, your first impulse is to pick up and move—to a new apartment, to a ranch in Montana to start a new life—but this is the last thing you are supposed to do.

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I bought an alarm system to feel safe while living alone

I am not likely to become the victim of a home invasion crime, but what if letting my guard down just this once invites chaos into the place where I am supposed to feel at home?

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From internet friends to upstairs neighbors

My building lacks the shared spaces that newer, flashier buildings advertise as a hedge against urban isolation, but we’ve formed a community just the same.

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I lost myself within my married household. I found myself by creating my own.

I experimented with the ’70s, with farmhouse accents, with psychedelic rainbow cactus prints.

I never thought I’d feel at home in my neighborhood—until we got The Slide

The primary-colored eyesore became a community gathering place.

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How buying a house activated all of my anxieties

Purchasing a home means phone calls—and late-night worries about gentrification.

The sculptural bookshelf practical enough for small spaces

This spine-like shelf helped my space look "design-y" without being an actual stack of books on the floor.

My dad is a real Bob the Builder

I spent my childhood observing my dad at work, but I didn’t understand everything that went into it until we began a project together.

10 favorite Personal Space essays of 2019

Finding furniture to remember a parent, growing up without a fixed address, and more.

What I learned from a year in utopias

2019 saw a flood of interest in idealized ways to live. But to what end?

I didn’t realize how much our kitchen island stools meant until I lived without them

The kitchen island represented what I desperately craved: normalcy.

My new home came with chickens

Caring for the chatty, social creatures meant I was deep in the long-term of my new life from day one.

What it’s really like to give up plane travel

A design journalist attending a sustainability-minded architecture fair reflects on her experience traveling from London to Oslo by train instead of a plane.

My TaskRabbit gig in a stranger’s fancy kitchen?

Watching Tim invest in his home reminded me that right now, my life wasn’t about feeling comfortable or rooted.

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When I became pregnant with twins, my mess stopped feeling cute

I hoped hiring an organizer would force me to take it seriously.

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