Home Sweet Home Swapping

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  • Text Emma Fecko, Molly Harris, Clara Malley
  • Design Emily Zhang

If you swipe through Instagram Stories, and feel inundated with the deluge of “looking for sublet!” posts, you’re not alone. Home swapping—a way to trade houses with a friend or stranger for a few weeks or months—is rising faster than rent prices. Especially among Gen Z, house exchanges have become a symbiotic way to explore a new location without committing to a permanent move.

This year, two of our very own D1Aers swapped homes for a month, trading their apartments in Los Angeles and New York, respectively. Read on for diary entries from Senior Creative Strategists, Molly Harris and Clara Malley, of their day-to-day experiences after swapping cities and homes:

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On my way.
Molly Harris
Senior Creative Strategist
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Hasn't driven in 3-4 years.
Clara Malley
Senior Creative Strategist

Molly: LA ✈️ NYC

Before anything, two people need recognition: Thank you Clara for agreeing to house swap and making my stay in NY so amazing. Shout out to Elise for being a literal train-er, guiding me on how to use the subway (many times) and more.

Week 1:

Took Monday and Tuesday off to settle in and hang with some friends in town. Made the best of some rainy days, thrifted the weirdest shoes at a Williamsburg pop up, caught a Joji show at Madison Square Garden and was reminded that pictures of nature never look as pretty posted as IRL

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Week 2:

Got settled in at the D1A NY office…

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Cooked some meals…

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...then dined out the rest of the month.

Week 3:

Accidentally walked over 11 miles on Sunday exploring Central Park and The Met. Might’ve pulled a hammy…

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…Also attended my first Webby Awards (filmed a cute lil acceptance video), barely escaped a pizza-themed escape room and reenacted the entire Alligator Lounge scene from The Rehearsal Season 1, Episode 1 in front of co-workers with no shame whatsoever.

Week 4:

Ate some steak and bonded with the East Coast team…

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Keeping any key learnings from this journey to myself for now, but ICYWW, it only took three weeks to confidently use the subway. The end.

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Clara: NYC ✈️ LA

Like Molly said: Shout out Elise being the producer for this entire exchange, facilitating key swaps, etc. Also, I found these pics of the truly obscene amount of pizza Molly and I ate on one fateful night in November 2022 when we decided that a house swap was a good idea.

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Week 1:

As evidenced by my map search history, it took a while to get my bearings, read: realize that I actually can’t walk in this city and I’m not a strong enough biker for K-Town so I should rent a car (I never rented a car).

SUR was one of my first stops. In route to the bathroom, I stumbled accidentally onto the infamous SUR alley, which has been host to multiple fights over the course of the Vanderpump Rules seasons (most recently a Katie vs. Raquelle faceoff). Naturally I had to spend a few minutes there in silent reflection. The closer to L.V.P., the closer to G.O.D.

I also got dinner at a Thai place but I can’t remember the name of it or where it was (this is a recurring theme). It was delicious but I was still fresh to LA and really into taking photos of palm trees.

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Week 2:

Continued to not rent a car. I was very grateful to get lifts to The Row (shout out to my co-worker, Adam) and beg my friends to drive me places. Rideshare in LA is also thankfully not quite as expensive as in New York.

I bought a truly unnecessary amount of clothes at flea markets/vintage stores and spent time in Griffith Park. I also hung out with Molly’s roommate which was a lot of fun although these photos are not that illustrative of anything other than that we encountered a seafood tower at Chateau Marmont.

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Week 3:

I took some vacation time and spent a few days on the west side: Venice, Santa Monica and accidentally Pacific Palisades when I got lost on my bike lol (it ended up being ok). More than anything, I love to be ✨at the beach✨so it was really nice. And although I didn’t get to see a ton of it, the superbloom was happening while I was in LA so there were a lot of wildflowers to see while I was biking around. But to Molly’s point, nature is often not as photogenic as you think it is.

Back on the east side, I saw some more friends, went to the LA office, and read Less Than Zero. I don’t have pics of any of that though, so you’ll have to trust.

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Week 4:

My week four was going back to DC to pick up my cat (pictured) from my parents' house lol. Key takeaways are: you actually (literally!) cannot travel by foot there, I don’t take enough photos, I don’t take good enough photos, I’m m*ving to L*s Ang*les.

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For more on Gen Z housing and home click here!