Home Sweet Home Swapping

  • 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:

On my way.
Molly Harris
Senior Creative Strategist
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

Week 2:

Got settled in at the D1A NY office…

Cooked some meals…

...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…

…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…

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

For more on Gen Z housing and home click here!