California Cottage Charm


Text by Lisa Frederick / Photography by Stephanie Welbourne

This garden-inspired California cottage is a little home with big heart.

The first time Julie and Brian O’Keefe walked into their 1950s cottage in the hills above Los Angeles, Julie was ready to walk right back out. “It had absolutely zero character,” Julie says. Its 1,300 square feet were a mishmash of dated surfaces, bland architecture, and an uninspired layout. But Brian, who saw potential beneath its plainness, persuaded Julie to put her design eye to work.

Adding a Dutch door to the front entry was the very first change the O’Keefes made after they purchased the home. “When open, it just begs you to come in,” Julie says. The willow chairs in the cottage’s serene living area are signed by artist Mark Lee, and have belonged to the O’Keefes for nearly 30 years. “I’ve always kept them inside so I’ll have them forever,” Julie says.