Inside an airy Victorian farmhouse from Arterberry Cooke

    If you’re looking for ways to revive your home or create an airy feel, this Alice Arterberry and Barrett Cooke project from Arterberry Cooke Architecture is full of inspiration. The design firm has transformed a folkloric Victorian farmhouse into a sunny oasis suitable for entertaining. Built in 1915, this Pasadena, California home features innovative indoor and outdoor decorating ideas—from a clutter-free kitchen prep area to the perfect pool house for family gatherings and playtime with the kids. Steal the design ideas below.

    Kitchen and dining areas

    California home tour brings the outdoors

    Jill Wheeler

    bring outdoor

    Rather than settling on the original choppy floor plan, Alice Arterberry and Barrett Cooke upgraded the home’s most difficult-to-work floor in collaboration with the homeowners, giving it an open, airy design suitable for entertaining. The designers combined the kitchen, dining area, and living space and added double doors that open onto the pool deck.

    Find a bright spot for the breakfast nook.

    In a very sunny corner, the kitchen’s main dining area, which features wood paneling, serves as a family command center for meals and arts and crafts sessions. For this reason, a custom composite quartz countertop (also found in the kitchen) is a no-fail option. “They wanted it to be indestructible so they could use the space for everything and not worry about damaging the table,” says Cooke.

    Kitchen Mess A Tour of California by the Ocean

    Jill Wheeler

    Keep the chaos on the ocean.

    When designing a kitchen, Cooke likes to “keep as much functionality on the perimeter as possible so the island remains clean and used as a preparation area and gathering place for the family.” The result is a design that appears open and can prevent any messy cooking areas from taking up the space.

    Gets Appearance: Patio Dining Chairs, $140,; Buy it: One Globe Pendant, $135,

    Design Tip: A wood worktop makes an all-white kitchen feel “warm and homey,” says Cooke, and is the perfect choice for an island without a sink or built-in range.


    california home round bedroom

    Jill Wheeler

    Enjoy the beach atmosphere all year round.

    Your bedroom is meant to be a sanctuary, and that’s exactly what design firm Arterberry Cooke had in mind during this makeover. The original wood paneling and decorated walls of Behr’s Mountain Falls provide a peaceful atmosphere.

    Gets Appearance: Layne Velvet Curtain, from $88,; Buy it: Seashell Accent Chandelier, $250,

    Water Cycle

    California Home Round Bath Shower

    Jill Wheeler

    Play with the scale in the bathroom.

    A long brass shower arm, along with gray and white marble tiles in multiple shapes and sizes, packs a punch in a basic bathroom. “We did pattern blocking, rather than color blocking, but both would work here,” Cook says of the result, which includes hexagonal shower tiles from Soho Studio. The custom vanity, which has a medium wood tone, complements the brass hardware and adds a touch of luxury to the design scheme. “A lot of the woodwork in the house was very dark, so we were looking for ways to bring back wood that wasn’t feeling oppressive,” Cook adds.

    Bath tour in California

    Jill Wheeler

    Wood panel paint.

    The bathroom’s white wood paneling mirrors the original walls in the primary bedroom and helps stabilize the setting. “It was the dark wood when they bought the house, but we painted it white and made it lighter and brighter,” says Cooke. “We looked for the elements that worked when the house was originally constructed and added to those elements as much as possible to maintain a cohesive feel.”

    Cleaning tip: Don’t let small mold spots on painted walls spoil your spa moments. Gently scrub with a brush dipped in rock water. Next, apply a mixture of 3 tablespoons of chlorine bleach to 1 quart of water. Wait five minutes, scrub, rinse, and air dry.

    Bathroom Tips GH Resident Cleaning Expert Caroline Forte

    • clean glass: Keeping glass shower doors and walls crystal clear can be a challenge, especially in areas with hard water. Drying them after showering helps prevent residue buildup. And the oversized microfiber towel makes everyday work quick.
    • Stunning stone: Natural stone, like marble, is a classic and durable choice for a bathroom, but many conventional bathroom cleaners contain acids that can etch these materials. Check the label and choose a shower cleaner, like Granite Gold, that’s both effective and stone safe.
    • shower power: Today’s fixtures often feature a high-quality finish that can be damaged by a vinegar soak, and it’s often recommended for cleaning a clogged shower head. Instead, dip the brush into the vinegar and just use the jets. Rinse well and dry.
    • teak trick: Accessories such as shower seats and mats will last longer and look better when cleaned with a mixture of suds and water, and sometimes protected with oil or teak sealant.

      Gets Appearance: Buy it: Bamboo Bath Caddy, $70,


      California Tour Home Lobby

      Jill Wheeler

      Add more storage to the entry.

      Any busy family needs a simple space equipped to deal with real life. As the first floor lacked a traditional utility closet, a built-in closet was installed to keep daily essentials like coats and gloves under the covers. And Arterberry Cooke doesn’t stop there: The dresser and walls are all painted in Benjamin Moore’s Gray Owl to pull the space together. “We wanted it to feel like it was really part of the room and kind of fade away,” Cook says.

      outdoor area

      yard house in california

      Jill Wheeler

      Design the perfect patio

      The outdoor spaces need nurturing, too. Make sure you’re always ready as a guest with these simple steps.

      • Hidden pillows: The best way to keep removable chair cushions and cushions clean is to protect them from dirt and moisture after use and during the off season. Invest in a waterproof deck box for easy access when you need it and easy storage when you don’t.
      • Spot cleaning furniture: Cleaning chairs and tables well at the beginning and end of the outdoor season is key, but it’s the regular touches that get them ready for impromptu meetings. Store a pack of heavy-duty cleaning wipes, such as Clorox All-Purpose Paper Wipes, nearby to quickly remove dirt and stains without having to rinse them.
      • brighten brick: Stone, brick, and concrete walks and finishes are susceptible to heat and stains when exposed to the elements. Use a cleaner such as the Golden Granite Exterior Stone Cleaner. Gentle and safe around plants, they come sized up to your garden hose for added pressure and reach.

        California Home Outdoor Fireplace Tour

        Jill Wheeler

        Building an outdoor fireplace

        “The connection to the outside is so perfect,” says Cooke of the attractive design scheme featuring a dramatic brick chimney and fireplace (the original was removed in the ’80s). The striped rug ensures that the neutral seating area above remains the focal point of the area.

        pool house “play”

        Home tour in California to play pool

        Jill Wheeler

        “They wanted an area where the kids could be less valuable, where they could make a bit of a mess,” Cook says of the pool house, an ADU (accessory unit) converted. Not only is it a cozy place for the children of the three homeowners to gather with friends, play games and watch TV, it can also be used as a work or exercise space.

        California Home Round Colorful Kitchen Backsplash

        Jill Wheeler

        Install a colored backsplash.

        A shimmering tile backsplash from Wow’s Fez collection in the pool house kitchen perfectly catches the light and prevents the space from feeling cramped. The crisp white of the cabinets and the edge of the wall brightens the room.

        California home tour bedroom living room pool play house

        Jill Wheeler

        Make it bright with white.

        Rather than overwhelming the pool house with strong colors and patterns, the white walls “keep as much light bouncing around as possible,” says Cook, noting that she wanted it to have the same fresh feeling as the main house. The timeless neutral layer is layered with natural materials, like the straw headboard and jute living room rug, to enhance the coastal aesthetic. “Finally, the house feels cohesive,” says Cook.

        Gets Appearance: Buy it: Rattan headboard, $379,

        A version of this feature appeared in the June 2022 issue of good housekeeping.

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