Let The Sun Shine

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On their third home together, interior designer and actress Catherine Bell say goodbye to the 80s and hello to a new decade. 

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Though Mariah O’Brien and actress Catherine Bell met through an drama coach, in the intervening years their lives have taken different directions. O’Brien shook off the acting bug and turned her focus to interiors, launching in 2004, while Bell has gone on to star in JAG, Army Wives and The Good Witch

But the two women remained connected on their love of design with Bell entrusting two of her former home’s to O’Brien’s insightful eye. So it was a no brainer that, when she purchased the gray and white traditional home in Agoura Hills, she turned to O’Brien for help.

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“It had good bones,” shares O’Brien of the five bedroom, four and a half bath home Bell had fallen in love with. But, built in the late 80s, it lacked the open-plan living space and the indoor-outdoor flow that’s key to life in modern day Los Angeles.

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“She knew she wanted to contrast the traditional home with more modern elements,” says O’Brien adding, “and, most importantly, she wanted to maintain a very comfortable, warm, lived-in feel that was kid-friendly and utilized natural light.”

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This fell right into O’Brien’s wheelhouse. A City of Angeles-native as well as a mother, she’s intimate with needs of the easy Southern California life. “I believe the perfect style is one which complements your life and allows for true comfort and ease in your surroundings,” she shares, “I aim to have the home tell the story of the family that inhabits the home and not feel cookie cutter or designed to the point of making it impersonal.”

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To open up the home and infuse the space with light, O’Brien installed Pella’s modern Architect Series three panel front door and sidelights. The rich colors of the stained wood, its modern lines and its beautiful hardware breathe modern life into the space, instantly updating it. 

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An 8 foot sliding patio door, also from Pella, creates a seamless transition to the outdoors. Open, it multiplies the living space and allows the easy and energetic flow of dogs and children. Their clean-lined aesthetic is the perfect backdrop for O’Brien’s signature blend of modern glamor. Voluptuous lacquered teal shelving, dense floral wallpaper, metallic touches and Persian rugs dance with midcentury classics, including Hans Wegner’s wishbone chairs clustered around a Carrera marble Saarinen table and a piano.

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“She brings so much joy into a room, so I really tried to reflect that in her space,” says O’Brien.