Colette Shelton isn’t supposed to be telling you this. In fact, the COCOCOZY blogger was warned against it. “No one will take you seriously if you say that,” a designer cautioned. But she’s never been one to gloss over the truth.

Cococozy Design Home Tour

Melissa Gayle

You see, there are two framed pieces of abstract art in her living room—graphic pops of blue and green atop a tan background—and they were never intended to be art. In fact, they were more of a happy accident.

“I put ‘art’ in quotes when I talk about them,” Colette says. “I had been spraypainting pumpkins last fall, and when I removed them, there were these cool designs on the craft paper.”

She liked them so much she decided to frame them, and when a designer visited the 1930s Spanish Colonial she was remodeling, they mistook them for the work of a Danish artist. She laughed, explaining their true, less-glamorous provenance, realizing that in a sense, that craft-project-turned-wall-art exemplified her feelings toward decorating: “Design shouldn’t be intimidating,” she says.

Cococozy Design Home Tour

Reid Rolls

It also mirrors Colette’s renovation overall—and the journey she’s taken to put the View Park, CA, house up for sale.

“For so long, I was looking to everyone else for approval: I have an idea—what do you think?” she says. With the remodel, every decision was hers, and gradually, she learned to listen to what she wanted, not what would please everyone around her.

That may seem surprising to learn, given that Colette’s been covering decor for more than 10 years as the voice of COCOCOZY, even launching her own textiles line. But it wasn’t until she bought the space—known as the COCOCOZY Design House on her blog—that she decided to quit her job as an entertainment exec and pursue her passion full-time. Even then, she doesn’t let a title consume her identity, and that’s the same practice she put in place as she remodeled the home—everything has layers of personality.

“I wanted there to be whimsy and surprise in every room.”

“The interior space evolved, and I layered textures and patterns while keeping it clean-lined. There’s a little bit of old world, a little bit of new,” she says.

A full year and a half before quitting her job, Colette began gathering furniture and accessories for the house: rugs she picked up while visiting friends in the Hamptons; plaid pillows she found on sale at a boutique she loves.

“I wanted there to be whimsy and surprise in every room, whether it’s custom stained glass in a window or a crochet bedskirt, or a colorblock dresser,” Colette says.

She stuck to a largely neutral palette, creating interest through her use of pattern and contrast, like the COCOCOZY rug and the striped one she layered on top of each other in the living room.

“I wanted those vertical lines swooshing through to the fireplace for a bold impact,” Colette says.

She amped up the fun with a few playful pillows on the sofa, like one covered in Schumacher’s Chiang Mai Dragon design.

Another statement-maker is the floor-to-ceiling gallery wall in the dining room. Frame after frame of botanical prints surround the two windows—and they were all found in an agricultural guide from the late 1800s that Colette picked up at a flea market. The palette’s understated enough that it’s eye-catching without being distracting, and it serves as a nod to the gallery wall Colette’s aunt had in her restaurant in Haiti.

With each decision she made, Colette became increasingly certain of one thing: “I don’t necessarily need to be in a box. I can define who I am without being pigeonholed into one category: designer, executive, influencer.”

The house reflects that freedom to be what it is without sticking rigidly to what it was. And that liberation—to be unapologetically you—is worth taking seriously.

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