When Jo Ann Thrailkill purchased a 1959 cabin in the San Bernardino Mountains, it had been abandoned for two decades and then carelessly updated to be put on the market.
“Everything looked brand new, but it didn’t match the era or style of the house,” Thrailkill recalls of the unfortunate quick-fix. “It was a deterrent. I had to look at it three times before buying because I wasn’t sure there was a way to save it.”
Eventually, Thrailkill was able to envision the double A-frame’s potential and completely gutted it to start from scratch. She combined her creative experiences in fashion, music video production, and nonprofits to craft a light, joyful home that serves as her own weekend getaway, as well as a perpetually-booked vacation rental.
Thrailkill’s decor ignores the wood-covered and plaid-heavy tropes of the typical mountain cabin in favor of her preferred interior style: a combination of bright white and bubblegum pink finishes that make guests feel like they’re staying in mid-century modern Barbie’s dreamhouse. “The goal was to create a comfortable place, but I definitely lean towards the feminine, so it’s a different version of cozy,” Thrailkill describes. “I wanted it to be whimsical and playful.”
In the kitchen, traditional Semihandmade Supermatte White Shaker cabinet fronts are dressed up with brass, pill-shaped pulls and complemented by a white tile backsplash that Thrailkill likened to a subway silhouette with a Moroccan twist. A contemporary, rounded faucet and durable Caesarstone countertops with an elegant waterfall edge complete the look.
Incorporating Personal Touches
To accentuate the angled walls and avoid cramping the small space, Thrailkill decided against upper cupboards and opted for floating shelves instead. She uses them to display colorful personal items that bring the room to life, like a handmade pink ceramic coffee mug from Oaxaca, crystal decanters that belonged to her great-grandmother, and books by culinary icons Ruth Reichl and Carla Lalli Music. An image of Griffith Observatory from Thrailkill’s The Pablove Foundation photography class rests on the ledge, as well.
Perhaps the boldest evidence of Thrailkill’s personality in the kitchen is the cotton candy-hued Dutch door that matches Semihandmade’s Sarah Sherman Samuel collaboration Blush Beaded vanity drawers in the bathroom. The cheerful shade is an instant mood-booster, but the door does more than just add pizzazz — it allows for crucial ventilation while cooking, too. “I don’t have an exhaust over the stove because it would mess with the line of the triangle,” explains Thrailkill. Opening the top half of the door does the trick.
Thrailkill’s choice of luxury vinyl flooring was also a smart move. Knowing that visitors would be skiing and playing in the snow, she predicted that wood would be ruined by moisture and tile would be cracked by boots. Her creamy white LVF, however, is nearly indestructible. “Everything gets mopped, swept, or vacuumed up,” she raves. “It’s really been wonderful.”
And though guests may be hard on the materials, they’ve actually been the most rewarding aspect of Thrailkill’s experience. “I feel really lucky that we’ve had this place, especially during COVID, and that we’ve been able to share it with others,” she reveals. “Part of the fun is having people tell us that they’re enjoying it and ask for design sources.” It seems like her idea of cozy is rubbing off.