A Woodworker’s Southern California Cottage

Rochelle Chavez started making furniture for family and friends to get her mind off her day job as an art director. After hours spent in front of a computer, she just wanted to get back to making stuff with her hands. Her hobby turned into a small business, Primitive Reserve,  and now she designs and builds furniture and art for a living. Rochelle moved into this home in Studio City, California just one year ago, and she’s already filled her home with things made by hand. Her goal was for her small space to feel like a cozy cottage with a bit of a modern edge, filled with treasures from family and friends. Thanks, Rochelle! And a big thank you to Luca Del Puppo for the lovely photographs! -Amy

Image above: I am a tool hoarder, I can’t stop collecting! Same goes for books. My favorite tool in this photo would have to be the small antique keyhole saw that a good friend bought for me. The shelving units are the Vittsjo series from Ikea and the stone table is a thrift shop find.   

Image above: My bedroom is peaceful and calm. The art above my bed is a product of my table saw being down for a weekend at my shop so I went a little craft crazy at home with rope. The mid-century night stand was a tag sale find in Santa Barbara where I went to college.

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See more of this California home after the jump!

Image above: I spend most of my time here, whether it’s reading, drawing or hanging with a friend. It actually got cold enough here last year to turn the fireplace on, gasp! The old casement windows and French doors help make my small space in the city feel like my very own country cottage. The Ikea Kivik sofa is just the right size for my tiny living area. The rug was a cheap buy on Overstock.com. 

Image above: Never waste wood. I built this piece from scrap and I love it. 

Image above: This chair has been with me since college. I found it at a local thrift store and will probably never part with it. The side table is a very sentimental piece because my brother and I built it together. It is the first edition of the Stepped Pyramid side tables that I continue to make.

Image above: I “borrowed” this vintage bench from my cousin last year which I now use as a coffee table. I’m guessing she is probably going to want it back after reading this.



Image above: I took a road trip to Arizona this summer and found this stunning rattan chair at an estate sale.

Image above: I love to hang up post cards from friends/family and anything else that enlivens me on this makeshift inspiration board. The floating city sketch was drawn in ink on notebook paper by my talented sweetheart while he was bored in a meeting.

Image above: The wood lounge chair is by far my best Craigslist find. I reupholstered the cushion in plaid to make it my own. The round wall hanging and succulent shelf were both made with love by me!




love all the woodwork and the clever uses of wooden pallets. I’m a woodworker myself, and I’ve been looking for creative ways to use reclaimed wood. Very cozy place!

firehorse jane

Love the idea over the fireplace – seems like something a lot of people could do if they wanted to; thanks for sharing.


Looking through this tour made me feel so calm and peaceful. It’s definitely up there with the best! The brown and white throughout the home is beautiful and all of your woodwork is wonderfully original. I love your style!

Thanks for sharing!

Rachel Geller

Expert hair and expert woodwork! Congrats Rochelle, your furniture is beautiful!


Love it all – especially the rope art in the bedroom and the wood above the fireplace..


I love that your decor is so personal and beautiful. Seems like a great reflection of your interests and personality.


Good idea for my shed which I am finishin. I was thinking about the way of decor from outside, now I have few ideas ;) thanks.


I love this place….this is SERIOUSLY inspiring! It looks like such a beautiful place to work and relax, but also has your signature all over it. I love the way that you re-used pallets for a console and a room divider. Way to go!!!!!!!!