A 575-Square-Foot Cottage Rental Home Has the Dreamiest Dining Room Windows

A 575-Square-Foot Cottage Rental Home Has the Dreamiest Dining Room Windows

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Name: Allegra Rose Berger
Location: Laguna Beach, California
Size: 575 square feet
Type of Home: Guest house/cottage
Years Lived In: 8 months, renting

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I grew up in the woodlands of Minnesota and moved to California in 2018 after graduating from art school. This is my fourth place I’ve rented on the West Coast, and the first place I’ve had the chance to live alone. As a creative freelancer, influencer, and artist, it has always been important to me to have a space that inspires me. At the end of last year, I created a vision board for 2022, and pinned up photos of a little white cottage by the coast. I had never dreamed I would have discovered this special place that completely aligned with what I had only been daydreaming of! From the lofted ceilings of white wooden beams, to the large glass windows that overlook gardens and greenery, to the little view of the ocean I have from the corner of my deck, I have never felt so at home than here in my magic mermaid cove.

Credit: Hunter Gawne

I had barely started looking for my own place when I saw this little cottage pop up on Zillow — it was only posted for two hours when I called the landlords and told them I’d love to come see it as soon as possible! I went to have a look and totally fell in love with the space, instantly being so inspired by imagining how I would decorate and design the space once it was my own. I love so many things about my space, but it’s really special to me that it’s the first place I’ve lived on my own. I love how walkable it is, whether I want to walk down to the beach for an afternoon swim, or to the farmer’s market on a Saturday morning. But mostly, I love spending hours on my deck, painting, having friends over for natural wine, or reading in my hammock. The space itself gets so much natural light, and the most beautiful big palm tree I’ve ever seen meet my deck at eye level, making my little cottage feel like a tropical oasis. 

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Over the last four years that I have lived on the West Coast, I have been so inspired by all the different styles of design I have been exposed to — from the natural shapes and textures of coastal cabins in Northern California along the Big Sur coastline, to the warm colors and materials used in places like Topanga Canyon and Joshua Tree, I like to think of my little cottage as the culmination of everything I’ve been inspired by since moving to California. 

Inspiration: I identify as someone who enjoys romanticizing life. Everything I have curated in my space sparks so much creativity, and really inspires me in so many ways. I have intentionally chosen every ceramic mug, flower vase, poetry book, and piece of art that decorates my space. I really wanted to draw in coastal nuances, such as my blue and pink linen sheets reminding me of the sunsets over the ocean here in Laguna. I’m passionate about curating a space that evolves and continues to be a canvas for my creativity.

Credit: Hunter Gawne

Favorite Element: My favorite spot is definitely the corner of windows in my dining room. It’s the spot where I sit to work, have my coffee every morning, daydream, and create. Especially in the late afternoons, the most gorgeous golden sunlight streams in and creates dancing shadows all over my space. I usually will pour a glass of wine and just enjoy the warm light and energy that fills my space each golden hour!

Biggest Challenge: I think the biggest challenge I’ve had to overcome has been staying organized in a small space. My solution has been lots of wicker baskets and bins within my closets! I also host monthly closet sales on my Instagram or donate to Thredup to continue decluttering my space.

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? My dining room doubles as my desk space, in order to make room for my piano! In the place where a desk would have gone, sits my beautiful cream-colored Young Chang piano, given to me by my parents. My dad bought it when he was in the Navy and lived in Honolulu. My favorite thing about it is that it’s the same piano that he would play for my mom when they first met, and he would leave her voicemails of him playing songs for her. When I moved into this space, we didn’t have the exact measurements for the spot I imagined the piano would go, but after we drove the piano out from my parents house in Minnesota, it happened to fit absolutely perfectly (down to a half inch!) 

Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: If you are currently looking for a small space to move into, I would look for built-ins! My kitchen has some exposed shelves, cabinets, and huge drawers for organizing. It has been key in staying organized in my small space. In the closets, there are also built-in shelves inside for extra organization. I would also recommend some under-bed storage for extra clothes, linens, and blankets!

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? I think the best advice I could offer is to fill your space with things you love. Be intentional with what you bring into your space. Also, give your home a name! After naming mine the mermaid cove, it informed so many design decisions, and how I just wanted it to feel like a magical little bungalow, filled with seashell-colored wine glasses, books about marine life, and plenty of sea salt candles. Everything in your space should spark joy!



  • Half circle mirror — The Citizenry
  • Record player — Burke Decor


  • Couch — Pacific Pearl Cotton Linen by Sixpenny
  • Living room rug — PBteen
  • Floor lamp — Vintage


  • Kitchen light — Uplantin
  • Espresso maker — Anza Coffee


  • Outdoor table — Locally made solid wood table from Marketplace
  • Outdoor tablecloth — Heather Taylor Home


  • Nightstand — PBteen
  • Lamp — Wilder Home
  • Seashell light — IMIKEYA

Thanks Allegra!

This tour’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity. 
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