For 14 years, Joy Cho and her husband, Bob, were apartment renters — first in Philadelphia, hometown for both, and then in Los Angeles, where they moved a decade ago. The couple craved space for entertaining friends, more room for their kids, and a yard for them to play in — a home for making memories. “At the end of the day, we think of our family, our friends, our connections,” Joy says. She had no interest in ‘rooms you use one or two times a year.’ “This is my family’s house,” she says of the finished product, “the house my kids will grow up in. It’s our forever home.”
Joy is the founder and creative director of the successful lifestyle empire Oh Joy!, which brings her playful use of color and pattern to everything from suitcases to sneakers. Bob is a surgeon. Both are hands-on parents to daughters Ruby, 9, and Coco, 6.
When they were finally ready to buy their first house, they were stunned at LA’s steep prices. Building a home in the area costs on average about 50 percent less than buying one, so in 2014, they found a hillside lot, hired an architectural firm, dug into their savings, took out a construction loan, and set to work creating a house that would embrace both easy entertaining and family life.
The result is cheerful, open, and warm. Windows and skylights bring in the California sunshine, and pale wood floors and terrazzo tiles add texture to temper the house’s clean, contemporary lines. The couple made trade-offs to increase space and keep costs down, but one priority Joy was clear on: places to put things. “Storage makes whatever space you’re in feel bigger,” she says.
Cleverly designed closets in her daughters’ bedrooms can grow with them; cubbies in the entryway prevent loose shoes from taking over the threshold. Ample storage “has improved the general sanity of my family, and my sanity,” Joy says. Her favorite room, she admits, may be the couple’s closet. Instead of a vast master suite, Joy and Bob opted for a smaller bedroom. “I wanted to take some of that space and make my dream closet,” she says. Among its custom features is a hamper, with a pass-through to the laundry room, cunningly camouflaged in cabinetry.
But storage isn’t everything. “We have stuff in our lives, but that’s not what propels us,” Joy says. Family and friends, and keeping those connections strong—that’s where her heart lies. “We’ve fallen in love with the house,” she says, “and I can’t wait to have people over.”