A local business partnered with a local graduate. Courtesy photo.

At 20 years old, Breanna Scott is likely Santa Monica’s youngest interior designer, and already a booming success. When the OP Cafe was on the precipice of shutting down, Scott with the help of her mentor Brad Lawson, created a gorgeous garden-themed patio space that quadrupled the Cafe’s available seating.

The patio, which opened this weekend, conjures up a colorful garden out of a plain parking lot and creates a welcoming space for adults and children to enjoy the cafe’s delectable breakfast and brunch treats.

“Bre, she is a quick learner, she is like a little sponge. Mark is going to hire her to do a whole lot more now. She cares, she provides input, and she’s really smart for her age,” said her mentor and fellow designer Brad Lawson. “Bre and I really see eye to eye. I think the world of her.”

Scott and Lawson helped create the outdoor dining space for Golden Bull, a steakhouse owned by the same owner as OP Cafe, Mark Verge. Following that success, Scott took the helm for designing the OP Cafe patio right when Verge was considering closing down the business.

“I grew up in Santa Monica, my dad grew up in Santa Monica, his dad grew up in Santa Monica, we met this girl Breanna who grew up in Santa Monica and whose parents grew up in Santa Monica. She along with Brad wanted to design a patio because I was going to shut OP down, because there is no business and our poor employees were going to be let go,” said Verge.

Using a $10,000 budget, Scott and Lawson created the garden in just a week and a half. It features a flower bed lined patio and holds sixteen tables. Verge believes it will provide a big boost to business as far less people have been ordering to-go food since outdoor dining became the norm.

Scott has been taking art and design classes at West LA Community College and working hard with Lawson all summer to learn as much as she can about interior design. Lawson is a successful interior designer who used to own a furniture company and has worked with a series of A-list clients including Jack Nicolson, Jim Carey, the Prime Minister of Kuwait, and the Armani Group.

Scott took the lead with the OP patio by working on the design concept, mapping out the layout, and selecting materials.

“We didn’t really want to do the beachy theme because that is kind of overdone. We get it, we are close to the beach, we don’t need to keep reminding people,” said Scott. “We are also near a park so we thought ‘let’s do a little bit of a garden theme’; that is more inviting, kids can come and adults will find it welcoming. Brad and I both had the same idea of doing a deck. We both had flowers in mind and we were thinking we should do flower beds surrounding the whole thing.”

This project is an impressive addition to Breanna’s portfolio as the interior design business is very competitive. Lawson came from humble beginnings and hustled for many years to succeed in his career.

“It’s real tough to break into this industry. There is so much competition out there, it’s really difficult,” said Lawson. “I came from nowhere. I grew up selling door to door when I was 13 years old and there’s nobody better than to give Bre these lessons. I think I’m going to be able to get her through the trenches.”

Mark Verge, who has worked with Lawson for decades, was excited to bring Scott on and has been very impressed with her talent. Lawson loves small businesses and is driven crazy by the fact that Santa Monica has 25 Starbucks stores. To help remedy this he operates five local restaurants: Art’s Table, Ashland Hill, Margo’s, The Golden Bull, and The OP Cafe.

“Breanna interned with Brad and I said use this as a resume builder. We kind of mentor 15 kids a year from Santa Monica because kids can’t find jobs right now, so we always take kids on and try to tell them to build their resume and this kid is really amazing.”

Scott has always loved art and drawing and spent almost every lunchtime at Santa Monica High School in the ceramics room. After a brief stint with pre-law coursework, she decided she needed to be in a creative career and discovered her passion for interior design.

“I think it can be really hard and challenging to get into the industry, so I’m glad this happened for me,” said Scott. “I know when I graduate I can have this under my belt and I will already have my foot in the door.”