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San Clemente Journal

Creator of the Extraordinary; Lynnea Cheatum Oakes

Nov 23, 2023 10:23AM ● By Mary Colarik

Lynnea with her painting ‘Aretha’ from the Color of Music Art Show.

by Mary Colarik,

 Sitting down with Lynnea Cheatum Oakes, the multi-talented creator of many different types of art and design, for a delightful conversation at Zebra House Coffee on a late summer afternoon was a delight. Our chat was fascinating and engaging, continuing long after the coffee shop closed. 

The Cheatum family in 1969. (Back Row) Janie Cheatum, Noah Cheatum, Brad Cheatum, Cyndie Cheatum Fritz, Barbie Cheatum Aglio. Front row Lynnea Cheatum, Jan Cheatum.


Growing up in San Clemente Lynnea had a passion for art at a young age. Luckily for her this passion for art, music and design developed over the years into many amazing and interesting careers, including her latest endeavor, a clothing line, Cozzena, “cozy, zen.” A billowy clothing line that drapes the body in a flattering style that’s not only soft and comfy, but also ethically sourced and glamourous. These unique and beautiful clothes are curated, and some are designed by Lynnea for women of all ages, from 20 to 90. 

Lynnea’s Winnie the Poo Beach towell design for Disney.


A Background of Artists
Lynnea’s dad, Noah Cheatum and her mom, Janie Cheatum left Kansas for the golden state of California in the late 1950s with a trailer and three children in tow. Noah who had his contractor’s license was ready to start his own construction company when they arrived in San Clemente. For 30 years the Noah Cheatum Construction Company was well-known for custom built homes and industrial and retail centers in and around San Clemente; including the Seahorse Inn on Avenida Victoria. This building was the vision of Hale Sparks. a newscaster in LA. (Lynnea shared the original blueprints of the building with me.) 

Janie was a talented, self-taught interior designer, who decorated each custom home that they built for themselves. Every few years, they would sell the home and build another. Cheatum was responsible for approximately 20% of the new builds at the time. Janie also made elaborate Christmas decorations every year, buying life size dolls and creating a nativity scene on the roof with angels and spotlights. She even painted the windows of their home to finish off the décor. 
Lynnea, the youngest of the five children, often accompanied her dad to his job sites learning about construction and spatial design. As a youngster she was absorbing the talented gifts of creativity from both her parents. In eighth grade she was enrolled in Mr. Wilson’s Art Service class. He had approximately 12 talented, handpicked students that created the designs for school events, such as, dances, programs and awards. He allowed Lynnea to come up with many of the themes. That confidence led to her stint as the Triton newspaper illustrator during her attendance at San Clemente High School, and he was key in giving young Cheatum the encouragement and confidence to one day become an Art Director 

The Cheatum family was musical as well. Janie played piano, Brad the drums and Noah played trumpet. All four of the sisters played guitar, taking lessons from Mary Jenkins at the Four Muses and often performing there. 

Cyndie Herman Martin, Lynnea and Carolyn Garrett at a Cozzena Pop Up.


After graduating from SCHS Lynnea headed to Fullerton, attending Pacific Christian College for three years-majoring in music. She married young and stayed married for about 20 years. Although she did not graduate, she used her musical talents as a vocalist with a blues rock and roll band; waitressing and performing gigs in and around Orange County. She eventually gave up that lifestyle and returned to school enrolling in Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa to study art and design. Many of her teachers were Disney artists and took her under their wings. One teacher in particular, Roger Armstrong, became a wonderful mentor to Lynnea. He was the cartoonist for the Bugs Bunny, Scamp and Little Lula comic strips among others. He recommended her for a position as the Art Director at a textile firm. She was hired and her career took off from there. Cheatum was incredibly honored and grateful to be mentored by him for many years. He was very encouraging, sharing his vast knowledge of the art business and his expertise in a segment of the art world. In this position Lynnea was soon creating products for Disney, Warner Brothers, Amblin and others.

A Career is Launched
Eventually Lynnea struck out on her own, designing exclusive lines of area rugs and fabrics for companies around the world, including the first line of rugs for the Home Depots across the country. She also, created specialty lines for several department stores including, Mervyn’s, May Co. and Belk’s. She designed summer lines of chairs, umbrellas, and glassware for Macy’s. Some of these product lines found their way to television set designs, including her area rugs on the Gene Wilder Show and several other sitcoms. “What a fun thrill!” 

Lynnea with her soul-mate Darrell.


A true Renaissance woman Cheatum’s next endeavor was a full decade as a color and trend forecaster. In January 2019 she created a one-woman Fine Art show The Color of Music, inspired by the optimism of art and music. Darrell Bloom made the film documentary, ‘The Color of Music’ that previewed at the ‘White Party Event.’ Gifted, musician, Laura Vida, wrote and performed the amazing song for the film. 

Lynnea had always had an affinity for poking around Estate Sales and Consignment Stores searching out designer and vintage clothes, upcycling clothes, and creating one dress from three dresses. So, in 2020 she and her partner, Darrell William Bloom combined their creative backgrounds and talents and launched a clothing line, Cozzena. The business partners met online. Cheatum says, “yep, sometimes you CAN find your soulmate there!” 
Bloom has spent 30 years designing apparel for the Surf and Skate industry, plus he has an amazing background as a digital artist and film maker. The main focus of Cozzena is to help women’s organizations raise money for their worthy causes through ‘Benefit Boutiques.’ They create high end, champagne Luxury Boutique Pop-Up Events and then write them a check for a percentage of the sales. A true win-win. 

This beautiful line of clothing is made with organic cotton, silk, linen, and bamboo. There are tops, pants, jackets, travel sets, and dresses. All pieces are designed to be soft, non-irritating to skin and easy to wash. They consider their clothing line “Eco-Luxe.” Most of the fabrics are ethically sourced. They have a manufacturer in LA and in Northern India where they employ women working from home. These women own 10% of the company and do hand blocking and embroidering. Many of the silk dresses and jackets are hand painted by Lynnea. She wants to empower women and have them all show up and feel beautiful in their own wonderful skin. 
The Cozzena clothing line is available at small boutique parties and online. In my opinion, Lynnea has followed Mark Twain’s philosophy throughout her life, “find a job you enjoy doing and you will never work a day in your life.” The joy she exudes when talking about each of her endeavors is evident. She thoroughly enjoys sharing her gifts with others. 

For more information about Cozzena visit