Icing on the Cake: New proprietors give Rose Creek Cottage make-over
Rose Creek Cottage has received a full face-lift and the new operators — wife-and-husband duo Letizia and Frank Gaxiola — can’t wait to share the modernized venue with Pacific Beach and the rest of San Diego.
A popular spot for weddings, parties, memorials and meetings, Rose Creek Cottage — 2525 Garnet Ave. at the intersection of Soledad Mountain Road — turned out to be the perfect place for the event-planning couple to put their construction and design skills to work. Letizia and Frank have been in the wedding coordination business for 10 years with Rossi Events & Weddings (operating under Letizia’s maiden name), but getting to work on their own personal venue was something new, they said.
“It was like a dream,” Letizia recalled of the decision to take over operations at Rose Creek Cottage. “Instead of taking care of other places, it was like, ‘Wow, our place!’ We get to do what we want; we get to build it the way we want to.”
On Aug. 1 the Gaxiolas took over the venue, which operates under the auspices of the Pacific Beach Town Council on land owned by the US Navy. Together with a few of their children (they have 10 total, and 15 grandchildren), they ponied up to renovate the space. According to Letizia, they worked 12 to 14 hours every day to complete the makeover, with events still taking place at the cottage in the meantime.
What’s new? The 25-year-old green carpet has been replaced with hardwood floors. The dark walls are now painted white. The exterior brown and yellow walls are also white, with steel blue accents. Now, a chandelier hangs over the spot where a bride and groom may stand before friends and family. Where wooden pews once filled the space, there are individual, gold-painted chairs with white seating pads.
Plants and greenery are everywhere inside and outside the chapel, and flower beds have replaced the cacti and shrubs. “I love plants,” Letizia emphasized to PB Monthly numerous times. The bushes hindering the outlook on Rose Creek from behind the chapel were cleared away by the family troop, leaving a clear view of the picturesque stream — complete with ducks — where many brides choose to take their wedding photos.
“This is what God intended for us all to enjoy,” Letizia said, gesturing to the view. “The Friends of Rose Creek take care of this, but they always ask for people to help them out. I felt that by cleaning it up, I give people the opportunity to see it and want to donate their time, too.”
But the changes don’t stop at flooring and greenery.
Frank, a woodworking craftsman, constructed a drinks bar, popcorn stand, patio, large-lettered light-up “LOVE” sign and more. Uplifting phrases are placed around the rooms for inspiration. Champagne flutes, coffee mugs and a Keurig coffee maker are arranged in the suite for the bride and bridesmaids, along with a makeup bar, also crafted by Frank.
“That first appearance, that first impression, it’s very important to me, ” Letizia insisted, “so when a bride comes here and looks at the place, I want them to feel, ‘I’m going to be taken care of.’ Because that’s one day you cannot repeat. I want to make sure their weddings are done the right way.”
Born and raised in Florence, Italy, Letizia said she’s been planning special events since she was 14 years old. Rossi Events & Weddings has hosted a variety of gatherings, recently, four memorials in two weeks.
“We want to make a difference,” she shared. “We don’t want to be here just to be here. We want to make sure that what we do is going to impact other people in the right way.”
Built in 1906, Rose Creek Cottage was originally part of the Scripps Family Mansion on the PB shore, which became a hotel in the 1950s.
When the owners were going to expand the hotel and destroy the cottage, it was brought to its current spot through a collective effort by the president of PB Town Council at the time, Jim Moore, and many other PB residents.
“When I came here the first time, I thought, ‘Why would they put this cottage on a busy street?’ ” Letizia said. “It doesn’t make sense, right? But it was placed here to remind the citizens of Pacific Beach that it was a community effort to bring the building here.”
Keeping events as stress-free as possible is a primary goal of the Gaxiolas. Letizia and Frank are present for the planning, the reception, the after-party and everything in between. The whole family is involved — even the bar-tending staff features their oldest children. And now that they’ve settled in, Letizia said they’re looking to give back to the community through fundraisers, animal adoptions and other civic benefits.
— Rose Creek Cottage is open year-round for weddings, dinners, dances, reunions, parties, receptions and memorial services. Rossi Events & Weddings can be reached daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (951) 704-8220, rossieventsandweddings.com
Holiday Party Tips by Letizia Gaxiola
- Choose a color theme that reflects the holiday or event you’re celebrating.
- Finger food is always best. Don’t forget vegetarian and gluten-free items to ensure everyone has something to eat. Staples are pasta salad, veggie and fruit plates, bruschetta, cheese and crackers.
- Drinks: Everyone loves Sangria when you mix the wine with cranberry juice and add fruit. Any inexpensive wine works. Don’t rely on kegs; foam problems can be unpredictable.
- Dessert bars are the way to go; donuts, mini cookies, mini cupcakes. They’re delicious, they look pretty.
- Photo booths are a crowd favorite. Get an instant camera and hit the dollar store for cheap, fun props.
- Delegate the work so one person doesn’t have to do everything by his or herself!