Each week Mansion Global tackles an interior design topic with an elite group of designers from around the world who work on luxury properties. This week we look at how to design a beach house.
A beach house is the ultimate refuge to get away from it all. And achieving that sense of relaxation is as much about the home’s décor as it is the location.
“It’s all about celebrating the senses; the sounds of the sea, the omnipotence of the wind, the counterpoint of seagulls, the fragrance of the ocean, the hint of herbs, the taste of salt in the air; the texture and temperature of stone and sand, the bleaching of wood and the ever-present forces of nature,” said architect Asaf Gottesman of Gottesman–Szmelcman Architecture based in Tel Aviv, Israel. “A beach house enables us to perceive the beauty of nature while protecting us from it.”.
Evoking a sense of light and air is key, says New York-based designer Nancy Mayerfield of NM Design House.
“A beach home should have the feeling of relaxation and transport you to another world from your usual day to day,” Mrs. Mayerfield said. “I love to maximize a view, even if the view is not of a beach. The more places within the home that you can see the outside, the better. A more open floor plan is ideal for this. However, there should always be a cozy nook, or a room that is set apart for those rainy days.”
“Each beach home is different. A beach home in Venice will be different from a beach house in Southampton,” said Los Angeles-based designer Bradley Bayou. “What makes a home feel beachy is taking cues from the outside and reflecting it back indoors, such as with colors, and textures.”
Here are some design tips from the pros to make your summer home the ultimate hideaway.
Think about the details
“I like to keep interiors soft. In the bedrooms for example, lightweight upholstery in creams and whites helps further the light and airy feel. Furniture should have a natural feel by way of materials like leathers, wools, and wood. While your natural inclination might be to incorporate beachy patterns (seashells, palm trees, nautical rope) into furniture, fabric, and upholstery, I believe that you should decorate for a feeling. For me, going to the beach is like taking a big exhale, total relaxation is the vibe.
"Stick to non-specific prints or patterns, which leave the feeling of being without borders or confinement. It can be geometric in the grand scale, but not rigid. Or, go for geometric looks in a softer palette. I save the whimsy, beach specific patterns, for smaller accessories.
"Most importantly, maximize the view—even if it’s not of the beach. For a bedroom, I would try to orient the bed to so that it faces the window; waking up to a view of the ocean is amazing (if you don’t need blackout shades). If drapes are being used, they should be sheer, or open weave in texture.”
-Nancy Mayerfield, NM Design House in New York City
Keep the design organic
“When it comes to the details, mimic and reflect the hues and textures of the specific environment in which your home is located within your interiors. Think sand, tall beach grass, ocean, sky, sunshine, and use those as a guide and starting point for your interior choices. With most beach homes, woven fabrics, like linen and sisal, always work well. Colors will also depend on location. Shades like coral and turquoise would work well for a home in Palm Beach, for example, whereas a Nantucket property would befit more neutrals like grey, white, and brown. The best interior inspiration is found outside.
"Walls and flooring should be natural, both in material and hue. I like to implement, depending on the location, light wood or stone for flooring. For walls, use more neutral tones. If you’re on the East Coast, this might be a green or grey, whereas in California, you could use more blues. To avoid distracting the eye from the view, keep any patterns neutral and save for smaller accents like throw pillows or blankets.
"The other thing to keep in mind: Don’t let the lighting overpower the overall design. Use it to spot and highlight certain areas, such as interesting pieces of art or the coffee table. You can also add in a hanging fixture made from natural materials like wood or stone.”
-Los Angeles-based designer Bradley Bayou
Cover your bases
“Creating open, cross-ventilated spaces and panoramic views, while using light, natural colors and materials are important elements of designing a beach house.
"Incorporating a variety of natural materials and textures within can bring in different elements of nature. Natural matte colors and finishes, such as stone and concrete terrazzo, bronze and copper, and driftwood blend with the look and feel of the seaside. Light beach colors and neutrals allow light to reflect and flow throughout in a calm and serene atmosphere. Keeping the palette consistent gives the home an organic feel.
"It’s also imperative to design with the appropriate outdoor hardwood furniture, which gets bleached by the sun into a driftwood tone. A matte finish helps the hardwood withstand extreme weather conditions. Also consider the finishes for the pool deck and pool. Natural shells and stones in a honed, rubbed matte finish, like naturally bleached shells and stone rubbed and softened by the water, make for a beautiful option.”
-Kobi Karp, Kobi Karp Architecture and Interior Design in Miami
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