When your favorite sight is watching waves roll in along a sandy beach and you enjoy listening to the music of the water and the soaring birdsongs, and breathing in the sweet, salty sea air, a home along the coast is your bliss. Life by the water has its own special aura, colors and textures, and homes situated in this sublime environment share a love for these nautical elements. Author Sally Denning is an interiors stylist and creative director who has penned a style book that explores these homes and urges her readers to take inspiration from the beauty of the coast. Her book, “Relaxed Coastal Style,” published by Ryland Peters & Small, shows you how to bring the positive elements of the sea inside, wherever and however you live. The expressive photography by Benjamin Edwards invites you into each featured home.
The kitchen is the hub of the home in The Old Coastguard House for owners Martin and Jane Will. Situated in the center of the open plan ground floor, the deep blue cabinets and white metro tiles create a contemporary vibe. Old floorboards add a rustic touch. The zinc-topped dining table is surrounded by an array of mid-century and Shaker style chairs. When working through the renovation, which is ongoing as most renos are, the homeowners adhered to the relaxed palette of soft grays and inky blues. They combined vintage furniture with bare wooden boards and nautical items throughout the home.
Fabric choices are essential to the rustic laid-back coastal design. Washed linens and faded cottons, striped fabrics, blue and white ticking and canvas evoke memories of easygoing summers by the water. Elana Columbo has used an eclectic mix of wood-clad walls, painted wooden floors, mix-and-match colors and fabrics, and her own personal treasures in her welcoming home by the water. A mid-century daybed is upholstered in deckchair stripes and adorned with cushions in contrasting and complementary coastal prints. Paint plays a key role in her decorating scheme. Walls throughout are painted pale blue-gray with fresh white trim, all grounded by shiny ink-blue floorboards. Each room has a dash of bright color that weaves touches of energy into the calm space. A richly colored Indian bedspread and threadbare Oriental carpet are vibrant accents in the bedroom.
The homes showcased by Denning in “Relaxed Coastal Style” share a hands-on rustic appeal where fussiness is never seen. Comfy sofas, padded seats, beds layered in plump pillows and softly textured linens bring the lilting sway of the ocean inside. And when it’s time to sit back and take in the views, picture windows frame the scenery. At Albany in Port Isaac, Nicola O’Mara suspended a ’70s style rattan hanging chair by the bedroom window. How luxurious to swing gently while taking in the views.
Pairing crisp whites and harmonious blues with textured wood floors and furniture has universal appeal. Choose from this palette to create the seaside mood no matter where you live. It simply takes a paintbrush and some striped fabrics. Personalize your rooms with maps and photographs or artwork that connect you to the sea and traveling adventures. Utilize a thick rope to hang a lamp from the ceiling; line up a collection of straw sunhats by the door; make room for vintage tables, chests and seats with history that radiates from timeworn finishes. Nautical hardware and fittings are details that never fail.
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