Beach houses are synonymous with relaxation, peace and play time. They connote powerful ocean sounds, tantalizing sea bird calls and the delicious smell of briny saltwater. They also conjure images of seahorses, mermaids and dusty shell collections; bright “pops” of turquoise and tangerine and a fish net strung on the wall with dried star fish trapped in the knots. The “traditional” beach cottage has almost become an interior design caricature.
Perhaps it’s time to reset our images of beach house decor and make way for a fresh perspective. Contemporary beach house – here we come!
Scrap The Tropical Fish Figurines & Make Way for Contemporary Beach House Decor
Here are some ways to enjoy a fresh beach house interior with a contemporary motif.
Play with light. Light is a key player in beach homes. From the muted light at sunrise, to brighter mid-day illumination and, finally, the fiery hues of sunset – ample windows and glass help to captivate this star of the show. You can play with light even further, by consciously selecting window shapes and placement and designing interior features to complement them. This beach house kitchen is a wonderful example; staggered rectangle themes are repeated via windows, cabinet glass inserts and even the careful arrangement of the pendant lights over the island.
You can continue this light play by selecting colorful glass lamp shades, creatively displaying your carefully illuminated glass art or installing stained glass in fixed window panels.
Is that abalone, or…? We mentioned the shell collections that are so typically a part of beach house interiors, but how about something a little more chic and modern? A reference or suggestion of shells, and other stunning facets of underwater life, can be a more mature way of implementing certain colors, shapes or essences into your decor.
Look for finishes and fixtures that replicate the things we appreciate about shells and sea life. For example, a beautiful metallic-glazed tile, set in a staggered pattern, can make a bathroom shower appear to be adorned by shimmery abalone shells….ones you’ll never have to dust.
Dissolve the boundaries. Use efficient, wall-to-wall and ceiling-to-floor windows and sliding glass door panels to blur the boundaries between indoor outdoor life. In our cooler New England climate, this may require the use of a rolling steel door – almost like a garage door – that can be raised on a gorgeous day. Perhaps expansive window space is enough. If you’re building an outdoor room, make it one that can be used year-round with ample shelter from excessive sun, wind, or rain.
Use a natural, neutral color palette. A beach house should always showcase its setting first and foremost. What human-made structure could ever complete with a seascape after all? By using a natural and neutral palette, your contemporary beach house will be tasteful, classic and will always extend a bow to its beautiful surroundings.
Are you ready to design a contemporary beach house, sans kitsch? Work with the design team and Leslie Saul & Associates Architecture and Interiors.