Coastal Themes in Home Design

This is a Q & A excerpt taken from an interview of Irina done by Southern New England Home:

Q. What is your overall vision or approach to integrating a coastal theme to a home at large?

A. I listen carefully to my client.  It is important to understand their lifestyle and how they see themselves living in their home.  Many of my clients live on oceanfront property and wish to incorporate their surroundings in a way that speaks to them. By incorporating elements of the surrounding landscape, I create complementary transitions between interior and exterior environments, through design elements such as color, texture and materials which are truly unique to each client and their tastes.

Q. What are some unique ways to integrate this theme into the following rooms: the living room/great room, kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, and sunroom?

A. A home should flow harmoniously from room to room.  One of the biggest mistakes people make is that they like so many different styles that they integrate a different “story” for each room to communicate this theme.  Less in more; a subtle texture of a fabric that reminds us of water on the sofa, a wisp of sea grass in the bath, an embroidered coral motif on a pillow, a lamp that illuminates sparkling light, the window treatment that reminds us of the elements of the sea, or the soft color of a coverlet will subtly remind us of our surroundings.

Q. What materials best achieve this coastal effect? Are there any trends, new materials, or products that help extend this theme?

A. The best materials to use are ones that remind us of the coastal environment such as greenery, fabrics, color and products that use seaside elements in their design theme.  Great choices would be a fantastic shell mirror, a coral lamp or a beautiful piece of art.  Trends have come and gone.  Everyone remembers “Shabby Chic”; this was a popular trend several years ago and will cycle around again.  The trend is now clean and fresh and leans more on the side of contemporary or transitional, blending traditional with a fresh look into the future.

Q.   What is your favorite coastal design element?

A. I like bringing fresh and everlasting botanicals into the inside living space such as sea grass, hydrangea, lavender or wild flowers that one might find in the outside environment.  I also might bring in a beautiful piece of coral or shell to display or tuck into a nook.  Art is always a favorite design element I incorporate into the coastal design theme.

Q. What is the easiest way for a homeowner to bring the coast/ocean indoors?

A. The easiest way for a homeowner to bring the coastal environment indoors is to first understand how that would translate into their tastes.  It is always wise to consult with a professional designer to avoid costly mistakes when considering a larger scale project.  Remember, less is more.  The simple use of color can transform a room into a coastal theme when one adds a few accents such as a texture of a carpet in a subtle bleached sand hue, and an accent pillow placed on the sofa.  Don’t over do it! It is easier to add than take away.

Q. What colors do you recommend, and what are your influences for those color choices?

A. I recommend incorporating the colors of the surrounding environment.  Soft crèm,e sea foams, light sun touched blues, grays and greens or hues that reflect deeper waters, sun-bleached shells or the natural palette of sand, driftwood, even the grasses and wild flowers give us a natural color palette to work with. The color palette is at our disposal in our surrounding coastal environment; one only needs to stop and take notice.