7 Basic Plots. 3 Basic Palettes?

mtnrdredux_gwDecember 10, 2012

I have been looking at beachhouse decor. First, you need to be able to shake off a whole lot of Kitsch when you google that phrase, whew!

But it seems to me, that just as there are supposedly only seven plots in all of literature, there are only three palettes in beach decor.

1. Navy and white or cream. Stripes. Maps. Ships. Shells. Texture.
2. All neutrals. Stripes. Maps. Ships. Shells. Texture.
3. White and turquoise. Stripes. Maps. Ships. Shells. Texture.

I am most comfortable with option 2, but I've also been there and done that with my primary home

I just don't like #1.

I am very attracted to number 3. I think I could become a HOT junkie. (House of Turquoise). I can see aqua painted steps, aqua floors, aqua furniture, and all Hannah Andersson aqua striped onesies for the family and guests (have you ever seen those ads? Would you or DH ever ever wear that? Is it a Swedish thing with light deprivation? well anyway)

I am willing to move away from the first fold on the Farrow and Ball brochure. I am ready for color. Ideas? Or is it really just the three?

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I think you should do what YOU (and your family) like - not choose from 3 so-called beach themes!

(And no, I don't think I'd wear a onsie! LOL)


    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 2:58PM
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Yes, of course. But I am just trying to get ideas --- that's always a starting point --- and I see so little variety.

We will be starting with a fairly blank slate, but I do think the vernacular (ie its not Miami) is important.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 3:10PM
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I haven't seen your beachhouse, but when I think cape cod rental I see ticking stripe on iron beds, weathered looking floors and tables, walls whose color doesn't matter because the windows are the thing, a worn in vibe that contrasts with the crisp perfection of sand and water. I wouldn't want my interior to be too crisp or vibrant. I'd want it to disappear, in a good way, so as not to fence me off from my ocean.

For the winter, when I *would* want a sense of enclosure, the most fabulous, huge, rustic fireplace in the world, and layers of down and quilt on the bedding and upholstery, layers of wool or cotton on the floor, and something - or maybe not - on the windows.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 3:22PM
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I think blues feel very much at home around the beach, whereas rich earth tones wouldn't feel quite right. Unless you're lucky enough to have the best of both worlds at your door like in California.

I'm surprised there aren't lots of examples of blue and white without going navy or turquoise and you don't have to do the seashells and ships thing. You might use a medium to light range of blues, adding in some coral. Or blues with light golden tones instead of tan, with some green. Keeping it light and airy I think is important. Do you like yellow or peach colors? Maybe start a room from there instead of blue.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 3:27PM
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True confession: I am a HOT junkie. To me it is a neutral since every color I like works with it.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 3:28PM
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The true vernacular beach house interior I have been most exposed to was unpainted wood or even the exposed interior side of the sheathing. Then worn rugs, whether Persian, braided or flat weaves.

Kinda dark sometimes. But a woody kind of envelope with lighter furniture and objects inside this could be kinda interesting and not particularly trite because it is a look that has disappeared with the emergence of the McMansion downa shore type house.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 3:45PM
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I shudder at the mere use of the words "beach house decor". Years ago when husband and I were looking at old lake block homes near down town there were some lovely little places. No so called beach house decor but the ceilings were often pecky cypress (loved that). They had an evolved over time look to the decor that included pastel shades, some more saturated and lots of pattern, rattan and wicker, some painted and some natural all mixed with a few good wood pieces. These people had lived there most their lives. It was all so comfortable and charming. There were no shells of any sort; I remember no navy or pictures of sail boats or other nonsense that would classify beach house decor today. The area was in transition then...boy woulda shoulda coulda, they are going for a pretty penny now.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 4:28PM
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I think it depends on your other homes, what the decor is and how you might like to escape to something different at the beach. Looking at houzz, anything goes and in the end it is what looks good to your eye. I realize you're looking for suggestions, so the link to houzz might help. Doing the unexpected is always fun :)

Here is a link that might be useful: houzz - family room beach

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 4:34PM
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I understand why this is tough. I have a mental image of a wonderful, timeworn, handed-down-through-generations beach house that starred in a work of fiction I read a few years ago. The house was described so vividly, it almost seemed to be a character itself.

However, Google images of "vintage beach house" and what you see is just about all in the same color range (aquas) and looks highly manufactured.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 4:37PM
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This is the first pic I've come across that even begins to capture the mental image of the Cape Cod beach house that still lingers in my mind from the book. (And darn my brain - I cannot for the life of me recall the title of the book!)

Actually - click link and scroll to the bottom pic. I tried to link directly to the photo, but upon previewing, it's huge.

Here is a link that might be useful: Link

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 4:46PM
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I've seen some beautiful beach themes, with white, light woods, soft blues (and turquoise) and some pretty leaf greens.

IMHO, the green ties in nicely with the wood and brings a bit more warmth to the blue. Hope that helps :)

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 4:47PM
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The beach houses of my childhood were funky affairs, furnished with leftovers that could take damp salty towels and sandy bottoms and bare feet and dog hair. So the wood and the paint was often weathered, the fabrics faded, and the rugs, if there were any, more like mats and dhurries than anything else.

But if I were starting from scratch, I'd want to use the colors around me to connect the visual experience of indoor-outdoor living in such a place. For me that means the blues and greens and grays of surf and sky in all weathers, and the white or wheat colors of sand and dune grass, and the faded yellows of summer sunlight. I'd also consider nautical accessories, simply because they're made of materials that stand up to the wet salty sandy air.

So that would lead me to old wood furniture painted with marine paint for hardiness, and rattan and cane, and cotton duck and sailcloth and the Indian cottons that look as good faded as new, and floor mats that could be taken outside and shaken, and brass lamps and clocks, and sturdy ironstone crockery, and tin plates and cups for picnics.

To that, I'd want to add a little more modern adult comfort and a better collection of wine glasses and the possibility of air conditioning and heat that works better than in the old houses I knew.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 5:06PM
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I think there are three kinds of beach houses: those that are decorated with furniture that can withstand wet bathing suits and floors that can withstand sandy feet because their primary purpose is to house people involved in beach activities, those that just happen to be at the beach and can be decorated in any fashion and have owners who may or may not actually go to the beach, and mansions/estates. While an occasional ship or shell might find its way into any of those types, I don't think they are the primary focus, nor do I think the colors are limited to blue, turquoise and white/cream.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 5:12PM
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Quite honestly even the largest beach houses I have been in lately are filled with basic beds and bunkbeds from a discount furniture store and mismatched comforters that can easily be thrown in the wash (and obviously have been, Many times) and relatively cheap but sturdy furniture.

Of course I know mostly average people who can barely afford to have a shore house, and have one only because it has been a major part of their upbringing And because they can rent it out at high enough rents to pay the mortgage.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 5:28PM
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What Bronwynsmom and Fun2BHere said.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 6:21PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

coastal really includes so many colors....it all depends on your inspiration....all beach, all very different.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 6:23PM
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Yes, 'beach house' is a little loose. What part of the country is it in? What's the style of the home, your taste and lifestyle, and how are you going to be using it?

For me the term 'beach house' conjures up a modern sunny vacation home on the beach used only for warm weather "summer" vacations. When I was growing up, they were dotting the shoreline with very expensive modern homes referred to as 'beach houses.' Not always large but they often were very spacious with lots of glass. Some of them were huge with private beaches, owned by celebrities and the very wealthy. The rest of us had or rented cottages and duplex apartments (down the street) at the shore.

Back then, I don't think anyone worried about the decorating, except maybe at the "beach houses" along the shoreline.

This post was edited by snookums2 on Mon, Dec 10, 12 at 18:54

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 6:33PM
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If you want a "real" beach house you have to have that slightly squeaky screen door somewhere where all the kids will use it. Would it really feel like a beach house if at least five times a day you did not hear some adult yell #$%$^#@ Stop Slamming that Screen Door #&%#^%^&

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 6:41PM
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LOL Jterri! I think we can manage that. It is only a slight variation on our current favorite bon mot, Put The *(&*&%^(^@##$ Milk Away!

Snookums, It is an oceanfront home in the Northeast. It is not Cape Cod but that is the right image. The home is a 1925 dutch colonial, but unfortunately we will probably tear it down rather then renovate. Whatever we do it will be simple and unfussy and unpretentious. I wish it was a ramshackle charming old family home, but alas it is in need of more than dusting and a genteel aversion of the eye. The setting is wonderful, out on a small point with wondeful ocean and cove views, and more private than most oceanfront properties.

We will use it most in the summer but would hope to also go for Thanksgiving and maybe New Years, etc. It will definitely be winterized.

I like all my decor to have a bit of wear and history, but since this will probably be all new I have to decide if I want to impart that, give a nod to it, or throw it all over to go contemporary or MCM.

Philosophically, I am leaning toward these rules for the decor:
made or sold in the (tiny) local community

I am interested in creative ways to finish and decorate the home that are inexpensive -- its a very costly place to build and it is easy to let costs run away from you. I also think I should consider the possibility that I might want to rent the house, and hence lean toward durable items and less preciousness. (that's a whole nother post as to whether one should consider occasional rentals or not)

The only things I am pretty sure of is white cedar shingle (the stuff that turns that lovely light grey) and painted wooden floors mixed with checkerboard linoleum.

Jamies, that sounds very much like my primary home. I was wondering if I should go out on a limb more...

Jersey, that is a great point about Turq

Pal, LOL downa shore. "Shore" is so ingrained in my way of thinking of it, being a Bucks County native, that my bookmark for the search and project is called "shorehouse". But my New England DH, and everyone else around here, calls it a "beachhouse".
You mention two of my favorites. The exposed sheathing I love love, but unless you are foregoing drywall and not winterizing, it has to be fake, no? And I looked for worn persians for my primary home. The only worn ones I liked were wildly expensive. For this house, I don't want anything that costly. IS there a good source for cheap worn out rugs, or is it jsut the wildly expensive ones from dealers and moderately expensive faux ones from ABC?

Arapaho, thanks!
Sunny wow, lovely --- old world beachhouse!

Bronwyn, i loved your verbal mood board! But isn't it a lot like my primary house? I was wondering if people were going to tell me to to huge orange polka dots and bean bag chairs.

AnnieDeighnaugh, If I didn't "know" you better, I'd think you started smoking weed all of the sudden. LOL! I love #1. The greys of the bird with the blue. He can be my inspiration bird! LOL

Fun -- definitely leaning toward the wash and wear decor!

Btw here is an example of a lovely beach house imho

Here is a link that might be useful: not old but lovely

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 7:49PM
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I've spent a fair amount of time down the Cape, and interiors there are all over the map. International style with horizontal stripe windows, straight-up traditional/18th c., funky arty, tacky beachy, whatever. Other than a sense of comfort I can't think of much that ties them together.

I like your rules. My one concern about the turquoise is that it may not be the best fit for your "unfitted" look. It's quite imposing. It does rather declare your palette for you, no? Though I think I like it paired with several colors rather than just one. Neighboring hues like apple greens and slightly chartreuse-y yellow, plus white and a pop of black or red (horrible dictu!) periwinkle in small amounts.

If you're going to rent out, I'd skip the painted floor. Maybe a turquoise ceiling?

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 8:02PM
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I like your philosophical leaning - made or sold in the (tiny) local community, handmade, vintage/used but think the basic plots/palettes are entirely too ubiquitous. Since you are considering color you might think about what your favorite non-pastel colors are and go from there. Have a close look at what is available in the local community to find something completely unusual with color.

Just because it's a house at the beach doesn't mean it has to look like the stereotypical "beach house". At least I'd avoid that as I like my decor to NOT look like everyone else's. I also think the color scheme of your main house looks as if it could be a house at the beach and if you want something different it may require brighter/darker colors.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 8:06PM
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Re: the rugs. This is going to come out wrong, but the best way to get rugs like this is to inherit them. And I mean from people who bought these rugs and put them on the floor and walked on them. I have some from a great-Aunts house and some from my parents house of varying original quality, but they were all treated like rugs. One sat in from of our front door, one got vomited on by every dog that lived with the rug, one has wheel marks worn into it from my dad's desk chair.

But I also trash picked a machine made oriental rug that had a big latex paint spill on it. I turned it upside down and it looked great backside up.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 8:38PM
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When I think of a seaside cottage, the first thing that pops into my head is the movie The Ghost and Mrs. Muir...more victorian than beachy, but probably not the look you are going for :).

But please, at least have a bay window with a cool brass telescope :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Ghoist and Mrs Muir

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 8:43PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Hahaha...smoking weed? The only thing I get smoking around here is my sewing machine! Maybe that sewing machine oil is getting to me!

So glad you like my pelican...he looked so adorable, and I hoped he'd continue to pose for me as I got my camera ready...he did! Just love those birds, esp the blond ones....never got a chance to enlarge and frame him for Mom's FL house...he would've looked great there.

Interesting about beach houses though...my GF's cape house has a living room that is dark knotty pine paneling with a brick fireplace....my old Boss's house on the CT shore has an interior with floor to ceiling wainscoting that is stained dark and finished glossy to look like the interior of a ship. Not exactly colors we think of as 'trendy' beach.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 8:46PM
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For ideas you can take a look at the website for Coastal Living magazine. There are lots of rooms to look through, in every color and style. Have fun planning!

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 9:08PM
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I think of grays, greens (like a seaglass green), whites, blues. Slipcovered furniture that is not shabby chic, stripes, driftwood, compass rose, pond boats, antiques, local art, etc.
For rugs, have you checked out Dash and Albert? They're rather reasonable and if you get the indoor/outdoor ones you can hose them down.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dash & Albert

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 9:24PM
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I would adore living in a house by the sea and decorate with a touch of the Brothers Grimm....

When he arrived at the sea the water was purple and dark blue and gray

and a pinch of Arthur Rackham

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 9:34PM
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I know I keep randomly chiming in here and there but I keep thinking about this and I feel like, if I ever had a shore house, which is highly unlikely because my favorite time to be at the shore is in winter when it is empty...and then you can either rent cheap or see if someone accidentally left their door unlocked.

I would decorate it like any house that I felt needed sturdy and durable materials and completely ignore the fact that I was doing a shore house except for highlighting any view it had, and picking up some shells and driftwood to put on the windowsills.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 9:37PM
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Did you have any favorites? Blank canvas, wwyd?

My one concern about the turquoise is that it may not be the best fit for your "unfitted" look. It's quite imposing. It does rather declare your palette for you, no? Jersey girl says Turq plays well with others. What about moslty greay and white with Turquoise as a ... wait for it ... pop?

Though I think I like it paired with several colors rather than just one. Neighboring hues like apple greens and slightly chartreuse-y yellow, plus white and a pop of black or red (horrible dictu!) periwinkle in small amounts.
I did have any idea, it's a little hackneyed but something we always wanted to do. You know those horrible world maps where people put pushpins in like so many scalps? My family always liked that idea, but they are so ugly and there is no place it would be right in this house. For the beachhouse, I was thinking of just buying old maps of places we have been to as a family and hanging them on the wall. The (mostly blue) colors and orange and yellow and green details could be my color theme??? I would put them in dark wood (old) frames to match the dark oak doors I hope to salvage.

OOh, a cool ceiling! I like that. If you think renting is a no go with painted floors, out go the renters. I have always wanted painted floors, but DH was a no go. I plan on putting in really junky floors so he wont mind painting them.

Joshua, Yes, I have been on that for hours!! thanks

Annie, : ) Yes the pelican is wonderful. As for dark wood, I really don't see that. I am totally into white and cream and light. IN fact, it was only when Bronwyn's Mom pointed out the contrast of dark and light in a room i liked, that I realized that an all light room can be blah. So I do want some dark woods, matte, old, to contrast with light walls, but no panelling for me!

Daki, too funny. But you know ... that kitchen!!! Totally me.

Pal, I have bemoaned my ancestors here before. I am ok with the gene pool but they did bad with the material goods stuff! Of course, confirming my suspicion only makes me lust after the old money imprimatur of a ratty valuable rug all the more! Why didn't I at least weigh this when evaluating suitors!?

Lucky, thank you. Yes, I was really expecting for people to tell me to break out the color wheel. But I am not hearing that.

We are meeting with architects next month. I think I will let this percolate until I see some ideas from them. Thanks all!

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 9:39PM
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Yes, I should think more about green. Dash and Albert? Huge fan. Well nigh disposable pricing. IN fact I just ordered a wild one for the itty bitty stonehouse (negril stripe I think). I was thinking sisal (my fave) but I think the place needs some punch. Will try both.

Hmm, I've always copped out by letting setting and architecture drive me. Interesting to contemplate what I'd do if durability and comfort and light were the drivers .... And, pshaw, chime away.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 9:46PM
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Eh, genteel poverty, or genteel middle classery isn't all it's cracked up to be. My ancestors were primarily lace curtain Irish.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 9:50PM
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My image of a beach house doesn't include sea shells, but probably because the beaches I frequented only had small ones. My brain image has pine floors naturally aged with white painted or lime washed tounge and grove ceilings. Unfitted kitchen with a skirted sink, and painted panel walls in light colors such as sand, blues, greens, yellow and very soft. Kind of like the lighter ones on a paint strip or lime washed or just naturally aged and in spruce. The paneling is sort of like a wider beadboard look. Casement windows with curtains fluttering on the sides that aren't full length.

Mismatched pine furniture or painted white and lighter fabrics and lots of rag rugs ala Swedish style. Of course I grew up in Sweden.

This post was edited by lyfia on Mon, Dec 10, 12 at 22:06

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 10:02PM
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I second the Coastal Living recommendation.

Here are some beach houses from Hooked on Houses, just for some eye candy!

Message in a Bottlehref>.
Nanny Diaries (scroll to beach house)href>
Something's Gotta Givehref>
Variations of Grey Gardenshref>
Revenge (smaller beach house)href>

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 10:04PM
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I can help you out with the dog vomit contribution to Oriental rugs. Switch your dog over to Trifexis. ; )

Have you seen old, driftwood colored, Swedish wooden floors that are scrubbed with soap and water? That would be my cue for the floor, and its maintenance. Against that, painted, bleached, stained, faded--it all works.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 10:22PM
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I keep forgetting who I am talking to.

If I was building and not talking about remodeling or interior design as the scope I would build one of two kinds of houses depending upon geographical location and privacy/views/proximity to next door and to the ocean itself

1) Shingle Style if the house needed some privacy, because traditional fenestration lends itself to windows that can be easily covered and uncovered and the potential asymmetry and idiosyncracy of putting windows where you want them is compatible with this style.

2)Organic modernist of the sort that are being bulldozed Long Island to build something bigger and more impressive. Spare, Modern, lots of glass but rusticated. Maybe big garage doors you could throw open and be inside-outside.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 10:32PM
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Pal, I kept reading that first sentence and was worried what it meant. I think it means you now recall that this may be a new build, so "tutto e possible"?

I think Shingle Style sounds more expensive that Organic Modernist. I just saw a design magazine do a video about a designer's beachhouse, and i think it may have been organic modernist. ... off to look it up.

Kitch, our poor golden has Lyme disease and the meds seem to work well for aging one's rugs, too! : )

Lyfia, goodness I could feel the breeze!

Chirs --- oooh, more homework!

This post was edited by mtnrdredux on Mon, Dec 10, 12 at 23:41

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 11:02PM
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I know that this isn't truly a beach house book, but... I got the newest thom filica book. He renovated and decorated a lake house he purchased. I do love his style. It's always interesting, but seems livable.

Now, don't get me wrong, this book seems to be a giant advertisement for his rugs, fabrics, restoration hardware, etc. But, it's well put together and a nice easy read (if you're into his style). Some things are downright not my interest- "the eagle vanity". I took many things from it as I did his last book. He also didn't want that beachhouse look as it isn't his, but wanted to maintain the focus on the outside (like all the original doors and the windows have black muttins, which drives interest outside- things like that). I especially loved the front room with the giant couch.

If you like his style, you might look into it. Though I love coastal homes (even have a subscription to the mag.) I'm not sure as I might get sick of beach glass, driftwood and those types of things all the time.

Here is a link that might be useful: filicia book.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 12:23AM
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If you have a lot of windows by the beach, then you'll have white furniture. Regardless of whether or not you buy white furniture.

Something to keep in mind.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 12:28AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Sorry, wasn't suggesting you do dark paneling---

...though that also reminded me of that fabulous A frame we stayed on the ocean in Bermuda...it too was very dark walls with large wood beams which made that picture window full of ocean turquoise ever more stunning when viewed from the loft...

---only still (and perhaps belatedly) responding to your initial post about there being only 3 palettes for beach houses... I'm dreaming vicariously of your beach house and if it were mine, I would want the colors to be far and away from the predictable palettes.

I grew up with painted floors...meh. They were old (about 150 years at the time) and I'd gotten more than one large sliver in my bare feet from them and all the ick that was between the floor boards that was impossible to clean. So while they can be attractive esp for a beach house setting, my past taints my image of them now. If DH is really resistant, you might consider painted floor cloths...

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 8:49AM
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Didn't see your post before I posted. Great minds . . .

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 8:57AM
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mtm, I like the idea of your third choice. It would be beautiful and different from your main home. I was surprised when I searched tourquoise fabric how much there is of it. Much mixed with greens and whites.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 9:30AM
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Yes, and your "possible" is extra "tutto". Or vice versa, not sure.

This post was edited by palimpsest on Tue, Dec 11, 12 at 9:49

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 9:46AM
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Let me first say that I haven't read all the responses, but in our beach house, I didn't follow any of your three scenarios. I'm not sure what you'd call mine... primarily it's "what we found at the consignment shops" in terms of furnishings. But when we rebuilt the house a couple of years ago I had plenty of time to think about how I wanted to decorate. I decided I wanted a quiet feeling on the second floor (bedrooms) and more color on the first floor. I wanted a somewhat retro feel because we were rebuilding a Cape that was originally built in the 1940s and I wanted it to still feel like an older house. Most of all, I wanted it to be kind of FUN. Nothing feels too serious there. I used colors that I would never use "in real life." We have a lot of wacky tchotkes (which I swore I'd avoid, but well, that didn't work out so well). There is no navy. There are no ship models. DH does have one map because he is a map guy, so I had to allow it.

One of my primary goals was to make it feel different from my main house, which has darker woods, deeper wall colors, etc. The beach house is much more light and airy. Most of the wood furniture is either painted or pine. Some old, some new.

Here are some pics.

Sunroom with mishmash of furniture. This is one of the most comfortable sofas EVER! (Bayside from Crate and Barrel)

One part of awkward, L-shaped living room.

Another part of same room.

Never did I think I'd ever have a pink living room, but I went for it and I love the pink!

Peek into the den/TV room, which was originally a dining room but who needs a dining room in a beach house?

The "dining room" aka kitchen and porch.

Um, more pink.

Have fun!!

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 10:14AM
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For me, a beach house should be furnished according to a few watchwords--- durability, comfort, ease of maintenance. I would basically build everything in--- beds, drawers in closets, and bedroom halls, etc. All upholstery slip covered for laundering.

If you like the look of maps, why not just use them as your backdrop and proceed organically from there? But for furniture I would go for built ins wherever possible, or more modern shapes that are as functional as possible. And I am in the minority, clearly, but I love shells--- and think a beach house with no shells at all is just as contrived as one with shell napkin rings, picture frames and drawer pulls, iykwim.

I guess my advice would be to buy only what you have to and let the "decor" evolve. The Turquoise and orange of rand McNally maps (my fave) are great colors to start with, and surprisingly, a robins egg blue and tomato red look great with them, too. Our youngest and I shared an study at home and the biggest thing on the wall still is a large map of the world. He and i spent two years traveling and it was always fun to come home and find our coordinates on the map :-)

You may also want to give your kids waterproof cameras and use their images of your surroundings--- the sea, sand, village, new friends----on the walls. Poster sized photos are fabulous--- all grainy and expressionist.

If you are not trying to respect the history or architecture of a house is it really necessary to decorate it with all vintage, distressed, weathered and old stuff? Surely the best way to give a home that lived in, collected over time look is by living in it, and collecting over time?

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 10:42AM
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Deedee, I love that Rackham illustration. Nice to find another fan.
SueB, your house is perfect, for every reason in this thread.

Annie, I suspect your Bermuda house was paneled in native Bermuda cedar...? Bermuda and Virginia are full of the same families (if your name is Tucker, you are likely one of them!) and both are heavily influenced by English Colonial style.

My favorite aspect of Bermuda's architecture is the white stepped roof you see on all the pastel houses. It is made of limestone, and whitewashed with lime. The design collects and channels rainwater into a limestone-lined cistern, and the lime purifies the water. This is critical, because Bermuda has no source of fresh water except for rain.

And that's today's cocktail party trivia.

In addition to my own traditional leanings, I'm attracted to the cool modern houses you see in places like Montauk - they seem just right for simple beach living, and are probably easier to take care of.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 11:17AM
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Oh, I do hope your doggy feels better. SueB, great-- what you did with color distribution!

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 11:55AM
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My in-laws have a beach house in eastern Long Island. It's a beautiful very old saltbox shingle house. My MIL has owned 20+ homes and loves to decorate. She did not use any of the "7 basics" for this house, but kept it very simple. Very few rugs on the wide plank floors. Not too much furniture. Comfortable couches. Nothing high-maintenance.

She has repainted several times over the years. My favorite was when the living room was a pale rose pink, with white and various shades of green in the furniture. The dining room was pale butter yellow, with a dark antique table and white wicker side chairs. On the 2nd and 3rd floors she used a lot of pale green-- kind of a celadon or aqua. I know she used mostly BM Historical colors.

I am sure you will find the way to translate your own (beautiful) taste into "beach" mode without getting into a cliched scheme. What a fun project you have ahead. Can't wait to follow it.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 2:08PM
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I saw this online and thought I would share.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 4:05PM
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Look at "Hamptons Classic" in the December 2012 Elle D�cor.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 7:47PM
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Since you've been talking turquoise, I have to show you these pretty candle holders I bought. I originally saw them in the Olive and Cocoa catalog for $98, but I found them at this site for only $48. I called the Roost Co. and they said the second site was a customer of theirs so they're the same product. I love the Roost products, but they only sell wholesale and no one vendor seems to carry their entire line which is a drag. In another post I'll show you something else I could at a beach cottage.

Here is a link that might be useful: tealight holders

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 9:10PM
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I don't know what you'd call these, baskets or hampers or what, but I love the look. I can also see the rug in a boy's room. This website does not have the items, but they could be ordered.

Here is a link that might be useful: more Roost Co.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 9:16PM
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In terms of colours, I'm with number 3 too. Without all the stripes, maps and framed shells ideally. Well, I do love maps.

Check out the link to the "Stinson Beach House." Aside from the nearly turquoise surf board out front, they used more navy (sorry) than turquoise, but turquoise would work well imo. I really like this place, inside and out. I think the use of colours is great, I love the lack of overstuffed furniture, and the limited use of beach house cliches. It may be a tad too modern, but 'rusticate' it a bit as Pal mentioned with your big old dining table and other furniture and I think could work, and be lovely as well of course.

I love the turquoise ceiling idea.

Here is a link that might be useful: Interesting beach house

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 10:29PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

jterrilynn, pretty palette...would go nicely with the sand pipers....

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 10:31PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Here's an interesting twist...the turquoise with a fuschia accent....

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 10:42PM
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I absolutely loved Sarah Richardson's Summer Home. I have never lived at the ocean, but I have on one of the northern great lakes. Maybe that's why Sarah's house spoke to me. It really encompasses what I, as a midwesterner, think of as a "beach" house. No sea shells to be found. Just a lot of water-worn rocks and sun- and wind-worn woods. The style could be easily transferable to the NE coast, I think.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lake House

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 11:52PM
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I dislike the predictable colorways usually associated with a beach cottage look, so why be predictable, mdux? I'm not seeing it as your 'sthick'.

You said you have a neutral pallette in your primary home, but that leaves a lot to my visual imagination. Could be all grays, all beige/tans, ivories/whites.........

If it were *my* North Carolina beachfront home(MY dream!)subtlety, with no garish bright blues, is my visual. My choice would be a pale true gray, warm beige or tan, and a very pale, misty blue-green. Accents~pillows, lamps, etc.~ would be ivory/off-white shades. I feel these colors would give complete relaxation to your home away from home.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 12:21AM
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Turquoise and white in a beach home is one of my favorite color schemes. We rent a home in Hawaii which has this color combination, and I can't imagine this space with beiges and grays. I would think it would be quite drab with just neutrals and no color to match the rich colors of the Pacific and the frangipani, birds of paradise, boungavilla and other tropical flowers that surround the property. The designer incorporated neutral pieces and texture (jute rugs, white slip-covered sofas, rattan furniture) with turquoise, coral and yellow. For some inspiration:

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 2:34AM
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When my grandparents built a cottage on one of Michigans great lakes she stipulated that the floor boards be spaced apart a bit so she could just sweep the sand down through the cracks.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 6:06AM
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I just went to a home furnishings store that my friend has been raving about for years. All the time we were there, we kept saying, if we had a beach house, this would be so perfect...!

Here is a link that might be useful: Laurie's in Tomball, TX

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 7:17AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Wow! pipdog....what a luscious place....spectacular views!

But to me, there is a difference between a tropical locale like Hawaii or the Caribbean and a new england one...same ocean, but the ocean is not the same at all....and no hibiscus or bougainvillea....

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 7:42AM
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I didn't have a chance to read all of the posts but wanted to post a few palette's from some of the pics posted:

My favorite:

Source: letschipit.com via Tiffani on Pinterest

Source: letschipit.com via Tiffani on Pinterest

Source: letschipit.com via Tiffani on Pinterest

Source: letschipit.com via Tiffani on Pinterest

Another random palette that I had:

Source: letschipit.com via Tiffani on Pinterest

Too expected?

Source: chiccoastalliving.blogspot.com via Tiffani on Pinterest

Too literal New England Coastal?

Source: hollymathisinteriors.com via Tiffani on Pinterest

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 9:32AM
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Wow, great job pulling it all together Foxes Pad! Some great options have been presented on this thread. GW folks are so helpful!

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 3:18PM
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Thank you all.... busy day .... will respond in more detail as soon as i can!

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 4:19PM
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Just a few more pretty pictures.

A little too formal (easily addressed), but such gorgeous colour combos:

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 8:41PM
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You will have a different palette for a Puerto Vallarta beach house (Mexican brights and a lot of white), a Miami Beach house (corals and teals and sand), an Oregon beach house (warm neutrals and woodsy stuff and greys).

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 8:08AM
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Dear all,

I always try to reply to everyone who helps me on a post, but I am totally out of time. We are leaving for vacation tomorrow and we are trying to celebrate christmas in the morning before we go. Packing, wrapping, packing, wrapping.... arggh.

Anyway, a shout out to Pal for the great mag spread, to SUeB for sharing your perfect summer home (I remember I loved those LR chairs from another post!), to Foxespad for all the great moodboards, Annie for the photos, et al et al et al.

The weekend after we get back we meet w the architects, so I will be back bugging you all. Meantime, Happy Holidaysand sayonara and nong nong!

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 10:08PM
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"When my grandparents built a cottage on one of Michigans great lakes she stipulated that the floor boards be spaced apart a bit so she could just sweep the sand down through the cracks."

This is the absolute best idea anyone has ever had since the invention of indoor plumbing!

I know you'll keep your eyes open on vacation, mtnredux, and you'll see and experience things that will somehow be translatable to the northeast shore. You are a fantastic editor, so whatever you do with this project will be liveable and esthetically pleasing. Maybe lengthening the collecting /editing process will lead you into a new look or color palette.

Bon voyage!

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 10:37PM
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Along with the sand through the cracks thing, which is great, you may also want floor drains at certain entrances.

My new house has a single entry point. (Other means of egress but really only one way IN).

And, it's one step up from the side walk, right on the side walk.

There is no vestibule and the floor is wood, and opposite to what most people have done to these houses(open them up more to enlarge the kitchen), I am buttoning the house up more to create a true vestibule/entry with door to kitchen, door to new den, and door to LR.

We may also get bikes which may need to be brought into the house. So I am actually making the vestibule area tile, and possibly the den tile, with the vestibule essentially a shower pan floor with a drain in it for the snow, rain, salt etc., tracked in, and cleaning purposes.

Would make sense at a beach, too.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 8:44AM
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I went through a pile of Coastal Living magazines one weekend with a friend who was planning a house in Falmouth, and the palettes Foxes Pad (great job!) put together seemed to be the most common ones. Pale blue, off whites, sand, maybe some pale sage green to get wild and a "pop" of navy. I like your turquoise and white idea because it is different! I wouldn't make my family pose in onesies, but the Swedish- Gustavian idea you've got going would be lovely.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 10:11AM
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Spacing the floorboards is fine if you don't have any little creeters that will move in from below...I'd want screening underneath that is fine enough to let the sand pass through but too fine for the beasties.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 1:53PM
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Thanks everyone so much for this discussion. I found it after searching for tourquoise and white because it's a color palette that will be part of my small lake cottage.

I've been slowly collecting furniture, bedding, drapes etc from garage sales, thrift stores, relatives homes so it certainly won't be a staged look.

Thanks for the discussion!


    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 2:15AM
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How was your vacation?
How are your house plans coming?


    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 7:28PM
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For some additional photos/ideas, here is the one of the nicest places I have every been lucky enough to visit.

The homes and colors are what I would call Carribean colonial.

Here is a link that might be useful: Harbour Island rentals

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 9:57PM
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Thanks for asking. It was a fabulous trip. Very memorable in many ways. Riding elephants, petting tigers, the people, the architecture. Each of us had a digital camera and we have 5,000 photos to sort through and edit! ( I always make photobooks when we travel). Already planning our next trip(s). Actually I have planned our next five trips; it's a bit of a hobby of mine.

As for the beachhouse ... total frustration. Turns out the driveway is not on the property; it has crossed through abutters for 100 years. The estate we are buying form has been unsuccessful in getting it resolved and may need to go to court. We can't close until it is settled since you cannot sell landlocked property.

We are keeping an eye out for an alternative but we want something very specific and not easy to find. And we aren't willing to settle. As I told the agent, we don't need a third house, for goodness sakes, so we won't buy it unless we find it compelling!

Thanks for the link. Which one? Or all?

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 5:26PM
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oh definitely all!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 6:32PM
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You were talking about rugs, and I saw these vintage ones for sale today:


    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 8:48PM
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