House Tours: Cottage by the Sea

This Nantucket cottage brings all the wonders of the sea inside with splashes of bright color, lively seaside prints, and practical materials.

Veronica Toney


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Cottage exterior
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Coastal Style

    Interior designer Carrie Miller filled this Nantucket cottage with ocean hues and motifs to give this sea-loving family of five a low-maintenance space where they could relax. Miller selected easy-care furniture and accessories, such as painted wood and wicker tables and chairs, to give this home a casual beach vibe.

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Open Floor Plan

    Coral and pale blue are the couple's favorite shades, so designer Carrie Miller incorporated at least one of the hues in every room. She paired them with yellow, pale green, and beige for a bright and fun palette. The hub of the home is the open layout of the kitchen, breakfast nook, and family room.

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Smart Fabric Choices

    Designer Carrie Miller translated the family's laid-back style into her picks for furniture and accents. The sofas are slipcovered in a washable cotton. She used textured, patterned rugs throughout the home, including this one in the family room, to camouflage dirt and stains.

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Calming Breakfast Nook

    Because the breakfast nook is connected to the family room, designer Carrie Miller carried the theme of blue seating into this area. Blue painted wicker chairs paired with a white farmhouse table continue the breezy color palette. Fabric in a pale green pattern covers the window seat. The window treatments are made of the same fabric.

    Get The Look: Give furniture a new life and your room a splash of color by spray-painting furniture a new hue.

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Small Bath Solutions

    To make the most of the dormer bathroom, designer Carrie Miller used small space storage techniques and cottage accents. Pale blue walls go with the home's color palette and open up the small space. Covering the vanities in beaded board gives the space cottage flair and provides amble storage for multiple users. Oval mirrors are a modern alternative to medicine cabinets.

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Cottage-Style Kitchen

    Located in the center of the house, the white and stainless steel kitchen is a neutral counterpoint to the color palette of the surrounding rooms. Beaded board around the kitchen island carries the cottage look into the room.

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Splashes of Color

    Colorful dishes and kitchen gadgets add a touch of color to the neutral kitchen. To continue the casual theme, designer Carrie Miller broke from her established color palette by mixing cool blues and greens with shots of vivid reds and yellows.

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Nautical Dining Room

    Paying homage to Nantucket's maritime history, ships appear on both the dramatic iron chandelier and elegant chair cushions. The homeowners bought the dining room table and chairs from a furniture restorer at a local art fair. Darker blue window treatments work with the chandelier to add a touch of drama.

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Red Accents

    In the living room, the white and neutral palette is kicked up with a splash of red. The white slipcovered sofas, oat-colored ottoman, and sisal rug create an easy-to-accessorize background. To incorporate the pale-blue-and-coral color scheme in this room, designer Carrie Miller used colored vases, blue curtains, and nautical-theme fabric.

    Editor's Tip: To keep your theme from becoming kitschy, limit yourself to only a few theme items in each room. In this living room, nautical prints are limited to accent pillows.

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Fun with Color

    The red wicker arm chair adds color and casual style to living room. Novelty fabric brings a playful touch to the room. The prints also help establish the room's color scheme by bringing together the reds, beiges, and blues.

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Boat-Style Light

    Light fixtures reminiscent of a bygone era give this newer house character. The reproduction cast-iron light in the foyer is similar to a boat lantern.

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Secondhand Chic

    Designer Carrie Miller repurposed flea market finds to add to the home's cottage style. Painted wood pieces with a textured patina, such as the console table and trunk, give the living room a laid-back look.

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Fun with Patterned Wallpaper

    Designer Carrie Miller had fun with the nautical theme in the powder room. She paired red-and-white wallpaper with a lobster motif with a porthole mirror and lantern light fixture. White beaded board balances the wall pattern without overpowering the small space. The trick to not letting the theme overwhelm the whole house is to have fun in small spaces, such as bathrooms or hallways, but keep it subtle in common living areas.

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Ship-Theme Bedroom

    To dress up the neutral bedroom, designer Carrie Miller had fun with fabric. A whimsical ship-pattern fabric was used for the upholstered headboard and bedskirt. To add even more cottage flair to the room, she replaced the nightstand door with beaded board for an unexpected accent.

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