Beachside Cottage Decorating

Fabulous View
A California couple trades a busy suburban life for a comfortable, carefree waterfront home, decorated in a beach cottage style that welcomes friends, family, and fun all year.

Beach Haven

Casual and fun is the perfect description for this minimally remodeled, vintage-adorable two-story home along the coast where open windows let in fresh ocean breezes and a Dutch door welcomes guests winter, spring, summer, and fall. A sidewalk is all that separates the house from the beach. Black awnings and shutters give the 1912 cottage a subtle face-lift.

Cozy Cottage

With a passion for fixing up old houses the couple saw the potential in this early 20th century charmer right away. The original board-and-batten wainscoting, built-in cupboards, and exposed beam ceilings were remarkably intact, though the fir floorboards were buried under layers of linoleum and indoor-outdoor carpet. The homeowners refinished the floors and freshened the woodwork with durable white marine paint.

Natural Neutrals

Neutral colors on the walls and floors make it easy to change the look of the living room, as do timeless patterns, such as stripes, and details such as the sofa's black-and-white ticking fabric. Shopping locally can give your home a sense of place. Many of the decor finds in this home came from a "crusty" old shell shop down the street.

All-Weather Decorating

With an indoor-outdoor lifestyle surrounding this home, the interior needed to be just as durable as the exterior. A fuss-free look combines all-weather fabrics protect upholstery, while worn wood furniture and sturdy woven rugs stand up to heavy traffic. The couple also whitewashed the brick fireplace to give it a mellow appearance.

Depth in Details

Texture, such as the worn wood table, wicker chairs, and woven blinds, impart a warm welcome in the dining room. Pale gray paint subtly sets off the crisp white wainscot.

Storage on Display

Cupboards in the dining room store the couple's dishes and a buffet below allows guests to serve themselves, making for laid-back entertaining. The cupboards were painted green to provide some contrast with the white and gray walls.

Kitchen Charm

In the small kitchen, new beaded board paneling hides exposed pipes. Accessories prove that a look can be introduced to a kitchen, without having to execute a major remodel. A red-and-white striped rug and gingham towel bring quintessential cottage charm, as does an arrangement of pitchers and plants above the sink window.

Lasting Beauty

White marine paint gives the kitchen cabinets a durable finish that is highly resistant to moisture and salt air. For a seamless look, the couple used black soapstone for the counters and backsplash.

Walls with Character

The beaded-board walls, tongue-and- groove ceiling, and "somewhat squeaky" floors are all original. Photos depicting beach memories complete the relaxing, oceanic theme of the home.

Cozy Slumber

In the upper-level master bedroom, the striped rug and bedding echo the pattern of the master bedroom's paneled walls and ceiling. An antique chest fits snugly under the eaves and helps make up for skimpy closets.

Darling Dressers

Cottage style is usually characterized by weather-worn surfaces, but an occasional burst of shine will personalize the look. The high-gloss finish on the antique dresser reflects the ample amount of light that streams through the bedroom windows, and the decidedly traditional structure of the dresser reflects back to the room's cottage styling.

Fabulous View

Washable white denim slipcovers are as comfortable and practical as a favorite pair of jeans. The chair sits next to a window overlooking an incredible view of the waves crashing and the seals barking.

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