Easy Ways to Warm up Your Home Decor
Create a relaxing retreat for year-round use with these ideas from one beachy sea-colored vacation house
When your biggest challenge is deciding where to sit, you know you've come home to the perfect summer retreat. As the weather warms up, the goal is to unwind, so "you want the decor to be different," says Kirsten Schiff, who finished her family's Georgia-coast getaway in a smile-inducing style you might call retro-casual.
Shown: Flea-market chairs get a unified look with white paint, punchy stripes, and a table with faux aged patina.
A big ottoman is the gather-round spot in the living room; chairs swivel so that guests can turn to fix their gaze on the incoming tide; bar stools line up at a kitchen counter as if awaiting root-beer floats. And everywhere you look in this relax-and-enjoy house are the colors of the sky and sea, from turquoise tea towels and aqua Ball jars to a chrome-trimmed range reminiscent of a '50s Chevrolet.
Shown: Homeowner Kirsten Schiff wanted her family's summer place to induce a relaxed state.
Savannah, Georgia–based interior designer Jane Coslick helped orchestrate the mix, aiming to make the traditionally styled new house look as if it had been there for decades. She prevailed upon the builder to give the shiplap pine paneling on the walls a loosened-by-time look, scattered around some of the owners' vintage finds, used old shutters as closet doors, and commissioned a dining table with a gently worn finish. Even concessions to modern times, like the tiled backsplash and concrete counters, are met with old-fashioned touches, such as a faux hutch made from cabinets with brackets and chicken-wire door fronts. "Lots of white and plenty of sun make everything pop," says Kirsten. "But even on rainy days, when I step in the front door, I know I'm going to have fun."
Shown: Retro appliances, pendants, and cabinet hardware set the tone in the kitchen; gingerbread brackets play off concrete counters. Ample amounts of natural light and white paint cool off tropical waves of turquoise and aqua.
Pale blue becomes a neutral on chairs covered with matching slipcovers. Coordinating stripes keep the color palette from fading away.
Soft, light-diffusing drapes are hung high to draw the eye up and toward the view.
An oversize ottoman creates an instant gathering spot. Top it with a tray to hold shells—or cold drinks.
The combination bath-laundry area gets its timeworn character from a table made of salvaged gym flooring. Other found goods include the repurposed green cabinet door, the flea-market stool, and many of the items in the custom shell chandelier.
The sink was salvaged from a teardown and given a sturdy Sunbrella-fabric skirt to hide the works.
Old and new come together with the help of a unifying palette. Feminine ruffles and fabrics play off a painted iron bed and rustic wall shelf.
Loosely fit paneling does fine where humidity's high, and adds a cottage touch.
Tip: To give a traditional house a lived-in look, mix vintage finds with lots of crisp fabrics and bright colors.
Closet doors in the entryway are repurposed shutters found at a flea market and given a bright coat of paint. The chalkboard was framed for a finished look; the checkerboard-painted concrete floor was designed to look none the worse for a little wear and tear.
Benjamin Moore's Latex Floor & Patio Enamel in Blue Rapids and Neon. About $45 per gallon; Benjamin Moore for stores