Seaside escape - styling a contemporary British beach house

Having recently done an interior for a house in Cornwall, the team and I did a fair bit of puzzling over what makes a contemporary British seaside home. How do you decorate a house in this context without going overboard on nautical and ocean references?

With the nights drawing in and the whisper of autumn's chill in the air, a sensible topic for this month's blog might be something autumnal. But the truth is, I'm in denial and trying to wring every last drop out of summer by writing about seaside homes instead!


Having recently done an interior for a house in Cornwall, the team and I did a fair bit of puzzling over what makes a contemporary British seaside home. How do you decorate a house in this context without going overboard on nautical and ocean references?

Answers to this type of question are usually found by paying careful attention to the natural environment in which the property is situated. Yes, seaside textures are coarse, like sandy shores and crackly driftwood, but there is also a smooth, reflective quality to water that predominates. When it comes to colour, blue seems obvious. Of course, with all the sky and water filling your vision it's easy to get stuck on blue and not look past it. But if you put blue to one side, you will find a whole range of colours, from rich, chocolatey browns to crisp greens and hints of orangey-pink.

Personally, the thing I love most about coastal living is the sense of freshness that comes from the salty breeze and the coolness of the water. To capture a feeling of freshness in the scheme we began with white. I love how white simplifies, unifies and anchors a space. Not all whites are created equal and the eye can distinguish warmer and cooler shades when these are layered to create subtle tonal variations. The images below show how we layered whites with sandy neutrals and splashes of bolder colour. Chunky woven textures are combined with contemporary furniture in glass and metal to bring an element of reflection, just like the sea glinting in the sun.

Blue does make an appearance in the scheme and there is the odd bit of sailing inspired decor but the overall look walks a beautiful balance between calm elegance and welcoming restfulness. You can see more pictures from this project here - hope you like it as much as I do.

Love,
Emma

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