Tuesday, August 30, 2011

This is Not My Naked Beach House

DeBordieu Beach Community near Georgetown, South Carolina
A few days after returning from our family beach vacation, I attended a webinar on designing for beach homes.  Our week at the beach was perfect, but I admit I was secretly decorating the house we rented in my mind the whole time we were there.  The shelter magazines on the coffee table, existing furnishings and a few framed photographs on the book shelves gave clues to the taste and preferences of the homeowners, so even though I was "off the clock" I couldn't help thinking about how I could help this family to make their home-away-from-home feel even homier (is that even a word?).
121 Steele Beach Rental as it looks today
This is the living room of the beach house we rented last week in the DeBordieu community near Georgetown, South Carolina.  We had a wonderful time at the beach, and enjoyed staying in this beautiful oceanfront home with spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean from every window...  But the bare-naked walls and windows, let alone the empty bookshelves, gnawed at my soul.  I can't help myself; it's an occupational hazard, I must dress the windows and cozy up this space in my imagination.  Design software to the rescue!

Lee Jofa Jacobean Tree fabric for drapery panels
The first thing this room needs is some color on those stark white walls.  I "painted" the ceiling a pale blue and the walls a pale blue-green to bring in the colors of the ocean and sky.  Next, I replaced the white honeycomb shades (on the wall above the sliding glass doors) with some bamboo shades in the same color as the floor boards.  I know that the owners of my beach rental like homes with a cottage, shabby chic appeal from the magazines they left in every room, so I added drapery panels in Lee Jofa Jacobean Tree fabric, Blues colorway to play up that angle.  I ditched the ceiling fans in favor of a pair of fanciful seashell chandeliers and styled the bookshelves with -- what else? -- plenty of books, a couple of seashells, and a few baskets.  I put an American Girls doll in a vintage bathing suit in the child's wicker chair (the homeowners have a little girl; her picture was framed in the bookcase and her chalk drawings decorated the floor of the garage), and I added a sleeping puppy dog in front of the fireplace.  Every room is better with a dog in it, don't you agree?  I don't know what kind of dog this family has, but I know they have one because of tell-tale scratch marks on the door leading down to the garage. 

Because I was too lazy to remove the one chair and ottoman that I really didn't care for, I just plopped a new chair down on top of it.  Pretend you can't see the other one that's still in the picture.  Oh, and since this is an imaginary project, I chucked the flat screen TV in the dumpster and hung a Van Gogh landscape painting in its place.  The finishing touches: a bowl of fruit, a houseplant, and a fruity drink with an umbrella...  Ta da:
121 Steele Beach Rental as it could be, with a little imagination
Important considerations: This home has a million-dollar view, and I was careful not to cover an inch of it.  The woven wood shades stack on the wall above the sliding glass doors, they do not hang down over the glass when fully raised.  The stationary drapery panels are also covering trimwork and walls adjacent to the sliding glass doors, they are not covering the glass, either.  The floral drapery fabric isn't for everyone; I chose it because of the English Home magazines that the homeowner subscribes to (showcasing English cottage interiors and gardens).  White linen drapery panels would be a crisper, less frilly option, maybe with a blue banding on the lead edges.  Big patterns like this at the window might detract from the view if it weren't for the soothing blue color story.  If the client had her heart set on vibrant reds and purples, I would have used those on the pillow and upholstery fabrics and kept the fabric around the windows calm and neutral.

Of course, if this was my own personal beach house, there would be two Rottweiler puppies lounging in front of the fireplace and an espresso machine in the adjoining kitchen.  There would also be an oil painting of a Star Wars space battle over the fireplace instead of the Van Gogh, painted by a certain 10-year-old artist of whom I'm extremely fond, and Lego scultptures on the coffee table.  Then I'd never want to leave the beach...

Some of my favorite goodies that I used in this design:

Arteriors Strasbourg Seashell Chandelier, available here
Lee Jofa Constanza embroidered linen/viscose pillow fabric
Landscape With Green Corn, by Vincent Van Gogh, 1889, print available here

Note: When Bernie sees this post, he is going to say, "I thought you were WORKING in there!"  Heh heh heh...


The Paris Apartment said...

That's a beautiful home that could really use your touch!

The Paris Apartment said...

It's dying for your design! Did you pitch the homeowners?

Rebecca Grace said...

Thanks. No, I didn't pitch this to the homeowners. I have no contact with them; rented the home through the community rental management company. Also, I wouldn't want to offend them, have no idea what their financial situation or budget may be. Even if they are okay with the $170/yard Lee Jofa fabric I selected (and they would need a LOT of yardage for all those windows), I doubt the Van Gogh would be in the real world budget -- and if they did end up investing in all of the changes I've proposed, they probably wouldn't want to rent the house out anymore and then I'd have to find someplace else to stay at the beach! :-)

Ivory Spring said...

The place looks so much better after your magic touch!