Gamble designed the space in this Annapolis, Md.,
home near the water in subtle beach decor.
starting a recent project at a clientís Ocean City,
Md., home, interior designer Phillip Smith wasnít
looking to create an obvious beach home feel.
you are at the beach, itís hard to convey beach
without screaming it," he said.
focused on color, reflective objects and natural fibers
to tap into the spirit of the beach without being too
obvious. It was an approach that worked for his clients,
a Catonsville, Md., couple, who liked it so much that
what began as a small bathroom remodel turned into a
redo of their three-bedroom home.
it highlighted the fact that itís possible to achieve
a beachy look without resorting to gimmicks like
seashells, anchors or bushels of crabs.
Stephanie Gamble also created a subtler "beach
feel" in the main floor of her clientsí 1930sí
three-level Annapolis, Md., home ó without even
setting out to do so.
didnít intend for it to be coastal; it just worked out
that way," said Gamble, owner of Baltimore-based
interior design company The House Downtown.
said details such as anchoring the living room with a
neutral-colored sofa and hanging artwork in hues of
blue, green and white made the home feel like a property
in Ocean City or the Outer Banks.
kind of just happened. It wasnít conscious. It was a
natural progression," Gamble said. "Having a
water view from several of the windows was an
worked with a lighter color palette, which wound up
giving the home its "coastal" feel.
were going in a light, airy direction," she said.
"Itís very coastal because of the blues. We used
serene artwork. Ö I equate serene with beach."
can follow Gambleís and Smithís examples to
transform your digs into a comfy beach pad without being
too gimmicky. Restraint, Gamble said, is key.
nautical theme is always classic, but itís kind of
expected," Gamble said. "You can never really
go wrong with navy, white and a little splash of red.
But why not do something a little unexpected? Do the
are more tips from the interior designers on how to
create an understated beach look in your home.
AND SOPHISTICATED BEACH HOME FURNISHINGS
color is huge," Smith said. "You can change
the entire look by painting."
suggested painting cabinets white or adding watercolor
prints to bare walls.
look at those and you get the feel of waves, and the
colors are reminiscent of water," he said.
great way to incorporate color and get that beach-like
vibe is through art, according to Gamble.
artwork that isnít necessarily pictures of
boats," she said. "We used serene imagery,
which is very fluid. That felt like water."
donít have to shun beach paraphernalia altogether ó
itís possible to incorporate it in tasteful ways. For
example, Smith mounted two colorful surfboards, one in
the upstairs loft and one in the living room, in his
clientsí Ocean City home.
had sentimental value," he said. The owners
"met as a lifeguard and umbrella girl. [The
surfboards] belonged to him. Theyíre colorful, bright,
saturated colors. They really pop out nicely against the
has incorporated a lot of glass and reflecting materials
into his project, including using mirrors whenever he
got a chance.
remind you of iridescent shells and pearls," he
said. "Any time you can use something that has a
reflective quality, it gives a water feel."
of the expected seashells or anchors, Gamble opted for a
less popular, but still beachy, accessory: coral.
put a piece on a coffee table," she said. "The
key is not to put it everywhere. Be very subtle. Ö
When you take it and run, it becomes a little much. Use
the trends and the typical beach-themed items very
the large beige couch and cream-colored leather ottoman
to the white lacquer dinning room table, Gamble used
lighter tones to create a more serene atmosphere in her
clientsí Annapolis home.
were going [for] the lighter, airier feel," she
a gray-blue coastal palette is dominant elsewhere in the
house, the homeowners didnít want to overplay the blue
tones in the decor inside the living room. The slate
surround of the fireplace, cream-colored sofa and light
blue runner on the table reinforce a neutral color
scheme with sparing use of nautical blues."
used blue in the form of artwork and lamps to create a
coastal feel. Accent pieces were also in shades of blue,
as well as neutrals and light greens.
anything that is calming," she said.
favored the use of linen and light-hued leathers for
furniture covers and finishes, and used grass cloth for
creates that casual, comfortable feel that invokes
coastal," she said. "Use anything light. Stay
away from velvet."
wanted to mimic the weathered outdoors once he
determined that the Ocean City house would have a beachy
feel. He advised using teak and resin furniture.
reminds you of wood," he said. "I used faux
wood tile floor throughout the kitchen and living area.
It reminds you of bamboo."
the kitchen, Smith used sand-colored granite countertops
that reminded him of sand dunes.
kind of snowballed from there," he said.