Blue California Cottage

Designer Laura Motley shares how to find design inspiration from the ocean—whether you live on the beach or just wish you did.

Blue California Cottage: Living Room

Photographer: Lisa Romerein, Stylist: Jennifer Barguiarena

1. Reinvent Your Pieces

When the new owners of a cottage in Summerland, California, looked out their windows to the view, they felt like they were "floating on an endless sea." So designer Laura Motley of Rooms & Gardens in Santa Barbara took her cues—and hues—from the Pacific to help them create a fresh look inside the 2,000-square-foot cottage. Motley chose an ikat fabric from the China Seas Suncloth collection for the living room chairs to complement the fretwork on the stools. The Javanese teak table was cut down to coffee table height.

Get the look: The coffee table and chairs are from Rooms & Gardens. The China Seas Kazak chair fabric and Java Java stool fabric in New Blue on White are from Quadrille Fabrics. The sea grass rug is from Merida.

Blue California Cottage: Deck

Photographer: Lisa Romerein, Stylist: Jennifer Barguiarena

2. Ride a Wave of Color

On the sunny upper deck, all-weather wicker chairs and a black iron table get a jolt of color from pillows that borrow their aqua shade from the beach breakers below. The pillows' coral print introduces the sea life theme that is played out in accessories throughout the house.

Get the look: The table and chairs are from Pottery Barn. The pillows are from Williams-Sonoma Home.

Blue California Cottage: Covered Porch

Photographer: Lisa Romerein, Stylist: Jennifer Barguiarena

3. Be Flexible

The covered porch off the first-floor bedrooms is a big draw, thanks in part to its modular seating, which can be pushed together to provide a plush pad for snuggling with pups, pulled apart for a party, or lined up for a quick nap.

Get the look: The family dogs lounge on a modular sectional from Pottery Barn.

Blue California Cottage: Den

Photographer: Lisa Romerein, Stylist: Jennifer Barguiarena

4. Get in the Mix

Motley was able to ground the large den by using a variety of fabrics to define different seating areas. "I love mixing prints," she says. "It can be difficult, but it helps to organize the space." The furniture was strategically placed so as not to interfere with the views.

Get the look: The Lee Industries chairs are covered in Seya fabric from Quadrille.

Blue California Cottage: Dining Room

Photographer: Lisa Romerein, Stylist: Jennifer Barguiarena

5. Go Under Cover

White denim slipcovers on the dining chairs are stain resistant and easily laundered, and grow softer with use. "I needed something that was easy to care for but didn't compromise the look I wanted," says the wife. "Slipcovers are the perfect solution." The round table opens to seat eight.

Get the look: The table, chairs, and slipcovers are from Rooms & Gardens.

Blue California Cottage: Master Bedroom

Photographer: Lisa Romerein, Stylist: Jennifer Barguiarena

6. Accept a Complement

Motley mixed fabrics in the master bedroom—weaving in prints with complementary blue hues on the pillows and paisley headboard. "I wanted the room to be placid," says the wife, "so Laura found ways to use colors that weren't distracting."

Get the look: The headboard is upholstered in Kashmir Paisley fabric by Peter Dunham. The linens are by Serena & Lily.

Blue California Cottage: Master Bathroom

Photographer: Lisa Romerein, Stylist: Jennifer Barguiarena

7. Stick with What Works

To create consistency and tie the design of the master bath in with the rest of the house, Motley had the cabinet doors made to match the ones used in the kitchen.

Get the look: The cabinets are by Tim Cook; 805/729-4421. The countertops are by Rozhko Tile. The faucets, mirror, and sconces are from Restoration Hardware.

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