Coastal Cottage 101
Designers invite us inside for a closer look at their colorful cottages.
Built in the 1950s and desperately in need of renovation, this enclave near Kennebunkport, Maine, hosted its own decorators' showcase. Sixteen designers took on the difficult challenge of turning these dilapidated cottages into a magical village, on a modest budget. "Here all of the cottages work as individual units," says designer Pauline Vastardis. "They're little experiments for what you actually need in a weekend cottage."
Home, sweet home. Your porch acts as a welcome mat and a relaxation spot. While guests may never want to leave this outdoor room with its Adirondack chairs and pastel pillows, the cottage's painted black door adds a touch of dramatic contrast and draws visitors inside.
The power of a cheery palette. Maintain your cottage's airy feel by placing bright patterns and lots of color against white walls. Designer Lesa Knowlton, who chose a palette of pastels, says, "Even on gloomy days you'll be happy with yellows and pinks."
Illusions of space. Painting this built-in bookcase the same color as the walls makes the small living area look bigger because it doesn't interrupt visual movement throughout the space. The shelves provide a perfect backdrop for brightly colored accent pieces. Just don't overdo it with accessories or you'll start to crowd-and thus shrink-the space.
City house, country house. Lighting fixtures can add chic, modern style to your weekend cottage. These overhead fixtures combine style and function without taking up valuable space.
Out in the open. You don't have to buy a bulky china cabinet to house cups and saucers. Polka-dot and striped china transform these shelves into a focal point in this cottage kitchen.
Store with style. Wall-mounted metal racks provide stylish storage spaces inside the cozy cottage. Look for similar vintage country "spice" racks at local flea markets or antiques shops.
Shipshape style. Designers decorated this cottage around a central, nautical theme. They added subtle accents, like a porthole window in the kitchen door, and seaworthy knickknacks along a high ledge. The result? A yachty interior that makes you feel like you're on the deck of a boat.
Take it outside. When decorating your weekend cottage around a central theme, don't overlook outdoor possibilities. This oar-turned-railing awaits visitors and welcomes them into the cottage's nautical interior.
Sitting pretty. Install small shelves on either side of a couch or bed to create additional storage without taking up floor space. Add warmth by topping your new shelves with arrangements of seasonal wildflowers.
For your viewing pleasure. Opening up the living room and adding depth to the space, an entire wall of windows is dedicated to this cottage's view overlooking an inlet. The designers created a crisp, clean interior by refreshing the original tongue-and-groove paneling with white paint. They steered clear of window treatments, placing all emphasis on the vista.
Small space revisited. This cottage takes full advantage of its interior space. Built-in bookcases in the living area display art, shells, and novels. A drop-leaf table offers just enough room for dining or game-playing, and a sleeper sofa (not shown) makes up for the lack of a second bedroom.
Customized touch. Continue your design theme beyond upholstery and artwork. The stenciled motif on this bedroom dresser and the sea-horse accent on the lamp add creative, personalized touches while complementing the cottage's overall style.