A charmer in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts, is decked out in chic-meets-seaworthy style. Step inside for nonstop beach house decorating ideas.
Writer: Christina Cush
1 of 11Photographer: Annie Schlechter, Styling by: Matthew Gleason
Just a quick jaunt from the beach and a harbor dotted with lobster boats in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts, sits an elegant, shingled home on two private acres. With its rounded turret, blue-painted shutters, and simple boxwood-and-lavender garden, the house has all the charm of a cozy Colonial cottage in a small town.
But after 15 years, the owners, a family of six Connecticut, decided the house needed some updating. Installing a new kitchen and stairwell turned into a full-blown renovation and addition—including a new family room, master suite, and pool—by Essex, Massachusetts-based architect Robert MacNeille. Then the family turned to Rowayton, Connecticut-based interior designer Lynn Morgan to infuse their home with a style that would reflect the seaside setting.
2 of 11Photographer: Annie Schlechter, Styling by: Matthew Gleason
Throughout the house, Lynn stuck to a palette of turquoise, green, navy, and white. In the family room, Lynn took a classically nautical tack with a palette of navy and white. A striped rug in those shades, and a navy Ultrasuede sectional with crisp white piping, stand out against a shiplap-clad wall decorated with local nautical charts.
3 of 11Photographer: Annie Schlechter, Styling by: Matthew Gleason
In the living room, seafoam green walls are a fresh and unexpected backdrop for a pair of bright turquoise sofas and lively patterned throw pillows in vibrant hues. "Blues and greens are great for a beach house," says Lynn. "They feel like summer all year long."
To offset the ocean colors, she incorporated a lot of natural elements, such as the ship-inspired mahogany windows, sisal area rugs, and grasscloth lamp shades. Lots of white, from the living room's garden stool and coffee table to the high-gloss paint on most of the trim, also tones down the bright hues.
4 of 11Photographer: Annie Schlechter, Styling by: Matthew Gleason
Pops of Color
Get the Look: The stairwell runner is from A.T. Proudian. The bench seat is from Norbar fabrics. The pillow is Country Swedish.
Even in the more neutral rooms, such as the main foyer, pops of bright color appear—on a turquoise-trimmed sisal rug and on the aqua-painted backs of the bookshelves.
5 of 11Photographer: Annie Schlechter, Styling by: Matthew Gleason
Color, however, is not the only nautical nod in the house. Lynn also chose surface materials reminiscent of those found on sailing vessels, particularly in the kitchen. Like a pilothouse on a ship, the room is centrally positioned and just a few steps in any direction from other rooms on the main floor.
The copper pendant lights above the island are modeled after captain's lights on a boat, while the rounded island itself, with its teak countertop and beaded board paneling, looks built to sustain strong gusts and swells.
7 of 11Photographer: Annie Schlechter, Styling by: Matthew Gleason
Not all of the color in the house is quite so saturated as the living spaces. In the master bedroom, Lynn set a soothing mood with a monochromatic palette of soft blues. The walls are pale aqua, while the fabrics, from the upholstered benches to the bedding to the trim on the window shades, feature soft periwinkle.
8 of 11Photographer: Annie Schlechter, Styling by: Matthew Gleason
Get the Look: The master bath's glass tiles are Kromoglass in Lagune from Waterworks.
The master bath completes the serene scene started in the master bedroom with its blue glass-tiled shower. "It looks like an underwater palace," says Lynn.
9 of 11Photographer: Annie Schlechter, Styling by: Matthew Gleason
Those colors get even brighter in the nearby mudroom, off the side entry, where one wall is painted with wide horizontal stripes of deep blue and apple green. The room also features a curved window seat adorned with bright blue-and-green pillows.
10 of 11Photographer: Annie Schlechter, Styling by: Matthew Gleason
Another shipshape attribute of the home is its clever use of built-ins. Smart shelving in every nook and cranny ensure that no space goes unused, as do the inviting window seats, which are upholstered in weatherproof fabric. The breakfast room, just off the kitchen, features a customized banquette that seats the family of six plus their weekend guests. "You can just slide everyone in there," says Lynn.
11 of 11Photographer: Annie Schlechter, Styling by: Matthew Gleason
Crisp white walls and furniture in neutral hues allows the red and navy color combo in this fun bedroom to shine without being overpowering. The nautical motif continues in the model sailboat, lampshade, and framed art.