Nautical New England Beach House
A charmer in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts, is decked out in chic-meets-seaworthy style. Step inside for nonstop beach house decorating ideas.
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.
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.
Get the Look: The living room walls are painted Wispy Green by Benjamin Moore. The garden stool is from Emissary Home & Garden. The sofas are upholstered in fabric by Romo; the fabric on the pillows is from Lee Jofa's Seacloth collection.
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.
In the dining room, natural light streams through a bank of windows, and the color palette turns toward natural hues, with the bamboo blinds, bistro chairs, and large wood table.
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.
Get the Look: The master bedroom walls are painted Benjamin Moore's Sweet Bluette. The bed is from Mitchell Gold, and the bedding is Matouk. The custom benches are covered in Romo fabric. Pillow fabrics are from China Seas, David Hicks, and Lee Jofa.
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.
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.
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.
Get the Look: The mudroom pillows are from Jonathan Adler.
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.
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.