Beach House 101

Five simple rules enforce beach living as it should be: fresh and fuss-free.
By Laura Christman

Find the inner beach house in your home by following Lou and Delores Rosebrock's lead. The two outfitted their beach house as a relaxing retreat with easy elegance. Their casual mix of old and new pieces inspired by the coast creates an inviting place to take off sandy shoes and unwind.

Add new flair with old finds. A rugged cubby welcomes guests just inside the door and sets an easygoing tone with its weatherworn paint. The piece provides much-needed storage with a small shelf, two drawers, and hooks for beachcombers' hats. On top, Delores displays a piece of driftwood found just steps away on the sand.

Make a nautical statement. The Rosebrocks' two-story great room rises to new heights with the help of a fleet of pond yachts adorning the walls. "Lou loves pond yachts; that's his collection," says Delores. A framed maritime map hung as artwork continues the coastal theme. Delores complemented these accents with shell-motif and striped fabrics as throw pillows and Roman shades. Combine these design elements with wicker furniture and beach accessories and you can almost taste the salty ocean breeze whipping against the windows.

Collect the coast. Lou and Delores also display a sand collection in shapely glass jars around their cottage. "We collect sand at beaches we've been to as a couple," Delores explains. "It makes visiting the shore a little more personal when you bring a little of it back home."

Go with the flow. In the absence of rigid design rules, there is plenty of room to be inventive. The Rosebrocks selected island-style shutters for their loft's window dressings. Although often reserved for outdoor purposes, the new and old shutters used inside the couple's home make it feel breezy and casual while keeping the master bedroom private from the rest of the house.

Play favorites. Let your home express its personality by showcasing prized possessions or, in this case, prized expressions. Delores added intimacy to the downstairs guest bedroom by painting a favorite greeting-card quote around the ceiling. Guests can drift off to sleep reading, "Let's take a quiet journey to that peaceful place ...." The Rosebrocks added another personal touch to their home by placing pictures under glass that tops a wicker table―an instant photo display.