Three floors of porches, laid-back family spaces, and a palette inspired by the Texas coast make our Cinnamon Shore Showhouse in Port Aransas, Texas, a seaside stunner.
By: Ellen McGauley
1 of 14Photo: Tria Giovan
Lone Star Retreat
Just steps from the sand, in the lively coastal community of Cinnamon Shore along Texas' warm Gulf Coast, is an idyllic spot for a dream house. That's where we teamed up with Houston-based interior designer Bailey McCarthy and architect James Kissling of Bulverde, Texas, along with local builders Steve McLaughlin and Pete Waggoner, to create a beach home with easygoing outdoor spaces and a buoyant palette that includes clever nods to the local landscape.
2 of 14Photo: Tria Giovan, Stylists: Rachel Burrow and Liz Strong
Laidback Texas Style
"Going to the beach with my kids has always been one of my favorite things to do," says McCarthy, "so I really focused on playing up the elements that allow families to kick back and have a good time." That meant incorporating flexible sleeping quarters, crowd-friendly living spaces, and hardy materials, too: "The high salinity here makes everything more vulnerable to corrosion and early wear and tear," says McLaughlin. The team chose durable essentials, from rust-free hardware to moisture-resistant fabrics. Here's more on how they created a stylish beach retreat packed top to bottom with inspired ideas.
3 of 14Photo: Tria Giovan, Stylists: Rachel Burrow and Liz Strong
As both the main entry and the first stop coming in off the beach, "the den needed to be warm and inviting and able to withstand wet bathing suits and sandy feet," says McCarthy. The cabana stripe and solid chair upholstery are crafted with Sunbrella indoor/outdoor fabrics to keep the hangout worry free.
Bright Idea: Give rooms a memorable sense of place. Flamingos are native to the Texas coast, making this wallpaper right at home.
4 of 14Photo: Tria Giovan, Stylists: Rachel Burrow and Liz Strong
To maximize natural light, the designers bypassed upper cabinetry in favor of a reflective ceramic tile backsplash and a trio of windows; they also opted for double-height windows (all by Marvin) on the ocean side. "This is a prime gathering spot, so it makes sense to have some of the best views here," says Kissling. A quartz island with a waterfall edge is an informal entertaining hub.
5 of 14Photo: Tria Giovan, Stylists: Rachel Burrow and Liz Strong
A lofty dining area opens to the second-floor porches through a set of French doors, making the space ideal for hosting a crowd. McCarthy dressed up the beachy informality of the shiplap walls and the pedestal table's whitewash finish with reproduction Louis VI oval-back side chairs and a glass-bead chandelier by Circa Lighting. The flooring is whitewashed oak.
6 of 14Photo: Tria Giovan, Stylists: Rachel Burrow and Liz Strong
Two neutral sofas, both by Lee Industries, anchor the living room and serve as urbane foundations for layering in color and pattern. Inspired by the cheerful coral-print fabric on the Roman shades, McCarthy repeated its bright tomato and mustard hues in the throw pillows and a vivid red-orange console by Oomph. A burl-wood coffee table, a leather armchair, and a gray-wash watercolor painting of the local landscape (Port Aransas by artist Caitlin McGauley) balance the brights with natural materials and muted tones.
Bright Idea: Incorporate leather for a twist on traditional beach house materials. It's organic and easy to wipe clean, and it ages beautifully.
McCarthy paid homage to blooming cactus, which is native to the dunes lining the Texas coast, with the bunks' bedding. Serape blankets inspired by the traditional textiles of neighboring Mexico are layered over the print for an additional nod to place. "They're so durable for the beach!" adds McCarthy, who paired them with bolster pillows in a bright buffalo check.
8 of 14Photo: Tria Giovan, Stylists: Rachel Burrow and Liz Strong
To make the most of a tiny bath with an angled wall, the team installed fixtures by Moen and covered the entire space (ceiling, too!) in blue penny tile for a bath that doubles as an oversize shower. "Smaller tiles work best here because they require lots of grout, which grips as kids scamper in and out," notes McCarthy.
9 of 14Photo: Tria Giovan, Stylists: Rachel Burrow and Liz Strong
Family Bunk Room
Shiplap walls give these built-in bunks the look and feel of a boat's cabin. To keep the nautical vibe fresh, McCarthy opted for a periwinkle sailboat print with navy accents, and paired it with polka-dot bedding. "I wanted to do nautical, but in a different way," says the designer. Polished-nickel bedside sconces add shine to the wood-paneled nook.
Bright Idea: Outfitted with a queen bed on the bottom, this bunk room is an ideal sleeping spot for guests with young children.
10 of 14Photo: Tria Giovan, Stylists: Rachel Burrow and Liz Strong
Master Bedroom 1
A hand-carved four-poster bed in deep navy stands out against walls painted a soft neutral by Benjamin Moore. "These colors mimic the more muted tones of the coastal landscape, like the dunes, marsh grass, and driftwood," says McCarthy. Natural wood and copper hues in the draperies, dressers, and rug add richness and warmth.
Get the look: The bed is painted Gentleman's Gray, and the walls are painted Horizon by Benjamin Moore. The windows and door are by Marvin. The chandelier and lamps are by Circa Lighting. The chairs are by Lee Industries. The bed is by Reid Classics. The chests are from the Coastal Living Resort Collection by Stanley Furniture.
11 of 14Photo: Tria Giovan, Stylists: Rachel Burrow and Liz Strong
Master Bedroom 2
Blue palm-print wallpaper stars in the second master bedroom, which is perched on the third floor "like a fun little jewel box on top of the house," McCarthy says. A tufted upholstered bed, graphic rug, and splatter paint–patterned bedding from McCarthy's own line reinforce the monochromatic palette.
12 of 14Photo: Tria Giovan, Stylists: Rachel Burrow and Liz Strong
Master Bath 2
Ikat-patterned cement tiles and steel-framed shower doors give the mod master bath graphic appeal. "I loved the idea of having the shower stretch the length of the far wall," says McCarthy. Chrome faucets and drawer pulls offset the shower's industrial vibe, which is repeated in the black sconces and the aged-steel mirror.
Maintenance-free decking by AZEK protects the home's three floors of verandas from the elements. "And all the exterior hardware and lighting is either coated brass and galvanized or stainless steel," says Waggoner, in deference to the coastal environment. Equally hardy is the furniture and fabrics: Moisture-resistant wicker by Lloyd Flanders is outfitted with lattice-patterned outdoor cushions by Sunbrella.
14 of 14Photo: Tria Giovan, Stylists: Rachel Burrow and Liz Strong
The chaises and matching side table by Celerie Kemble for Lane Venture are crafted of powder-coated, rust-free aluminum. "I fell in love with the scalloped edge," says McCarthy, who chose a Sunbrella coral cabana stripe for the chairs. "It's an updated twist on traditional style." The sleeping porch features a custom hanging bed, ideal for afternoon naps after a day at the beach.