A collection of seashells in faded shades of purple, blue, pink, cream, and tan was like a fresh-off-the-beach mood board for interior designer Barrie Benson. "My client dumped the shells into my hands and said, "I want the home to look like this,"" she recalls of the early inspiration for a two-story house on Figure Eight Island, a barrier island off the coast of Wilmington, North Carolina.
The owners also wanted their new home to blend with its neighbors, says Benson. Much of the island's development dates to the 1970s—and bears the trademarks of its principle creative force of the era, architect Ligon Flynn—and the owners opted to borrow from these influences.
"Vaulted ceilings, central breezeways, and bleached wood details are all classic Flynn elements," says Wilmington-based architect Michael Ross Kersting, who worked with his clients, a Charlotte-based couple with three children, to blend these with more contemporary details. Here, Benson and Kersting share their design secrets for giving a brand new beach house true throwback character.