Ask a Designer: Windsor Smith

Designer Windsor Smith of Windsor Smith Home Design in Brentwood, California, dishes about color, countertops, and casual coastal design.

Ask a Designer: Windsor Smith
Photo: Photo: Ray Kachatorian

"There is an undertone of the beach in all I do. I love the water, air, sand—even the iridescence of the interior of a shell."
—Windsor Smith

What's an easy way to get a casual seaside vibe?
WS: Hang baskets and straw hats on a long row of hooks by the door.

What are the biggest coastal trends you're seeing?
WS: Custom Ping-Pong tables, and nostalgic photographs blown up—always a sure thing.

Beach house front door: natural stain or a bold paint color?
WS: Bold! A tangy citrine or strong pink or aqua instantly announces it's time for fun.

You love pink! How do you keep it from feeling totally feminine?
WS: Keep the shapes more masculine and restrained, and invite your sons' college buddies to hang out in the room in deck shoes and surf shorts! Works like a dream.

Do you have a favorite kitchen countertop material?
WS: Caesarstone in Pure White or Blizzard.

At the beach: TV above the mantel, or something fabulous?
WS: A mirror to reflect the ocean. I love a painting or collection of paintings, too. No TV at the beach; it's counterproductive to the cause.

Best houseplants for coastal homes?
WS: Nothing too thought-through: Wildflowers, lavender in boxes, berry bushes outside a kitchen window, lemon or lime trees in big baskets.

I absolutely adore...
WS: ...awnings over windows.

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