Family-Friendly Delaware Beach House
Room for a Crowd
The owners of a cottage in Bethany Beach, Delaware, loved their location: oceanfront and next door to the wife's parents' house. But after they'd spent summers there for nearly two decades, the retreat began to show its age and feel noticeably snug. Rather than relocate or renovate, they decided to start from scratch, working with Mark Dieste Design Build to knock down the existing structure and build a more spacious get-away in its place that would easily accommodate a big crowd.
For the interiors, the couple hired Maryland designer Erin Paige Pitts, whose directives were to keep things both casual and easy to maintain. Here's how they increased their living space while ensuring that the rooms reflect the family's warm and welcoming style.
Layer Texture And Architectural Detail
"Layering varying textures adds warmth and makes a space more interesting," says Pitts, who paired a linen sectional and wool rug with a sea grass coffee table and a palm leaf ceiling fan. Bright white wall paneling and ceiling beams provide visual heft to the space.
Get the Look: Soleil Havana coffee table and Soleil wing chair, Palecek. Hampton Stripe rug, Vermilion Rugs. Adagio sofa and Pop Flower sofa pillows, Kravet. Peninsula tall drum end table, Walters Wicker.
Carve Out Small Niches
In large, open living spaces, creating spots to break away from the group while still being with everyone is important, Pitts says. In a living room corner, a chair covered in a patterned linen fabric accompanies a flip-top console table that doubles as a desk for a writing nook. Strings of starfish provide an artful focal point.
Get the Look: The walls are painted Genna by McCormick Paints. The hanging starfish wall art is custom.
Choose Dramatic Light Fixtures
A striking, hemp-wrapped chandelier with navy beading defines the dining room on the main floor. "Using strong light fixtures in an open floor plan helps delineate different spaces," Pitts says. The dining table expands to seat 14, and the upholstered chairs have custom embroidered backs.
Bring in Some Beachy Elements
The kitchen's polished-nickel light fixtures reflect the sunlight, swirls in the Blue Celeste marble countertops echo the ocean current, and an ethereal, blue-green iridescent backsplash is reminiscent of reflections on the sea. "The kitchen has a wonderful sense of place," says Pitts. "You feel surrounded by water."
Relax Your Palette
Pitts paired soft blues, greens, and beiges in the master bedroom to create an end-of-the-day oasis for the homeowners. "The wall color is closely tied to the bed color, so they complement each other rather than compete," she says. The king-size bed is dressed in custom linens, including a pair of blue patterned shams that contrast the soft neutrals.
Get the Look: The patterned pillow fabrics are by Raoul Textiles. Cape Island nightstand and Savannah headboard, Somerset Bay Home. Sea glass table lamp, Jamie Young. Shells on linen art, Trowbridge. Matelassé bedding, Kravet. Blanket, Tommy Bahama Home Collection.
Find Inspiration In Artwork
Sea creature--themed wall art the homeowner found at a shop in Naples, Florida, was the starting point for the color scheme in this playful children's bedroom. A brilliant blue daybed with crab cutouts followed; lobster hues in the bureau hardware and pillow fabrics continue the cheery, seafaring palette.
Get the Look: The bed and dresser are by Seabrook Classics. Sconces, Visual Comfort. Somerset bedding, Legacy Linens. El Minzah bolster pillow fabric, Robert Allen. Safi Suzani bed pillows, Kathryn M. Ireland.
Make Creative Use of Extra Space
Rather than add more storage, the family opted to turn unused space in a kids' bedroom into a reading nook, and dressed it up with brilliant detailing. They upholstered a wall in bright blue linen, and then added pattern and practicality with a plump seat cushion in a zigzag stripe. Overhead, a wave cutout gives the cozy alcove an extra punch of beach house fun.
Give Equal Attention to the Exterior
A pair of out-door shower bays offers a charming spot to rinse off beneath the deck. Durable ipe wood, which is resistant to rot, was installed beneath the bays, and cottage-style paneling lines the ceiling overhead. "Beadboard gives the outdoor space a more polished look, and it's easier to keep clean," says Pitts.
At just 130 square feet, the screened-in porch is one of the smallest rooms in the house. A striped indoor/outdoor rug visually expands the space, and a woven sectional maximizes seating without crowding the room. Corner detailing on the trim, along with a custom dolphin cutout, lends a sense of whimsy. "We wanted it to feel like an interior room with a breeze," says Pitts.
Pay Attention to Scale
In the living room, an oversize coffee table anchors the space and suits its large size; architectural detailing like coffers and a tongue-and-groove ceiling warm up the voluminous room. Framing the glass doors are colorblock draperies; the blue signifies water and sky, the yellow, sand and sun.