Sasha Emerson of Sasha Emerson Design Studio in Santa Monica, California, dishes on easy and unexpected design ideas.

By Stephanie Gibson
July 12, 2012
Photo: Marc Royce

"The beach provokes my imagination and joy as nothing else can. Sand, shore, water, sky—simple elements that add up to elegant perfection."
—Sasha Emerson

How can I bring laid-back, subtle island style to my home?
SE: True island style is very eclectic; I love how the interiors are a mix of items. Some favorites: pillows sewn from linen napkins, colorful ukuleles mounted on hooks, woven baskets filled with rolled-up beach towels, and old bunting banners.

What's something everyone should have in a beach house?
SE: A handshower to rinse sandy feet and a cotton blanket for breezy nights.

What's the best part about working on the coast?
SE: Midday swims on my lunch break—and the fantasy that the house I'm working in is mine!

What is the best way to layer tropical prints and bold color?
SE: Add them on top of a neutral base—bright pottery pieces against a white wall, Galbraith & Paul pillows piled on a white sofa, a single wall painted turquoise and filled with art. The key is to start with white, cream, pale blush, or gray, and layer from there.