It’s November, which means that this year has flown by so fast I actually feel like I blinked and missed it, AND that the Coastal Living issue featuring the 2015 Coastal Living Showhouse we designed is out! Also it means that it is before & after time! Molly and I flew down to Port Aransas last week to shoot the video tours for Coastal Living, and to take pictures of the project for our portfolio. It was so nice to revisit the project, the whole thing was such a whirlwind signing on in May and installing by July. Having a chance to tour the space after some time away was, in a way, like seeing it for the first time. Which, when I think about actually seeing the house for the first time, it was not like that at all.
I got the call about doing the showhouse the second week in May, and flew down to see the house for the first time a few days later. It was May 12 to be exact, and this is what the open floorplan living/dining/kitchen looked like:
Install date was set for the last week of July, and the magazine would be shooting the house the first week in August, with a big opening party and tours starting just after that. That meant two and a half months to get from this:
It would have been completely overwhelming (and at times it was) but I had Valerie from Biscuit, who kept me on schedule, placed all of the orders, and generally made things run smoothly- as well as a great team from Coastal Living, Cinnamon Shores, and the greatest contractor ever (Hi Pete!).
Starting the design process I had a few guidelines:
1. Budget- as with all projects there was a strict budget to be adhered to.
2. Certain product categories were to be selected exclusively from the national sponsors- all the lighting in the house is from Circa Lighting, all of the upholstered furniture is from Lee Industries, etc.
3. Timeline- I have mentioned this, but there was no room for error in the timeline, and all design decisions had to be executable within
4. Design- Coastal Living & Cinnamon Shores were both basically my clients on this project, and could not have been more supportive of my vision. They gave me a lot of creative freedom, with the only considerations that the home fit within the community, while still bringing in some fresh new perspectives on traditional coastal design elements.
With those guidelines, I focused first on the open concept living/dining/kitchen area on the second floor. The whole house flows into this big open space, and it was important to get it right since it would influence the design of the rest of the house.
The first item I chose were the window treatments, which I wanted to carry throughout the room, and highlight the views. I wanted to choose a fabric with coastal vibes that was still sophisticated without being fancy, in a color palette that echoed the more muted tones of the Texas coast. I decided on this Scalamandre print in a relaxed roman shade:
The next step was choosing the materials since those would all have to be stocked items (most building materials like tile/flooring etc have some sort of lead time that we couldn’t allow for) and would be ordered immediately. For the walls we went with white shiplap- a popular design choice in the community- that would carry through and connect all three floors of the house. I wanted to make a big statement in the kitchen and carry the backsplash tile all the way up to the vaulted ceiling, which would help define that space, and provide a focal point.
While touring the new Ann Sacks showroom in Houston we saw this amazing herringbone tile in a green that looked like copper patina, when I put the Scalamandre fabric up to it I loved how it pulled out the subtle green tones and had a worn beachy vibe. I was thrilled that Ann Sacks wanted to work with us on the project, the tile was in stock- SOLD! To the lady!
For the upholstered pieces I kept it neutral- choosing taupe fabrics from Lee Industries in subtle patterns to keep things cohesive without being too matchy-matchy.
We continued our neutral color palette to what is probably my favorite element in the room- the large scaled water color scene we commissioned from artist Caitlin McGauley. I love Caitlin’s work and her use of color, and it was so fun to see how she brought her signature whimsy to a neutral palette. I sent Caitlin pictures I had taken of Port Aransas to inspire the painting, and she perfectly captured the vibe of the Texas gulf coast- I especially love that she included this sign from a picture I had sent:
Smart details like that really make everything in the design more special (to me at least).
I brought in more color and pattern with the throw pillows, still pulling from the color palette in our inspiration fabric.
For texture we brought in a vintage driftwood coffee table, leather accent chairs from Lee, and a modern red lacquered console from Oomph.
I love how these pieces play off of each other, and bring a masculine balance to the other more feminine elements we used.
At install, I brought in several rugs as options, and was surprised that we all ended up choosing this green and white striped rug from Dash & Albert. It was the strongest visual statement of our options, and I had thought it would be too much in the room, but something about the graphic stripes and the dark green provided just the right amount of tension to make things interesting.
The dining area is between the living room and kitchen, and I wanted the space to provide a connection between the two spaces while allowing your eye to flow across the room.
The kitchen is the other side of the dining area.
Because of the timeline, there weren’t too many revisions I could make to the layout or structural design. Luckily, the only thing I felt strongly about changing was removing the oven hood that would cover one of the windows in the kitchen.
Instead of a hood vent, we chose a down-draft cooktop and I am so glad we made the change. There is so much light coming in from all directions, and the it’s so nice to able to take in the views from each space.
The hicks pendants above the island are an all-time favorite, and I love how in a beach house they are reminiscent of bouys and are a nautical nod without being full-on themey. The backsplash is even more beautiful in person, and I am glad that we let it shine forgoing traditional upper cabinets. Open shelving isn’t always the most practical choice, but the beauty of vacation homes is that they don’t have to function as much for every day, and we had so much storage in the island, pantry, and under counter that I think the trade off was worth it.
And…that’s pretty much all I have to say about that. I really am so proud of how this room came together, it was fun to put my spin on a more traditional, neutral palette. The space feels open and livable, but still exciting and fresh, and provided the perfect jumping off point for the rest of the design which I will share more of later in the week!