Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Colors at the Beach

The beach inspires color for me. I am drawn to deep-hued pastels saturated with color. I love my new white louvre doors and my dark hardwood floors. Sitting on the beach, you see a display of colors . . . beach chairs and umbrellas against the natural colors of the sand, surf and sun.

When we renovated our beach house we kept the
ocean blue and white theme in our family room and our bedroom, but decided to go for some bold coastal statements in the other rooms. Lowe's made it easy. They have a seaside retreat collection of paints in amazing colors. We chose an aqua marine tone for the open areas of our home and accented this with taupe furniture and rugs. All of the bedrooms were given make-overs and each room has its own great beach color on the walls. All of these truly coastal paint colors are highlighted now by the white louvre doors and the dark hardwood floors.

What I love about decorating at the beach is the "less is more" theme. Less clutter. The simplification of life. Cutting out distractions.

Our family room with our "faded blue sofa" still is home to a traditional blue and white coastal theme with pops of color. There really is nothing like calming blue to bring us oceanside.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Our Driftwood Fireplace Mantle

When we renovated our beach home, we decided to add a fireplace to enhance our winter evenings there. We decided we wanted a contemporary and unique look and chose a gas fireplace that used glass beads rather than traditional logs. Then came the decisions about how to enclose this fireplace into our space.

We knew we wanted something a little out of the ordinary so chose small, uneven quarry tiles in natural sand tones. It was still missing something and we kept thinking about what the next step would be. It needed some kind of trim finishing and it certainly needed a mantle. We tried different tiles as trim, along with regular molding. Nothing seemed to fit into our vision! Finally, an idea popped up. How about using a piece of driftwood as a mantle? After searching online we found a few websites that offered dramatic driftwood mantles, but at a substantial cost. Now I knew I wanted a driftwood mantle and needed to search for one. We ended up finding an incredible piece of driftwood at a local store for a bargain price and it happened to be the exact size we needed. We still kept thinking about the trim as the fireplace still did not look finished. We found a piece of old boat planking at the same local shop that we had a carpenter slice into molding pieces to fit the sides and bottom of our fireplace. Turns out it is exactly what I had in mind!

I love the feel of driftwood with its surface that has been washed away by winds and tide. Actually driftwood provides shelter and food for birds and fish while floating on the sea. When it washes ashore, it becomes a shelter for birds and plants. It can also become the foundation for sand dunes. Shelter and foundation, seems the perfect enhancement for our fireplace. Take a look at our finished product!

I have been able to collect a few pieces of driftwood this winter at our beach most likely because of the strong storms we experienced here on the East Coast. I recently purchased a tall ceramic planter vase that is going to become home to my collection. I am hoping to plant a small grass in there to highlight my collection. I love the fact that it was found on my favorite beach.

We have added a few interesting driftwood pieces to our coastal decor store, By the Sea Decor. We added a
classic driftwood table lamp, a unique driftwood round mirror and a simple driftwood sculpture.

Friday, June 11, 2010

My Faded Blue Sofa

There is a faded blue sofa in our family room at the beach that I cannot part with. It started out a saturated calming blue color, but has turned into a pastel shade of blue. It has seen many sunny days during its life as my favorite sofa. Wet bathing suits on this sofa do not bother me anymore, we are just adding more character. We have had this once bright, now faded, blue sofa since we moved to the beach ten years ago and when I look at it, I do not see the little rip here or spot there, I see my young children resting there after a long beach day with those tired eyes and exhausted bodies, just waiting for bedtime. It has seen their many friends over the years after a day on the water exploring the bay, same exhausted bodies, but now ready to nap to gain stamina for their evening adventure.

All I do now is invest in some
bright coastal pillows to brighten up our faded blue sofa. Our beach decor store now carries the Isola Bella hand-printed linen pillow collection that brings a bright, natural coastal touch to our space.

We will probably have to replace this faded blue sofa someday, but then we will need to find a new spot for our Golden Retriever, Sadie, to relax!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Shells on the Beach

"May you Always Have a Shell in your Pocket and Sand in your Shoes"

Finding shells on the beach is truly a treasure hunt. Strolling along until you spot something that will compliment your never-ending shell collection. My Golden Retriever, Sadie, spends almost as much time as I do looking for shells on the beach! My shells do not have to be perfect. When you add them to your basket at home, you never seem to notice the chips. The way I look at it is, a shell with a few imperfections here and there, is kind of like the laugh lines we accumulate as we age! I keep a shell everywhere, even in my car, so that when I am far away from the beach I love, I can still keep the sea close!

Our online beach decor store carries a
sign that displays my favorite beach sentiment: "May you Always Have a Shell in your Pocket and Sand in your Shoes".