I was lucky enough to sit down with some of Melbourne’s top interior designers and pick their brains on how to turn a home into a beachside beauty.
Meet the designers:
Anna Koren director, Rock & Stone Outdoor Living
Richard Misso creative director, The Stylesmiths
Sara Chamberlain director, The Real Estate Stylist
Miriam Fanning director, Mim Design
Instant beach vibes
● New cushions, a lick of paint, fresh linen, fresh flowers and bowls of citrus can work wonders
● Room fragrances such as candles or diffusers: choose melon, amber and peony, coconut and lime, or grapefruit and watercress for a fresh summer scent
● Invest in hardy plants and weather-proof fabrics; consider marine-grade stainless steel because coastal elements can wreak havoc on furnishings
● Add a new rug
● De-clutter each year
● Rearrange the furniture layout of key rooms
Tip: soft blues are taking over – but also think pink
Sara “We’re all about the softer hues at the moment.Don’t be afraid to add a little charcoal or black to bring in some depth. Touches of duck-egg blue and navy can create a cool and tranquil space. Soft pinks tie in nicely with black and white.”
Anna “Trash the yellow and blue [combinations] of yesteryear. Navy is perfect for beach house accessories.”
Richard “Opt for colours that you love. Try to avoid fads by selecting colours that are light and airy or contrasting sheets with a hint of colour.”
Tip: soften the look with natural textures such as timber
Sara “Whether it’s the flooring, wall panelling or a pendant light, [timber] always brings a softness and raw beauty to a space. Team this with knitted rugs, metals and living plants for a contemporary feel.”
Anna “Natural textures are perfect. You can use Atolya linen as throws, beach or bath towels.”
Furniture & accessories
Tip: avoid clichés and reinvent
Sara “Forget the shells, stripes and oars. Keep things simple and sophisticated with linens and large-scale artwork. Add layers and softness with throw rugs, woven baskets and books.”
Miriam According to Miriam, four fail-safe accessories are:
● A good throw: cuddle up when it’s cold, lie on top when it’s hot and decorate your couch when not in use
● A great vase: fill with seashells from beach walks or flowers from the local market
● A quality, thick towel: for drying and keeping the sand off
● A beautiful woven beach bag: hang as a display when not in use
Anna Lightshades and cushions made from old sails give new life to old objects and provide a brilliant beach-house vibe, she says. Craypots can be repurposed as side tables or light fittings.
Tip: think low maintenance and timeless
Miriam From bathroom tiles to vanities, mirrors and joinery, Miriam aims for refined materials with an artisan sensibility.
“Generally I select these finishes in soft hues and whites,” she says. “I like to use authentic materials, such as natural stone and quality timber. If you develop a maintenance regime, they’re a better product in the long term. If you’re opting for timber, choose a colour that hides dirt and scratches. If stone’s your choice, make it bulletproof with a sealer. When it comes to paint, select ‘wash and wear’ finishes that are durable and easy to clean. For carpets, I opt for natural fibre such as wool, which is simple to clean.”
Tip: create different zones
The outdoors has become an extension of the living area so treat it as you would your living room. It must be comfortable and flexible for entertaining but remember it is subject to the elements, so keep it low maintenance. Capitalising on views is a must.
Sara “Creating different zones outside is just as important as the interior so spend some time planning this. Create a zone for your outdoor kitchen, fridge and dining area. For a more casual space for after-dinner drinks or midday naps, include an outdoor sofa, a hammock and a firepit.”
Anna Anna’s outdoor essentials include an outdoor table and comfortable chairs, a bar table, sun lounges and an outdoor sofa.
Richard For Richard, outdoor living spaces are “key to a great break”. “They keep you connected to family and friends, encourage relaxation and conversation free from television and technology.”
“Create little nooks by grouping outdoor seating for lounging – these areas will become chill zones after a busy day at the beach.”