The Contemporary Beach House
By Aimee Meisgeier
Typically when the term “beach house” comes to mind, the image that is thought of is one of a cozy, shake shingle-sided home full of mix and match “shabby chic” style furniture and a nautical theme throughout. That traditional look still holds true, but there is a new generation of beach houses that gear towards a more contemporary aesthetic approach. These modern beach homes are full of natural light, trending materials and entertainment areas that highlight the “indoor/outdoor” living spaces.
In designing a modern beach house, one consideration is the surrounding environment. Showcasing the beautiful outside elements throughout the project is easily done with a floor to ceiling moving glass wall system. This feature allows the house to fill with natural light, as well as provide a view from every angle. Another bonus to a moving glass wall is that when slid open all the way, it allows for a seamless transition of indoor/outdoor living space which is one of the key aspects of a beach house. These spaces provide inviting entertainment areas filled with gorgeous views.
Some trends that are being seen in modern beach houses are neutral color palettes to reflect the tranquility of the outdoors, textured materials such as natural fiber wall paper or three dimensional tile backsplashes, or architectural walls and elegant yet functional materials like composite countertops that mimic the look of natural stone, but do not have the same high maintenance upkeep. Neutral color palettes help keep the outdoor views as the main focus, but if the idea of no color in your life is not appealing, an easy and affordable way to add pops of color without too much commitment is by adding colorful throw pillows, area rugs and accessories throughout the space. These pieces are easily replaced after a few years if you tire of the color and want to try something new.
Natural fiber wall papers such as grass cloth, sisal or three-dimensional tile are a great way to bring texture into a space, adding visual appeal. With these textured pieces, a little goes a long way though. A nice way of incorporating this trend without overwhelming things too much, is to keep the installation to a single wall, such as the headboard wall in a bedroom or a wall in the main entryway to create that modern edge.
The choice of your finished materials should reflect the functionality of the space. While natural stone countertops are beautiful, they require constant upkeep which to some is not desirable. Composite countertops such as quartz come in a variety of patterns to look like marble or granite but with less maintenance; you can even install them in your outdoor kitchens without fear of the elements. You will not have to worry about the wear and tear of your counters while entertaining and cooking.
Another finish material to choose wisely is flooring. If you love the look of wood but once again do not want to deal with the product maintenance, consider installing “wood” tile. The technology of this product has come a long way over the years and now provides a realistic wood look with the durability of tile. You will have no more fear of soggy towels or wet feet coming in from the pool or ocean. All in all, no matter how you design your modern beach house, the most important thing to provide is a place of relaxation in which to enjoy the beautiful surroundings with family and friends for many years to come.
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