A SEA CHANGE The ocean provided design inspiration for this weekend cottage on the Californian coast
A desire to welcome friends and family was key to the renovation of Noelle and John Micek’s coastal cottage
Aquaint coastal town on California’s Monterey Peninsula, Carmel-by-the-sea has always held an important place in Noelle Micek’s heart. ‘I came here as a child with my mum and dad, who in turn were brought here by their parents,’ she explains.
Noelle, her husband John and their two young children, Charlotte, six, and Jack, four, live in Diablo, just an hour and a half north of Carmel, so when they began thinking about a weekend retreat, they knew exactly where to hone their search. And after viewing around a dozen properties, they finally visited this cottage, which was built in 1914. ‘I loved all the original features, such as the board and batten panelling, the beams and the fireplace made from local stone,’ says Noelle. The location was also exactly right for them. ‘The ocean is just three blocks away and the town centre is four blocks in the other direction, so when we arrive here, we park the car and we don’t touch it until we leave.’
The priority for Noelle and John was to be able to share their retreat with family and friends, so they decided to make some changes to make it more comfortable for guests. ‘ We sacrificed the family room on the ground floor to create a guest bedroom,’ she explains. ‘ We also turned a garage into an extra guest suite.’
Noelle, who originally worked in finance, set up her own interior design practice in 2008, so she was well equipped to deal with the works. Practicality is fundamental to her design and fitted storage has been incorporated throughout this home – benches flank the fireplace, providing extra seating and pull-out drawers for toys, while in the guest rooms, bay windows have been utilised to create inviting window seats with cupboards underneath.
Having chosen a neutral backdrop, Noelle introduced various shades of soothing blues. ‘The colours aren’t exact matches but if you look at them together, they are complementary,’ she says. Texture is another must, and woven pieces feature throughout, with Lloyd Loom-style chairs, seagrass baskets and exquisite statement lights, such as the dining room’s rope-and-beaded chandelier.
The interiors segue with the terrace, which is where the family and their friends will be found most evenings, playing cards and listening to the ocean waves. ‘This is the perfect place to enjoy quality time with people we care about,’ says Noelle.
SITTING ROOM The brickwork fireplace and panelled walls are two of the original features that drew Noelle to the cottage. Poste coffee table, £275, and summer Days rug, £125, both Loaf, have a similar look. Crescent woven basket, £30, Cox & Cox, is a close match
MASTER BEDROOM A restful, symmetrical setting was created beneath the eaves. Mosaic mirror, £ 464, serena & Lily. the Dormy house makes similar shaped headboards, from £ 495