A beach-front vacation home receives a top-to-bottom renovation with an antique coastal vibe.
Check out the top-to-bottom renovation that created a more functional home and a warmer, cozier coastal look.
How do you warm up a space while using a classic coastal palette of cool colors? When designer Brittany Stiles came on to help renovate a vacation home on Balboa Island in Newport Beach, California, coastal warmth was the name of the game. “[The homeowners] still wanted it to be coastal, but they wanted to make it cozy,” she says.
The first place to start was with functionality. The family had used the beach-front property for eight years as a vacation home, and the layout just wasn’t working. “The kitchen was shoved into the back of the house,” Brittany says. “The way the furniture was laid out ... didn’t make sense. The sofa was really far away from the fireplace.” Because Balboa Island is such a coveted real estate hotspot, the houses are small and don’t have much yard space. “The houses are close to each other, so we had to make the best use of the space we could,” Brittany says.
Without increasing the building’s footprint, Brittany rearranged the kitchen so it was open to the rest of the living area. “The kitchen had a peninsula, and we took that out and put an island where the wall was,” she says. She also sectioned off the dining and living
“I tried to keep the more permanent things in the house
classic, traditional and simple.”
areas so that even within the large room, the two quarters felt separated. “The changes were mostly to make it more functional,” Brittany says. “We had to be really efficient with furniture placement.” Because of the long, narrow shape of the room, it was easy for the furniture to get in the way of traffic flow. But Brittany circumvented this problem by moving the dining table and chairs next to the sofa instead of behind it by the stairs, where they had been originally. “That left a little space in the corner, so we made a reading area.”
When it came to the décor, the family wanted to stick with the coastal theme they already had, but warm up the space. “I don’t think they would have thought that blue and white would make the house warm because that’s what it was before,” Brittany says. But it’s all about picking the right shade. “I sail with my dad, and my favorite boats are the ones with antique navy blue,” Brittany says. “It has a little bit of gray in it, so it’s not too in-your-face.”The subtle hue brings in the coastal element but allows other classic pieces of the house to shine, such as the wood paneling they added to the walls and ceiling, as well as the new reclaimed wood floor. “For me, the blue was important to bring in the coastal element, but it was mostly about the layering of the textures and materials,” she says.
“Keep things simple in design and form, but then layer them on top of each other. Not everything has to be a showstopper.”
The family also didn’t want the décor to be too trendy. “They wanted a more authentic beach house aesthetic,” Brittany says. “I tried to keep the more permanent things in the house classic, traditional and simple.” From the antique prints on the wall to the tongue-and-groove ceilings and traditional tile in the bathrooms, the house is truly an antique beach house dream come true.
|ABOVE LEFT| MIX AND MATCH.
When it came to art, Brittany layered in different types to provide a rich vibe
with an overarching coastal theme. Alongside vintage prints she ordered on eBay, she framed an old American flag and black-and-white photographs of the Balboa and Newport Beach
area in previous decades.
|BOTTOM RIGHT| CUSTOM COMFORT. In the master bathroom, a custom cabinet with stained oak looks classic but also perfectly suited for the space. “I don’t normally do custom furniture, but custom pieces are often higher quality for the same price, so sometimes it works out well,” Brittany says.
|RIGHT| MOSAIC MADNESS. In the downstairs powder room, mosaic tiles are the star of the show. “It’s not so much about having 200 fabulous things in a room,” Brittany says. Instead, stick with just one show-stopping piece, and let the rest of the elements feed into the overall effect.
|BOTTOM LEFT| COHESIVE WHOLE. In the master bedroom, a replica vintage Japanese chest stands as a bedside table. Even upstairs, Brittany pulled in the navy-blue-and-white palette, as well as the wood paneling on the walls, to keep the whole house cohesive. “We did a lot of mill work, which gives it personality,” she says.