ON THE WATER
This idyllic vacation home, nestled on a lagoon in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, blends soothing sandy tones with a touch of modern elegance.
See how this North Carolina home blends sandy beach tones with modern elegance for a stunning vacation haven.
Finding the perfect home is just as much about the where as it is about the what. Homeowners Kevin and Karla Dolan were looking for the perfect location for a brand-new home away from home—and they found it in a town already brimming with family history. Generations of their family, for the past 20 years, have spent summers in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, so it was the natural choice for their beach home.
BUILDING A LEGACY
“The house is new, but already it carries so much family history,” Kevin says in a story about the home on My Insidesign’s website. “We think of it as our ‘glue home,’ a place where everyone in the family can continue to return, a place that can be passed down to future generations.”
While the Dolans considered many locations for their vacation home, they always came back to Wrightsville Beach, an idyllic beach town set on North Carolina’s coastal islands. “It’s a place that not only brings back a lot of
memories, but also will create memories for the next generations,” Kevin says.
The Dolans custom-built their home, working in tandem with an architect, builder and interior design firm My Insidesign to bring their idea to fruition. Settled on the shore of a lagoon, their beach getaway is an idyllic blend of modern style and earthy, coastal comfort.
A COLLABORATIVE EFFORT
The Dolans consulted with My Insidesign on the advice of a friend, and one phone call was all it took—My Insidesign creative director and interior designer Rick Bonner put together
textile samples based on what the Dolans said they wanted, and they were sold.
Collaborating remotely, as the Dolans did with their design team, can often cause miscommunication and the homeowners’ vision may get lost in translation. “We wanted to be active participants every step of the way,” Kevin says. “Sometimes that can cause friction, but Rick embraced it. He stood by our vision as much as we did.”
“Sometimes things just click, and this was one of those times,” Rick says. “Karla told me she hoped to bring all the colors of the outside to the interiors, so I helped to build a palette around the sandy color of the floors that Karla and Kevin had chosen.”
A neutral, muted color palette of sandy brown and cream tones sets the stage for soothing relaxation, while accents mainly in blues and greens are reminiscent of the surrounding seascapes. Throughout the home, beachy details subtly remind vacationers where they are, all with an overlay of modern elegance. Yet it’s still homey and casual, the Dolans say. “It’s not so perfect that you can’t relax and have fun there,” Karla says.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
An important consideration for designing a beach home is accommodating the stunning views—which the Dolans’ home has plenty of. So in the living room, floor-to-ceiling windows provide unimpeded access to this view, while a spacious, open floor plan allows vacationers to enjoy it. “I set out to maintain the generous sightlines in the main living areas, while giving guests enough room to enjoy them,” Rick says.
With swivel chairs and casters attached to furniture, the living room is set up for easy reconfiguration to make the most of the surrounding windows. And if that wasn’t enough, a wraparound porch outside provides even more access to the views of the nearby lagoon. “Everyone, in every seat, has a beautiful view, no matter where they sit,” Kevin says.
Another challenge with designing a beach home is taking advantage of the location without going overboard—think of kitschy seaside motels where everywhere you turn, you’re bombarded with seashells or paintings of lighthouses and other beach scenes. Not so with the Dolans’Wrightsville home: while the color palette, details and accents pay homage to the surrounding scenery, it’s subtle enough to appreciate without feeling overwhelming.
Starting in the entryway, a whitewashed wood mirror and a chandelier laden with beads that bring sea glass to mind immediately set the stage for this home awash with elegant, beachy themes. The living room, bathed in light from the generous windows, is a haven of muted, soothing colors and textures. Meanwhile, a wet bar with a sand-washed wood finish creates another perch for vacationers to enjoy the view, and the kitchen pairs modern, luxurious details like quartzite surfaces and artisan-made glass doors with rustic burlap and burnished metal.
The soothing tones continue throughout the home and into the bedrooms, where details, like a white shiplap wall adorned with a shelf of glass jars filled with seashells and other beachy artifacts, add depth and dimension to the neutral palette. Another bedroom brings in more color with a bed piled with pillows and throws in shades and patterns of blue, and even a weathered blue nightstand.
|ABOVE LEFT| SEAFARING STAIRWELLS. The rope-like twist on this staircase’s banister is a unique take on the beach theme, with its reference to sailboats.
|ABOVE RIGHT| ABSTRACT DISTRACTIONS. Where most of the home’s palette focuses on muted tans and sandy colors, bright-blue accents—like these paintings in the stairwell— add a pop of color.
|LEFT| BUILDING A LEGACY. Homeowners Kevin and Karla Dolan built their beach home in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, where their family has spent more than 20 years vacationing.
|LEFT| MODERN JUXTAPOSITION. The textured wallpaper in this bathroom is reminiscent of driftwood, while a chrome vanity brings a modern touch to the beachy space.
|OPPOSITE BOTTOM| SHIP-SHAPE SHIPLAP. Beachy textures abound in this bedroom, where a shelf decorated with glass jars of shells adorns a whitewashed shiplap wall.
|ABOVE| REST AND RELAXATION. The pastel, muted color palette throughout the home soothes and relaxes, while an abundance of natural textures adds visual depth and interest.