This idyl­lic va­ca­tion home, nes­tled on a la­goon in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, blends sooth­ing sandy tones with a touch of mod­ern el­e­gance.

Cottages & Bungalows - - Contents - BY RE­BEKAH WAHLBERG

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.


“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.


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.


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.

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