Every Coastal-Inspired Home Needs These 14 Charming Details
New York-based designer Liliane Hart specializes in a particular brand of Northeastern seaboard chic (think: Hamptons) for her clientele. We asked her how she nails that breezy coastal look that’s right in step for summer, but beloved all year long. Click through for 14 elements to help you achieve the coastal look in your own space.
The lovely box panelling in this Amagansett, East Hampton, home is picturesque, but painting the architectural details Farrow & Ball’s Stone Blue breathes even more charm into this space. “You’ll see a lot of this blue in Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket homes, and it really jazzes up the original paneling of this Victorian home,” says Liliane. Marine accents, such as the ship painting and conch shell, are classic coastal motifs.
This cedar shake-clad Victorian home in Amagansett is picture perfect, but benefited from new details such as the flower boxes filled with trailing tendrils. “Wicker on a porch, a hanging swing and trellis are all sweet details,” says Liliane. “Painting the door a deep color, like this black, just draws you to the entry.” Picket fences and neatly clipped hedges are a Hamptons’ garden trademark.
The nautical combo of blue and white is classic for a reason. Just as the sight of the ocean makes you relax, these hues turn down the visual thermostat. “We use a lot of wallpaper in the Northeast. In many older houses there is a different hand-blocked and hand-painted wallpaper in every room,” notes Liliane of the pale blue floral print that adorns the walls. This Marthe Armitage hand-blocked paper has an artisanal quality, and is accented by a casual kilim, a vintage sideboard and modern Apsara plaster chandelier.
Coastal decor often takes its cues from marine design, where stateroom furnishings need to be multi-functional and storage is at a premium. Bunkies are a smart solution in this diminutive bedroom. The bed incorporates a bookshelf with a trundle bed underneath for sleepovers and leaves enough space for a drum kit.
Old school cross taps and a pedestal sink are worth hanging on to for an authentic coastal cottage vibe. Natural accents like the wicker frame mirror and a leafy wallpaper play up an earthy connection. “In a small space like this powder room, I love to envelope it with a wallpaper. The floral motif and wicker mirror both have a 70s vibe.”
Eaves are often considered tricky for furniture placement, but clever built-ins make use of dead space in this third-floor Hamptons guest bedroom. “Two beds are set end to end, with built-in drawers to separate them, and a fun bookshelf at the ends.” This captain’s bed incorporates storage drawers underneath for guests to store their clothes.
In the 2016 Hampton Showhome, a breezy, striped cotton blind trimmed in pom-poms is summery all year long. “This is a beautiful Cowtan & Tout sheer, with rattan trim to pull in the color of the sea, and the wallpaper mimics the sunset purples,” notes Liliane.
Temper a mix of patterns (starburst wallpaper, graphic rug and striped drapes) with fresh white details. This leafy plaster Apsara chandelier and white mirror, ladder and chair keep the scheme from feeling busy.
Terrycloth towels are as essential to a beach bag as a juicy novel and sunscreen. This inviting fabric is used to upholster a chair, but is kept from looking too relaxed with smart contrast piping and a skirt. The organic-looking garden stool has a craggy base and glazed glass top that resembles a “watery pool,” says Liliane.
Whether it’s an heirloom or just a recent antiquing find, a piece with history adds a sense of heritage to coastal homes. “We built the house around this long American apothecary chest, which is in great condition — many working pieces show plenty of wear,” Liliane says of her parents’ New England home. The chest is set off by flanking cherry chairs that, along with the mirror-back sconces, creates a calming symmetry.
A finely detailed pelican painting is a subtle reference to the shore, and is reinforced with a sandy tone-on-tone palette in a mix of prints, for interest. “It’s a sophisticated way to go nautical,” Liliane observes of the shorebird painting.
On this New England sun porch, a traditional shiplap ceiling painted pale blue is an evocative maritime architectural detail. The fresh pastel hue mimics the sky, and brass ceiling lights even resemble small suns.
Wicker chairs (in an ice cream white), a jute rug and bamboo matchstick blinds are beachhouse staples because of their relaxed texture and durability.
In the sweet daybed of the New England home Liliane designed for her parents, wraparound shelves means there’s always a wealth of reading materials close by. “My mother put all her children’s storybooks here for her grandchildren. She can read to them, or it can be turned into a bed. The walls are my all-time favorite pink, Calamine, which is feminine, without being saccharine.” The brass sconces are another nod to enduring nautical style.