Coastal decorating to me is ephemeral. Picture for one moment the colors of the water reflected on the walls and the next moment sun rays reverberating on the water and then again on the walls of your home. Coastal decoration is breezy, it must recreate the soft wind that carries the music of a wind chime and the echo of the sea in a large conch shell. Coastal decoration is also rustic, sandy and weathered as the seawater creates a patina on anything it touches. These are the feelings and atmospheres we want to create when decorating in the coastal style.
This style requires texturing, that means eliminating slipperiness and glossiness. The essence of a coastal effect is to keep everything as natural as possible. It is a celebration of tactile qualities where one can imagine telling a story of mariners and navigations. It is important to use opaque material, salvaged or rustic, weathered-beaten materials that are warm and cozy like driftwood, burlap fabrics and cord or rope materials often used as trims.
To perceive a soft lulling sense of the sea waves, window covers must be light, soft, easily to drape and often very sheer.
Colors are interesting, because most people would decorate using a lot of white, blues and aqua colors, but if we look at the underwater world, we will find an array of beautiful colors. In the underwater world there are coral banks ranging from beautiful orange color to purplish, white, cream and even greenish. The seabed has vegetation and algae ranging from all the grey tones, all the blue tones, all the green tones, to sage, pale yellow, and purple and even rose colors. Let’s not forget the colors of all the fish, some of which are multicolored and then all the variegated shells varying from beige and white tones to even brown tones, black, grey, blues and on and on.
To give a finishing touch, succulent plants tucked away in shells and glass topiary full of sand and driftwood would be perfect.
A few years ago, one of my clients in Italy decided to decorate most of his home in coastal style. I called that project: “Stories of Navigations” because the client had been a life time long-distance navigator on merchant ships. Using his memories and his tales to decorate his home, my goal was to let him re-live his sea affairs. To reminding him of his distant voyages in exotic lands, I reproduced the original ancient maps he collected and pasted them on the walls of his living room. I used nautical ropes as curtain tiebacks, I placed lot of brass metals here and there as we see them on old ships, galleons and even modern yachts. The fabrics of upholstery were rough canvas, jute fabrics, striped cotton and burlap fabrics. The kitchen was huge fun to design. I found a company that specializes on nautical kitchen and other furniture. On the kitchen cabinets, the details were ship’s portholes and a lot of brass hardware. The floor was spectacular. I found a bluish-green marble that really echoed the swaying of seawater. The choice was between blue-green marble or blue painted hardwood floor. The choice was hard, as both floor solutions were very attractive. At the end marble won.
If you live on the water, refresh your home with “cool” ideas and if you need me, I am here to help. Ciao,
Copyright © 2015 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved
Valentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior Designer working in the USA and Europe since 1990, specializing in kitchen, bath, wine cellar, and outdoor kitchen designs. Often people describe her as “the colorist” as she loves to color her clients’ world and loves to create the unusual. “Vogue” magazine and many prominent publications in California featured Valentina’s work. She also has made four appearances on T.V. Comcast Channel 15 and on RAI, Italian National TV.
Author of three published books, the latest ©RED – A Voyage Into Colors is on the subject of colors.