Sunday, June 27, 2010

Michelle's Beach Condo Design

Michelle and her husband Bryce recently purchased a great little condo at the beach where they go to get away and relax. When I mentioned that I've been dying to try out my design skills on a coastal-inspired theme, she volunteered her condo for me to get my fix! So, here goes...

First, here are a few Before Pictures that she sent me. She wanted to keep her couch and dining table, but she is willing to do a little bit of DIY to change things up.

To get started, I got inspired from some beautiful spaces on websites like Coastal Living and Traditional Home.  As you can see from my favorite rooms below, I was drawn to the classic color palette of blue and white, yet they all have a pop of a brighter teal or cobalt blue. The other trend you can see througout these rooms is how the dramatic blues are balanced out with natural tones and textures.

So let's jump right into the mood board and see if you think I incorporated the elements from my inspiration rooms...

1 - The windows are such a great feature in this room, so I wanted to highlight them with something that would draw your eye to them without distracting you from the view.  I also wanted to ensure the look would be classic and timeless.  These Concorde Medallion Curtain Panels from Ballard Designs were just the ticket!  At $69 per panel, these are a bit of a splurge, but the impact will be worth it!  Get 4 of them, so you have a set for both the living room and dining room windows.

Hang them with this pretty Drapery Rod Set with blue glass finials from Allen Roth which you can buy at Lowe's for just under $30.  Since the configuration of the window nook in the dining room is so unique, you may need to use this simple and cheap solution from Ikea - Curtain Wire - to hang the curtains in that window.  I used it for my screened in porch and it worked great!

To finish off the window treatments and give you privacy when you want it, I would suggest hanging these Levolor Plantation Blinds in the Honey Pine color from Lowe's on each window.  You can just get the biggest size you need and have them cut down to the right size at the store.  This option will give you the look of custom blinds without the cost.  The maximum size of 72" x 72" is only $112, so you'll get a custom look for under $250.

And finally, we need to address the skylight windows in the dining area.  I think they look great totally open like they are, but if you want to tone down the light a bit, try installing some Decorative Window Film from Wallpaper for Windows.  I like the white, sandstone, or sky blue colors in the see-thru option.  Or you can try an etched glass pattern, but stay away from anything too symmetrical or it could be hard to keep straight. 

2 - Ok, on to the next key element in the room, the rugs!  For the living area, I love this Mattress Ticking Rug from Dash & Albert.  It's a casual and durable woven cotten material with a completely nautical pattern.  The low price tag of $194 for a huge 6'x9' rug makes this an even better choice!

3 - I'd also like to see a rug in the dining area to really define the space, plus it gives you the opportunity to bring in some more texture.  Since we've already got some major pattern going on, I wanted kept this rug simple.  This classic Seagrass Rug in the Blue border from Ballard Designs will definitely do the trick.  Get the 6'x9' size at $199 to keep the space feeling as large as possible.

While we are talking about textiles in the dining area, I also wanted to suggest this great Tablecloth on sale for $50 from Verde Lifestyles.  I'd love to see it used on the dining room table to really tie the dining and living areas together.

Now, moving onto the new furniture pieces that will make the layout work. 

4 - Place this Ikea Bookcase horizontally against the far living room wall and it will become a true focal point, full of both function and style.  Use it to place your TV, then fill the shelves with all kinds of coastal-inspired decor.  Add some baskets for some hidden storage as well.  Oh yea, and I almost forgot to mention - it's ONLY $69 bucks!!  You really can't beat that anywhere, I love you Ikea :)  

5 - This Trunk / Coffee Table from Pier1 Imports is the perfect place to put your feet up while you're watching TV.  The texture and tone of this trunk is super beachy and will really warm up the space.  Bonus - you can store your extra beach towels in it!  This is one of the pricier items at $199.95, but still a great deal for such a multi-functional piece with a high-end look.

6 - I can't get over what a great deal this Accent Wood Bench is from JC Penny.  At only $44.99, I think I am going to have to get one for myself!  You can put this just about anywhere, but I think it fits best in this space as an end table to the left of the larger couch which will be dividing the living and dining areas.   

7 - I am so in looooove with the Lazy Susan Oval Ring Side Table that I found on on sale for $105.95.  Something about it screams "super chic beach house" to me.  I would love to see it placed to the left of the loveseat where it will be seen by all.   In fact, I just have to put another picture of it here to drool at again...

 8 - How cool are these Vintage Style Metal Stools on!?  They come as a pair for $99.95, so I couldn't resist adding them to the design.  Put one of them to the left of the Ikea TV Console/Bookcase and add a plant, maybe some succulents.  Then use the other one as a little end table next to the chaise I'm about to tell you about....

9 - The window nook in the dining area is a great spot to create a window seat.  You can accomplish it pretty easily with this budget friendly Slipcovered Chaise from Ikea.  At only $299, it was by far the lowest cost option to create a comfy reading nook.  As far as placement goes, I think you can try several things.  The first thing I would try is to push it all the way up against the window with the backrest on the side closest to the door.  Center it as much as possible so that the drapes fall to each side, but make sure there is enough room for the door to open.  I am hoping this way will create a little walkway in between your new reading nook and the door that leads to your balcony.   

Once you get the placement of the chaise just right, add a bunch of pillows against the window to give it a back rest.  Don't worry, I'll give you some ideas for pillows towards the end.  I'd also like to see one of those metal stools (#8) placed right next to the chaise - either right behind the backrest or to the side - you'll have to play around with it a bit, but it will provide a perfect spot to put a drink and a book.  You could also switch out the metal stool with the wood bench (#6) if the space allows for something a little more substantial in the reading nook.  

Oh yea, and as far as the chairs that are currently in this space, I'd put one of them in the far corner of the living area, just to the right of the windows.  Replace the chair cushion with a more neutral color, preferably white, which you should be able to find at Pier1 or World Market pretty easily.  By placing a chair in that corner, you will create a well-rounded conversation area in the living space.  And as far as the other one, maybe you have an empty corner in a bedroom? 

One more piece of furniture, that didn't make the mood board because it's only optional is the Anywhere Console Table in white from Pier1 Imports.  If you can find it, I think it would look great behind the couch to add some substance in the dining room, but it is no longer showing up online.  I am hoping you can find it in the store since Pier1 is not really setup for online shopping anyway.  It was about $129 from what I remember and it has the perfect modern yet classic look about it - but the key to this piece is that it is only 13" deep so it is great for small spaces like this.

Now that we've gone over all the major furniture pieces, let's talk about lighting, wall decor, and accessories - the really fun stuff!

10 - I chose the Adair Floor Lamp in Satin Nickel from Pottery Barn.  As usual, PB has created a timeless classic that you really can't go wrong wtih, and I love how the shape and details give it a subtle nautical look. It's currently priced at $179, so this might be one item that you wait to purchase after it goes on sale or search eBay to see if you can find it cheaper there.  If you do get it, I think it would look best to the right of the Ikea Bookcase (#4).

I'd also like to see one of these Atlas Table Lamps that I found on placed on the end table to the left of the main couch.  It's got a similar nautical style that the PB floor lamp has, but I am not a big fan of the shade it comes with.  Try replacing it with this PB Braided Drump Lamp Shade, the medium size which is on sale right now $27.  The Atlas Lamps are sold as a pair for $166.99, so the other one would look nice on the Ikea bookcase next to the TV.  Probably on the left side of the TV since you'll have the floorlamp to the right.  Or, if you want to skip the floor lamp, then try putting this table lamp on the right side and it may be just enough.  The table lamp would also look great as a bedside lamp, so plenty of options to justify the second one :)

12 - Now for our first Wall Decor item.  These Old Wooden Shutters will add a ton of character to the space.  I would get two pairs of the 55" size and hang all 4 of them right next to eachother on the wall behind the TV.  Center them above the console, just a couple inches above it.  At $50 per pair, you're getting a lot of bang for your buck since these will cover a lot of your wall space.  Plus, the added height and interest on this wall will really help create a focal point in the room, yet keep the focus off of the TV.  It would also be fun to hang some starfish randomly across the shutters.  Get this Set of 15 from ZGallerie for only $15.95....

12 - I always like to incorporate a mirror or two into a room, and this Teak Wood Octagon Mirror in the Walnut finish from Verde Lifestyles has just the right look, hang it on the living room wall across from the window to reflect the light.  I love how the shape is unusual, but still so simple and clean.  And of course the natural wood tone helps round out the other wood tones and warms it up even more.  Notice that I've included 3 wood tone pieces (Trunk, Bench, Mirror).  I think rule of thumb is that you need a minimum of 3 for any element you are trying to add to a room in order to really get the full effect.  Then we can add to the effect through baskets and other accessories, but the foundation is set with the 3 key pieces.  Anyway, this mirror is on sale right now for $207, plus it looks like you can use this online code (summer2k10) for another 15% off!

13 & 19 - The Shabby Metal Stars and Distressed Oars are such fun items and will really add to the charm of this space.   Get 3 of the blue stars for $35.95 each and hang them on the dining wall opposite of the TV.  They will help balance out the shutters.  Then I would just get the 5' oar with stars for $49 to hang horizontally above the curtain rod in the living area.  Distressed, Shabby, Rustic - whatever you like to call it - the key here again is that we are getting the full effect by doing it in 3's!  (Shutters, Stars, and Oar)

You hanging in there?  We are almost to the end - Just a quick summary of the candles and small accessories, then we'll go over the pillows (my favorite thing!).  And finally, I'll wrap things up with some paint suggestions and DIY ideas!

14 - I would love to see one of these Oval Candle Wall Hangings from West Elm in the reading nook on the wall to the right of the windows.  It's $39, so just the one is all you need.  If you wait a little while, I bet it will go on sale!  I love how the oval shape ties into the nautical look that we already have in the lamps (#10) and that unique oval side table (#7). 

15 - These Hanging Bubbles from Areo are so cute!  Try doing something daring and hanging these from the ceiling between the dining and reading nook.  Mix up the sizes, which cost between $8-$12 each, and put different things in them like sand, tealights, and this pretty blue beach glass also from Areo.  I have to give a shout out to this fabulous home decor store, Areo, since it's located in the town I was born... Laguna Beach, CA!  I really hope I get to check out this store in person next time I visit :)

16 - Find any corner with a little extra floor space and fill it with 1 or 2 of these Mason Lanterns from Z Gallerie.  They come in two different heights and are on sale for $29.99 and $39.99. 

17  - These Ikea Vases are a great accessory for just about anywhere.  They come in 2 different sizes for $14.99 and $19.99.  Fill them with candles and use them as a centerpiece on the dining room table, or fill them with shells/sand/beach glass and put them in the bookshelves under the TV.

18 - My favorite item in this mood board is the set of Blue Glass Fishing Balls from Wisteria.  They come in a set of 6 for $24, which is a steal if you've ever seen the real vintage ones sold at flea markets.  They would be great fillers for the bookcase shelves, would also look good in a bowl on the coffee table, or just place a single one on top of a stack of books.  You can't go wrong with these!

We are finally to the pillows!  You really can't have enough pillows in my mind, but I am very picky when choosing because the pattern, color, and texture are so important.  I stuck with navy as the base color because I thought it went best against the greenish tone of the current couch.  Then I tried to find pops of lighter blues like cobalt and teal.  I stayed away from really light or baby blue tones because I think it would have been too "blah" against the couch.  

The key to making this work is to first try and cover several of the existing pillows on the couch with a solid pillow cover, one that is thick enough to not show the color through.  I think our best option will be finding some white quilted euro shams, since they should be about the right size to cover up the existing pillows (take a quick measurement to make sure though, they need to be about 26" squares).  The PB Pick-Stich Quilted Euro Shams are currently on sale for $35 each, so get a bunch before they are gone!  Note: You may be able to get away with just removing 1 or 2 of the existing pillows and still have enough cushion to lean on.  Try it out and see what you think before you place your order, so you can minimize costs as much as possible.

Then add a couple basic pillows to tie in our primary color, navy.  These Piped Pillow Covers are a fabulous option to use on all the upholstered pieces.  Get 2-3 of the 20" squares for the couches, then probably at least 3 to add to the chaise and lean them against the window.  It will give it the window seat look we are going for.  For $29 each, these are reasonable enough price to buy several.  If you have to watch the budget, then skip a couple of the decorative pillows below for now, and start with these.


Now that we've covered the base couch pillows, here are the fun decorative pillows from the mood board....

20 - This Big Nautilus Hook Pillow from the OuterBanks Trading Company has got such great rich colors and texture, that I couldn't resist adding it to the design even at the slightly high price of $55.

21 - These Coral Fish/Shell Pillows also from OuterBanks Trading Co. are a must have at only $49 for the set of 2.  There are a bunch of other great pillows in their Sea Life Collection, but they are a little above a price point that I would pay, so watch for these to go on sale...

22 - The Skipper Striped Pillow from PB is an extra long lumbar pillow.  At 36" long it will make the perfect pillow to transform the Chaise into a window seat.  The sale price of $29 makes it an even sweeter deal.

In case they run out of that one (which they tend to do with good items on sale), the Harbor Stripe pillow for $25 would also work to create a window seat feel to the chaise, but you'll probably need 2 of them.

23 - From OuterBanks Trading Co once again, you can get this adorable Crab Pillow for a pretty good deal at $39.  I'd like to see it on the rattan chair that you'll move to the corner of the living area. 

24 - This French Blue Leaflette Pillow has a great pattern in just the right color pallette for this space.  Plus, it's on Clearance at Main Cottage for $30...   Score!  I think I would get 2 of them at that price and put one on each couch.

Ok, is that enough pillows for ya?!  We are at the final stretch - time for paint and some DIY Ideas!

Let's start with paint, because that is pretty easy.  Now, all of my decor choices should work fine with the current beige and blue walls.  But, did you notice the common element in all my inspiration pictures above?  Yep, completely white walls.  I've also noticed this trend in a ton of magazine and catalog rooms, and the white walls somehow always make a room look so clean and light, making the decor stand out.  I especially think the white walls work well for a coastal theme, so my suggestion is to go all white!  

I keep reading from different sources that the Benjamin Moore Decorator's White is the perfect white paint color, plus it's in the Pottery Barn Spring 2010 collection so it must be good!  Another suggestion that is a little more off-white, also from the same PB collection, is Benjamin Moore Mascarpone.  I don't think you can go wrong with either of these choices.  But, if you aren't feeling the white, I also like this super light neutral from the collection, Benjamin Moore Sandy Beaches, and what a great paint name for a beach condo.

Now for DIY stuff - Here is an easy idea for the Chandelier over the dining table.  Just take some basic twine, which you can pick up at Lowe's for only a couple bucks, and simply wrap it around each section of the black iron until all you see is the twine.  See the picture below of the PB Chandelier to get a better idea of what I mean. All you need is a little hot glue at each end to hold it down.  And for the sections where there are 2-3 "branches", I would just wrap the twine around the whole thing, so it will look like just one piece when you are done. 

The next DIY idea is pretty simple too.  I'd love to see you paint the dining room chairs in a fun bright blue color.  To get the best results, I'd follow these basic instructions on Young House Love or go for a slightly distressed look using these instructions on Centsational Girl.  I like this color - Hyper Blue by Sherwin Williams. 

And finally, adding some architechtural detail would make a huge difference in this space.  So, the simplest way to do that with a beachy vibe is this - Add some basic planks of wood going vertically up the entire wall.  Top it off with the same type of wood going horizontally across the top of the wall right next to the ceiling.  And then you'll probably need to add some type of trim molding to make it blend with the current floor molding.  You should be able to get your local hardware store to cut the wood for you, and then just invest in a nail gun and a level to make the installation easier.  Even doing this on one wall would look great!  Can you see the impact it has in the pictures below? 

Ok, if you have made it this far, I'm impressed.

Happy Decorating!


  1. Renee, I like your new blog design. I redesigned mine, too, when the new templates debuted. It's hard to resist rearranging the blog "furniture" with all those new possibilities! This post has all sorts of eye candy. Love that mood board. I'm partial to blue and white mixed with a little wood or bamboo and you've got lots of great ideas here for working with that palette.

  2. Thanks Daricia! I know, it's so tempting to play around with all the different backgrounds, so when the new templates came out, I couldn't resist. I like your new design as well, that green is so pretty and inviting. Glad you like the moodboard, I had tons of fun putting it together!

  3. I love it! Great job! Now I know what you have been up too.....long time no post, but it has been worth the wait!! :) btw, I love those little glass balls, and just ordered them. also, I forgot to tell you, I finally got approval to paint the book shelves! (of course I have to finish my bedroom project first). Anyway, I will need lots of help really soon!!

  4. Renee, this all looks amazing! You have such a great eye for this. Loving your style. Can't wait to see how it turns out in the end!!

  5. Beautiful designing of this condo. Love everything I see. Learn so much from here too. Thanks for the great read.

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  6. Auh~ I kinda envy this couple. Living near the beach has always been my dream! I think it’s great to live there with your special someone… It’s peaceful, calm and refreshing. Whoever lives near a beach can make these design ideas their inspiration!

    Brendan Amorose

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