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DIY laid-back indulgence

January 13, 2011

The West Australian

Few decorating schemes have such timeless appeal as those which channel the laid-back style of coastal living. Interior designer Fiona Hutchinson, of Revive Design, said the beachside look was relaxed, fresh and light, with a focus on muted colours and natural materials. “Think wood, water, sand, the sun and sky,” she said. And it’s a theme that works particularly well in West Australian homes, according to interior designer Judith Barrett-Lennard.“We often interpret the colours of the Mediterranean, South of France, and Italy, and while they have relevance, our coast is more rugged and windswept, with its very own beauty,” she said. Read on for the experts’ advice to recreate the beauty of beachside living in your home. COLOURS OF THE COAST The coastal look is one that is simple to achieve, according to Inspirations Paint & Colour consultant Angie Hinchcliffe. She pointed to pale, washed-out versions of white, light blue, turquoise, teal, sea green and the sandinspired colours of light beige and taupe. “The key is to use white as your base for your room and add a good mix of these colours through paint, furniture and accessories,” Ms Hinchcliffe said. And above all, keep things breezy and relaxed. “When selecting your paint colours think soft, not bright,” she said. “For the real beach houses, using soft neutrals is the best way to counteract the bright light that reflects off the ocean.” Brian Haftka, Switch Homes for Living interior designer, favours pastel tones. “For a more refined look, paint walls solid neutral colours and use white or soft grey as trims around windows and door frames,” he said. “If a more ‘beachy’ and nautical feel is what you’re after for a particular room, consider painting wide stripes in two pastel colours on a feature wall.” For a sophisticated look, Sharyn Bagios, of Veranda Home & Garden in Claremont, suggested making a statement by pairing grey with white and black with taupe. “The old blue and white is a little old hat and too predictable these days for the savvy decorator,” she said. BEACHSIDE DECOR Central to the coastal look are natural materials and lots of texture, according to Ms Bagios. Think organic materials such as cane, both in its natural state and whitewashed, and heavy textured fabrics such as linen and cotton. “Timber — aged, raw and recycled — always works,” she said. Interior designer Simone Gillespie, of Essence Interiors, agreed, adding that calico and striped nauticallook fabrics worked well, particularly when teamed with white furniture. Ms Barrett-Lennard said splashes of texture and shine helped channel the ocean. “The beach and coast do not have a lot of high gloss, but there are always little glimpses such as in foliage and water,” she said. “High-gloss door knobs in cream porcelain add interest and these could be repeated on cabinetry with crackle glaze drawers and cupboard knobs. A touch of brilliant buttercup yellow in roughly glazed serving bowls or coffee table ornaments is also appropriate.” STYLING ADVICE “The coastal look is all about mixing classical pieces with quirky casual to create an eclectic mix of old and new,” Ms Bagios said. Picture a classically shaped sofa covered with a slip cover and placed in front of an industrial- looking table with a weathered timber top. She also suggested setting up a cane seating area for lazy afternoons and decorating with such things as coral, shells and other found treasures. “Try something like an old pair of oars or a ship’s lifebuoy mounted on the wall as a talking point,” Ms Bagios said. “A collection of framed photos of the children on the beach always conjures beautiful memories.” Mr Haftka agreed that inviting seating was a must to channel the feel of a coastal beach house. “The key to coastal chic is ultra- comfortable oversized chairs and sofas and a fabulous touch is using an oversized, low upholstered ottoman as a coffee table — it looks stunning topped off with an orchid and a few seashells strategically placed on a butler’s tray,” he said. He said French provincial-style furniture also worked well. “Key pieces to seek out include wing back chairs — have them re-upholstered in a beige and white linen stripe for example — sofas with rolled arms in a natural linen loose cover, and whitewashed or dark stained side tables and coffee table.”

Posted In: Interior Design