When you hear "beach house", you may picture the usual coastal design cliches like rope, seashells, starfish, navy and white stripes. Those details can be pretty, but wouldn't it be fun to see a beach house designed without those predictable elements? On the latest episode of Home by Novogratz, Bob and Cortney got to design a newly constructed Long Island beach house from the plywood subfloors up, and the result was nothing like a seaside souvenir shop.
The takeaway theme this week for me was juxtaposition of texture. I use that word a lot, juxtaposition, but in addition to trying to make myself sound smart, it's a recurring motif in great design. We've talked about mixing old and new (modern with antiques), high and low (Noguchi with Goodwill), but a few of the standout concepts in this Long Island design involved mixing rough and scratchy with shiny and sparkly in ways that blew my mind.
First, the clean, white spaces were broken up with a few beautifully worn wooden pieces. Bob and Cortney had the carpenter incorporate an intricately carved, wooden arch that the homeowners brought from Bali into a doorway, and it gave the entry such an exotic, warm feel. They also used a gorgeous, carved wood mirror, a piece from the homeowner's collection, in the master bedroom to add character, and chunky wood corbels in the window of the daughter's bedroom.
Second, Bob and Cortney selected a clean lined, white sofa for the living room, but then placed some funky, high-backed wicker chairs close by. The sofa screamed, "We are modern and minimal", but the chairs said, "We are slightly Victorian, hookah-smoking, Haight Ashbury barefoot Mother Earth worshippers." See what mixing textures can do? It makes your furniture come to life!
I've saved the best for last. The icing on the cake, the design magnum opus, the part that made me tweet "holy cow", was the staircase. The architect had to have several trees cleared to build the home, and she kept them for Bob and Cortney to incorporate into the design. Cortney said, "pillars" and the next thing I knew, those 24 foot babies were being hoisted up and mounted with metal rods next to the stairs. And then? And then they hung crazy, sparkly vintage pendant lights within the tree pillars at various heights. Juxtaposition of rough wood and sparkling lights? Awesome.
There's a lot to look at in this design so be sure to enjoy those pictures, and also watch for the various textures I was talking about. Then think about how you can juxtapose contrasting textures in your own home in unpredictable ways and how you can overuse the word "juxtaposition" like I have.
(Images: Matthew Williams)