Showing posts with label beach. Show all posts
Showing posts with label beach. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 2

Beach House Dreaming

Oh much of a slacker am I? I mean FOR's been almost a year since I posted. That is unacceptable but perhaps just proof of how hard it is to be a working mom. Can I get an AMEN on that? Frankly, I'm impressed that my kids have regular (somewhat) healthy meals and not regular enough showers. But I have missed posting. I love decor. I love writing. I love procrastinating.....apparently.

This summer's theme has been making very detailed travel plans and then having to change them. A big trip to Italy was unfortunately not possible due to a family member's health, and since we were all bummed not to be able to go, I quickly searched for a beach house rental near to my in-laws home in New Jersey that would allow us all to be together. And boy...did I find one!

With the owners permission (who btw, was one of the nicest people I have ever met and who I tried hard not to hate for owning my dream house) I took lots of pictures so you too could oogle their gorgeous home. Ta daaaaa....

The house is located on Long Beach Island in NJ, which where I grew up going to the beach and where we have taken our kids every summer since they were born. Thanks to a ridiculous MTV show, the Jersey Shore has a bad rap and yes, there are places on the Shore where there is a lot of fist pumping and loud music but not at LBI. It's a quiet island full of families and many, many gorgeous homes.

This six bedroom home is ocean front and has stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. The owners clearly wanted to take advantage of the location so the view is a main feature throughout. And the outside areas are designed to maximize the view too. Check out the pool, hot tub and outdoor kitchen. In-cred-ible! As my niece said all week "Aunt Allie...there is a pool in the deck. In. The. Deck!"

Moving inside, it was easy to see that the owner and his lovely wife worked hard to focus on the tiny details. From the bead board ceiling to the gorgeous plank flooring, they didn't miss a trick. Every light fixture was stunning and unique and even the ceiling fans were pretty. Who knew that was even possible? The top floor of the house was the living room, kitchen, master suite and a nursery. Let's start in the living room...

It's minimal in terms of decorating but also cozy and warm. How did they do that? Light colors, details on the ceiling and perhaps the most gorgeous living room chandelier I've ever seen. Absolutely perfect for the space. 

Next up was the master bedroom which was easily accessible from the ground floor from an elevator, which may have been the highlight of the vacation for my son. This room was also elegant and well appointed with a four-poster bed and high-end linens and its own fireplace. Swivel chairs in the bay window were the perfect spot for my in-laws to sit and enjoy the view. 

And as if the room couldn't get any better....there was the master bath. The stand alone tub, the river rock shower floor, the teak details, the built ins around the sink...ahhhhh! It was truly like a spa. Just needs someone to bring you a cucumber water and some slippers and you are all set. 

The main floor of the house had a common area that leads directly to the pool. This was a favorite spot for the kids to hang out in. And check out the cute whale wall art. 

Speaking of kids, three of them shared this adorable, nautical themed bunk room and at least two of them are hoping we can transform their home bedrooms into this space (they are dreaming..) but it was really sweet. 

My husband and I snagged a gorgeous room decorated in corals and sea grass. I didn't get a good picture of them but the window treatments alone in this room where stunning. You'll have to take my word for it. The adjoining bathroom was light blueish-green and very pretty. 

This level of the house had three more bedrooms - all decorated uniquely. The one below was my favorite. So cool and calming even without a view of the ocean. 

The lowest level of the house was primarily a garage and storage space for the owners that also included an industrial strength set of washer and dryer to supplement the prettier version on the main floor of the house. Listen up future beach house owners....a second, powerful laundry set is KEY! Made it so easy to keep beach towels and therefore sand out of the main washer dryer. Also on that level were two huge outdoor showers and a cabana filled with beach toys, chairs, boogie and surf boards and everything else you can imagine for a beach week. by now you are probably wondering...did it have a kitchen? Oh yes my fellow design fans, it most certainly did. I have saved the best for last. You know how most beach rentals have small, outdated and grimy kitchens? Well not when you are a professional foodie/chef like the owner of this house is. Lucky us that we got to cook in this beauty for a whole week. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves. 

Two ovens, three dishwashers, a walk in pantry, that amazing wood island...sigh...truly a dream kitchen. And this was the daily view of the sunset from the deck just above the kitchen. 

So there you have it! A dream beach house that lifted all of our spirits for a week. Thank you to the owners who made this happen for us and for sharing their beautiful home with our family. We will never forget it. Until next time LBI!

Wednesday, March 19

Ask Allie….Kitty Nix Living Room

For my second installment of Ask Allie, I am working on designing my friend Kitty's living room. Kitty Nix and I have been friends for almost 8 years since our little girls were in ballet together (have to share this ridiculously cute picture of them before I get started designing). I mean……..

Anyway, Kitty has a beautiful house near us and she is looking to give her living room a makeover. First things first, here is how it looks now. 

So because I know Kitty like a sister, I know that there is nothing going in this room that isn't reasonable and practical. I also know that we have a mutual love of water. She and her husband have a house on a river on the Virginia side of the Chesapeake Bay and it is the place they go to relax and forget about life for a while (name that tune!). She told me she wants this living room to invoke the same feeling that the river house gives her - light, bright, airy and relaxing. Knowing that, and working with the existing rug which she just purchased (number 11 below), here is what I came up with. 

Here's the skinny:

1. Right now the room is two very different shades - one wall is a dark blue with white framing. The other walls are a taupe color. I suggest repainting the whole room in this shade. It's Benjamin Moore's Muslin (1037). I think this sets a very nice base color that will set off the white in the room - including the fireplace. 

2. This picture is of an inspiration room from that captures the look and feel I am going for with the room. I found this very similar chair on Overstock on sale for $559. It is a neutral so if/when she gets tired of the blues (more on that next) she can switch the accent color without having to redo the whole room.  

3. Like the KKG girl I am, I am always attracted to the colors of the sea and the sky (gag!). But this blue pillow is my idea of what the ocean looks like. Not the Jersey Shore ocean, but the ocean in the Bahamas. You know what I mean. Anyway, I found these on Etsy

4. As you can see in the pic, there are moldings on the walls behind the fireplace. My first thought was to take these off, but actually, I decided they should stay. And they should be painted white. It adds interest to the room and keeps it looking unique. 

5. Even though this room is technically a living room, it is used as their family room. Which means, it is where the big tv lives. My inclination would be to hang the tv over the fireplace, but that would make it the focal point of the room, and Kitty told me she doesn't want that. So I am suggesting purchasing an armoire like this one from Wayfair to hide the tv and all the components. 

A note about Wayfair - that I learned the hard way - they keep their prices low(er) because they don't actually take the items off the truck for you. So I ordered a sofa and the truck driver said "here ya go" and opened the back of the truck. I apparently didn't read the fine print. I slipped him a $20 and he did help me get it in the front door- but beware. 

I am anticipating that the one I picked out may not be wide enough for their current tv but there are plenty of options including this one which is wider and would still work with the beachy but elegant decor. 

6. This is an inspiration room I found online at Sarah Richardson Design. Sarah might be one of my favorite designers. Not only is she a fellow Canadian (I know…I am one confusing mutt) but her aesthetic is just perfect. Simple and clean but not stuffy or too modern. LOVE her and love this room especially because it is of her cottage - which is very common thing to have in Canada. I have fond memories of my friends Jen and Janice and their cottages north of Toronto. This is obviously a fancier version of most but I could live in that room forever. 

7. A few years ago, Kitty purchased a used piano. She isn't in love with it anymore and is thinking of replacing it. But before she does, I would try painting it to look like this one. I found this tutorial on a blog called Rage Against The Minivan which had me at hello. And by tutorial, I mean, she'll tell you why and how she had someone else paint it. Worth a shot on an old clunker no? 

8. I truly believe you can never have enough throws in a room. Who doesn't love to snuggle up with one? Here's one from Pier 1 that is chenille and only $39.95! 

9. Creating the feeling of a relaxed beach house does not mean having oars hanging on the wall or lobster traps as side tables. But you can throw in a few elements that remind you of the best house you've ever rented at the Shore. Here's a cool seagrass ottoman from Pottery Barn that is only $299. I could see two of these in the room making one "table" but also a comfy place to put up your feet.   

Do not be afraid to NOT match. I hate matchy matchy in fact. Mix textiles and colors. A cool grey chair with brass nail heads and a seagrass ottoman may seem like strange bed fellows (which is a strange term no?) but they will look great together. Play around, see what you like and if you hate it, ship it back baby!

10. Ohhhh kay, so this represents my biggest challenge for this room. Kitty loves a swivel chair. I don't really know why - maybe it is because she needs to see what is happening everywhere at every moment or because she was born a 85 year old grandma in the making, but she will not be denied. So here is a blue swivel chair that I THINK could work in this room. No promises but I'd try it. This one is from Land of Nod and sells for $799.  

11. Here is Kitty's current rug. Because the furniture pieces I am suggesting are not patterned, this rug will end up being a focal point and a good one. No need to replace this!

12. Last but not least…the sofa!  Kitty wants seating for 6 in this room and to do that, and still have it be a really usable everyday space for her family of 5, I think a sectional is the best bet.  I picked this picture because of the pillows and the ocean view (which I accidentally cropped out of this picture) but in reality I think something like the one below would work best. It's from Pottery Barn and it's on the expensive side at $2800 BUT when it comes to something like a sofa, DO NOT be cheap. You absolutely get what you pay for.  So splurge on it - and make sure it is comfortable. It comes in 56 (count them!) colors some of which are available for quick ship (3 weeks) which would make my impatient inner self very happy. 

In terms of how the room should be laid out, this is the way to go.The only change to this picture is that I would move the blue chair in the picture below to the other side of the fireplace and put the tv/armoire in its place. The trick though is to move the furniture around until you are happy with it. You just don't know until you try it.  If you are in a bad mood, you could always make your husband change it again and again just for fun. (Not nice!)

Obviously, you can layer in lots of accents - candles, vases, lamps, etc. I love this slightly shabby look from House Beautiful. I am also kind of digging the upside down artichoke lamp.

So that's it! Hopefully Kitty...and you!…like it.  

Need design advice? Want me to create a board for your room? Email me a picture of your room at