Moving is hard…physically and mentally. When I was first married, we moved from my husband’s NYC apartment that we shared for two years to a charming 1915 stone and stucco cottage in Westport, CT. We didn’t move again for 20 years! You accumulate a lot of stuff in attics, basement, and garages.
After our daughter decided to go to college in California, we thought about being bicoastal. We rented a condo for 9 months in Santa Barbara to be sure that I would like living on the West coast…duh! Moving from the condo was easy. I was able to pack everything in my Prius in a few trips.
We eventually were able to sell our Connecticut home and downsized into a townhouse. We hired someone to pack up what we didn’t sell and made it work. Two years later when the landlord decided to sell, we moved into another townhouse in the same complex all the while using the same moving company which was getting to be expensive! When a few years later this landlord decided to sell, my husband had had enough. I spent most of the time in Santa Barbara while my husband commuted back and forth to his businesses in Westport, CT and LA. He decided we should look for a place to buy. I was hesitant to own homes on both coasts and the work that it would entail but as soon as we saw this 1500 square foot 1923 beach bungalow in a charming coastal community, I was on board.
My husband set up the painters and contractors for me to meet with on my East coast visits. At this time I was helping my parents style their newly built Vermont home (that they designed) and so it was perfect. I did a lot of the planning from California and my husband would send photos of the progress. Things were going so well, and he was so eager to move in that he pushed up the moving date by 2 weeks. I scheduled my flight for two days before the move and enlisted my parents to come down from Vermont to help me, as my husband would be in LA on business that week.
The night I arrived I went to check on the house and was horrified to see that the paint was not what I had wanted. The walls were bluish white and so shiny I could see my reflection. What the heck?? It turns out the painters had used the bottom of the line builder’s grade paint which has an extremely shiny eggshell finish. I had everything repainted in White Dove by Benjamin Moore. Time was tight and we were still dealing with the painters on moving day.
My parents are experts at moving and they do it all by themselves which is beyond impressive to me. I call them the dream team and they truly are. Mountains of boxes and furniture that overwhelmed me didn’t cause them to bat an eye. The movers were done by 1:00 pm on a Thursday, and by Saturday at 5:00pm, just before my husband arrived, we had the house put together and decorated. My mom was invaluable at setting up the kitchen and helping me place furniture. My dad hung curtains and shades and was also responsible for cutting up all those boxes! It was incredible to me how well everything fit and to see our old furniture used in a fresh new way.
One of the things that sold us on this house was that it had been renovated nicely. Would I have made the same choices? Probably not all of them but I could certainly live with most of them. My vision for this house was to take it down a notch to a little less traditional and a whole lot more casual. Living in California is all about comfort and utilizing the outdoors and I wanted to incorporate some of that in this home.
For today I will focus on the entry and living room. I knew right away that I wanted to change the front hall light fixture to something a bit more modern and add built-ins to either side of the fireplace. My biggest concern was that our large sectional would overpower the room, but I was working with what we had. While most beach houses feature the color blue, it isn’t a color my hubby likes so I used grays and taupes with touches of aqua that say “beach” in a more subdued tone.
Before the entry was small and charming, but I thought it was odd too put the small table behind the front door when it was open. I knew I wanted a screen door and that the front door would often be open on nice days. I found a gorgeous beachy mirror at Serena and Lily which I hung over an incredibly slim simple table from Room and Board. A Dash and Albert indoor/outdoor rug , a topiary, and antique wooden bowl found on my recent trip to Vermont, and it was finished. I also changed out the light fixture to a more modern one from Wayfair.
The living room was lovely to start with if a little traditional for my taste.
Two of my favorite features of the living room art the charming stain glass windows flanking the gas fireplace and the beautiful hardwood floors.
Surprisingly, our sectional fit! I used the same Dash and Albert rug that I had used in the foyer, this time an 8′ x 10′. Our coffee table is a vintage find that we have had for years.
The rattan chair and ottoman had been in our daughter’s bedroom when she was a teenager. I didn’t even have to change the fabric!
We bought the leather recliner years ago at Lillian August in Norwalk, CT.
All but one of the paintings are my watercolors, most of Nantucket scenes and perfect for a beach house. The shelves are filled with my antique biscuit tin collection along with other items collected at flea markets and antique shops over many years. All of these combine to make a bright, comfortable, cozy room where you can put your feet up and stay a while…