The best thing you can do when building a home from the dirt up? Bring in a design team, ASAP.
“It’s amazing what a difference it can make for a project and how much [it benefits] homeowners,” says Susana Simonpietri, the creative director of design firm Chango & Co. “It’s an entirely different ball game when you are there from the first concepts and can see a home come together based on all your input and creative approach; we are there to help with the process of planning floor plans, [overseeing] elevations for the interior and exterior, selecting every single finish throughout the home, as well as designing all of the millwork.”
She put her words to action spearheading the company’s latest project: a 6,000-square-foot home on the North Fork of Long Island for a family of four, which took two years to complete and has marks of the design team’s involvement in even the most utilitarian of components. Pre-dipped shingles in a gray wash were chosen to mimic the look of a much older building. The wood flooring on the outside cabana is the same light washed shade you’ll find in much of the home, pulling everything together. And of course, each room was designed around the stunning bay views, allowing for a permanently impressive vista and tons of natural light.
“We knew we wanted the view of the bay to be the focal point element of the home, which meant all living spaces were designed to favor the view and keep it as uninterrupted as possible,” explains Simonpietri. “We also knew we wanted the design of the home to be as timeless as possible, while still having fun with pattern and texture.”
The home, which can best be described as a modern take on traditional beachfront, is full of these textural elements. Woven chairs in the dining room both complement and contrast the reclaimed oak wood table. Coupled with open weave pendant lights and a navy blue wallpaper, it’s the perfect example of how to convey that this is a home on the beach without emblazoning every wall with a seashell motif.
6,000 square feet lends more than enough space to enjoy both the outdoors—there’s a pool area, a fire pit, several outdoor lounging areas, and a waterfront cabana, to name a few potential spots prime for unwinding al fresco—and indoors.
The calm, collected feel of the home’s common interior areas is partly attributed to the fact that the kids’ rooms are totally separate, designed individually with their tiny inhabitants in mind. This way, the majority of the home feels cohesive, but the children have their own spaces.
“Kids’ rooms, to me, are always an opportunity for adventure, and I do not feel they need to match the tone of the rest of the home, so we have a lot of fun creating them,” says Simonpietri. “I believe we should provide kids with spaces that ignite their sense of curiosity, imagination, and whimsy, which allows us to create with zero limitations and 100 percent fun.”
We’re particularly partial to the bold, blue and white floral-printed wallpaper juxtaposed with softer blush pink accents in the girl’s room. Though the fun retro bowling pins that decorate the boy’s room are definitely a close favorite.
Read on to discover how to bring that beachy feel home—no matter your zip code—without veering into the cliché.
It’s all about balance.
The more traditional elements are evened out by more modern, structural elements to avoid oversaturation. Key examples of this include the sleek, contemporary table in the breakfast nook or any one of the statement hanging lights present in the home.
Reinvent the classics.
“The clients loved some of the play on blues we had done in the past, but specifically asked us to make sure the home was not too summery and could be used year-round,” says Simonpietri. In lieu of baby blues and typical nautical stripes, the team incorporated the classic color scheme in more unexpected, playful ways—chiefly through statement wallpaper, but also through mosaic floor tiling or graphic artwork.
Pick your star.
For Simonpietri, this meant finding one fabric and designing the home around it. “Coming from the tropical island of Puerto Rico, I immediately associate “beach” with white linen,” she says. “This is probably the most commonly found material in all of our beach homes. We use it for every window treatment and lots of upholstery.”
Go au naturel.
Texture, texture, texture. Bring the outdoors in with unexpected, statement-making ways—woven baskets hung above the master bed in lieu of a photo gallery wall, for example. “I like to include as many natural fibers as possible, like seagrass rugs [and] batik prints on a vast backdrop of white paint,” shares Simonpietri.
See more homes we’re loving:
Peek Inside a Colorful, Curated London Home
How a Designer Turned an $18,000 House into Her Dream Home
A Prewar Brooklyn Home Marries Historic Charm with Modern, Artful Style