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    In coastal design, make your statement through color and texture. Photo courtesy of Celeste Wegman Interiors

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    Bask in your very own year-round coastal retreat. Photo courtesy of Celeste Wegman Interiors

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    Coastal decor takes its inspiration from the sea. Photo by Stanley.

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Coastal decor takes its inspiration from the sea. Photo by Stanley.


Stanley Goes Coastal

For the weathered charm of painted furniture, but with an updated feel and 21st-century functionality, check out Stanley Furniture's Coastal Living collection. It’s available in 14 different colors/finishes organized into three color palettes--"Sea Glass," "Pastel" and "Americana."


A collaboration with Coastal Living magazine, the collection is casual yet sophisticated, with pieces that are equally at home in vacation cottages and permanent residences.


"They all have a distinct rub-through type of effect," says Stanley representative Kristen MacKenzie, "some hand distressing to simulate that sort of furniture that’s been passed down from generation to generation." For today’s generation, Stanley has incorporated such features as hidden power strips, accommodations for widescreen TV's and dual media trays. 

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  • Take the Beach Home with You

    Design ideas for recreating the coastal feel in your space.

    by Susan L. Comer

    They say if you're lucky enough to live on the beach, you're lucky enough. Then there are the rest of us who just visit once a year and never want to leave. Maybe you can't live on the coast but, by capturing that warm sunny feel in your home décor, the coast can live with you--all year long.


    Coastal Mindset

    Imagine yourself nestled amid the tranquil tones of sand, sea oats and sky, with a splash of aqua so close you can feel the sea-spray. Sounds like your last beach vacation, right? But what if you were actually basking in your very own year-round coastal retreat--your bedroom, living room, even your kitchen or home office. That relaxing lifestyle isn't exclusive to the seashore.

    "It's a feel. It's a state of mind," says designer Celeste Wegman of Celeste Wegman Interiors, based in the scenic harbor village of Ephraim, Wisconsin.


    Choose Watercolors

    Coastal decor takes its inspiration from the sea. Think sun-washed colors, natural fabrics and scrubbed finishes To create a color palette, ask yourself which coastal elements stir your emotions and fill you with calm. Is it the pinks and creams of the shells? The sea-foam greens and the ocean blues? Maybe it's the cool gray of the lighthouse fog.

    Whatever your color scheme, incorporate crisp clean whites for a light airy feel. For maximum versatility, select neutral tones for investment pieces (e.g., beds and sofas) and permanent elements (e.g., walls, ceilings and floors). You can then pop color through accents—side tables and chairs, throw pillows, even the back of a cupboard.

    Bold stripes, fetching florals, pretty plaids, smart solids--mix and match textiles in unexpected ways. For instance, says Wegman. How about a solid chair with a striped welting and throw pillow paired with a striped chair/floral pillow combination. The choices are endless.

    Natural fibers keep your room soft and casual. "For slipcovers," says Wegman, "there's nothing better than a beautiful linen."  Cottons, seersuckers and light wools also lend themselves to a coastal feel.


    Add Character

    Painted distressed furniture evokes a time-worn coastal image as though the piece has served generations of sea dwellers. One of Wegman's favorite finishes for everything from small tables to large hutches is "Scrubbed Ash" by Hickory Chair. "Truly a stunning finish," says Wegman who also favors manufacturers Seabrook Classics, Eddy West, and Woodland Furniture for her design projects.

    Just as the sea embodies both simplicity and mystery, the ideal coastal furnishings feature clean lines, yet possess richness in detail. Carvings and etchings, says Wegman, accentuate the subtle color differences in a distressed finish, giving the piece a more seasoned appearance.

    And whether in the form of a rocker or a writing desk, wicker adds yet another layer of character to a room done in coastal décor.


    Room With a View

    To give a classic coastal look to walls or ceilings, consider a simple wood finish such as beadboard or shiplap, painted in a flat color for rustic seaside charm. Painted wood floors also add a light, buoyant touch.

    For curtains, keep it natural with cotton, linen or sheers. "The curtains should feel as if, when the wind blows, they have lovely movement," says Wegman. Pinch pleating, a loose pleat done on top, gives a relaxed casual feel as does pooling extra fabric at the bottom.

    Alternatively, shutters offer a nostalgic window treatment, evocative of old beach cottages.


    Anchors Away

    Finally, in decorating your coastal room, resist the urge to overdo shells, starfish and other nautical collectibles. Remember, the idea is to capture the simplicity and natural beauty of the seashore. Make your statement through color and texture. Then choose a few truly meaningful souvenirs—like that perfect shell you found at sunset or a watercolor print by a local artist—for daily reminders of why you love the coast.