The American Beach House

The beach house.  It’s a goal, an ideal, something almost everyone associates with the “American Dream,” glamorized by American royalty like the Kennedys.  
Although not all of us have houses and land that can be dubbed “compounds,” many enjoy their city respites on the weekend or seaside retreats year round.  Like your summer wardrobe, summerhouse decor can be fun and casual with hints of sophistication.  As we continue to take a closer look at all things American-design in honor of July, 4th, we see that it’s a lot like America itself: a melting pot of ideas, colors and textures.  Living legend and California golden-girl, Kelley Wearstler, invited Metropolitan Home into her Malibu mansion to show off her haute, refined and just a little bit wacky aesthetic.  (We like Kelly’s design style and have highlighted her design of EOS in Miami and posted about her and Women in Design and Elle Decor)  

Malibu wasn’t created in a day, either.  Her home feels as though pangea collided and Rome landed right on the beaches of California.  We love the architectural allusions to the sea and the natural shell color palette used throughout accented with bursts of gold.

Photos from ElleDeocr by François Halard
If you are going mad for her “Hollywood Regency on vacation” look but need some cues, take a look at some of our Wearstler picks from The Well Appointed House:

 Of course not every American beach house has to have the high drama that Wearstler’s does; sometimes it is best to stick with a design that’s as easy as Apple Pie.  Really, really, good apple pie.  This home, as shot by Peter Murdock for Elle Decor, shows that sometimes simple is more than what it appears.  Dubbed a “low-maitenanc beach house” on the Jersey Shore, the clean lines, bright blues and white paired with some breathtaking lighting fixtures makes this home classically perfect.  Sorry Snooki, I don’t think this is the place for fist pumping.

 Serene and clean
Photographs by Peter Murdock for ElleDecor

The map on the wall is a playful touch in this sitting room.  We would love to see it done in a “man room” to complete that Captain’s quarters feel.

 One of House Beautiful’s most beloved spreads has been this Southampton NY beach home that was featured in their “blue” issue.  Blue is the hue that probably gets used the most when it comes to seaside decorating, for obvious reasons, however, we haven’t seen quite such an inspired interpretation as this one, done by designers Kim Coleman and Michele Green.

 This room is light and bright and not overly “beachy.”  It’s the perfect beach house formal sitting room. You wouldn’t wear a ball gown to bbq and you wouldn’t put chintz on sofa that overlooks the water!  Get the look with a porcelain garden stool, just like the one pictured above, and a lucite coffee table.


 The mirrored vanity saves this room from looking as though it was straight out of Ariel’s dressing room and still manages to work with the shell mirror, sink and mother of pearl walls.  Get the look with our breathtaking shell mirror.

 Most who are lucky enough to have a beach home know it’s their duty to share the wealth and invite family and friends.  It’s nice to see a casual space where you can picture game night and movie watching.  We like that they kept the wood walls for that rustic, American charm effect, but kept it modern with eclectic blue and white accents like the zig-zag rug and zebra pillows.  Get the lamp pictured above here at The Well Appointed House. 

 Out of the blue

 More is more in this space and it works

This room is a shocking break from the rest of the home and it couldn’t be more welcomed.  It’s modern and sharp but at the same time doesn’t look as though it doesn’t belong, unlike that houseguest who stayed three days after everyone else.
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