When is a beach home not a beach home?
Well, arguably, when it’s a shimmering monument to the ultimate in sleek modern minimalism.
Of course, a property like this may will be a beach home in every literal sense if it is in fact a home and it’s located by the beach.
It’s interesting, that the phrase ‘beach home’ generally conjures up in our mind’s eye, everything from shabby beach-chic to Hamptons style classicism, but the trend in pristine, modernist structures has probably now overtaken the quintessential beach home style.
So how do you go about creating your minimalist haven by the sea?
The first challenge is wear and tear, from the less than forgiving coastal elements. We expect to see some worn decking and even a little distressed weatherboard paint on a classic beach house – or at least we accept it as part of the beach-life charm. Sand in the home can be tolerated, surfboards adorning the veranda is all part of the picture.
But none of this sits well in a high-gloss environment, brimming with expensive finishes.
Your builder will be able to advise you of new developments in exterior building materials that are built to withstand the harsh elements of our coastline, while maintaining desired aesthetics.
Bringing the outside in, while keeping it out.
There’s a conundrum! When building a beach home like this, we need to pay particular attention to doors and windows, seeking out specialist materials and highly effective seals and closures.
A trademark feature of the contemporary home, especially when you have expansive ocean views is the acres of glass frontage that reveal the coastline in all its incredible beauty and bring it directly into your home.
For these situations, self-cleaning glass is a must, combined with smart glass systems, which allow you to control the amount of heat and light that comes into your home throughout the day. Read more about this in our blog on green technologies.
If you’re living by the ocean you won’t want to keep your home hermetically sealed to avoid sand getting into your living spaces, so work with your builder and architect to take prevailing winds into account when planning your major openings and external space.
Contemporary homes also tend to feature sleek, and often shiny, premium finishes, like polished marble, metals and gloss carpentry – none of which respond well to the abrasive effect of sand and salt in the air. Happily there are many new and exciting finished to consider that look every bit as impressive, but will maintain their looks for much longer. This doesn’t mean you should eliminate any polished finishes altogether, but use them strategically, knowing they will need more care and attention to keep looking pristine.
You can never have enough storage
Never underestimate the amount of storage a contemporary home requires to maintain a minimalist image. Your builder and designer can help you plan heaps of concealed storage into every room to keep the clutter at bay and create that feeling of serenity a clean and clear environment brings.
If your contemporary home is by the beach, you will need to increase that storage requirement considerably and pay particular attention to the position of your storage.
External storage by every entrance is a must to encourage everyone to shed sandy shoes, towels and all manner of beach paraphanaila before they enter the house. Wet rooms at the entrances, or outdoor shower rooms are also great for making sure that only people free of salt and sand enter the house. In winter, these storage areas double up nicely as boot rooms / cloakrooms.
Whether your beach home is classic or contemporary in styling, the same basic décor principles apply.
Using a single colour palette throughout the home will make it feel bigger, more open and expansive, and allows rooms and spaces to flow naturally into one another. That doesn’t mean every room will look the same. If you create a palette of 6 to 8 shades, you can turn the dials up and down on different shades to suit the purpose of each room without compromising the flow of your colour scheme.
You can also bring in additional highlights of colour seasonally, with accessories to freshen your look from time to time.
Clever use of texture is also a great way of adding dimension to your home and there are some amazing three-dimensional finishes available now in tiling, wallpaper and decorative panelling.
Taking inspiration for your colours from the environment around your home works brilliantly for beach homes and really helps create synergy between your property and its location. Take photographs of your surroundings at different times of the day and use colour charts to create your palette by matching to the tones of your photos. For softer palettes use shots taken in the early morning or evening, go for mid morning for something more dazzling, or use the landscape in winter for a more muted scheme. If darker, more moody palettes are your thing, sunset shots will help you produce some amazing colour combinations.
Light and bright generally works brilliantly in beach homes, but it’s always to good to have some darker tones in there too, to use sparingly throughout, or more boldly in areas where you want to create a cosy, more intimate feel.
Your outdoor spaces and landscaping should reflect the minimalist feeling of your interior. Gardens will need to maintain a manicured look, so be careful with planting and seek advice from your landscape gardener. An unruly mass of tumbling and abundant blooms may look amazing in a cottage garden, but will look incongruous with the sleek modernity of your building.
Again, explore available materials with your builder and landscape gardener, to create a scheme that is both beautiful and manageable.
So in conclusion, can a contemporary home ever be a true beach home? Absolutely!