It's All in the Details: 5 Ways to Bring Coastal Style to Your Home Year-Round
"No stress. It's just the beach."
Marnie Oursler, host of Big Beach Builds, constructs and decorates custom homes for clients along the Delaware coastline. Inspired by childhood summers at the beach, Marnie incorporates the same "relaxed" coastal style she prefers into her clients' properties.
Not looking to buy a beach house anytime soon? (Or can't afford one? Same.) Below, Marnie offers tips on how to capture the feeling of the shore in your home year-round.
Statement Light Fixtures
"Lighting is the jewelry for your house," says Marnie. "There are definitely very nautical-like fixtures [out there]. The onions up in Nantucket are everywhere, then you see big lanterns. I do them bigger — I use more than five in all the custom homes we build. They make a statement."
"I'll be on the beach and I'll see a log and think, 'Oh, we could drill holes in it and make a centerpiece with candles!' Stuff like that is easy and fun; it becomes natural art [in a home]."
(But warning: Watch out for barn wood.)
"If you have old barn wood and you just put it up in your house — watch out for bugs. So, it's salvageable, but it's not readily available. It has to sit in a mill in a kiln to kill anything that's in it. You can't just go pull it off a barn and put it in your house."
Shiplap: Not Just for #FixerUpper Fans
"I do a lot of interior framework, but I want to make sure what we're doing is authentic to a classic beach cottage-style," says Marnie. "The shiplap that we do is very reminiscent of the old-style beach houses that didn't have drywall and insulation. That's why you could see the exposed wood, because the houses were only used in the summer. Now, we build houses for year-round living with central heating, air and insulation. So, we give it that look on the inside as a modern-day take."
Texture Is Key
"There's a lot of detail and texture [in coastal style], so I'll mix old wood, new wood and stone," says Marnie. "Then, when you do your decorating, using grasscloth and linen — a lot of different textures. Texture adds the dimensions that people need, and I don't think people would think [coastal style] mixes all those things together."
"On the outside, one thing you can do is add exterior railings and make sure they’re white, which really brightens up the house," says Marnie. "And I beef up all the posts. My posts are always bigger than a standard post, and that gives more of that New England look."
"Another way is with the landscaping, adding grasses and hydrangeas, things that you would find more in a beach environment," says Marnie. "But, of course, making sure [what you choose] is indigenous to where you are. So, hydrangeas, roses and some brighter colors tend to help as you enter."