9 Ways to Fake Beach-house Style

Bring the beach home with you by adding shoreside flair


Hand-blown chandelierHand-blown chandelier
Personalize the look

For this vacation house, project designer Jesse Moyer of Jessica Helgerson Interior Design looked far beyond the expected fancy showrooms. Many of the furnishings were custom-designed by the firm, vintage, or handmade. The key is the mix: In the dining room, a hand-blown glass chandelier shines above a reclaimed teak table. In the living room, a custom-made sectional couch sits beside an old boat reinvented for lounging. "We wanted it to feel lived in and personal," says Jesse. "There's no point in hiring an interior designer and having them go to one showroom," adds Jessica. "You can do that yourself." Jessica Helgerson Interior Design, Portland (jhinteriordesign.com). Chandelier by Ochre, ochre.net.

Turquoise accessoriesTurquoise accessories
Blend the palettes

Indoors, turquoise accessories play off neutral paints and bare wood. River Reflections #1552 and China White paint, benjaminmoore.com; pendant lights by Heather Levine, heatherlevine.com.

More on beach cottage design

Boat bedBoat bed
Go way outside the box

A Craigslist find, this drift boat had been painted red and decorated with Oregon State University Beavers stickers. Jesse and her crew added a coat of white, cut away one side, and inserted a foam mattress. Instead of cutting off the leftover rope, they coiled it into a floor mat.

More modern beachy ideas

Sheers and curtainsSheers and curtains
Vary the vistas

Floor-to-ceiling windows and glass doors frame coastal views wherever possible, but the openness is tempered by sheers and curtains. Curtain fabric by O Ecotextiles, oecotextiles.com.

Ready to take the look outside? Here's how to extend the beach theme to your back yard.

Seashore findsSeashore finds
Pay homage to the surf

Though this Outer Sunset District house is within San Francisco's city limits, it feels leagues away from busy downtown. But as a total of six lanes of traffic and high dunes separate the building from the ocean, Serena Mitnik-Miller and Mason St Peter can't see the beach itself from their windows. So they bring home seashore finds--sand dollars, pebbles, driftwood--to mix with their midcentury modern furnishings, creating a look one might call "ocean-found modern." Serena and Mason own the General Store in San Francisco (visitgeneralstore.com).


Glass floatsGlass floats
Add beach glass--by recycling

Mason's grandfather found the glass net floats up the coast near Fort Bragg in the 1940s.

More on sea glass

Found artFound art
Found art

Found feathers and marine-inspired accessories liven up Serena's home office.

Here are more ideas about how to bring the beach to your home.

Beachy still-livesBeachy still-lives
Set up beachy still-lives

A collection of flat, round rocks results in a peaceful moment.


An Octopus's GardenAn Octopus's Garden
Create lots of "views"

Sea-themed art stands in for real ocean vistas: the image of nearby dunes, say, by local painter David Wilson that's above the couple's bed. In the living room hangs An Octopus's Garden by Bay Area artist Kyle Field.

Don't live near the beach? Bring the beach to you!