Monday, September 3, 2007

Year Round Coastal Style

Here is the latest installment of my Coastal Decorating Column, written for Make Mine Pink in collaboration with Barbara Jacksier. Enjoy!

Year Round Coastal Style

By Janet Coon~
Featuring Barbara Jacksier

Ocean-themed bedroomCoastal style seems to be a growing trend, yet is timeless in its appeal with its casual attitude and vacation feel. Summer is almost over but, for those of us who love to decorate with this spirited approach, there is no need to forget that summer seaside vacation or to put away the seashells and beach glass!

Many of you will probably recognize the name, “Barbara Jacksier”, former editor of Cottage Style and Romantic Country magazines. She has just written a fabulous book to inspire entitled Cozy Waterside Cottages that is soon to be published. I was fortunate to get a sneak-peek at some photos from this beautiful book (more on Barbara's beautiful blog) which features fourteen gorgeous cottages as well as ideas on adding coastal style to any home. I spoke to Barbara to find out more about how the homes were selected. “Whether year-round residence, artist’s studio or weekend retreat, all of the cottages in the book provide their owners and guests a place to enjoy time together, chill out and feel sheltered,” says Barbara. “While there are many books dedicated to showing contemporary beach houses with seaside views, there are few that focus on cozy homes with interiors that embrace their location.”

Her search took her to tropical Key West, where photographer Dan Mayers photographed a mid-western couple’s winter refuge to Little Diamond Island, Maine, where he shot an artist’s hideaway. They traveled to Tybee Island Georgia, up and down the Delaware shore, along the Kalamazoo River in Michigan and west to California.

Fireplace mantel with shells and oceanic ornaments

The Fairhaven, Massachusetts home of Roberta Laprade of, is one of the featured homes. To give her cottage the appearance of more space and light, Roberta uses mirrors. Most have vintage frames that she has painted creamy white. On her lace-draped mantel, she uses them to reflect gathered seashells. “Draping the mirrors with crystal garlands, gives the reflected light extra sparkle,” says Barbara, “like light that naturally bounces off water.”

Various seashells“The easiest way to give any home a waterside attitude is by avoiding furniture that is, or looks, too new,” Barbara advises. “Since old-fashioned summer cottages were often furnished with sturdy but past-its-prime furniture, it’s important to replicate that spirit with secondhand gems, such as a whitewashed antique four-poster bed or mismatched side tables with peeling paint.”

Barbara also suggests “propping” with items that recall shore vacations. Create a collage of vintage postcards. Place an old telescope near a window. Stock up on vintage games or metal sand pails. Accent a chaise or sofa with pillows in a tropical print. “And, don’t forget the chippy wire baskets or porcelain bowls of sea glass, starfish and shells,” Barbara concludes. “It’s not a beach cottage if it doesn’t have something that you’ve brought home from the beach — even if you found it in a boardwalk shop!”

One of the fastest ways to anchor a room by the water is with pattern. You can make a big commitment with wallpaper, rugs and upholstery fabric or test the waters with pillows and wall art.

A glass shelf with oceanic ceramicsThibaut’s new Seaside collection features carefree coastal designs (at a price). Motifs include shells, tiny fish and underwater scenes in beach blues, kelp greens and sandy colorways.

Another element that makes a cottage cozy is the illusion that the décor is a bit impromptu. Even if done by an interior designer, it’s the urchins plopped in an antique bowl, accents crafted from beachcombing finds or popsicle stick frame made by a child and proudly displayed that put the “cozy into the cottage.”

Visit the book's blog at to find out when Cozy Waterside Cottages goes on sale and how to order autographed copies.

With Love, Janet

Mantel photo preview for Cozy Waterside Cottages courtesty of photographer Dan Mayers. Text by Janet Coon and Barbara Jacksier. Images, graphics and text are not to be copied without written consent of the authors.


  1. Janet~You absolutely OUTDID yourself on this column!! Such a treat to read & for the eyes!!! I want to take everything & just move it into my home~LOL!xo

  2. Hi Janet! Sooo beautiful! You've got the touch Girlfriend! Bravo!!!

  3. Hi Janet, Oh!! I just found your blog, how fabulous!! I love the Coastal Style and I have my year round home here in Hampton, VA on the coast decorated that way as much as possible. I scrounge every thrift store, yard sale and estate sale for old seashells and seaside treasures.
    I also have one of your fabulous dress forms! I am going to have to blog about her and give you credit and a link.
    Thanks so much for sharing your blog! xo, suzy

  4. Love the fact that you sell pillows with our logo! Nice blog, keep it coming.

  5. Love your blog! I was looking for prices on Seaside Kelp wallpaper online for a design project and came across your blog. I love coastal decorating. I could look at it all day. As soon as I finish my homework, I'm going to check out the rest of your posts.