Ever go on a great vacation, visit an historic site or take a stroll through the woods and get a sudden burst of design inspiration? If money were no object, you’d race home, strip down the living room from light fixtures to flooring and start from scratch?
While living in Pennsylvania, I often traveled to the Delaware shore and the small tourist town of Lewes, which is steeped in maritime history and the location of Cape Henlopen, one of the most breathtaking stretches of seashore I know. After visiting museums, participating in historic home tours and volunteering for the Delaware River and Bay Lighthouse Foundation, I decided to completely transform my home – it would be my vision of a ship captain’s retreat, complete with nautical antiques and accents, crisp white slipcovered sofas, dark wood furnishings, framed maritime prints and even antique oars, which my husband sanded down, stained and suspended from the ceiling. So cool!
Clockwise from top: Ektorp sofa, ikea.com; Nantucket pillow, cottagesurroundings.com; canoe paddle, whiskeyjackpaddles.com; Brass Endurance 085 clock, weems-plath.com.
The look worked even after we relocated to the north shore of Long Island. We added on to our collection of beachy decor with photography from local artists, glass vases filled with seashells we collected while on beachcombing strolls, old lanterns and my sister’s own plein air oil paintings.
But now, several years and another move later, I am ready to make a change. Inspiration struck when I visited Scottsdale, Arizona, in June. I’ve always been a beach person, but this year, for some strange reason, I longed to go somewhere hot, dry and devoid of sea birds. I fell in love with the landscape, the architecture and even the furniture pairings I found out west. The overriding decor theme was one of modern yet cozy, spaces uncluttered save for a few natural elements that whispered (rather than shouted) “Southwestern.” I took in every detail and snapped several photos, hoping to come back home and recreate the looks I loved. The nautical stuff is now in storage and I am ready to hit the furniture stores.
How about you? Ready to make a style change? Tell me what’s inspiring you these days.
Clockwise from top: Upholstered chaise sofa sectional, potterybarn.com; Palmer ottoman; wshome.com; Bark Rim bowl; potterybarn.com; Palm Leaf pillow; poshliving.com.