Ultimate Beach House
A yesteryear Big Chill refrigerator in cerulean was the only choice for the bright white kitchen of a new Galveston-area beach house and became the inspiration for the decor now cheering the rest of the happy getaway.
"Who doesn't love a Big Chill refrigerator?" asks Laura Umansky of Houston-based Laura U Interior Design, who along with designer teammate Jillian Flynn recently completed the Crystal Beach retreat for a return client. "This retro element was the perfect pop of color and really helped to drive the cerulean blue hue used in the adjacent breakfast area, as well as in the rest of the home, including the exterior color palette."
Umansky and Flynn worked with the client from the ground up on the new construction project, including the interior, furnishings and kitchen design — even the dishes that now sit in the cabinets. The goal: create a functional, comfortable retreat with a fresh color scheme for a clean, classic coastal look without breaking the bank. The homeowner also wanted to make the beach house a place where she could host several out-of-town guests at one time.
"The kitchen was our favorite room to design," Umansky says. "We really brought to life our coastal design inspiration by mixing elements of the sea with classic white cabinetry. We incorporated a gorgeous quartz countertop containing both seashells and recycled glass in hues of lovely blues and greens. This was complemented perfectly by a high-gloss white tile backsplash and blown glass pendants over the island."
In keeping with the casual vibe, open shelves in a driftwood finish were installed on each side of the vent hood for storing dishes, platters and other kitchen items. And to accommodate their dog-loving client, the designing duo ordered built-in dog bowls at one end of the island where the pets can easily access their food and water.
A great zigzag rug, in waves of colors from magenta to cream, anchors the living room. Here, a mix of furniture pieces from retail outlets and to-the-trade vendors keeps the area very comfortable — and very livable. Glass- and coral-based lamps, a round metallic coffee table for a bit of shine and accent pillows in shades of blue create a collected feel.
Designers' notes: "The rug came from one of our favorite vendors, Loloi," Umansky says.
In the master bedroom, cerulean is joined by another natural color: driftwood.
"We wanted this space to truly be a retreat for our client and really have its own identity while also flowing with the rest of the home," Umansky says. "The hues of brown were inspired by driftwood and the lighting by sea glass. As seen in other spaces throughout home as well, the wall paneling in this bedroom added an additional level of interest and only further complemented the furnishings."
Designers' note: The lounge chair in the master bedroom is the Ava by Selamat.
And to ensure that family and friends would have a comfortable place to stay on their vacations here, Umansky and Flynn turned to custom bunks in two of the four rooms to sleep as many guests as possible in a cozy way.
"We designed the bunk beds custom, and they were site-built by the home builder," Umansky says. "They fit perfectly with the aesthetic of the home and really play up the idea of a comfortable beach retreat.
"The wall sconces are from one of our favorite lighting vendors, and we loved them because they reminded us of something you'd find on a ship. The bathroom mirror just complemented the space perfectly."
Umansky says she and Flynn did shop locally for many of the accessories found throughout the 4,961-square-foot, four-bedroom beach house, including at The Admiralty in Galveston, where initial and even last-minute great finds helped pull the home together.
"We wanted to get it completed in time for the return of sunny, warm weather," Umansky says.