Monday, March 4, 2013

Kay Douglas's Beach House

I don’t subscribe to Coastal Living (I think maybe I should) so I missed this beautiful beach house when it was published apparently back in 2009. There is something about this wonderful home that just speaks to me

When shop owner Kay Douglass and her husband, Jim, purchased this new house—designed by architect James Carter—in Rosemary Beach, Florida, they relied on Kay’s knack for repurposing old objects to create an interior space that reflects the same character as the house’s architecture. Here, Kay reveals her top 10 ways to take a beach cottage from plain-Jane to perfectly imperfect.

I love the use of unexpected elements as art…..

Maybe it’s because sophistication comes with age, or because they really don’t make things the way they used to. Or maybe it’s simply the allure of history—a weathered texture or the glimpse of an object’s former life. Whatever the reason, there’s no denying the fascination with all things old when it comes to decorating a house, especially one at the beach.

…and the unexpected color palette

“I stuck to a pretty disciplined palette of white, charcoal-brown, and wheat because I wanted to add character to this house with a variety of textures and materials and repurposed objects,” Kay says. “And it doesn’t compete with the view of the Gulf.”

I love that shee brought the exterior color palette inside…

Dress Your Best Feature

…and the use of texture …love this light fixture!

Using a contrasting paint scheme of bright white and rich charcoal/chocolate makes the house’s double gallery porches, wide eaves, and planked siding and shutters stand out. ”We really wanted to draw attention to the French West Indies architectural elements,” says Kay.

Oars as art….

“Hung in a series, everyday items create a graphic focal point on an architecture-free wall,” Kay says. “When I am shopping for wall art, I’m initially drawn to the shape of an object, but I also look for woven textures and pay attention to the object’s former life.” Baskets, oars, and even hayforks grace Kay’s walls, and while shopping for clients the designer is also drawn to old shutters and wheels.

the tiny splash of coral…

Despite the snug dimensions of 9-year-old Jack’s room, Kay designed this wide headboard for a pair of twin beds as a more sophisticated alternative to bunk beds that he’d soon outgrow. “This space was really vanilla before—just a tiny drywall box,” she says. “The upholstered headboard adds softness and makes the room so much more inviting. It’s everyone’s favorite design feature of the house.”

does this cute guy come with the house?

“Each one of these pavers is handmade,” says Kay. “They really look like old European stone tiles but they’re concrete and thus practically indestructible.” The color is Buff, one of four finishes available from Peacock Pavers.
the simple subway tile with a repurposed vanity…
“I fell in love with the dark, worn finish of this oversize French chest,” Kay says. “We needed something that would function as storage as well as a sink console, so we mounted the sinks on top and ran the pipes at the very back to conserve as much drawer space as possible.”

tobacco basket above the bed…

“Chairs beside a bed or stools flanking a sofa were the most practical choice in this house because they take up less space and serve as extra seating when we have a crowd,” says Kay. The simplicity of the chairs’ utilitarian forms and smoothness of their worn wood add a sculptural touch and some texture to the space, as well.

And finally the only use of blue in the house…

Shop Kay's Look: South of Market

What do you think? Do you love this home as much as I or do you prefer a more typical” beachy” palette?
If you love this look Kay has two stores one in Atlanta and one in Charleston. Go here for more information. You can also read the entire Coastal Living article here .


  1. I love the fact that it's not decorated in a typical beach house manner and also love some of the more quirky details. x Sharon

  2. Absolutely love this and totally agree about not decorating the beach house in the expected way. Our beach house definitely feels like a home…even though it has a few fun and quirky things that I would not normally do in my real home. I think both aspects make for a balanced design. I don't want to feel like I've gone to some "condo" at the beach…I want to feel like I am home…which is what it is for us. And wow, wouldn't that be great if that precious child came with the house! He is truly adorable!

  3. Love this home also....wish I had a beach house!

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  5. What an unusual headboard above the two twin beds! I like it.


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