The seashore has held a timeless allure for many of us. The rhythmic sound of the surf cascading to the shore, the tang of the water tantalizing the nostrils and gradated colors of sea and sky are automatic stress relievers for so many of us.
I grew up going to a beach on the Long Island Sound every single nice day in the summer with my mother, brother and friends. The scent of suntan lotion, the echo of children laughing and the sight of candy necklaces making pastel hues around our necks are some of the many sensuous beach memories I have — memories I’m sure I share with residents in Westchester and Fairfield counties.
When my husband and I had our own children, I wanted to replicate that carefree fun in the summer for my family. We purchased our home in Montauk many years ago and it can now accommodate our growing family. It serves as our family’s home base and gathering place for summer weekends, birthdays and holidays.
Coastal design is naturally a part of my interior design business. In bringing that style to life, I am aware not only of the look people gravitate toward but of the fixtures and furnishings that are needed to stand up to the environment of coastal living. Because the elements can be harsh and life at the beach means family, friends and fun, who needs to fuss? Here’s how to enjoy your weekend, or season, while entertaining guests without running a small B&B:
Start the morning with a huge pot of coffee and set up an easy “get-your-own-breakfast goodies” station stocked with bagels, baked muffins, cereals, yogurt and fresh fruit. Setting up this breakfast buffet works well because everyone gets up at different times.
Keep plenty of fresh towels for both bath and beach handy. I usually roll beach towels up and keep them in a basket by the front door along with a basket of sunscreen lotions. I have a large decorative shell filled with sun hats so guests can easily grab them on the way out to the beach. I also keep beach bags filled with sunscreens and towels for an easy dash out the door.
Think barbecue. Everyone loves to grill and you can grill everything from vegetables to meats, fish and even pizzas. Make fresh salads in the morning and complete the meal with some take-out sides and desserts.
Keep an assortment of serving dishes and trays handy so that you can easily move items out onto a patio or deck. I often like to make a large dispenser of iced tea or lemonade and put it out midmorning so guests can easily pour themselves refreshing drinks.
Furnishings should be easy to clean. I prefer cottons, canvas or the many indoor/outdoor fabrics now so easily available that can handle damp bathing suits, children and pets. For rugs, I usually choose natural fibers such as jute or sisal. Kilims — pileless Persian rugs — also keep that casual vibe going. Unlined sheer window treatments allow the sea breezes to blow through your home. Once the sun starts to set and that evening chill sets in, have plenty of cozy throws on hand for everyone to cuddle up in.
Use marine-grade fixtures wherever possible. The salt in the air can cause so many things to rust. So marine-grade fixtures are a big help. There are several light fixture companies that make outdoor fixtures for the tough, salty weather. The same goes for outdoor furniture. Teak is a great option that can stand up to the elements. Instead of heavy cushions for the chairs on your patio, consider mesh. It dries quickly, and you don’t have to worry about storing the cushions.
Keep games and puzzles on hand for all age groups. They’re fun ways to engage everyone for a night of entertainment and keep everyone off the computer and phone.
Whether you live by the shore or are visiting for the day or a vacation, take the time to relax, enjoy the sunshine and the sounds of children playing and laughing.
For more, including details on Cami Weinstein Designs’ upcoming East Hampton office, call 914-447-6904 or email Cami@camidesigns.com.