Design inspiration #1: all I want is a midcentury beach house

They say that designing a house from scratch requires somewhere around two thousand decisions, but so far it feels more like two hundred thousand. There are decisions, and then there are decisions within decisions that you didn’t think about when making the initial decisions, which may require the re-thinking of your last five decisions and maybe one or two related decisions. There is no end to the decisions you need to make, the complexity of which is only amplified by the number of choices available to you in the first place. Thanks, internet!

But let’s back up and talk vision, shall we? When I started thinking about what I wanted the house to look and feel like, I didn’t know how to describe it. I love midcentury furniture – here’s a photo of our current apartment’s living area (and you’ve already seen THE BAR):

current LR

Isn’t that telephone chair the best?

BUT: I think that homes that go full-on midcentury often look too sleek and sterile, like no one actually lives there. So, what look can we go for that’s modern and stylish, yet casual and livable? BEACH HOUSE!

Basically, I want this house:


I love everything. The playful bursts of color against the gray floors and white walls; the bright, airy, open space; and that ceiling! I know I’ve been making fun of all the wood paneling in the WPW, but there’s something about a white-paneled, exposed beam ceiling that catches my eye every time.

I also love this kitchen:


I know that white cabinets are way in these days, but I want my cabinets to be the stars of the house! There is so much truly stunning wood out there (that is not pre-fab vertical paneling), and as I’ll detail in a future post on the cabinets, we’ve come across an opportunity to put something truly unique and special in our kitchen. I also love the white countertops (I’m thinking quartz for ours), which really let the beauty of the wood shine.

Other things I love? This bathroom (and a lot of the whole house, TBH):


Open and airy, with all kinds of natural light. Modern, but functional and not too fussy.

Now, because our house is much smaller than any of these houses, I know I won’t be able to recreate the spaces exactly. Plus, many of these things are way outside our budget. But it’s been helpful to spend some time falling down Pinterest and Apartment Therapy rabbit holes, just taking note of what catches my eye and trying to form a cohesive vision. We don’t have an interior designer, so all of this is on me if I don’t want the contractor to just pick out whatever from Home Depot.

Which reminds me, I have about 2,000 decisions I should be making… more on the details as things fall into place!



6 thoughts on “Design inspiration #1: all I want is a midcentury beach house

  1. K Mac (@kmcld99) says:

    Since you’re doing a gut job, and if you are in the cold zone, can I just make practical suggestions: 1) under tile heated floors in the bathroom and 2) good insulation in exterior walls. That beach house looks awesome, but glass panels at the landings?? hazard!


  2. Becca says:

    Unfortunately the heated floors aren’t in our budget, but we are doing spray foam insulation throughout and a two-zone HVAC, so hopefully that will help keep us warm!


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