Phoebe Howard: Definitely texture. The texture of the wood grain on the coffee table, the texture of the hemp rug. The texture of the faux bois wallpaper — it actually feels like wood grain when you touch it. Then, just varying the scale and texture of the fabrics — this keeps it from falling flat. And having a great piece of art always helps — it's the strong painting over the sofa that anchors the room.
EW: Installing a custom banquette is such a great use of space, but it’s the table and chairs that captivate me. They appear to have rich history.
PH: The dining chairs are actually very inexpensive reproductions. They are teak and I like them because they are completely bulletproof. Nothing can hurt them, which is perfect for a beach house. Since the banquette is rather simple and plain, I wanted something quirky and interesting for the chairs.
EW: Is that grosgrain trim bordering the walls and window?
PH: Yes, that is grosgrain. I was looking for different color combinations that worked with brown, so I laid out paint chips and chose my favorite colors and took it from there. The wallpaper is actually China Seas fabric I had paper backed and hung as wallpaper, so it not only has pattern but texture as well. The gimp that goes around the room is actually double welt, ready made by Samuel & Sons. I like to use double welt in a case such as this because it bends in the corners.
EW: Do you make a point to incorporate decor from local shops or employ local artisans?
PH: I always support local artisans and craftsmen. We do a lot of custom work, and I enjoy a great collaboration.
PH: The room had no architecture to speak of — 8-foot ceilings, no crown molding, nothing of any substance. I knew I had to do some strong decorating in here. To add height and create a sense of architecture, I fabricated these bed canopies. They make the bedroom much more intriguing than a blank box.
PH: The wall color is Chocolate Candy by Benjamin Moore. The name alone makes it yummy. I find sometimes that a dark room in a beach house is a great place to go when you have a sunburn or want to take a nap. And it actually makes the view pop more than a lighter room. I was obviously going for a graphic punch in this room, with the main story here being contrast: white bed, white curtains against the dark walls. I wanted it all crisp and clean. Also a painted wood bed like this is low-maintenance in a beach house because there is no fabric involved.
PH: Materials, function, style, all the above. Andrew Howard actually designed the kitchen for me, and there are no windows in this room. It is a very small space, so the main goal was to open it up, be bright and well-lit. Also, it had to function as a weekend house kitchen — you would do some cooking, but not a ton.
More: 20 Spectacular Beach Homes
10 Ways to Make Your Neutral Palette Shine
Ideas for Updating the Beach-House Look
Eclectic Country Beach House
Coastal Chic Family Getaway
Style and Surprise in the Hamptons