I normally don’t go for seascapes. Especially a seascape with a sailboat, or worse, a lighthouse. That’s not to say I’m not ever attracted to seascapes. I even own a few, though they’re older purchases. One of our statement seascapes in particular holds major real estate in my living room—an Anne Packard oil painting. Packard is a prominent Provincetown artist, and while the work is hardly avant garde, it’s sedate, skilled, and looks great over the fireplace. Very grown up.
Lately I’ve been drawn to interiors that showcase statement seascapes that are photographs. Huge ocean vistas hung over a sofa, bed, or dining table that serve as the centerpiece of the room. Perhaps because the weather has been especially dismal in Boston this winter. I certainly like to keep my swimming pool photos in plain sight of my desk. But also, I’ve noticed that I’ve been appreciating the ocean more and more as I get older.
Or maybe it’s just that waves and beach art are a tad bit trendy. While a seascape (even a statement seascape at times) seems somewhat mundane in terms of subject matter, huge splashes of brilliant cerulean blue and tone-on-tone turquoise is rather appealing. It certainly meshes with my decor. I wonder if I could photograph the ocean in such a way that it could qualify as art. I think I’ll walk across the street and try it.
Until I post my own, here are 21 interiors with statement seascapes.
Although in one sense, a barn is the quintessential, traditional all American dwelling, conjuring images of Old MacDonald and all that. On the other, it’s thoroughly modern, with its wide open interior space, large expanses of façade and clean overall silhouette, primed for loft-like living.
Whether re-inventing original farm out buildings or building from scratch in the early American barn vernacular, modern barn architecture is very appealing. Modern barn homes work in crisp white, natural grays, traditional red, or with the more current black exterior.
Modern barn architecture works in a variety of environments too. Left in unruly meadows or set amidst groomed suburban landscaping, or even as in an example below, in the desert, it’s a shape that’s simultaneous fresh and comforting. Here are 20 examples of residential modern barn architecture in varying degrees of shiny-ness.
Yesterday I was having lunch with a friend who also happens to be an interior designer about to embark on gutting her family’s new home. “I hate roller shades,” she said, to which I gleefully replied, “I love our roller shades! They disappear at the top of the window; you can’t see them at all.”
She reasoned we must have had a good installer, rather than the cheapie versions meant for homeowners to pop in themselves. Nope. My husband put them up, and did a damn fine job. It’s pretty easy to get a great look out of a roller shade on your own, assuming you can measure (and re-measure) accurately and are semi-handy with a drill. Neither are strong points of mine, but luckily my husband is good at this sort of thing.
For the nurseries back in our bungalow in D.C., and then for the boy’s bedrooms in Boston I ordered white duck Roman shades from Smith & Noble. They worked out well; I particularly like the wooden piece on the pull cord (what’s that called anyway?).
Then I discovered The Shade Store. I ordered a zillion roller shade samples in every kind of white, from blackout to solar to papery linens, and made my picks. I used bright white blackout roller shades in the bedrooms (we face East… the sunrises over the Atlantic Ocean and is blinding). If you look at the first photo below, carefully, you can make out the shade rolled up neatly at the top of the window. Basically invisible, right? (I realize the shade on the door is hardly ideal, but I couldn’t come up with another solution.)
Two years ago, after a trip to Copenhagen, I posted 22 Rooms with Scandinavian Holiday Decor. Although this post is not about the winter holidays, it is about decorating with branches and twigs in their bare, natural state in wintertime. While it can be nice to splurge on pretty, colorful flowers to brighten a room, especially during the depths of winter, bare tree branches are an easy (free) alternative. Tree branch arrangements add drama and interesting shapes and texture to a room. Stick them in a pot or clear glass vase with water. If you want a bit more embellishment, try branches with berries, pussy willows, flowering branches, or branches with a few leaves still intact. Here are 18 Scandinavian style interiors with tree branch arrangements.
“Snow in Japan” print by Phil Noller – bare trees in a snowy landscape. The bare tree branch in clear glass cylinder jar echoes the scene. The sheepskin rug and fur throw add coziness. Sydney, Australia home of Alice Flynn of Penny Farthing Design House Photo by Tim Pascoe • via SF Girl by Bay
A handful of bare skinny twigs plucked from a city tree. Gray linens by Bedouin Societé
Pussy willows in brass jug vase. Vintage elm wood table from Danish home brand Bloomingville.
Sweeping branch and photos of food in the kitchen of Fjeldborg blogger. Note the sky blue tile counter.
Trendy coffee shops. So common now. A must in everyday life. But I remember when coffee first became a thing. I visited friends in Seattle in the early 1990s, and coffee was everywhere. There’d be neon signs touting “Coffee!” blinking everywhere you looked. It was as though we were in another universe, in which coffee was a magic elixir. Of course, coffee is indeed human fuel and fancy, frothy coffee drinks are now as ubiquitous across the country as Coca-Cola. Another early coffee memory comes from the same era, from my first trip to Italy. Those Italian espresso bars, with those shots of espresso in those dollhouse sized espresso cups.
It didn’t take long for coffee culture to infiltrate the East Coast. Trendy coffee shops popped up all over Manhattan, and with them, coffee shops where one could luxuriate over caffeine. I distinctly recall when Big Cup opened in Chelsea. It was 1994, and coffee houses with oversize sofas were still a novelty. It had a beloved ten-year run, before falling victim to rising rents. By then, sofa-strewn cafés were a firmly entrenched part of urban living.
In the quest for a perfect cup of coffee, state-of-the-art espresso makers, in all their shining glory, were fixtures in sleek, preferably loft-like kitchens, where citified folk could craft post-dinner coffee for their sophisticated, art-loving friends. Cappuccinos and lattes too. And with that all the accoutrements, like milk frothers and coffee bean grinders and stainless steel jugs, from upscale coffee gadget companies like Breville, Bodum, Nespresso, Krups, etc.
More recently, the personal one-cup coffee maker has become the must-have coffee gadget. We’ve had a Keurig and a competitive brand (can’t remember which) of single serve coffee maker. Apparently, according a recent press release I got, brewing coffee at home can save $830 a year.
Coffee culture is still going strong (evidenced by the abundance of coffee art images on Pinterest if nothing else), despite the backlash of pricey concoctions from big businesses. If you’re lucky enough to live in a thriving metropolis, or funky college town, or are able to travel, you know that independent trendy coffee shops (excuse me, coffee bars) have become a thing.
Trendy coffee shops have their own design formula too. Painted brick or subway tile. Check. Black accent wall or reclaimed wood accent wall and counter. Check. Perfectly designed bare bulbs or banged up metal pendants hanging down from the ceiling. Check. Industrial style seating. Check. And, the bearded hipster baristas. Check, check, and check. The most au courant design details all come together in today’s coffee bars, be it in Berlin, Melbourne, or Portland.
Here are 32 interiors of trendy coffee shops from around the world. All similar in their coffee culture aesthetic.
Barry Cafe, Melbourne Designed by Studio Techne • Photo by Ben Hosking
Cielito Cafe, Mexico City Design by Graphic Ambient • Photo by Jaime Navarro