Interiors: Seaside Serenity

Magazine art director Helen Carter reveals her nautical side, after finding her dream haven with the seaside on her doorstep...
Thursday , 14 February 2013
Entertaining al fresco is a breeze wth this spacious outdoor area
Entertaining al fresco is a breeze wth this spacious outdoor area
A nautical theme runs throughout the seaside abode
A nautical theme runs throughout the seaside abode
Lamps are filled with fairy lights to offer a soft glow
Lamps are filled with fairy lights to offer a soft glow
The stunning bedside lamp is one of Helen’s favourite pieces
The stunning bedside lamp is one of Helen’s favourite pieces

It was all about location, location, location for Helen when, seven months ago, she discovered her dream villa. The large studio space is filled with light while the sound of the sea allowed her to indulge her love of Hamptons’ style to create a serene haven she can’t wait to get home to in the evenings.

“The view of the sand and sea is so calming when I come home from work and I can hear the ocean in the background. It’s just unbeatable. On the weekends I can sit outside in the privacy of my own garden or step out directly onto the beach. I love throwing barbecues for friends and people are always commenting on how this is the ideal place,” she says.

British-born Helen describes her interior style as “nautical but nice” with furnishings that reflect her love of blue and white combinations – a detail which can be found on strategically placed soft cushions. Her passion for simplicity shines in the form of plain crisp white walls, curtains and linens that help to create a feeling of calm and space in this seaside retreat.

Finding a balance between cosy and clutter means treading a fine line, but Helen has managed to collect memorable pieces on her travels, such as fabrics from markets in Cambodia, India and Borneo, quirky wooden signs and pretty sea shells from shores around the globe, while maintaining a sense of space.

“I’ve had a long term love affair with the Hamptons. I love the large white wooden houses, with floor to ceiling panelled windows and doors. Natural materials are key – I often walk the beach looking for debris. The best time to find a variety of  seaside artefacts is after a full moon when the tide has been high or there’s been a particularly stormy night.”

She also loves to splurge in Pottery Barn to pick up throws and pieces with a nautical feel.  Among her favourite pieces in the house is a train lamp that she bought from Middle East furniture store Pinkys and  filled to the brim with fairy lights to create a soft, cosy glow in the home.

Maximising space in a studio is a must so Helen sticks to the mantra that everything has its place and keeps it clear of clutter by creating plenty of storage space. Her clever use of rattan chests and footstools hides away items that she doesn’t want on show such as blankets and cushions.
“I am a minimalist in some respects but I also think I am just ridiculously tidy. I can’t stand clutter. Everything has a place or a box. I don’t have too much of anything.” She says the rule; that less is more also works well when it comes to finding unique pieces to furnish her abode.

“I love my bedside table lamp and I thought about buying a second one – but then I thought it would be too matchy-matchy and would detract from the striking uniqueness of the lamp.”
Another major drawcard of this address is the sprawling outdoor area, which backs directly onto the beach. It acts as an extra room in the winter months, with the patio doors leading to the outdoor living and dining room. It is ideal for entertaining and the parasol table has solar lights embedded in the framework to ensure guests are bathed in a warm glow in the evenings.

Helen says although she wasn’t always a beach loving girl, now that she has lived near the seaside she couldn’t imagine leaving her dream location. “I grew up in the countryside in the UK nowhere near water, but I wouldn’t trade living by the sea for anything. There is nothing like seeing and hearing the ocean. I also love to paddleboard so being able to walk down to the water’s edge with my board whenever I want is, to me, just perfect.”

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