A Beach Cottage + Dreamy Whites Blog

April 1, 2010

With thoughts of summer on my mind I found two blogs for the first time last night that I must share with you if you’re feeling summer-y lately too. I know that I may get some eye rolling here because they’re a bit on the country coastal style and many of you just aren’t into that look but I invite you to give it a chance if it’s not your thing — you may find a few ideas here that you can translate in your own, personal way. When I see this look I don’t think “Shabby Chic” as much as I think “Coastal Country” or “Coastal Flea Market”.  The first blogger is Sarah from A Beach Cottage who relocated from London to Australia to a lovely little fixer upper cottage in Australia that’s so welcoming — I can imagine spending summers in a sweet home like this.

A Beach Cottage + Dreamy Whites Blog

It’s a casual, relaxed look complete with boat oars, glass balls, vintage blue glass canning jars as flower vases, and slipcovered sofas that so many associate with Rachel Ashwell though they’ve been around much longer than the Shabby Chic brand. When I saw this living room above I was surprised to see how much it reminded me of my own (photo here) and it made me feel right at home. It also made me miss the vintage white ladder that I sold when I moved over here — I once used it in my room to display/store my handbags (remember this photo that I shared back in ’08 of my ladder?).

A Beach Cottage + Dreamy Whites Blog

A Beach Cottage + Dreamy Whites Blog

The next blogger is featured below, Maria of Dreamy Whites in California, who loves blue tones and enjoys adding in some pink and yellow for an extra burst of personality. She has a pretty antique French chandelier and another from Italy that I envy and can imagine in a myriad of spaces from a cupcake cafe to a streamlined modern dining room or a child’s bedroom. My local Noa Noa shop has a chandelier that I want so badly… I have to ask the owner where she found it because it’s a must-have in my book. I’ve always wanted a chandelier in my home, but only in one room — and it has to look a bit French thanks to my southern upbringing and all of the old homes I’ve been to in Charleston during my young life that made quite an impact on what I define as beautiful. Let’s look at some of the pretty things in Maria’s home for a moment, shall we?

A Beach Cottage + Dreamy Whites Blog

A Beach Cottage + Dreamy Whites Blog

A Beach Cottage + Dreamy Whites Blog

I like the natural wash of sunlight against whites and blues and love the rose pink and yellow accents brought in with flowers along with driftwood, pickled wood and other natural wood accents, don’t you?

What appeals to me the most about this look is the unpretentious coziness. This look can be accomplished on all budgets so you can spend a ton to create it or you can build this look on a shoestring budget by recycling and upcycling things that you currently have or find at yard sales, flea markets — even items set out on the street on trash day. In fact, when I was pretty broke, I felt like I was far more creative than I am today and this concerns me. I also remember doing lots of drive-bys on trash day in the “upper class” neighborhoods in Boston. I’d go to Newton or out to Marblehead or Swampscott to see what trash could become my treasure. This relaxed cheap chic look can be accomplished when you are rich, poor or in the middle — and not all decorating styles can make that claim, which is why I like this aesthetic — it’s accessible.

I must note: Both woman are married and have children (Maria has 5!), they are not single without kids as may be assumed by how clean, white and feminine their style is! Imagine that!?

Could you live in a space like this? Vacation in one? Have a second home in this style? Do you currently live in a home decorated in this coastal cottage style?

(images: A Beach Cottage and Dreamy Whites.)


  • Reply Christine April 1, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    So dreamy! Love all the white!

  • Reply Theresa April 1, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    This is so beautiful and inspiring. The color scheme is so peacful, and the overstuffed white couches are a dream come true to me!

  • Reply MelanieO April 1, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    No eye rolling here, one of the things I love about Decor8 is the love given to many different decorating styles. I have to say, I love these looks & I love white. I painted my living room a brownish-color & I just keep wishing it was brighter! Also, I think you’re right about being broke & how it makes you more creative. True for many, if not most, creative endeavors!
    .-= MelanieO´s last blog ..Sprouts and Breezes =-.

  • Reply Nicole | blue bicicletta April 1, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    Wowee! I think a large part of me is coastal country, so I do love these—the natural elements (I love the blossoming branches), all of the white and sunshine—bringing the outside in–with whimsy and calm. Lovely!
    .-= Nicole | blue bicicletta´s last blog ..A Message from my Heart to your Heart =-.

  • Reply Cheryl April 1, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    simply, yes–I could definitely live in a space like this. I don’t currently live in a home decorated in this coastal style but I can see decorating my own study/den/woman’s room in this style, combined with modern lines and choices. Love the photo with the layered mirrors on a dresser/console. That’s a can-do on a budget and beautiful. I’m thinking chandelier in the master bedroom . . . sparkles.

  • Reply Moa April 1, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    Gorgeous photos… this is so inspiring. I love the chandeliers…
    .-= Moa´s last blog ..Glad påsk! =-.

  • Reply Samia April 1, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    Oh my goodness. LOVE. I can’t use enough words to describe how gorgeous these homes are, and how much I want to live in them! haha thanks Holly! And yes you are right, the first one does remind me of your living room. I particularly adore the first home, loving the whites, neutrals and pinks. Great to draw inspiration from, and I love that it’s budget flexible! It’s such a great way to challenge myself creatively to work with what I have already and add some new elements in a way to evolve my space into one I am happy with. :)

  • Reply Sara April 1, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    LOVE it! And they DO have kids?? They must be older than 4? If I decorated with ladders and vases, my 16 month old son would think they were toys :)
    .-= Sara´s last blog ..Waste Less Wednesday–In Bullk =-.

  • Reply Tricia Rose April 1, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    I live in a house with a sort of Huck Finn take on the style, white, but not girly, and everything geared towards the water and the view. Wood floors, planked ceilings, white and pale grey paint, white and natural linen, driftwood – and colour!
    Both Sarah and Maria are so gifted putting together charming and comfortable family homes with ingenuity and panache, it seems the design is part of their lives, doesn’t dominate. There is something much more satisfying about not simply buying things but finding, re-making, re-thinking and using your eye rather than your wallet.
    .-= Tricia Rose´s last blog ..Portland =-.

  • Reply Tricia Rose April 1, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    P.S. I’m proud to have sewn some stuff for Sarah – natural, white and grey, pure linen of course!
    .-= Tricia Rose´s last blog ..Portland =-.

  • Reply sharon April 1, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    ooooh I would luv to snuggle up here and read a book:)

  • Reply Frau Mayer April 1, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    I am so happy Sarah is getting even more famous :) – she’s so so incredibly talented AND funny! And I love her how-tos, they make it easier to enjoy the beauty of her place because you know you can do it yourself, too!
    .-= Frau Mayer´s last blog ..The visuals… =-.

  • Reply Courtney @ nesting instincts April 1, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    I am SO glad you featured both of these bloggers’ homes! I have been reading Sarah’s blog A Beach Cottage almost from Day 1, and Maria’s blog is a new fave I discovered a couple of weeks ago. I’ve been so inspired by them that my recent bedroom makeover (that I haven’t posted yet, but will next week) is done all in white with a beachy vibe.

    The best part is, they are real people. Sarah (who I’m most familiar with) doesn’t pretend to have all the answers, and she’s not a snobby decorator type – Ikea and flea markets and thrift stores are all fair game with her. LOVE IT!
    .-= Courtney @ nesting instincts´s last blog ..Friday’s Fabulous Finds =-.

  • Reply Lucia April 1, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    I can´t imagine how they keep everything so nice having children around!! congrats for both girls! but speaking about their style, I found them very beautiful and feminine. Love the light in the second set of pics, the easy, cozy and not pretentious style and the color combinations. I definitely have to find some vases on that clear blue!!!

  • Reply Gosia Maj April 1, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    I adore the look, totally identify with it, feel the most comfortable in. Thanks for featuring both blogs.
    .-= Gosia Maj´s last blog ..Picture a Day: Harvest Muffins =-.

  • Reply ashley April 2, 2010 at 1:26 am

    I so enjoyed these homes. They are just delicious and so very rich in color and the small details that made all the difference in the world!

  • Reply Jolette April 2, 2010 at 4:15 am

    My sister’s apartment is decorated in this style – she loves it. It’s also really easy to buy her great gifts: I usually settle for yet another white or driftwoord photo frame or something with shells or something made of fabric with a fine flower print.

    I could totally vacation here, but it’s too white for my taste to live in.
    .-= Jolette´s last blog ..Happy Easter! =-.

  • Reply Janneke April 2, 2010 at 8:03 am

    I love the cherry blossoms and the bottles!
    .-= Janneke´s last blog ..Spring Place Cards =-.

  • Reply Trisha April 2, 2010 at 9:39 am

    Oh Holly, Absolutely this is why I love your blog! I am always happy to find a bit of softness (like this summery style) mixed amongst the clean lines of a more modern style. Who could ever roll their eyes at such beauty??? I think everyone could find something to take away from this post…thanks for helping us discover such talented ladies!
    .-= Trisha´s last blog ..Color Crush: Grandiflora… Lush Aqua and Plum =-.

  • Reply Penny Patten April 2, 2010 at 10:16 am

    Oh, yes I could live in a space like these. I love the whites, and subtle hues of pinks, and blue. And it’s very cozy. Thanks for sharing these with us.
    .-= Penny Patten´s last blog ..You & I =-.

  • Reply Emily April 2, 2010 at 10:49 am

    I love this aesthetic–rather difficult to keep whilst living in the city, however. It’s very Rachel Ashwell to me. So fresh and inviting. Makes me want my little house in the country sooner rather than later!
    Emily :)

  • Reply Tricia April 2, 2010 at 11:21 am

    Thanks Holly for the sharing these beautiful, cozy rooms. I always love this color combo–lavender, water blue and white with a little bit of natural wood here and there. Have a wonderful weekend! <3 Tricia

  • Reply Sarah Sarniak April 2, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    I absolutely LOVE this look. It’s so cozy, yet stylish. Very beautiful.
    .-= Sarah Sarniak´s last blog ..Preparing for Baby Chicks =-.

  • Reply Elle April 3, 2010 at 11:10 am

    Beautiful!! I want to live here….
    .-= Elle´s last blog ..Brand new blog! =-.

  • Reply Design Fixation April 6, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    The nautical feel of the stripes in the first photo along with the soft purple flowers make such a vibrant combination…. I’m inspired, no doubt about it!
    .-= Design Fixation´s last blog ..{Typeface Tuesday} Designer Panos Vassiliou =-.

  • Reply Joely April 7, 2010 at 6:33 am

    Ooooh these two lovely ladies have beautiful homes! Love the relaxed coastal country style that looks like someone actually lives there. And who doesn’t love ladders and chandeliers!

  • Reply Alison Gibbs April 7, 2010 at 6:59 am

    I follow both of these blogs and they are always so inspirational. They give us lots of ideas that are do-able for all of us
    .-= Alison Gibbs´s last blog ..SCHOOL HOLIDAYS =-.

  • Reply Federica April 7, 2010 at 7:15 am

    These homes are gorgeous! Maria from Dreamy White’s blog is so sweet and talented. She did an amazing job with her home!
    .-= Federica´s last blog ..Dreamy gowns & accessories =-.

  • Reply Alicia ~ time worn style April 7, 2010 at 9:38 am

    Yes both these bloggers are amazing and I visit their blogs often. Nice to find you too, came here via the beach cottage!

  • Reply Mishy April 7, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    I luv the “BEach Cottage blog”, yesturday i read all the blog and i fall in luv of withe.. today i run to buy the withe spray and i allready put my pics of that proyect! It´s wanderfull, fenomenal.. ufff.. my inglish is to short.. but in spanish is.. Geniallllll fenomenal, extraordinarioooooo!!! Well, im in the with fever on!!! I dont know what gonna happend with my home LOL X) bye bye

  • Reply interieur July 1, 2010 at 4:25 am

    I love it! minimalistic colors with warm decoration! Great Modern cottage example!

  • Reply Jodie @ Coastal Inspirations July 31, 2010 at 5:02 am

    I absolutely love this style of decorating! I follow Sarah’s blog which is awesome and I am about to go checkout dreamy whites. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply Marie @ Sally Lee by the Sea December 7, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    I just found your blog while surfing the Net and what a delightful blog it is! I love this collection of coastal chic rooms.

    Would love for you to stop by and say, “Hi!” sometime. Happy Holidays!

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