Tour This Stunning Blue and White Lowcountry Beach House
When designer took on reviving a drab 1960s Sea Island, Georgia, home, her vision was clear: blue, and lots of it! (Here, the front doors are painted .) "The house is surrounded on all sides by marsh," she explains. "The low-lying property gives you the feeling that you're being enveloped by the sky, so I wanted to carry that sensation into the decor." But as much as she wanted to make blue the home's central color, she also didn't want it to feel buttoned-up or—worse—predictable. With that in mind, she went room by room with color swatches in hand, studying the light.
"The natural light is different in every room, so I wanted to play off of those distinctions," Braff says. The resulting palette is a dynamic spectrum of blues, from vibrant cerulean in the living room to fresh turquoise in the master bedroom. "The key to using varying shades of one color is to make sure they're all the same saturation," notes the designer, who adds that you can identify colors with the same intensity by picking shades that occupy the same position on a paint chip card. Here are more of her design essentials for getting the best out of an all-blue palette.
Bring in the Funk
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In the living room, Braff incorporated a vintage 8-foot brass palm tree sculpture. "Blue and white are at home on the water, but the classic combo can also go traditional—fast!" she says. "So I always try to include a few quirky pieces to loosen things up."
Choose Colors on the Spot
"The light is just so different on the water, so it's best to make color decisions onsite to avoid picking one that comes off as either too weak or out of place altogether. I chose this bold shade of blue for the living room after comparing tons of samples in the space. It was so perfect, I built the whole room around it—I had the sofa fabric, curtain trim, and rug all color-matched to that specific shade, which is somewhere between French blue and cerulean."
Mix Prints + Simplify Materials
Add Some Heavy Metal
"Gold and brass, especially in the form of door and cabinet hardware, are the ultimate high-contrast accent for a blue-and-white room. Plus, they add midcentury style that's right at home in this refurbished, party-ready wet bar. The sink is a brass hammered piece from Waterworks, and the modern cabinet pulls were Etsy finds."
Create Your Own View
"Don't underestimate the power of pattern in a room lacking architecture or vistas. It can be just the right distraction! In a guest room that was originally rather plain, for example, I fashioned a "landscape" with a chartreuse/sky blue color combo and a mix of painted white furniture. I love that the bamboo wallpaper gives the room a vertical-garden feel."
Take It Outside
"Designers talk a lot about bringing the outside in, but I also believe in bringing the inside out. Case in point: The living room's punchy blue palette becomes part of the landscape when extended to outdoor furniture. There's truly no better match for blue than the lush greens found in the great outdoors."
Bet Big on Turquoise
"Turquoise is a universal favorite for coastal houses, but it's often used as an accent, not the star. I wanted to give it center stage in the master bedroom, so rather than mixing it with other colors, I went heavy on patterns—there are six different designs. From the bold palm tree wallpaper to the trellis rug and faux bois nightstands, the print mix keeps the monochromatic look fresh."