July-August 2011 | IT'S ALL IN THE DETAILS




Making your home into your own personal retreat — every day

Written By: | Photographer: Geoffrey Hodgdon

I am a firm believer that you should live where you really want to be. What do I mean by that? Too many of us live where we need to live, not where we want to live. We may need to be close to work, school or family. If you fall into this category and aren’t able to live where your dreams would take you, why not make your home feel like your own
personal retreat?

If you are reading Coastal Style, chances are you either live near the coast or are vacationing here. If so, I’m guessing you love the relaxing feel of the coast. The aromas and breezes of the sea, the beautiful colors and textures of the sand and surf… all of these are elements you can incorporate in the design of your home, whether primary or second home, to give it that relaxing coastal vibe.

As an interior designer who specializes in “elegant coastal homes,” there are several elements I incorporate into my designs that create the luxurious and restful (i.e., “retreat feel”). For one to relax, the mind has to relax. Too many opposing elements make a space busy, not restful.  

Here are a few ways:
1). Tonal or monochromatic color schemes. This doesn’t mean no color, just fewer colors, used deliberately;

2). Luxurious finishes and fabrics — “use tactile and textured elements”;

3). Consistent use of theme. Pick something and stick to it!

4). Edit. Fewer larger elements create more impact without appearing busy.
In this issue, I am sharing with you photos of a few bathroom spaces I've designed that embody the retreat feel. A room in which this approach is extremely effective is the master bedroom and bath. Think of a hotel room or spa you’ve visited or seen in
a magazine. What elements about that room appealed to you?  That can be the basis of your master bedroom or bathroom’s design.  

This particular master bedroom is a great example of a soothing grayed-green and sandy-beige color scheme. The room uses two principle colors married with texture (in the fabric and area rug) and subtle pattern (on pillows, bedding and artwork) to
create a restful feel. The simplicity of the draperies, in a flowing, off-white linen, allows your mind to relax. The addition of the shell trim to the draperies’ leading edge gives it a touch of natural luxury. Dress your bed with fine high-count linens to sink into after a long, hot day. There are no jarring colors or details here; all the elements reinstate the feel of a luxurious retreat. The addition of a bedside bouquet and some wonderfully scented candles add the crowning touch.

Master bathrooms can be designed to feel like a spa bath.

Perhaps you have noticed that high-end spas tend to use one principal type and variety of stone throughout and be very soothing. It is the simplicity of their design that creates that spa-like feel. Here, I used white Jura limestone in this bathroom on the floors and countertops (as well as the bathtub surround and shower, not pictured) to give a consistent natural element to the space. The details, such as polished-nickel lighting and hardware, are a glamorous partner to the more natural finish of the stone. The white custom cabinetry with the open area under the sinks and large hyacinth baskets give the space a very relaxing, uncluttered feel.

A large soaking tub is also a necessary luxury in a spa bath. There are tub selections for every type of bather. You may choose from soakage tubs, air-massage tubs and, of course, jetted tubs. All three varieties are available as freestanding or built-in
versions. Some of my favorites are pictured.

Outfitting the shower to elevate bathing to a new level should also be a part of remaking your bathroom into a retreat. A luxurious shower fitted with a comfortable shower seat, rain head, shower body-jets and other features should be part of the plan. This shower was carved out of a dormer window, an otherwise unusable space. We tiled the entire shower, ceiling, dormer and more. The window gives this otherwise dark area much needed light. The consistent use of this dreamy blue-green tile makes you feel as if you were swimming in the Caribbean. Who doesn’t love that? This bathroom is a good example that efficient use of space and good design can make any size shower become luxurious and retreat-like.

It is always important to do your research and know what you want before embarking on a renovation project. A well-developed design concept and floor plan will facilitate a great finished project.

Editor’s note
: Erin Paige Pitts is an interior designer who owns and operates her namesake design firm, Erin Paige Pitts Interiors, from her studios on Gibson Island and Bethany Beach. Named as one of the “Top 20 Young Designers to Watch in 2010” by Traditional Home Magazine, Erin serves as the Design Editor for Coastal Style Magazine and will share her talents and insight in upcoming issues. Email Erin with design inquiries at erin@erinpaigepittsinteriors.com.

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