Coastal Living’s Idea House: A Master Class in Decorating

I had grand plans to attend the Coastal Living Idea House in Newport recently but we had a Henry meltdown/ nap protest and I didn’t get to go. But I am going to try to get there because HOLY HELL it is spectacular. One of my junior designers Kristen went and took a zillion pics and I’m psyched to show you because Mark Sikes, the designer of the house and one of my personal favorites of all time, did such an incredible job that I wanted to walk through what makes this house an incredible example of impeccable decorating. I want to LIVE in this room….

It’s a bold choice to use a stripe in the hallways of a large home, but it works SO well. It makes what is typically a boring “pass through” space an awesome statement.

The pairing of modern art and the classic stripe is A+ too.  One of the most amazing things about this house is the level of detail. Not the patterned pleated sconce shades.

Looking into the amazing family room and kitchen.  Mark is known for his love of blue and white and this house is a perfect example of how to use the color combo in a  fresh way where each room feel different but flows into each other seamlessly.

Check out the modern use of fringe trim on the drapes and the fab curation of the coffee table accessories.

Stripes and checks and florals…oh my!

Can I move in?

I loooooove the kitchen.

The crisp navy and white is just awesome and modern yet totally traditional too.

And don;t forget about coordinating your dog beds to your decor, folks!

The butlers pantry is INSANE.  Two different wallpapers, Florals, stripes and geometrics all meeting in one space!

Always pay attention to surfaces oft overlooked like the ceilings- especially in smaller spaces it pays off BIG time to use wallpaper here or simply a paint color.

The dining area is cozy but functional (you could pull that table up to the window seat and use as a banquette.

The use of the border of the fabric on the side of the cushion is amazing.

The formal living room has upholstered walls topped by a very modern piece of art, which looks so cool.  The bordered cushions are so crisp.

Note the skinny woven trim around the edges of the walls and trim. Pretty baller.

A dark navy mudroom off the stripes hallway.

Art in the stairwell. Amazing.

Another upholstered wall paired with a four poster bed. I adore this space, it’s fun to go a little wild with pattern in a guest room.

Framed botanicals, a vintage rattan headboard and a graphic paper play well together with a floral fabric.

Its busy but awesome.

This room is making me itch to do Henry’s big boy room. The check walls are incredible.

Paired with the modern art in reds it looks SO fun and fabulous.

In the master things are a tiny bit less playful, but still layered and interesting.

The limed oak wood looks fantastic with the blue floral walls.

I adore the details on these window treatments too.  Small details like this really add up to make the space feel super special and thoughtful.

These hallways are blowing my mind.

Another example of modern art looking amazing on patterned wallpaper.

I’m loving the dark subway with light grout paired with patterned wallpaper (and that rope mirror to make it less serious!)

The master bathroom:

I’m not entirely sure what this space is- looks like an office/ guest suite- perhaps above the garage?

Whatever it is its awesome. :)

Patio outside the office/guest suite.

The patio is a study in blue and white stripes and old school wicker.

Love the simplicity of the pool design as well.

Some suggestions on how to get this look in your own space!

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  1. I have a bit of a ‘thing’ for the blue & white theme. When can I move in?!! (leaves to source more blue and white for home…)

  2. I read the EOS blog religiously on Feedly but rarely comment – but wanted to flip over and see what people were saying about this today. Overall – he obviously has impeccable taste and incredible attention to detail, but am I the only one feeling like it’s all just a little too much? The individual rooms are stunning and I love blue/white more than anyone, but after so many images it just started to feel a little kitschy and Fun House-y to me. But am guessing I’m in the minority??? The beauty of the individual choices just started to feel lost for me when the theme was repeated so many times.

    1. Yep, I feel the same. It would probably drive me a bit batty after a week being there. However, my mom went through a big white and blue phase in the early 90’s and I tired of it.

      1. Same here…my parents’ master bedroom was all blue and white in the late 80s and then in the early 2000s when it was time to replace the bedding and other items you couldn’t find blue and white anything readymade. Kind of made me view blue and white as more trendy than classic (which I know is wrong, but was just my experience when my mom was trying to find replacement stuff in a decade where everything was reds, greens, golds, and browns). I have used a little blue and white in my home, but very sparingly.

    2. Agree. A bit over the top in amount of pattern for me. I think a careful edit would make it perfect! But if you gave it to me…..

      1. I think what makes it so interesting for me as a designer is the insane level of detail and how you can take blue and white and translate it into so many different looks and spaces. I mean, clearly you need to love blue to love this house, but I kind of love the over-the-top aspect of this–to me its interesting because its not something most people would ever do in real life. And I’m looking at this as a vacation home not a full time home, and picturing clients who are very, very wealthy who want it to be super fun.

    3. I’m a blue and white train rider any day. Any one room has a lot of fabulous touches and ideas. But all together, it’s beyond overload. I did pin that modern use of fringe. I think I’ll review this several more times and pick out individual points of inspiration.

      Lesson to me: it takes a lot of neutrals to balance out that much blue and white.

    4. I don’t often comment but I have to agree here. Yes, it’s beautiful, etc but I would not want my entire house to look like this.

    5. You’re not the only one. Taken individually each of these details is beautiful and special, but there are SO MANY special details that it starts to feel like someone just had an unlimited budget and not much taste. By the way, what the decor in this place must have cost is staggering.

    6. Completely agree. While the design elements are perfection, it’s all too much as a whole. Blue is the new greige……NOOOOO!

    7. I 100% agree! Blue/white are favorite colors, but it ends up looking stale and oppressive room after room (after room.) If it were mine, I would be reducing the amount of blue by at least 1/4th…. more neutrals and more variation/subtlety in blue tones might have helped.

    8. I went to the premiere party and was so looking for Erin thinking she’d totally be there! And I was ready to introduce myself as one of the male readers! So disappointing! But while I understand the whole “too much” feeling it’s actually really great in person and I did not feel overwhelmed at all. It just felt very coastal and pretty and light. And there were so many great ideas to take from it. That layering of dhurries over the seagrass rugs was lovely! It’s really well done and I don’t normally say these things. I think you have to experience it in person.

    9. I think you have to remember that it is a show house, so the real point is to show the creative use of color and details, then take some, but not all, of the ideas to incorporate.

    10. I love blue and white, but I am glad I am not alone in feeling that this is perhaps too much. In a smaller home all rooms done in this manner can work, but in a larger home, there isn’t a room or too for relief from “all the same” over the top blue and white. Individual rooms – some wonderful choices.

  3. The blue and white rugs are actually part of Mark’s California Stripes collection with Merida! Love the look of the dhurries laid over those natural rugs.

  4. I see lots of design throwbacks making a comeback i.e. skirted tables, tv armoires, floral, check and stripe fabric combos, fringe trim on pillows and drapes and all that wallpaper. Beautifully done, thanks for sharing.

    1. Maybe that’s why I wasn’t crazy about it. The floral wallpaper in the first picture (bedroom) reminds me of the Waverly floral wallpaper and fabric patterns everyone had in the 90’s.

  5. Wow what a house! Thanks so much for posting I would love to know the fabric name of the shade in the kitchen Thank you so much !!

  6. I am a lover of blue and white and I do love Mark D. Sikes designs. I think since it is a showhouse it is done to show ideas to the public. It has a bit too many design ideas in a room for me, but I am a less is more gal. However, he has impeccable taste and style so I can appreciate his designs. Could I live with it? Probably not but over all I could live with some of the elements and in fact I do in my own home which is blue and white and black and white. I have stripes and I have checks but more limited. I will have to say I pinned away because of so many individual elements that I enjoyed. The lanterns he used in the hallways are fixtures I have had on my radar for the past few years and hope to have in my home. Would love to see this home in person.

  7. I don’t find anything at all appealing about it. I think having to love blue and white is quite an understatement.

  8. I totally agree with many of the comments. I live in California and am really “into” the blue and white and even for me, it is too much. I absolutely love the fabrics, the art, the details–they are amazing. But it is too over the top. It could use some “resting” spaces–clean white without so much going on. Perhaps a complementary color added through some of the rooms or even one or two of the rooms done totally in another complementary color.

    It is beautiful though!!!!

  9. I’m sorry. I hate this. Design is art, and art is subjective and I hate every bit of this. The rooms themselves are 90s and boring. Mashed together they are a mess. Is there no other color to use other than blue? Mark Sikes, who ever you are, this is as contrived an interesting as a Kardashian.

  10. These comments were fascinating, most of the time people ‘like’ something just to agree. People here were thoughtful and honest, that being said I felt the same…toooooo much

  11. One word comes to mind and it’s overkill. The whole place is a study in blue and white stripes. Some rooms have no place to rest your eye, they’d be spinning out of your head. And what passes for modern art is awful.

  12. I’m on the I love it side of the fence when it comes to this home. Sure it’s a lot and no I don’t think anyone of us normal folk would want our homes to look like this (well actually I would) but as a designer I could study this home for days! The attention to detail, the way he modernizes a traditional space. I love how he mixes fabrics and wallpaper and his use of textures. I love his take on blue. I love the modern artwork. I like that he is pulling different eras into the design. It’s easy to critique anyone’s work but I don’t think many of us could hold a candle to his talent. You can dislike it sure but you have to admit the guy is a major talent in the design world!

    1. I have to chime in with those of you who are feeling like this is simply too much! I never thought a blue and white color scheme could leave me feeling dizzy but wow this sure does just that. I think there are some beautiful details as Erin pointed out, however they seem lost in the chaos. It is very reminiscent of some tragic late 80’s early 90’s design (with a little contemporary art thrown in) Been there, seen that, not going back…

  13. The decor echoed so much of the decor in my childhood home in the mid 80’s- I was expecting I might see a wallpaper border tossed in.
    I know we have gone neutral overboard in the last decade but is this what lies on the horizon?

    1. HAHAHA I just finished reading through all the comments and I think Spammer here has nailed it – the house is meant to inspire. Period. I too found it collectively overwhelming but I did get a couple of ah-ha! ideas from it. Thanks for sharing, Erin!

      1. Love it. Remember it’s totally a “show house”.
        For me, the missing part is well done contemporary and traditional art.
        The framed flowers and cheap abstracts in the hall detract from the many many wonderful touches in this house.

  14. I personally like it, although it’s not Mark’s finest work. The rooms are pretty but the general feel is disturbing. I think what worked against this design is the overuse of those navy blues, particularly downstairs. For example, the roman shades in the breakfast room & kitchen, the cabinets and pillows, and the bench cushion, they are all one blue on different patterns. It reads a bit too strong and forced. I did love the bedrooms and the hallway stripes but it would have been much better to mix in some greens and more neutrals, even whites. But if you check out his portfolio, you’ll see that he is an amazing talent and the homes he designs for clients are a delight… in my humble opinion.

  15. Having been through the house twice (I have a summer house nearby) I can tell you it looks so much better in person. Yes, it is a lot of pattern (understatement!), but you have to remember it is designed to be a show house where manufacturers, artists, fabric/wallpaper designers, the architect, builder etc showcase their products so it seemed he used as many as possible to “contribute to the cause”.
    I have to believe that an actual homeowner wouldn’t commission this much in each and every room, but there were beautiful details and ideas in each one that were inspiring and that I would file away for the future.
    I understand the house is under agreement and I’d love to see what the real homeowner chooses to keep from everything that’s been done! Hope you get to visit at some point, Erin!

  16. So interesting… for an idea house, I thought it was great. Show houses are always over the top. Normally, I don’t love a lot of the rooms because they are not meant to be lived in, but rather highlight design ideas and trends. I actually felt like this could be someone’s actual beach house.

    Sounds like I am in the minority. ;)

    Although, fwiw, my favorite Mark Sikes’ room is hands down the tan living room he did last year for the Southern Living House … that room was absolutely amazing. I could look at it for days and still find new aspects to love.

  17. Is anyone else bothered by the white outlet on the island/dog bed photo? It maybe could have been located to the “interior” side of the island. There are some awesome aspects of this design. I agree with the majority however, that it is way overdone.

  18. Erin,
    I think your blog is awesome. I especially like posts like these, where you point things out and/or explain design components. Do I always love the aesthetic in every post? Of course not, but I always learn something. I am not in the design world, just a girl trying to make her home pretty, and I appreciate the generosity of your time and your talents that you share with your readers through your thoughtful posts.
    ~ Claudia

  19. Has anyone else noticed the “insane attention to detail” in the sixth photo of the living room? Blue and white cars parked outside !

  20. I can appreciate the level of detail to achieve this look, though it is not my taste. But….all of that work and there’s a boob/nipple light in the downstairs hallway??!

  21. Definitely beautiful,but I have a love-hate relationship with white. It doesn’t stay crisp and clean for long. Any tips on how to keep white and blue always looking WHITE and blue without having to pay much to keep furniture and walls looking spotless? Thank you.

  22. Dear Erin,
    I had over 40 paintings in the show house so i am hoping that some of them were the modern pieces that you liked (and not the one the commenter hated :( )
    I just wanted to say hello and thank you.
    We also went to the same school…MPS…although i am a bit older :)
    I hope that you end up getting to see it all in person.

  23. Thanks so much for sharing these pics + love the comments you posted along with them. Everyone obviously has their own taste and being a born + raised Northeast beach girl and a lover of out-of-the-box ideas (fellow Miles Redd lover, here!) this is right up my alley. But for those who may not be ultra adventurous in design + decor I think designer houses like this should be viewed like runway fashion…there are some really good takeaways from the concept and you most likely wouldn’t copy the same look but it is where a lot of mainstream inspiration comes from (I’m having a The Devil Wears Prada moment when Miranda is going on about the blue…cerulean…sweater). Anyway, like others have aptly pointed out, it’s an IDEA house. You don’t need to hate on it.

  24. I’m surprised, but I shouldn’t be, by the negative comments. People like to feel like they and their opinions matter. I took it for what it was but I always just take what I like and ignore/forget what I don’t. Short term memory. I however loved your round up as always. I bought the blue pottery barn duvet set for my guest room. I think the blue colors are beautiful and soothing.

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