Attractive Opposites

Coastal vs. Mountain Homes

Comparing and contrasting coastal and mountain aesthetics, the difference often comes down to breeziness versus brawn.

Coastal living is light and bright. Our impulse is to shed it all: fuss, formality, cares and clothes. The best seaside interiors allow for laid-back ease with low-maintenance finishes and minimal layering. They’re uncluttered and underdressed to make room for the flow of air and light. Think of them as the bikini to a mountain manor’s woolen sweater.

Mountain homes mirror the ruggedness and solidity of the snowy peaks and cathedral-high evergreens they often look out on. To match the majesty and scale of their surroundings, they must project monumental volume, mass and materiality. Interiors feature stone and timber, darker palettes and cozy furnishings that feel like a big bear hug. 

Whether by the sea or on the slopes, what all the homes gathered here have in common is a necessary and intimate connection to their topographical surroundings. Top images by Francesco Lagnese (left) and Trevor Tondro (right)


Entry
COASTAL

Tom Scheerer clad this Florida entry pavilion almost entirely in coral stone, a material unique to tropical climes. The designer then added large faux-clam-shell sconces, which protrude from the walls. “They were inspired by Serge Roche versions from the nineteen thirties,” he says, “but we couldn’t find any examples large enough.” So, naturally, he had them made. A lantern Scheerer created for Urban Electric hangs above a center table sporting a custom teak fish-scale base made in India, atop which sits a 1930s terracotta pelican sculpture. A high-backed peacock chair accentuates the height of the beamed ceilings. Photo by Francesco Lagnese


MOUNTAIN

For the vestibule of a ground-up house in Aspen, Kerry Joyce indulged his penchant for storytelling through collections of handcrafted objects. “I don’t want a house to feel brand-new,” he says. “The antique instruments here add backstory and give the space heart. They’re personal, made with love.” A cerused-oak gate-leg table he designed showcases bronze vessels and Scandinavian ceramics, many by Gunnar Nylund. Overhead, a ceramic Jason Miller chandelier quotes mountain vernacular in a contemporary way. “It’s a piece of art even when not lit,” says Joyce. “I wouldn’t have bothered with a real antler chandelier.” Photo by Trevor Tondro 


Living Room
COASTAL

“Bringing the palette down to a limited number of materials is our general approach to beach houses,” says William McIntosh. “Continuity calms the mind. Lack of variety is lack of distraction.” And who’d want to be distracted from the relaxed charm of this Italian Renaissance Revival manse in coastal New Jersey? Rather than peddle what he refers to as a “Disneyfied version of Mediterranean,” McIntosh and firm partner Martin Raffone enveloped rooms in white plaster walls accented with white oak beams, woodwork and furnishings. Bridgewater sofas and chairs from Anthony Lawrence-Belfair are traditional, but the pale blue and white cotton upholstery is easy-breezy modern. As is Richard Serra’s ink-stick drawing, in the bar/lounge beyond. Braided rugs add a casual cottage aesthetic. Photo by Marco Ricco


MOUNTAIN

This CLB Architects home sits in a meadow at the foot of the southern Tetons in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Contrasting with the oxidized corrugated-steel exterior, “light-toned larch is responsible for the soft warmth and luxury of the interior space,” says CLB interior designer Cynthia Tibbitts. Modern takes on the Swedish chalet inform the decor. Fuzzy armchairs from Eleanor Rigby, a Minotti lounge and ottoman and a B&B Italia sofa update the style, while bucolic scenes above the fireplace and a Windsor-like O&G Studio armchair at the Scandinavian modern–style table, by Ty and Kim Loyola, hew closer to the historical. Photo by Audrey Hall and Matthew Millman


Dining Room
COASTAL

Palm Beach is Addison Mizner country. And so, says Elizabeth Lawrence, a partner at Bunny Williams Inc., “we wanted this newer Mediterranean Revival house to have the sense of gravitas and inevitability that permeates Mizner’s historic homes, but with our clients’ contemporary flair and passion for things both old and new.” The Murano chandelier is classic, but Lee Calicchio’s version is simple and modern. Likewise, the custom table on the geometric Doris Leslie Blau rug. Antique Italian pineapple sconces add gravitas, while a light and lively garden-room feel pervades the space, courtesy of conch-shell pink walls and a trompe l’oeil trellis design overhead — not to mention the arched French doors. Photo by Francesco Lagnese


MOUNTAIN

The material palette for this Montana home by Lake/Flato Architects “was reduced to Douglas fir, concrete, blackened steel and reclaimed wood,” says Madeline Stuart, who crafted its interiors. “So, everything had to be spare but textural, with a depth of materiality that balanced the structure.” She designed a table of claro walnut and bronze, which she surrounded with original Hans Wegner chairs. “Vintage pieces add warmth and historical substance,” Stuart notes. Hanging above are refurbished ribbon-like woven-chrome pendants by Lightolier. On one wall is a 1960s or ’70s wood assemblage. Though it’s not by a noteworthy artist, Stuart says, “I loved its lyrical quality.” Photo by Trevor Tondro


Kitchen
COASTAL

The beach is not generally the place for dark palettes, especially when the clients are “a young, happy, energetic family,” as Cortney Bishop describes the owners of this home in Kiawah Island, South Carolina. “We decided to give them as much vibrancy as they deserved,” she explains, which here meant cabinets in Farrow & Ball’s Churlish Green. “It looks out over sand dunes, the marsh and, beyond, the ocean. And our ocean is more green than blue.” The oversized custom lantern, by architect Mark Maresca, was washed in F&B’s Dix Blue, a hue Bishop repeated in the banquette’s faux leather. She paired Jean Prouve’s Standard chairs, also blue, with custom tables in the breakfast nook. Photo by Katie Charlotte Photography


MOUNTAIN

To ensure this new Telluride home, designed by architect Steve Morton, could hold its own against views of 14,000-foot-high Wilson Peak, designer Kimille Taylor wrapped the kitchen in Arkansas Silver Buff stone. Cut cleanly — rather than natural-edged — it imparts sophisticated rusticity. “I love Italian farmhouses that juxtapose stone with contemporary interiors,” she says. “It’s a good tension.” Thus, the clean-lined Henrybuilt walnut cabinetry, the Danish Cord stools by McGuire at the island and the handcrafted freestanding cabinet by woodworker James Krenov with book-matched grain doors. No Western clichés here! Photo by Emily Minton Redfield


Office/Study
COASTAL

“When designing houses where natural surroundings are important, it’s good to match the textures and tones of the environment inside and out,” says Cliff Fong, of Matt Blacke Inc. Here, Laguna Beach, California’s rugged coastal beauty is brought indoors in subtle ways: the driftwood gray of a 19th-century farm table, the wave-like facade of a cabinet from JF Chen. A California staple, Danish modernism, is represented by a Frits Henningsen desk chair. Angelo Lelii desk lamps from the 1950s ramp up the mid-century character, while photography by Herb Ritts and Alec Soth add glam. Photo by Douglas Friedman


MOUNTAIN

Mountain homes are often all about interesting textural blends. In this Colorado study, Victoria Hagan placed a sleek 1959 rosewood and chrome desk, by Bodil Kjær for E. Pedersen & Søns, atop a deep aubergine Joseph Carini jute and silk carpet, suspending a Dennis Miller pendant overhead. But the star here is surely the Cindy Sherman self-portrait. “The photograph,” Hagan explains, “adds a sense of scale and also blends into the view.” Indeed, Sherman appears dressed as a Mongolian or Tibetan mountain dweller, and her surroundings look like the brush- and grass-covered landscape leading to the foothills and mountains beyond the window. Photo by Lisa Romerein


Bedroom
COASTAL

Wesley Moon infused color, heat and global flair in this bedroom in a Jersey Shore summer home. “We took the palette from an Italian majolica pitcher the owner salvaged from their former home, which was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy,” he says. Majolica drew inspiration from Arab, Iberian and other Mediterranean cultures, so Moon took a “fun, global, unexpected approach” to furnishings. A mid-century bamboo floor lamp with integrated table illuminates the Donghia slipper chair. A Hooker Furniture zigzag chest nods to Moroccan and Syrian inlaid furniture, and Studio Zen’s Tetris sisal wallcovering emanates a straw-marquetry-like sheen. Photo by Pernille Loof


MOUNTAIN

Scott Jarrell and Kristan Cunningham, of design firm Hammer & Spear, decided to stand up to the Grand Teton vistas in this Jackson Hole bedroom. (With glass on three sides, the room didn’t leave them much choice.) The colors they selected are certainly unapologetic. Rather than surround the clients with walls of standard curtains, Cunningham asked Daniel Pontius, owner of fabric firm Simeona Leona, to create what she calls “a work of textile art” based on color sketches she made. She then turned Pontius’s woven creation into motorized drapes. The Richard Wrightman bed floating in the center incorporates some expected mountain lodge materials — leather, wood — but in a modern way. Jérôme Pereira’s kinetic light fixture provides movement overhead, and a Marc Phillips rug adds more color underfoot. Photo by Roger Davies


Bath
COASTAL

What’s more delicious than being naked in an outdoor tub that opens onto a beach? Stumped? Exactly. And that was Robert Stilin’s point in designing this minimalist bathroom in New York’s Hamptons. “The view is gorgeous, so we didn’t need to do much to make a stunning bathroom,” he says. Framing that view in natural materials — honed limestone walls and textured limestone floors, to avoid slipping — connected it to the seascape. They imbue, Stilin says, “the natural feel of the house and its setting with a modern sensibility.” A vintage African stool adds a contrasting texture and sculptural counterpoint to all the oh-so-sleek lines. Photo by Joshua McHugh


MOUNTAIN

Cashmere Interior owner and principal Charlene Petersen carried into the primary bath what she calls this alpine retreat’s “bohemian mountain modern” aesthetic — one that, she points out, “has a touch of whimsy and a fun spirit.” It also blends many cultures and eras and uses “tactile textiles to create warmth.” Hence, the 1930s Tulu (from the Turkish tüylü, meaning “hairy”), grass cloth walls and barnwood facing on the vanity. Embossed cement tiles are vaguely Moroccan, and a slender tripod table references mid-century biomorphic designs. The whimsy? Why, a grizzly carved in Asia from petrified stone, of course.


Outdoor Space
COASTAL

This lanai in Kona, on Hawai’i’s Big Island, was made for “relaxing and enjoying time together, so nothing is too complicated or precious,” says Rodman Primack, whose firm, RP Miller, designed it. “The space isn’t meant to draw too much attention to itself.” Come again? Is that a custom Hugo França bridge over the longitudinal pool? RP Miller–designed furniture inspired by Charlotte Perriand’s designs for a ski resort? And in front of those pieces, do we spy a Zanini de Zanine Caldas stump table and a ceramic one by Hun Chung Lee from R & Company? Yes siree. And don’t forget the 1964 Pierre Jeanneret table from Chandigarh behind the sofa, too. Photo by Dominique Vorillon


MOUNTAIN

Architect Marc Appleton gave the owners of this Aspen property the traditional Western post-and-beam residence they desired — one complete with a 12-foot-deep porch furnished, like the rest of the house, by Peter Dunham. “Everyone loves mobile furniture,” Dunham says of the Stickley-style couch swings he designed. “Porches with swings are a very American narrative.” The custom granite-slab table allows loungers to “push off,” setting the sofas in motion. There are rockers too, of course, adapted from classic American ladder-back versions. A handcrafted tractor-seat stool with horseshoe base adds just the right quirky local flavor. Photo by Karyn R. Millet

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