When I first moved from London to Los Angeles, Hollywood was where I set up home. As a young teenager, I absorbed the blue skies, Cadillacs and palm trees, and felt this was the pathway to my dreams.
Later, over the years, I would be drawn to the ocean. I’m not much of a swimmer or sunbather, but the sunrises and sunsets and the rhythm of the waves spoke to my soul. Then when I had my children, Malibu became our home. The idea of the sand and waves being their playground felt like an opportunity that couldn’t be missed. Ocean life was their entertainment, from the pelicans on the rock outside our door to the dolphins swimming to seagulls singing and the stormy seas that would knock against the stilts that our house sat upon.
With beach living comes open doors to friends and family with no concern about sand in the house. Beachside decorating comes easily to me because it commands a casual beauty embracing the light and ocean breezes. Through all my moving around, I’ve always been attracted to little cottages and shacks. Smaller spaces are cozier and easier to decorate, but I still have to be mindful of practical living and little details.
Even though I later moved to Santa Monica (about 30 miles away) and I travel quite a bit, I thought having a mobile home in the Malibu community would keep my connection to this magical place. This would prove to be my biggest space challenge. So, I incorporated many of my signature Shabby Chic design techniques:
• White with pale blue was my theme, which I used on paint trim and furnishings.
• Throughout the little home, I painted the wall from the ground up 36 inches a pale gray. I do this treatment in most of my homes, and each time it reflects a different feeling. In this case, it felt like Mama Mia! meets Ibiza. It’s a quiet but impactful detail.
• Due to the proximity of neighbors, I created privacy without compromising light by sticking transparent decorative sheets on the windows.
• I squeezed in an oversized sectional (shown in the livingroom is Shabby Chic Bloomsbury Sectional), ignoring the tiny space.
• Quiet but reflective art is always a welcome layer to a space, and it fits well with a coastal vibe.
I’m sure over time my Malibu connection will continue. Once beach living gets into your soul, you can’t let it go.