We travel to Gibson Island where designer Erin Pitts reimagines a ’40s waterfront home with chic coastal style, laid-back living and a palette of oh-so-cool blues. This house oozes summertime style and savvy decorating ideas. Are you ready to be inspired?
“My favorite houses let you see through to the water,” says interior designer Erin Paige Pitts, who specializes in coastal properties Miami to Maine. Front-row seats to spectacular water views aren’t all these projects have in common. They also share the at-ease elegance Pitts creates and her clients covet.
Count the owners of this home on Maryland’s Gibson Island among them.
The house, built in the ’40s, featured a traditional décor that, coincidentally, Pitts had created years ago for previous owners. Her new clients craved something fresher, more upbeat for their waterfront weekend retreat. They also wanted something special. “These clients love and embrace design,” Pitts says. “They appreciate the details.” As a result, engaging textures, patterns, colors and treatments permeate the interior, shaping an effortless style so skillfully crafted that it actually belies the effort it took to create it. “The homeowner told me that he wanted to wear flip flops throughout the house and feel completely at ease,” Pitts says. She responded by flooding the home with relaxed-yet-chic furnishings, natural materials and a palette of brilliant blues frolicking on white. “It’s a cheerful mix that makes the entire house smile,” Pitts explains.
In the living room, the designer floated two cozy sitting areas beneath the original beamed ceiling. She filled them with a spirited mix of furnishings, patterns and finishes that give the space a welcoming, put-your-feet-up style. Above, she hung two oversized, woven-wicker pendants to help define the separate gathering spaces, while adding natural texture and surprisingly bold scale. “Playing with large scale instantly updates a room,” she explains. So too does savvy layering, so Pitts laid unmatched flat weave rugs atop a larger sisal to further define the conversation spaces while delivering eye-catching texture and pattern. Blue embroidered trim does the same to white draperies, one of many small but powerful details that elevate the design. “When a mix is good, the elements play off each other,” Pitts explains.
To that end, the designer used a fresh white wash to turn the oppressive dining room’s dark knotty pine walls into a cerused and lightened backdrop for cut velvet-trimmed draperies and a surprising white chandelier. “Because it’s white, it doesn’t feel too grand, and it visually melts away as you look past to enjoy the views,” Pitts explains. A mix of driftwood-toned furnishings foster a casual vibe, as do a rustic mirror and nubby, blue-and-white rug. “Lighter tones remove any formality,” Pitts says.
Blue and white serves as a thread that unites the décor throughout. In the master bedroom, the colors link and temper a playful mix of patterns. Pitts draped a white canopy bed with wide-striped C&C Milano fabric panels and fashioned its bedding from a lively Schumacher damask. Below, a graphic flat weave rug finishes the bold combination.
The color pairing reappears in bathrooms as lively patterned wallpapers, repeats on the sunroom’s graphic throw pillows and performs an encore on upholstered furnishings, inside and out. One of Pitts’s fortes is an eye for color. Across the board, she rejected a one-note palette of matching blues and whites, instead favoring a range of hues. Azure, admiral, sky, cerulean—the list is long. “A mix of shades adds soul and depth to a décor,” she explains.
Thanks to her enthusiastic and engaged clients, Pitts considers this project one of her most enjoyable. “It was fun because the clients were fun. They wanted something special and trusted me to create it,” she explains. “That combination always delivers amazing results.”
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