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Coastal Living


Coastal-inspired design tips and insight from design icon Barclay Butera.

Lauded Los Angeles–based interior designer Barclay Butera (the mastermind behind the coastal chic décor for L’Auberge Del Mar), shares his expert advice on creating the ultimate seaside retreat at home.

What are the top three items to consider for a seaside or coastal-inspired space?

Without question the amount and level of natural light has a huge influence on color, fabric, and material selections. Sunlight-saturated spaces are a favorite, but you need to make sure you use rich enough materials so it does not look overexposed! Fabric is essential. It sets the tone for the entire room. And mirrors and chandeliers are a must. They do not need to be beachy-kitsch, but using materials reminiscent of the beach and ocean can have a profound effect.

What are your three favorite sources for shopping for a coastal look in Los Angeles and why?

Well, naturally I love pilfering my own showroom on La Cienega for furniture, accessories, rugs, you name it. I also have found majors scores at Hollyhock and Mecox Gardens. They are good neighbors to have. 

Any quick tips on designing a coastal entryway, outdoor table, or living room?

Always keep it airy and light. Nothing kills a beach home like heavy furniture and fabrics.

Use textiles and carpets with colors from the beach. Right now I am really into washy blues, soft sea-glass greens, crisp white, and sand shades. 

When setting a coastal table, we almost always incorporate seaside elements such as shells, coral, and sand dollars. When mixed with spectacular china and crystal, these elements are anything but predictable. I also am a huge fan of white unscented candles, white flowers, and silver accoutrements. And you'll never go wrong with blue-and-white dinnerware. 


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