Beach House Decorating & Letting Go


Beach-House-Decorating(source: Whale, Desk and cabinet – Joss & Main, Coffee Table – Wisteria, no longer available)

This past weekend, we struggled with deciding to stay home.

Or go to the beach.

I know, doesn’t seem like a hard decision and you are probably desperately trying to control your sympathy for me.

But somehow, we just felt overwhelmed with leaving.

We had a lot of commitments at home and to-do lists that were a mile long.  The thought of leaving for the whole five days (our kids amazingly did not use all their snow days so they had a five day weekend!) stressed us out.

But in the end, we decided going was more important.  We decided to just let go.

Beach-House-Gallery-Wall(Side Table, Sofa- Ikea, Art – gift shops, PrintsLamp, Pillows – Homegoods)

My parents have a little beach place on Long Beach Island, NJ that was completely wiped out in Storm Sandy.  Construction was finally done last fall, but a whole series of life interruptions kept us from getting down there till now.

We arrived to the furniture being in place that we had been picking out and ordering over the last few months and nothing else.

No warmth, no character.


So we spent three days shopping till I could barely move, planning, plotting, hanging and zhushing.

And so much progress was made.

It feels like a home again.


There are coasters for your drinks, interesting details like the amazing whale and crab we found for the coffee table.

All the “things” that make a space feel like your home.


There is still work to be done.

With all the stores we hit, we really lacked on finding lamps.  Rugs need to be ordered for all the rooms and the red director’s chair will be replaced with a real chair.

Table and chairs need to found for the kitchen and art needs to be made for the bedroom.



But it is all set for us all to be there.


The dressers are in place to hold all of our “stuff”.

 Decorating-a-Beach -Bedroom(Dresser – Ikea, Quilts, Whale Print, Sign – gift shop, Other –Vintage)

And mirrors at heights so even young ones can brush their hair.  The lamp that was in my childhood home had now been painted once again and has found a perfect spot.


And lots of sleeping room for us to bunk up.


Oh, and we have big plans for this wall – stay tuned!


When we are all here, there are a lot of dogs and “stuff” and it does sometimes get a little chaotic.

But, this is what makes it all worth it…


photo 1

And this…


And this…


And we are so glad we went.

And of course, I will share more pictures when it is all done!

Thanks so much for reading.


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31 thoughts on “Beach House Decorating & Letting Go”


  1. It looks very cozy — like your family has been there for decades and all the treasures were collected over time. You made a wise decision in going. Looking back on our lives, we wish we would have spent more time with the kids on vacations and having fun than always working on out house, yard, garden, and a million other things. The kids are grown and gone and we wish we had more precious memories. That house is gone, a smaller yard, but fewer memories than we could have had 🙁

  2. I remember spending about a week on Long Beach Island in 2002. I’m glad your folks were able to rebuild. I hope the year around residents weren’t hurt too badly. You have done a lovely job on making the place beautiful.

  3. You were so right to go! We had a beach house in the FL Keys and of all our vacation memories our children feel the most shaped by those made at the beach house. Many Memorial Day weekends were spent there watching Indy, fishing, swimming, sunburns. A 3 hr drive away, one year we just couldn’t bear to leave till the last minute so bought a little dress for our daughter at the five and dime and got up early Tuesday to drive her right to the school parking lot 🙂 Today, she is the most flexible mother i know when it comes to vacations!

  4. Your parent’s home is beautiful Laura! You did a great job decorating. I’m surprised at how much you got done over the weekend. It’s my dream to have a place at the beach one day 🙂 For now, I just pull out my shells to decorate with every summer 🙂

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  6. I am in LOVE with your beach house!! This truly should be in a magazine! I love all of the shops you chose and they are all reasonably priced. I know you had a great time…it shows on your girl’s faces!! 🙂


  7. I feel more peaceful just looking at the pics! Sometimes, even when overwhelmed, we just need to GO! 🙂 DIY lamp projects coming? Have fun with the next steps!

  8. Beautiful beach house. I loved the details you added to the space. I love that it does not feel like a vacation home but an actual home. There is a big difference. It seems like you had a successful weekend! It is always good to take a step back and just enjoy. The “stuff” will be there when you get back.

  9. The beach house looks great – love the colorful beds! I used to go to LBI all the time when I was a kid but we have family in Seaside Park now so that is where we go. I miss the charm of LBI though! Glad you decided to go!

  10. That’s great that your parents were able to rebuild. You guys have really made the new place come to life and you will make so many great memories there. I spied that Sailor boy Oyster can on the end table and my Mom has one just like it in her beach cottage in VA. Sadly, she is thinking about selling her place in the next year or two as its gotten harder to maintain two places. I am sure your parents know all too well how expensive FEMA insurance alone can be on beach houses.

  11. Oh, I love it! Makes me wish I had a place at the beach!
    If you have a minute take a look on my blog, a post or two ago, and you can see the finished bookcases I had put in my living room. Yours were my inspiration! 🙂

  12. I love the wood flooring that is in your beach house could you give me the name and maker. Beautiful decor by the way, LOVE IT!

  13. Love Love the beach house! Oh, that is my dream that will never come true but I am so happy for those who can enjoy such a place on the ocean. Your family has done a wonderful job of redecorating the cottage after Sandi’s wrath. I love the quilts on the beds and all the decor. Thanks for sharing the makeover! Pam

  14. Laura…I cannot believe you did this most incredible job in creating great interiors for your parents beach house in just a few days…I am sure your parents are so thankful and proud of you for what you have done and done it so beautifully…and of course all the while doing it with love… shows!….I so love all that you did, down to the coasters!…Looking forward to more of your magic!

  15. I just love every aspect of that house! So glad you decided to let go and just enjoy. Thanks to you (and a GREAT sale) I have that quilt and sheets on the way for my bed. I saw the quilt and fell in instant love but knew the price was a bit much for me to spend at the moment. Fast forward to this morning I check my email and there is one from Garnet Hill for 40% off and I knew it was meant to be!

  16. Everything looks perfect Laura! I’m so sorry for the rebuild, we have a home on the Alabama Gulf Coast that had to be rebuilt after hurricane Ivan 10 years ago…it was an overwhelming task, but we got to change some things and make improvements and of course buy new! I love your cushions especially and the bedroom dresser with the sign, mirror and wonderful wooden piece full of shells! I know what you mean, sometimes it seems like so much trouble to go [we go back and forth from Birmingham] but the second you arrive, you start smiling and relaxing…now that you’ve done the hard work, you can enjoy it all summer!

  17. It looks fantastic! Our vacation spot on Cape Cod is pretty much decked out in a similar color scheme (blue couch, blue, blue, blue!). We have a sea glass collection instead of shells. Let me know if you do find lamps – they are the last thing and the hardest thing to find!! 🙂

  18. Hi! Stumbled on your blog while looking through Pinterest for an inspiration for our Facebook page. Lovely home – and personally I think that going to the beach (or beach house!) is always the right idea. Amazing how much calmer and more together you can be after a day spent walking the beach, or simply listening to the waves.