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Don’t Shout Seashells By the Seashore

by | Sep 17, 2008 | Decorating Inspiration, Details, Style Tips

Don't Shout Seashells By the Seashore

I know, I know, I got you all into Fall and now you are here asking yourself, “Self, what in the world is she doing? Why is she back to talking about “Seaside Style” now that she made me drag all those plastic pumpkins down from the attic? Where are the white pumpkin topiaries? Where are the gourds? I thought this was THE INSPIRED ROOM!”

I hear you. But we have to pace ourselves. We are giving Fall a fair chance against winter, but we don’t want to go CRAZY or anything and start hating pumpkins before Halloween. Besides, we’ve got something important to talk about here today. And it really does relate to Fall. Pinkie swear.

Don't Shout Seashells By the Seashore

Now, give me a moment here. I know THAT pool and those lounge chairs aren’t very Fall-ish. Nice, though, eh? Almost makes you want to go back to summer!

Don't Shout Seashells By the Seashore

Don't Shout Seashells By the Seashore

This is a pretty fancy place, for a beach house. So what can we take away from this to apply to even a more modest house? I’ll tell ya.

Don't Shout Seashells By the Seashore

Don't Shout Seashells By the Seashore

Don't Shout Seashells By the Seashore

This is clearly a lovely home. Yet I would bet that it was staged for the photos — and staging is not really practical for everyday living. The principle we can take away from these rooms is, while this house is beautiful and spacious, the furniture is all so far away from the other furniture it would be difficult to have a conversation!

So, not pointing blame at the designer of this beautiful home, but just for our purposes in the real, un-staged world , the goal of establishing a conversation area is be close enough so you don’t have to shout at the top of your lungs!

And if you have big rooms, you still need to follow that rule. You just need more groupings if it feels sparse.

IF YOU HAVE TO SHOUT to carry on a conversation,
your furniture is TOO FAR APART!

As we are heading into Fall, we want to be able to settle in with our friends and family to have some nice conversations, without straining our ears. Big or small room, this is an important tip. No shouting aloud.

Photos: Architectural Digest


  1. Pamela

    I always thought Sister Parish was a genius at taming a giant room. She took the largest ones and made them feel cozy.

    Pamelas last blog post..

  2. lylah ledner

    can i go there now? please :-) love it….i’ll take my pink bikini that my 3.5 yr. old granddaughter miriam helped me pick out….{grinning profusely here in the az desert}

  3. Mrs. B

    That home is beautiful! I’d like to go there right now, too big rooms or not. The current pace of life has got me longing for a little getaway! Very good point about furniture arrangement though. I hate large rooms where the furniture is all pushed against the walls. The only rooms in which most of my furniture is against walls are very small rooms.

    Mrs. Bs last blog post..Design For Real Life

  4. Pearl Maple

    Now that is a cute little beach cottage. It looks like fall to me, anyone who has lived on the beach knows the tourists go home in fall which allows for a bit more space to enjoy the sand and sun.

    Besides, people at the beach dohave fall too but it has a bit more sand added.

    Pearl Maples last blog post..Sky Watch Friday

  5. Elzie

    Hi Melissa!
    Long time again since I was here. And I totaly agree with you. They don’t show “ordinary” homes in any way. All are styled and it’s a pity. I know women here in Sweden that are around styling homes for the photographers. It’s not the same!! Show the place as it’s supposed to be. A place for people, not a museum.
    Hope you have a great day.
    Love Elzie

    Elzies last blog post..

  6. Maven

    LOL! There will be no shouting in my small cottage style home :-)

    My biggest complaint is people not putting their big shoes away.

    Loved the pictures. Oh to live in an amazing beach house – I still like yours the best!

    In my neck of the woods it’s still pretty much summer. In fact, I went out this evening and trimmed back the peonies in my planter boxes in the hopes of getting a little more life out of them before I replace them with heather for fall/winter.

    Mavens last blog post..Chicken Spaghetti Casserole – Meal Planning At Its Best

  7. Liz

    Melissa – gorgeous post! It cheered me up :)

    Imagine being able to see the sea from your windows like that? I agree it’s a little too staged. But I find part of the fun of the staging is imagining your own house without all the ‘stuff’ of day to day life!

    Liz@VioletPosys last blog post..One of those weeks

  8. teresa

    Beautiful- the curved tower part of the home- reminded me of a light house. fabulous! and the polka dot chairs a surprise.
    Right now, for me, any beach house would be welcomed-

    and I agree with Maven- I like yours best.
    Happy Day

  9. Miss Mari-Nanci

    “Why is she back to talking about “Seaside Style” now that she made me drag all those plastic pumpkins down from the attic? ”

    You are just soooooooooooooo cute! The way you do this blog, is soooooo cute! That I had to break my “self-imposed-reading-blogs-but-not- commenting-break”, to make this comment, here. :-))))))

    Did I say you are so cute?

    Yes I did.


    Miss M-N

    Miss Mari-Nancis last blog post..""Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it…"

  10. Deanna

    Great house, but not warm or cosy! Thanks for the important reminder about seating arrangements.

    Deannas last blog post..English Apple Pie

  11. Janet

    This home would have made my ID 101 instructor crazy. She used to get out her ruler to make sure our furniture was spaced properly for conversation. Very beautiful though, I think I could learn to speak a little louder :).

    Janets last blog post..A Color Lesson: Blue

  12. Emily

    Oh my that house is gorgeous!! I’d be willing to shout if that was my house.

    I don’t have to worry about having to shout. My house is so small I can sit in the living room and have a conversation with hubby on the toilet at the other side of the house and neither of us has to raise our voices. In fact, I think that porch is bigger than my entire house.

    I do love the idea of conversation areas though. Must think about that.

  13. meg duerksen

    my day today would be perfect if i could be whisked away to this home and jump into that pool (it’s heated i am sure) and then fall asleep in the sun on those rainbow chairs.
    and i actually i hope no one else would be home so i could take a nap in each of those pretty rooms.
    can you tell i am tired?
    that house is spectacular!

    and i am glad we took a break from fall. it’s coming too quickly already.

    meg duerksens last blog hour

  14. Courtney

    great point, Melissa. Makes me feel just a tiny bit better about having a TINY living room. I have no choice but to put the furniture close for cozy conversation! ;-) That being said…what gorgeous beach homes you’ve shown. I’d go there ANY time of year!

    Courtney @ Nesting Instinctss last blog post..follow me on Twitter

  15. jen

    I love that last photo. The colours, patterns, everything is great. That’s way to big for a house though. My current house is too big and it’s considered a small home (900+900 sqft finished basement).

  16. Vee~A Haven for Vee

    I’d love to see that last room set up as you would do it!

    Vee~A Haven for Vees last blog post..Tagged

  17. Brenda Kula

    Absolutely! My garden room, where I spend most of my time, is unfortunately cut up on three sides with wide doorways. That makes it difficult to make a cozy arrangement. If someone has photos of working around this dilemma, I would love to see them! Because my husband gripes if there’s anything in his path when he’s walking through from the kitchen into the bedroom.

    Brenda Kulas last blog post..200th Post Giveaway

  18. jane

    imagine having a hall with a fireplace and enough room to “decorate” as a living room. i feel transported to brideshead castle. the views are spectacular. but overall way too much house for me. jkj

  19. darlene

    Oh yes, let’s go back to summer! Can we, Can we…please!!! I miss it already!! Like an old friend that had to leave :(

    darlenes last blog post..Cheesecake…Yummy!

  20. Linda

    Just gorgeous-this would me MY dream home for sure-a little too formally decorated, but love that Martha Vineyard style, so me, but sooo much more than i can afford and need, but I can dream can’t I??

  21. Karen B

    How great that you managed to pull this post with the beautiful “summer” pictures into a post about coziness and conversation. The main thing I noticed was the beautiful stones and woodwork. It is beautiful, but could be so much more, in MHO.

    Karen Bs last blog post..Pretty Wedding Prep

  22. Janet

    I love this house but I don’t think the rooms are actually as big as they look in the photos. I think they used a lens that elongates the rooms. For example look at the chandelier in the library room, it is quite distorted. The whole room is distorted, it looks oval but is actually the round room of the photo above it. I don’t know why they would do this because it makes everything look odd. Having said that, I agree the furniture is too far apart……. and too small and delicate for the space……and the arrangement in the bedroom is just weird.

  23. laney

    …my goodness even the porch says “ya’ll stay over there… we are talking over here”… and the lounge chairs beside the pool are all about staring straight ahead…having said that… perhaps that fantastic view simply stops all converstion and just takes a person’s breath away…

  24. Janet

    Hmm, I have to take some of my last comment back. I just looked at the AD article and this house is IMMENSE, so the rooms must be huge too. But I still think they’re distorted.

  25. Chris

    Okay. I get it. The furniture is too far apart, especially in (what I assume) is the kids’ room. Point well taken. ;-) But…can I just say that this is on my VERY short list for being the most beautiful home I’ve ever seen? It. is. breath taking. I seriously want to put these pictures into an album and just carry them around with me. LOVE it.

    Chriss last blog post..Fall Planting

  26. Jen

    WOW!! Can you say dream home!?!! This is absolutely amazing!! I looooove the wrap around porch!!

    Jens last blog post..Shoes off please!!

  27. breathing and dreaming

    Hi Melissa,
    I’m glad I checked your blog….I was about to post some of the same photos! Isn’t that house in the 2nd and 3rd photos amazing?
    You might enjoy my most recent post, a tribute to YSL and a NY model.
    Hope you’re well…

    breathing and dreamings last blog post..Avoir, Yves & Ruslana

  28. Kate

    My gosh, that’s a gorgeous fireplace. But even that doesn’t warm up the space. The only thing that is welcoming is the view. I bet a lot of that is due to so much empty space between things…Interesting!!

    Kates last blog post..Welcome, Fall

  29. Deb

    Ah, very good point.

    Debs last blog post..Call Me Crinkleroot

  30. pam

    Hey I was thinking boy my kids would have a blast going down that hill, hey even better in the winter covered with snow, and I was also thinking they would have a blast running through the house, look at all that open space it could be wild. (but I most likely wouldn’t let them).

    pams last blog post..Awake and Arise

  31. Jamie

    Great post! I would love to roll down that lawn in the third photo!

    Jamies last blog post..{ Up For a Vote }

  32. Pat

    Beautiful home. Doesn’t feel at all cozy, though. I’d love to get my hands on it!

    Pats last blog post..~Back Porch Autumn~

  33. Amy from Texas

    Wow! Great house. I like the entry, but yes the rest seems too formal. If I had a beach house, it would be full of children and lots and lots of sand!!! Maybe they are really large people who live there and they need the furniture far apart. ha!

    Amy from Texass last blog post..Halloween Tag – Free Download

  34. Sarah

    Calgon, Take me Away – to the house in pictured in THIS blog! Wow!

    Great site. I will definitely be checking back by. Thanks for stopping by to comment.

  35. Kirstin

    We are about 4 weeks from moving into our new home…hopefully and I cannot wait to put my furniture back in a house and decorate and create cozy spaces for friends and family to gather.

    Kirstins last blog post..Update on Life

  36. Lisa

    That is such a good point! I’m laughing when picturing people sitting in those seating arrangements – rather awkward. It has made me think about how I can make my groupings (already plenty small) a little more intimate.

    Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolatess last blog post..Would You Like Chocolate With That? ~ YuMMy Bars

  37. Julia

    LOVED! that you went back to a little bit of summer, agreed, staged, but still, that is one ginormous beach shack! Thank you for one last little peek at my favorite season and surroundings, summer and the beach!
    Bring on Fall! :)

    Julias last blog post..Meems Mail

  38. Jinx

    Absolutely gorgeous, but way to “decorated” for my liking. Sometimes you see homes that are absolute perfection, but you can imagine ever sitting on anything in them, much less setting a cup of coffee anywhere.

    We have an open concept & instinct said “keep it intimate”. We can always use our “inside voice”. Even the one cat has started whispering!

    Jinxs last blog post..Why do I love Autumn?


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