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A Northwest Beach Cottage::Tips on Reflecting Your Surroundings & Finding Your Own Style at Home

by | Jun 29, 2010 | Decorating Inspiration, Details, Seasonal Decorating & Entertaining, Summer Decorating

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A Northwest Beach Cottage::Tips on Reflecting Your Surroundings & Finding Your Own Style at Home

Tour an Oregon Coast Beach House

Today let’s talk about how to do “beach cottage style” with a northwest flair! There are so many wonderful ways to decorate in “beach cottage style” While many elements might remain the same, the way it all comes together might be very different!

Here at The Inspired Room I like to inspire various ways you can your create your individual style! Let’s check out the Oregon Coast beach home, a NW style beach cottage, where my parents live! {PS: 2019 update this house was sold a few years ago!}. Don’t miss part two of A Northwest Beach Cottage!

A Northwest Beach Cottage::Tips on Reflecting Your Surroundings & Finding Your Own Style at Home

A Northwest Beach Cottage::Tips on Reflecting Your Surroundings & Finding Your Own Style at Home

There are so many ways to reflect YOU in your home.

Sometimes your uniqueness comes from treasured things you have collected over the years. Sometimes it comes from the fresh color combinations you love. The architectural style of your home can contribute to what makes your home unique. And sometimes your individual style will be expressed through the way you pull inspiration from your natural surroundings.

A Northwest Beach Cottage::Tips on Reflecting Your Surroundings & Finding Your Own Style at Home

One thing I’ve noticed about seeing blogs from around the world is that by living in the Pacific Northwest I am exposed to a unique influence in homes! Here in our neck of the woods (literally, sometimes!) it seems many people are very in tune with the NW environment even in their homes. Being aware of your surroundings doesn’t mean you have to stick with one particular style, but it is interesting to see  how you can incorporate what is outside INSIDE!

A Northwest Beach Cottage::Tips on Reflecting Your Surroundings & Finding Your Own Style at Home

The Northwest is so beautiful and we really are blessed to have the best of all worlds — forests, mountains and oceans. The greenery of evergreen trees, the gorgeous varied terrain of mountains and hills as well as the rugged and beautiful coastlines are what make living here so amazing! You might have ALL of those elements right outside your door. So why pretend to be somewhere else when you have all that natural beauty around you?

I’m the queen of dreaming, but even I like to live in the moment when it is a beautiful one. If your surroundings are not at all inspiring to you, then by all means, dream you are somewhere else!

A Northwest Beach Cottage::Tips on Reflecting Your Surroundings & Finding Your Own Style at Home

You can see by the nice stack of firewood outside the front door, the beach life here doesn’t necessarily mean warm sand between your toes… it most often implies being cuddled up inside by the fire! A handful of days of the year we might actually feel warm and comfortable ON the beach in our shorts and flipflops, but mostly it is beautiful scenery that is best enjoyed with a light jacket.

We do get to experience the wonderful varied seasons here, and with that comes many gray rainy days in and around the sunny ones! Oftentimes the color and material choices that work best for many of us in this climate and environment are much different than what works in other climates. I know I tend to need a little warmth, more color and some warm natural woods and textures mixed in to get me through our gray and rainy winters!

A Northwest Beach Cottage::Tips on Reflecting Your Surroundings & Finding Your Own Style at Home

The Northwest has such beautiful natural wooded surroundings, it is wonderful when they are reflected inside in simple architectural details.  When the architecture is beautiful in its own right (like nature is!), few decorative or trendy embellishments are needed! The hand carved falcon on the railing is a perfect touch since this home is in Falcon Cove, just a few miles outside of Cannon Beach on the Oregon Coast.

A Northwest Beach Cottage::Tips on Reflecting Your Surroundings & Finding Your Own Style at Home

A Northwest Beach Cottage::Tips on Reflecting Your Surroundings & Finding Your Own Style at Home

A Northwest Beach Cottage::Tips on Reflecting Your Surroundings & Finding Your Own Style at Home

The colors on the walls and slate floors reflect the varied shades of the sea outside, which can range (all in one day!) from muted gray to green to blue. (All wall colors are Devine Paint.) The ocean and sand here is not like what you find in Florida or Hawaii. It definitely has its own unique look and feel.

A Northwest Beach Cottage::Tips on Reflecting Your Surroundings & Finding Your Own Style at Home

The focus in this home is really on the feeling you get from being in this Northwest beach environment as interpreted through the architecture. The simple handcrafted details seem to go hand in hand with a more Northwest style.

A Northwest Beach Cottage::Tips on Reflecting Your Surroundings & Finding Your Own Style at Home

A Northwest Beach Cottage::Tips on Reflecting Your Surroundings & Finding Your Own Style at Home

A Northwest Beach Cottage::Tips on Reflecting Your Surroundings & Finding Your Own Style at Home

Splashes of color in the artwork, quilts and on the painted walls and furniture pieces balances out the warmth of the natural wood.

A Northwest Beach Cottage::Tips on Reflecting Your Surroundings & Finding Your Own Style at Home

You can see all the green trees and natural forest area outside the windows!

A Northwest Beach Cottage::Tips on Reflecting Your Surroundings & Finding Your Own Style at Home

Sink source (does not include wood stand)

Beach accessories like shells, oars, lanterns, and boats are an appropriate decorative item in most beach houses around the world. And they are right at home here as well! Yet, this house does not rely on accessories to set the stage for a beach home, the warm woods and NW sea colors create the perfect pacific northwest beach house ambience! The accessories just help define this home’s personality a step further.

Whether you are comfortable in all white rooms, prefer rooms with layers of fabrics, patterns and colors, enjoy lots of accessories or very few, or crave simple beautiful natural elements, what matters is how YOU FEEL in the space and how your space FEELS in its space! If it is comfortable all around, you will feel right at home.

A Northwest Beach Cottage::Tips on Reflecting Your Surroundings & Finding Your Own Style at Home

I know I showed you around this house a couple of years ago (my parents live here, this has been our family beach house for the past fourteen years or so, but sniff, it is now for sale!!), but I had taken a few more photos while I was there last week. I think the last time I showed it to you it was still being remodeled. I have more photos for part two of this post, coming up tomorrow!

In what ways do you reflect your own personal style or surroundings in your home?

Do you strive to find your own unique style or are you more inclined to copy a popular look that may not even be right for you or this season of your life?

I know I can get a little bit overwhelmed looking at all the design options out there! I’ll admit I get easily confused. I start comparing what I have to what is pretty in someone else’s house, rather than focus on what is actually appropriate for me. Pretty soon I am thinking I need to get all new furniture or change all of my colors. And while that can be fun and even necessary at times, for me it is usually a slippery slope into discontentment.

As soon as I start thinking that way, I give myself a little wrist slap and remind myself that it is OK to love from afar! I do not need to change my style to be happy.

A Northwest Beach Cottage::Tips on Reflecting Your Surroundings & Finding Your Own Style at Home

It really helps me to focus on what choices are right for me if I consider the following things:

I need to look at my particular style of house and its features (or lack thereof), ask myself what my outside surroundings are and if they inspire me, and think about what things I already have that I love or that I can at least work with!

I also need to consider my own time and financial limitations before I start making any major decorating changes. Time and money can easily get away from me so I need to be mindful of both in order to keep my priority focused on more important things than decorating.

Once I consider those points, I am able to move ahead with MY style and not be so confused by the style of other homes I love!

Do you get confused by all the decorating options out there?

How do you finally decide which direction to go in decorating YOUR home?

Don’t miss part two of A Northwest Beach Cottage!

A Northwest Beach Cottage::Tips on Reflecting Your Surroundings & Finding Your Own Style at Home


  1. linda

    What gorgeous images to punctuate your words! Your parents home is exactly what I think of when I think of the Pacific NorthWest! Lovely!
    .-= [email protected]´s last blog ..Donuts anyone =-.

  2. Franki Parde

    Oh, dear, the beach house is for sale…is your mother doing okay? Nostalgia…

    • Melissa

      All is well with her health! :-) Thank you Franki!

  3. Rebecca

    This is absolutely gorgeous! Makes me want to go home and expand doorways to fit all my books… It makes me want to rip up carpet and finally get around to putting wooden floors down.. I have a feeling I will be visiting these pictures often to keep me motivated to make my ranch house the cottage I want it to be!

  4. Heather

    What a lovely home – and what a terrific post. I must admit that I don’t always read all the words, just breeze over them as I look at photos. But not this time – your reflections and explanation of this unique style certainly got my attention. Here in Ontario, Canada it also seems silly to decorate with the warm beach in mind. Yet many cottages are decorated with that in mind.
    Good luck with the house sale – I’m sure it will go fast as it’s gorgeous.
    .-= Heather @ what’s happening this week´s last blog ..Garden- 1 Cement -0 Winning the War On Cement In the Concrete Jungle =-.

  5. Michelle

    I have been confused about my personal decorating style for 15 years (all my married life)! Your blog has definitely helped me wade through the confusion, so thank you so much! In posts gone by (and this one) you have us asking ourselves questions, I love that – it definitely helps. I am 34 now, and it is so true what you say about knowing more of who we are in our mid thirties and beyond. As I have taken the time to “listen” to what I want, to search my heart for what I love and have begun to surround myself with things that reflect who I am, with things that make me happy, it has helped to nurture my soul…. and then that has a spill-over affect onto my family. I am a visual person who is very much affected by my surroundings. To me – surroundings can evoke strong feelings, both good and bad. Its funny too, how we go through “decorating seasons in our lives” I have done the whole Mexican thing… with cactus and terracotta tiles, hand painted mexican pictures etc, then the cobalt blue and yellow beach theme…. Sunflowers were so OVER-saturated here in Australia about 15 years ago, I still cannot stand to look at them! So today for me, I am (unashamedly) loving modern country/beach…. white painted furniture, cute little bird houses and nests… with some beach items thrown in (and colour as the seasons take me). I say unashamedly because, once upon a time (here in Australia) “country” or “cottage” were very very daggy – a decorating style that was for our Grandmothers. That’s all changing now and it is becoming more and more popular. POPULARITY ASIDE though: From now on, If I love it – (and my husband doesn’t hate it) I am going with it! No more FAD trends for me! Once again – thanks for your advice/blog, it changes lives! xo

    • Melissa

      It is wonderful to find your style and while it is popular again now, even when something new comes along to replace it (as it always seems to), if it is a style you love that is what really counts! It is great to find a style that was popular back in grandmas day and freshen it up for today!

  6. Lesley

    I have become more confused about my personal style since I started writing my blog. It’s like seeing so many beautiful homes and rooms reminds me of everything I’m not doing — rather than reinforcing what I am doing.

    The truth is, I need to stick with an eclectic style, one that can evolve and change little by little as my own interests change. For me, it’s important not to overdue any one style.
    .-= Lesley @ TheDesignFile´s last blog ..White walls- colorful rooms =-.

    • Melissa

      It is nice to find a classic style that can easily evolve with the changes in our styles, interests and moods! Eclectic style is my favorite too!

  7. Anita

    Wonderful post Melissa and a beautiful home! I can get overwhelmed with all the beautiful styles I see. Two things you said were like you were reading my thoughts. When you said ‘how do you feel in your space’. Well, I wasn’t feeling so great! Not until I started painting all my dark trim white and my space (even though it’s raining right now) started to lighten and brighten up. The darkness was bringing me down. And also, decorating for the season of you life. Things are changing around here. I have two less kids at home, I live near the beach now and my style, while always casual, is changing too.

    I would love to visit the NW. I love how so much green is all around you and you can see it through the windows. I don’t think the house will be on the market long. I’m sure that will be hard for you as you seem to love it so much.
    .-= Anita @ GoingALittleCoastal´s last blog ..For The Love of Paint or Me =-.

  8. teresa

    Beautiful beach home….sorry to hear they are selling it, hope everything is okay. I know that area…it’s not far from where my daughter lives.
    As far as deciding how to decorate my home….I look at lot of different areas for inspiration….blogs, books, etc. I usually have an idea of what I like…these places just help me to put my thoughts together. Budget plays a big part of the design process. I usually decorate with a eclectic mix of things I’ve bought, found, and that has been passed down.
    thanks for a wonderful post.
    .-= teresa´s last blog ..Summer visitPart two- =-.

  9. KellyB

    I love seeing the coastal style, but I live on a lake in the Upper South. We are a long way from the beach! I too have fought the feeling of dissatisfaction because my home didn’t look like the one’s on blogs. I have recently decided to decorate to my surroundings and likes and not worry if I don’t have white slipcovered furniture and white walls. I like color!

    • Melissa

      Good for you! Just because something looks so beautiful in a picture doesn’t mean we have to live with it at home. We can ooooo and ahhh but then go a totally different direction and be perfectly content!!

  10. Linda

    This home elicited a wow! from me. It must be tough to see it pass on to another family. Yet, where I live it would never do though my upstairs hall is a pale blue grey. If I could just figure out how to get that archway and bookshelf in….My personal style of casual traditional with antiques and mementos has developed over 30 years of marriage of my ideas and his! Okay, mostly mine. We moved over 20 times; we are retired military and now will soon move permanently back in the US from our overseas civilian job. Our current US home of 9 years is a 200 year old farmhouse (no farm, only a large lot) which suits so well for us casual elegance with art and other reminders of our global nomadic lifestyle. I’m not sure if this is a style but it is welcoming and comfortable with our antiques, silver and china. I try to not buy anything I don’t love or can’t use, following the wise decorating adage. This old house of mine in a locale of corn fields and sets the tone and I try to follow it.
    .-= Linda @bushel and a pickle´s last blog ..A New Oasis =-.

  11. teresa

    Your family beach house is PERFECT for the Northwest!
    Sad that your family is selling it!
    So many many memories…but they will live in your heart!
    I find myself caught between West Elm and Pottery Barn.
    I used to be all about VINTAGE!
    Vintage everything! WHich made it FUN to shop at flea markets and antique shoppes.
    My style is so different now here in the Northwest!
    When I see homes from the South on House Hunters and shows on HGTV it amazes me how different the style is.
    VEry INSPIRING post!
    You have such a lovely way of expressing your flare for design and decor.
    Hope you are enjoying a LOVELY summer!
    .-= teresa´s last blog ..Rustic Bread ClassI FANCY That- =-.

    • Melissa

      Soooo true Teresa! Glad to have a fellow NW girl around who knows exactly what I mean! :-) xoxox

  12. Adrienne

    I feel sad that your parents’ house is for sale but I’m so glad you shared it with us again. It is gorgeous! If only I could buy it! I’m close enough to that part of the Oregon Coast to wish I could live there. We have lived on the coast twice and it keeps calling me back! I’m in the process of redetermining my style as we sort and simplify and downsize and get ready for retirement in a couple of years. It’s hard to keep focused on where we are now when we’re wishing we could prepare for where we want to be later! As long as we reflect ourselves and bring in some of the Pacific Northwest I think we’ll be fine!
    .-= Adrienne´s last blog ..Vacation Memories – John Day Fossil Beds – Part Two =-.

  13. Cassie

    How wonderful! How lucky you have been to be able to enjoy such a beautiful place right near the water!! I LOVE that chess set. May I ask where you got it? My in-laws are building at Long Beach, WA and it would be a perfect gift for my fisherman father-in-law!! Thanks.

    • Melissa

      Well, hmmmm…I’ll have to ask my dad! I am not sure!

  14. Nikki

    Not mention the moody blues and grays we decorate with here in the PNW! Love that house, loved watching it all come together along with you.

    Our little Cannon Beach cabin is coming along. I’ve finally made peace with the wood paneled walls no one will let me paint white. Last month when I was there I was excited to see them ;)
    .-= Nikki´s last blog ..A big week for Twihardsahem me =-.

    • Melissa

      Aw, that is great! :-) Enjoy your cabin! Cannon Beach is sooo wonderful! Maybe I’ll see ya around!

  15. Fiona Sanders

    Loove, love, love the chess set!!! OK, the WHOLE house!! I was wondering where it was, as the coastline looked so familiar.

    But I also loved what you said about the weather. To be a NW coast lover you have to be able to revel in the stormy sea, lower temps, and somtimes breezy days.

    Those are the days when D and I hit our favorite used book store in Lincoln City, pick up a coffee and handmade chocolates, go sit by the fire and read, and watch the waves crash out the window. I confess I love the sea in all it’s moods, but I DO love it when it’s angry!!

    I’m sorry the house is being sold. :o(
    Hugs, Fi
    .-= Fiona Sanders´s last blog ..The Art of Puttering =-.

  16. seanymph

    I live here in the PNW too. I live in a coast town in Oregon. Im only a block or so from the ocean but I can hear it from my house. I totally agree with you about how beautiful it is here. I just recently moved here and I feel like God has plunked me down in Paradise. I love the rainy misty mornings. I love the occasional sunny days. I love being so close to the beach that I can go for walks any time and yet I have pines and mountains and a lake behind me too. I brought a houseful of things with me here and now Im trying to figure out how to use them in this house. I overlook the lake with huge windows and it feels like a treehouse. And while I love the beachy themes I see online….some how I dont think that typical look would work here. This corner of America is definitely unique. Its more rustic and wild and I love it that way.
    .-= seanymph´s last blog ..Chicken and Artichoke Sandwich =-.

  17. Ellen S.

    Wonderful cottage. I wish I could move in for a few weeks…it just seems SO relaxing. I’d love capture that feeling in my own home, but with 3 young children it’s difficult just keeping the toys picked up. Thanks so much for sharing the pictures. I really, really enjoyed them.

  18. Karen

    Oh my, I’m sorry to hear your lovely family beach house is for sale. It truly is special. I thoroughly enjoyed your insights on being truthful to “your style”. I have a bad habit of seeing beautiful rooms and wanting to copy the style, when that style would be incompatible to my home.

    You’re the best! Thank you for sharing.

    • Melissa

      Thank you Karen! xoxo

  19. Vee

    Yes, I get so confused that I just quit. But things are changing and soon I’ll be moving forward again. One thing is certain. I want to stick to my original plan and paint out all this darkening wood. It’s getting depressing.

    Sorry that this beach home is going to be sold. All things change I guess. Hope that you have a few more opportunities to visit before you move on to the next vacation home???
    .-= Vee´s last blog ..Sing =-.

  20. treen

    Aaahhhh, homesick! I grew up in the PNW about an hour inland from Lincoln City and currently live in Mississippi. This post gave me flashbacks of trips out to the coast and that wonderful stiff wind. So refreshing when it’s hot in the Valley!

    And you hit the nail on the head about those colors being similar to the ocean on the Oregon coast – gorgeous! And definitely very different from Florida with its pristine white sand and crystal blue water. (Until that stupid oil slick hit Pensacola – SO mad about that!)

  21. Aunt LoL

    *mwah* I’m going to pretend our conversation last week sparked this post, m’kay? Thanks. ;-) I agree with the other PNW’ers up there. The walls in my new place are grey…and I’m working on adding in some SPLASHES of color. My backyard is a solid WALL of foliage (literally) and it just feels so calm here. Thanks for all the advice!
    .-= Aunt LoL´s last blog ..A quick fix- and an unlikely model =-.

  22. Jess

    Love the pics! I do get confused sometimes – part of that I think is that I have denied my true style. It wasn’t until I was playing around on Houzz that I realized “Uhhh… I like Traditional Style??” I thought for a long time I was a lover of the Contemporary.

    My other problem is running into a great deal and changing up my design plan for a room around that deal! Some times a bargain is too good if you don’t actually have a place for it!
    .-= Jess @ Frugal with a Flourish´s last blog ..Wreath Update- =-.

  23. Debbie

    Melissa, can I move in? I love the house. I also love the ocean and miss hearing the sound of waves crashing on the shore and the smell of the salt air. I grew up on Long Island, NY across the street from the boat docks where the clammers set out early each morning. Now I live in the desert of Phoenix …longing for the ocean. But I guess I can dream, right?

    I’ve told you before that I enjoy visiting your blog. It’s such an escape for me and yet I love your heart for the Lord. I’m so glad to see this post.

    blessings and love,
    .-= Debbie´s last blog ..In Other Words Tuesday Suffering =-.

  24. Maya

    The home feels so Pacific NorthWest. I love all the warm wood…, and the nautical chess board is awesome!

  25. Vanessa Yu

    Yes, i get very confused when looking at other people’s homes, magazines, blogs, and opinions. Actually, sometimes I have to take a break from blog reading because I can get depressed looking at other people’s space, other people’s creativity, and other people’s writing. So, I really appreciate what you said in this post about taking a step back and just loving from afar. With your help, I have learned that even though I may love some house and design, it would never work for my family, my space and my budget. I am learning to change things around here (1600 square feet with two kids and a messy (but oh so loving) husband)) with what will make us all happy and keep our budget right on track. It’s hard though! I wish I could have you over to my house to give me some ideas.

    I also am finding out my style. . .I like a little bit of everything, so I find myself a little lost in purchasing things. What I have decided to do is just buy what I like and works for us, and somehow have a color or accents that tie it all together. Sorry for the long comment, but you struck a chord in me when you mentioned that you find yourself getting confused too. Thanks for your sharing!
    .-= Vanessa Yu´s last blog ..Its been a little over a year =-.

  26. Jess

    This is such a beautiful post Melissa! Truly inspirational in so many ways! Thank you for sharing! The beach house is AMAZING as are you!
    .-= Jess @ Reclaimed Marketplace´s last blog ..TODAY Throws a Wedding =-.

  27. Jan

    Melissa, Where is the house listed? It is just amazing and I LOVE it!

  28. Anne

    So inspiring that I want to redecorate my whole house now… Love the wall colours and the honey coloured trim & floors!

  29. Kathysue

    Melissa, so many good points in this post. I so agree we must be very in-tune to what we love and not become swayed in a direction that is just not US!!! What a beautiful and peaceful surroundings and home your parents have created. I can see why it would be wonderful to stay there!!!! When working with my clients in the past I tried very hard to teach them how to become in tune with their own decorating personality. If you don’t do that you will tire easily of what you have in your home in short order. Great post as always, Kathysue

    PS thanks for stopping by today. I think I will have the final reveal at the end of the month. The cushions I ordered will be in by then,hopefully. Working on pillow arrangements and what color to paint the giant P today, Have a great weekend,KS

  30. Laura

    Those bed spreads are just adorable! I’ve been looking for some like that for my spare room.

  31. Jenny Wells

    I LOVE the blue weathered vanity. Did they DIY it or buy it and do you happen toknow where if it was purchased I may get one?

  32. Trix

    Hi Melissa, just love your blog and your style. I am a Washingtonian gal myself who now lives in Texas. My husband and I hope to retire back in the NW. So this beautiful home is still for sale? If so, would love to know more details.
    Thank you again for your beautiful blog–loving it,

  33. Lauren

    This home is so cute and beautiful! I love the special little touches like the chess set. The knotty pine floors are gorgeous!



  1. Northwest Beach House: Part Two - [...] you missed part one of the tour, you can find it here! Like what you read? Print, email or…

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