Novel to Know: 'Barclay Butera: Sitting on the Coast'

17 Dec

Novel to Know: 'Barclay Butera: Sitting on the Coast'

‘The aesthetic of seaside homes reflect a magical alchemy between the native and the exotic, the traditional as well as the whimsical, the mysterious and the recognizable.” — Barclay Butera

Butera captures this magical alchemy in his new book, Living on the Coast (Gibbs Smith, 2012) and reveals how to make it. He divides beachfront style into five categories in the book: Cottage Beach, Classic Beach, Serene Beach, Modern Beach and Elegant Beach. For each style, beachy textures and colour palettes bring a coastal sense to each kind of space. Here is a peek at 10 rooms from the book.

While a lot of Butera’s rooms are calm and light, he’s not averse to having kitschy fun, if with a nautical motif or over-the-top Americana motifs. “A pair of captain’s wheels keeps the nautical ball bouncing in this room,” writes Butera.

As for textures, he recommends using the practical fabrics and textures which go with sunscreen and sand: painted pine, jute, sisal, linens and yarn.

Gibbs Smith Publishing

A typical Butera colour palette is taken straight from the water, sand, sea and sky glass. In addition, he loves unique combinations, such as stitched seats with quatrefoil-patterned upholstery. The end result is a area.

Butera avows if it comes to design, there are no rules, so I inquired which widely accepted rule he loves to break the most.

“This one’s simple: mixing prints!” he exclaims. “Textiles are the life and blood of any room design, and you will find that even in my own publications for Kravet fabrics I mix far more than I match. Often I’ll use a carefully selected group of fabrics such as pillows and upholstery, then toss in a killer leopard print to add interest. And is there any motive tangerine doesn’t play well with turquoise? Clients love it! And no matter what you do, please do not use matchy-match coffee and end tables nothing shouts bad design louder than that.”

I inquired Butera the three simplest things we can do to get an instant coastal feel at home, even if we live in the center of a field in Iowa.

“I really like doing coastal for customers who crave the look but live in urban or rural areas,” says Butera. “The translation doesn’t have to be ‘hit you over the head,’ but by employing soft, washy, beachy colors of paint such as Ralph Lauren’s Shoreline Blue, Faded Seafoam and Whisper (with all high-gloss white painted trims) you get a real, clean beach-glass texture. Add in sea grass wallpapers and accessorize with mother-of-pearl and shell accents and you have the look. Lots of oversized silver hurricanes are excellent as accents as well.”

Butera’s penchant for British colonial style shows through in this room, which attracts a few Indian Ocean influence along with the texture of an exotic black cane bed to its tasteful surroundings. Glass table lamps with lace sunglasses are a coastal classic no matter which ocean you’re gazing upon.

Gibbs Smith Publishing

Butera loves to integrate heirlooms and cherished bits his customers already possess, which can present challenges in addition to opportunities. “I had a customer once that had a chandelier which was beyond description,” says Butera. “While I really like a trendy one time classic piece, this could be classified as more of a relic! We washed it up, refinished the iron and added innumerable seashellsthat brought it into life. It ended up being the most spectacular piece in the room.”

As for among his favorite own heirlooms/relics, “I have a classic Louis Vuitton back which I discovered at a Paris flea market that functions as a coffee table for my Park City house. It’s the bomb,” he says.

This bedroom is a refuge completed in Serene Beach style, full of relaxing prints, colors and textiles, and having coastal pines and sea breezes just through balcony doors.

Gibbs Smith Publishing

There are times that you need to get creative with furniture and storage layout in tight shore house rooms. Built-ins take the place of nightstands in this bedroom, and centering a bed under a window is the best use of this space.

Ivory colors and marble bring a hotel spa texture to this tranquil bathroom.


Barclay Butera: Living on the Coast – $26.40

Barclay Butera: Living on the Coast is now available in bookstores and on the Internet. It’s among my favorites in my collection already, and it creates a superb hostess gift if you are fortunate enough to have an invitation to a beach house this summer.

Barclay Butera designs fabrics, furniture, carpets, lighting, artwork, bedding and much more (a lot of which can be observed in the photos above). He’s working on his second book in the hopes of releasing it around fall 2013.

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