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Standing the Test of Time: Antiques in Coastal Design

Standing the Test of Time: Antiques in Coastal Design

Interior design trends in coastal homes have always had minds of their own. They run parallel, yet slightly off kilter, to the rest of the design world, with a laid-back style that emphasizes ease and comfort. Recently, the phrase “collected over time” has been so omnipresent in the world of design that it’s redundancy led us to question why that idea wasn’t being implemented at the beach. The gray washed woods and subtle colors that are so present in coastal design create a soothing environment, but where is the warmth and character? And, how can designers create a home with personality, while still maintaining a natural, coastal aesthetic? In our opinions, a house isn’t a home without a few pieces that have pasts and character—just like the people who live there. Even the most contemporary spaces can benefit from the added touch of history and depth that antiques provide.

Since most of the homes in our area were constructed within the last 30 years, they often lack architectural history or history in general. The older homes along the Gulf Coast are generally more of a camp-house style where function was prioritized over form, and practicality was more important than architectural interest. This old Florida lifestyle is an important consideration that we feel we, as designers, should resort back to when planning new homes along our beautiful beaches.

Like our predecessors, we believe in maintaining this area’s design tradition; function should take precedent over aesthetics. Simply put, it is difficult to relax when you are worried about sand scratching the floors or wet bathing suits ruining your barstools. Having a home at the beach is most importantly about creating a place to recharge, relax, and have fun with loved ones without having to worry about drink rings on your coffee table. For that reason, we believe that function alone is reason enough to invest in well-worn pieces that will only improve with time and use. Luckily, there are many other benefits to incorporating vintage and antique pieces into your home.

Of course, as in life, it is all about balance. The beauty of our fine, white sand and jewel-toned waters is magnified by the juxtaposition of the rugged dunes surrounding them. That contrast between rough and refined is what creates the old Florida feeling that we believe needs to be revived, which is exactly where antiques and vintage pieces come into play. If implemented properly, they help to bring that same balance to a home’s interior.One of the best qualities of antiques is their inherently quirky nature. They might be a bit wobbly, the finish might be scratched and scuffed, and the colors might have a sun-faded quality that cannot be replicated or mass produced in a factory. These natural, imperfect qualities are what make antique and vintage pieces such fitting additions to homes in coastal settings. After all, the main draw to our little beach towns is the incredible, natural environment that surrounds us. We feel that the interiors of the homes in this unique area should reflect and enhance that landscape.

The definition or personality of a home will be as unique as the person or family who lives in it. At its most basic, it provides shelter from the outside world. No matter how you define it, your home should be a backdrop to a life well-lived, and we argue that adding a piece of furniture that has had a life as equally well-lived is just as important.

Standing the Test of Time: Antiques in Coastal Design

Allison Smith & Anne Scott Shelley

Maison Studios was founded in 2016 by Allison Smith and Anne Scott Shelley.

They are a full-service interior design studio based in Inlet Beach, Florida, and have been working on residential projects both locally and nationwide for a combined 16 years.

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