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Coastal Comfort

A Long Branch home gets a refresh with an understated seaside vibe

For a Long Branch couple who wanted to refresh their home along the beach to make it more comfortable, they turned to Nicole Rice of Coastal Décor and Interior Design in Monmouth Beach. 

“My clients wanted to update their family room to a more comfy and coastal style that would work with their lifestyle,” Rice says. “They are empty nesters with adult kids who have families, from dogs to grandchildren, coming to visit and spending time at the Jersey Shore.”

Rice always asks her clients to not only describe their lifestyle, but to show her looks they like so she can get a sense of how the space should not only function, but how it should feel. This room was designed for family gatherings when the whole family is in town, including movie night since this is their TV room. But it’s also multifunctional. “Although I designed the space as one large family area, my client is an avid reader, so she has her corner with a lamp to read.”

Their old traditional furniture was replaced with more modern pieces accessorized with neutral and organic details, resulting in a fresh look. “Everything is new, except the drapery rod and TV,” Rice says. “We reused the rod for the new drapery panels, and we mounted the TV to the wall above the new entertainment unit. Requests were a navy sofa and for it to look coastal, but not with shells and starfish pillows.”

“I believe that Coastal is more than just water, sand and seashells,” she adds. “It is the feeling you get when you go to the beach and breathe in the ocean air—or the calm that you feel when you listen to the waves crash.” 

She achieved this vibe with the color palette and the suggestion of the beach: The artwork is an abstract piece that bears resemblance to water, and the rug imitates waves and sand. The room’s showstoppers—the string-back chairs—add a natural texture with a rattan base and bundles of natural abaca rope wrapped along the sides and back. “We kept them in a neutral palette with an off-white performance fabric and added a pop of color with the throw pillows,” Rice adds. 

The large sectional in a navy performance fabric was chosen not only for maximum seating space but the ability to withstand the beating it will get from use and the summer sun. Other neutral and organic touches include the natural-wood coffee table, rattan TV stand, off-white curtains, side tables, rattan light fixture and woven shades.

There are many styles of Coastal that you can choose to bring into your own home. “From a more relaxed style of Shabby Chic to a more traditional style of Coastal Glam, each have the same concept,” Rice says. “That open and airy feeling you get when you are by the coast. Think of the colors, the textures and the smells when you are relaxing at the beach, river or lake.” 

Rice is no stranger to the Coastal vibe. After growing up on the Navesink River in Fair Haven, living in California, and now back in Monmouth Beach, she works out of her design studio and retail boutique at 36 Beach Road. You’ll find everything from candles and décor to furniture and full design services—all the touches needed to bring the Coastal style into your own home.