Dreamy beach house in California

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del mar california beach house exteriorpinterest
Roger Davis

Meet the homeowners!

del mar california beach house family on porch
Roger Davis

The Shearer-Walker family (from left) Samantha, Julian, Robert, Alex, Sandra Walker (Samantha’s mother), Christian and Abi, with collie-chow mix, Holly

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Prioritize the porch

del mar california beach house porch
Roger Davis

The large veranda with its large swing was a must-have for Samantha. “My family had a swing set on the porch of our house in Oklahoma, and that’s where everyone gathered,” she says. The custom-made swing: “It almost fits all six!” she marvels: she is covered in a graphic quilt and strewn with pillows. “This is our favorite place. It is especially wonderful to sit outside here on a rainy summer morning, when you can hear the water tinkling past the spout.”

RELATED: 70+ Porch Decorating Ideas to Create the Dreamiest Space Ever

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Maximize the light

del mar california beach house dutch door
Roger Davis

Grab-and-go beach hats flank the entrance’s inviting Dutch door. Instead of a traditional 50-50 split, designer Alexis Garrett lowered the cut to maximize light. The lower portion of the door is lined with vertical planks, which mimic the vaulted ceilings of the room.

Get the look:
Door paint color:
Kensington Blue by Benjamin Moore

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Embrace the ebb and flow

del mar california beach house living room
Roger Davis

In the living room, a weathered antique butcher block coffee table provides the kick-up-your-foot feel of the house. Washable covers on the deep sofa and swivel chairs minimize concerns about wear and tear. Underfoot, even the thick sisal carpet can withstand a parade of bare feet and slippers.

Note: the vintage print above the fireplace, featuring both American and British flags, is a nod to Samantha’s family history of ships. Her grandfather was in the Royal Navy; she also left England on a ship to emigrate to the United States.

Get the look:
Wall paint color:
Plain White by Benjamin Moore

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Open the kitchen

a white kitchen with blue stove and blue and white woven bar stools
Roger Davis

The new kitchen is located opposite the living room, just like in the original layout of the house. English kitchen-inspired Shaker-style cabinetry sits on Queen Anne ogee bracket legs—a look that Alexis extended to the adjacent dining bench. Rich walnut countertops add warmth among all the crisp white. To keep the small space open and living big, Alexis gave the deep island an overhang and added four bistro-style stools.

Get the look:
Cabinet Paint Color:
Plain White by Benjamin Moore

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Add country charm

del mar california beach house kitchen
Roger Davis

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Bring on the Blues

del mar california beach house kitchen
Roger Davis

Tabarka Studio’s La Cornue range and diamond pattern backsplash tile echo the blue of the entry’s Dutch door. (The blue and white color combination also has sentimental value; it’s reminiscent of the family’s original beach house.)

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Make time for tea

del mar california beach house kitchen appliance garage
Roger Davis

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Embrace swimsuit-friendly sofas

del mar california beach house dining table
Roger Davis

Set against a backdrop of planks and slats, the dining room is designed around the eight-foot trestle table found at C’est la Vie Antiques in nearby Encinitas. The large table allowed the team to create a spacious banquet (the more the merrier!), with pew-inspired curves punctuated by diamond punch-outs. The sofa is covered with camel-colored leather cushions from Kravet, chosen for its portability. “I want it to be spilled over, stretched and wrinkled, so it feels like an old baseball glove,” says Alexis. The powder-coated aluminum Windsor chairs can also withstand whatever comes their way.

Get the look:
Dining room chairs: Metal Windsor chairs by Nickey Kehoe

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Swear by covers

del mar california beach house bedroom
Roger Davis

While slipcovered seating in the living room is quite common in a coastal cottage, a slipcovered bed is a bit newer. “I love that it is easily washable,” says Alexis. To enhance the English cottage feel, Alexis has carefully selected matching antique wooden bedside tables and a chest of drawers at the foot of the bed to store extra blankets. The warmly patinated reproduction sconces make it easy to stay up late reading.

Get the look:
Fabric for bed covers:
from Kravet

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Create a quiet corner

del mar california beach house bedroom window chair
Roger Davis

A custom bar placed over the pushed-out window seat ensures privacy even on the busiest beach days. Alexis chose multi-layer linen for a super soft look that still lets the morning light filter in. The vintage frosted glass was a purchase from 1stDibs. “From the street it feels like I’m electrifying a little dollhouse,” says Alexis.

RELATED: 95 best bedroom ideas for every decorating style

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Add a vintage look

del mar california beach house bathroom
Roger Davis

The bathroom’s center cabinet, finished in durable soapstone, is designed to feel like an antique dresser someone put in an old cottage bath. “Most of the design decisions were intended to honor the original cottage,” says Alexis. “We wanted it to look like it had always been in Del Mar.”

RELATED: 80+ Best Bathroom Decorating Ideas to Add Some Soul to Your Bathroom Renovation

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Rethink screen time

del mar california beach house bedroom
Roger Davis

“It was a real Hail Mary,” says Alexis, recalling the moment she unearthed this hand-painted French screen at a local antique shop just as she was finishing the guest bedroom. The artsy piece not only acts as a headboard, but also makes the small room feel more prominent. A block print duvet complements the floral theme. The spool-style bedside table features sun-faded beach books.

RELATED: Start antique making like a pro with these designer tips

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Enjoy an outdoor shower

del mar california beach house outdoor shower
Roger Davis

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Visit more seaside retreats!

del mar california beach house exterior
Roger Davis

Get even more beach house decorating ideas from these coastal cottages:

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