Considerations in Building a Beach House
by Lauren Busser The House Designers’ Editorial Director
There is no denying that a beach house is a great escape. The beautiful views and cool breezes are just a couple of the awesome things about beach front living and when you consider building your own house on your own little piece of paradise there are certain conditions you’ll want to account for. Everything from location to materials should easily fit into your lifestyle whether you are working on your interior or exterior. Taking a few things into consideration as you build can make your beach house a home you will love for years to come.
The most important factor in building a home is location but this is especially true when it comes to building a beach house. You want to consider factors such as proximity to the water and also check local variances and beach erosion trends so you can select a safe place to build your home.
As we all know, coastal areas may be subjected to severe weather. Consider obvious precautions like building your house on stilts to protect the house in case of flooding or storm surge (this can also give you a better view) and install storm windows and shutters so that you will be protected when severe weather strikes.
Outdoor Living Spaces
Take advantage of the beautiful weather and views at your beach house with a wraparound porch or deck. You can provide shade with retractable awnings, umbrellas, or a sun sail. Air can be moved through covered porches with ceiling fans and if you really want to turn your outdoor space into an entertainment area, you can even build an outdoor kitchen on your patio or deck.
Let In the Breeze
One of the best factors in living by the beach is that fragrant, refreshing sea breeze. Make sure your home has an open concept design in order to let light and air travel freely throughout your spaces. You can enhance ventilation by adding a sliding glass door and large windows that open on either side. You will get a nice breeze with good air circulation, keeping interior air from becoming stagnant.
Study Your Neighborhood
Just like with any other home the region you move to may dictate what the outside of your home looks like. Beach houses are built to withstand wind and rain and different regions have certain exterior feature variations. New England beach houses, for example feature cedar shingles that stand up to wind and fade to a light gray as they age. Southern and Southeaster towns might feature functional shutters and battens that can be closed to protect the home from rain, high winds, and hurricanes. Paint colors will vary from one region to another as well and while it doesn’t affect the functionality of a home, certain colors are unique to certain regions.
Consider Functionality When Furnishing
There are little things that you will want to think about when you are furnishing your home. Since you’ll be visiting the beach and walking it on a day to day basis then you may want to opt for light colored decking/flooring so that tracked in sand doesn’t show as much, and use flush thresholds to make sweeping it out easy. You can accent your floors by adding area rugs made of jute, hemp, silk, or wool. These materials retain their appearance while also drying quickly.
You also want to look for durable items that can withstand the rigors of indoor and outdoor living and washable slipcovers for your furniture.
Building your own beach house can be just like having your own piece of paradise. Consider the materials you will use in your design now and you can have a stress-free oasis for years to come. Remember that what makes your beach house your own are your little personal touches so don’t be afraid to experiment with your décor.