When interior designer Erin Paige Pitts saw a new waterfront home in Bethany Beach, Delaware, she knew her greatest design tool was just offshore. The ocean – alluring and always entertaining – was destined to make a splash throughout the classic shingled home.
“I believe it’s all about the view and complementing the exterior environment,” says Pitts, principal of Erin Paige Pitts Interiors in Delray Beach, Fla., and Gibson Island, Maryland. “This is how I work.”
Today the 8,000-square-foot family vacation home evokes many shades of ocean blue. A clear blue Venetian plaster artwork on the dining room wall, deep-blue tiles around the living room fireplace, soft pillows in various subtle blue tones, and the occasional piece of furniture serve up the coveted color.
“I did everything with the ocean in mind,” Pitts says. “Your interior and exterior environments need to be seamless in a property like this. If I’m not using blues, I’m using neutrals.”
Tranquil blue works beautifully with the décor’s comfortable coastal ambience. The three-story house, designed by Christopher L. Pattey, a senior associate at Becker Morgan Group in Salisbury, Maryland, is an upside-down house, with the main living area on the top floor. The view, through the mostly glass ocean side, is dazzling: sea and sky lit by the spring sun.
The home’s architecture gave Pitts plenty to work with. On the lower floor are bedrooms for the owners’ three teenage children, a “bunk room” for guests, a media room and a TV room with blue sliding barn doors. Upstairs is the primary living space: kitchen, living room, dining room, guest room, master suite, office and a vast screened porch off the kitchen.
The interior designer says the owners wanted a breezy, coastal aesthetic, but nothing too beachy, so she suggested a wave theme. A soothing wave motif is reflected in several places, including the white painted millwork of the living room mantel and bookshelves. Pitts designed all of the home’s millwork and cabinetry as well as some of the furniture.
The homeowners are very relaxed, Pitts says, and desired a very “comfortable and livable” interior. They also opted for a mix of textures, so every room has fabrics and materials that beg a closer look: a sisal rug in the living room, wicker here and there, a beaded light fixture.
The living room, dining room and kitchen are bright and open, asserted by soft white walls; cerused oak floors, which were hand scraped for texture variation; and a custom linen rug.
Two off-white sofas are upholstered in Sunbrella fabric, which Pitts loves for its looks and easy care.
Set against these neutrals are the blues – in pillows, accent pieces and artful touches such as the living room’s beaded chandelier. The casual, classic look continues in the dining room with table and chairs finished with the look of driftwood.
Pitts had the two end chairs slipcovered “for a bit of substantiality.” The nearby kitchen is bright and homey, with two islands and two sinks to suit a family that loves entertaining.
The master bedroom is a peaceful sanctuary with a ceiling of light blue and walls in a warm sandy tone. Comfortable chairs placed near the window are neutral: “They disappear when you’re looking out,” Pitts notes.
Behind the sisal bed is a hanging panel where a wall was intended to be. “I requested to take the wall out, much to [architect Pattey’s] chagrin,” she says.
Touches of blue are carried through the other bedrooms and bathrooms, except for the daughter’s room, which is filled with shades of soft purple. “It’s a fun room,” Pitts says. “What girl doesn’t love purple?”
Pitts, 44, grew up in Maryland, where her mother studied interior design when Pitts was a girl. “I remember being very captivated,” she says. “I remember watching my mother draw perspectives and do different things. I was very taken with it.”
A graduate of the Bradley Academy for the Visual Arts in Pennsylvania, Pitts has won several awards, including making the list of Traditional Home’s “20 Young Designers to Watch” and also winning the National Kitchen & Bath Association 2014 Kitchen of the Year award (in the Large Kitchen Category).
Pitts’ own Delray Beach home, which she and husband Gregory gutted and renovated, was showcased recently in Luxe Interiors + Design.
When the couple tackled the project, they brought plenty of expertise, with her countrywide interior design work and his career in his family business, David Edward, a commercial furniture manufacturer based in Baltimore.
Pitts is known for her deft touch with coastal décor and wouldn’t have it any other way. “From early on in my practice,” she says, “my loves have always been the water and ocean and they flow through to my designs.”
For more information, visit www.erinpaigepittsinteriors.com
Image Credits: Photo by Geoffrey Hodgdon.