A beautiful ocean setting can provide calmness, serenity and inspiration to coastal residents, but most importantly, it brings happiness to those who choose to live by the sea. An ocean home should evoke those same feelings of happiness, simplicity and comfort that the waves just outside convey.

This spirit-lifting environment is what Wendy Blackband and her team at Blackband Home & Design strive to create through her “coastal bohemian” design aesthetic and personal process of brightening interiors. “I love that coastal feeling, the whole idea of bringing the outdoors in,”

Blackband says. “We have this wonderful, beautiful weather and coastal climate that allows us to be indoor-outdoor.

“I lighten things up, that’s one of the biggest things,” she adds. “Sometimes you walk into houses and they’re like caves. Bringing in that light, it already makes me happy, it ups my mood.”

Based in Irvine, Calif., Blackband Design is owned by Blackband, a native of California, and her British-born husband Greg, who she met in Mexico.

Always interested in design – her mother teaches design and architecture at UCLA and her father was a custom homebuilder – Blackband draws on her parents’ background, her previous career experience in corporate marketing and advertising, and extensive travels in her interior design work, focusing on brightening homes and creating scale, balance, color and composition to ensure clients are comfortable and happy in their homes.

Blackband is passionate about her inspirations and designs. “I’m a complete fabric junkie. That’s where I start my design process,” she says, explaining that she often begins with neutral colors and builds from there, adding “pops of color.” She is inspired by not only her current locale – she lives on Balboa Island in Newport Beach, Calif., with her family – but also by her global travels in Africa, Europe, Australia and South America.

“To me, the whole travel experience opens your eyes to new things. I pull it for fabric ideas, and also for home accessories. I mix things that are old and new, and light and dark,” she says, referencing vibrant red, green and orange spices and curries at markets in India and tribal fabrics from Africa.

Blackband says she often sees ocean homes with dark and heavy interiors, as was the case with a recent project along the Newport Coast (pictured) that she designed for an international executive. “He travels all the time, so this is kind of a coastal retreat for him and his family,” she adds.

“It was very kind of heavy and just really drab,” Blackband says of the home before her and her staff – Blackband and her husband work with a contractor and team of designers – brightened up the residence.

This design, like so many of her projects, features her signature neutral palette accented with pops of color. The blue and white striped rug in the living room instantly creates a breezy coastal look, accented by throw pillows and accessories in shades of coral and blues, two of Blackband’s favorite colors. Touches of green – Blackband chose greenery that can sustain itself – add more color to the room. “Plants make a big difference,” she says.

For the adjoining dining room, Blackband chose a reclaimed table with a carved base and an elegant chandelier to tie the two rooms together. “That’s also another part of the whole balance with these great rooms, the definition of light and dark wood in different materials,” she says. “I bring in pieces that don’t all match; it’s more interesting,” she says.

Blackband’s own home reflects her design principles and brings her a sense of happiness. Her “Santa Barbara rustic coastal” home features  white walls and splashes of vibrant color, such as a turquoise chandelier in the dining room.

“It’s a mix,” she says, “and it definitely exemplifies what I do for other people. I love what I do. I feel lucky that I get to live in such a cool place and live along the coast and do what I like to do.”

For more information on Wendy Blackband visit blackbanddesign.com.

Image Credits: Photo by Vincent Ivicevic.