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By: Carol Tisch

Coastal style and Sarasota have always been synonymous. But lately, something’s happened to coastal decorating. It’s still beach-inspired, of course. But the styles and range of products are more inclusive and eclectic. And if the definition of coastal decorating has expanded, so has its domain. Pastel pinks and blues offset with creamy whites are no […]


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Coastal style and Sarasota have always been synonymous. But lately, something’s happened to coastal decorating. It’s still beach-inspired, of course. But the styles and range of products are more inclusive and eclectic. And if the definition of coastal decorating has expanded, so has its domain.

Pastel pinks and blues offset with creamy whites are no longer exclusive to beach cottages; they’re showing up in city and suburban homes across the country.

Shabby chic is back with a vengeance, but it’s far removed from the quaint American Country painted white furniture of yesterday. Refined Gustavian Swedish pieces and the newly discovered Belgian style are currently sweeping the design world. Contemporary beach house furnishings are softened with textures like burlap and hemp, complemented with antiques, nobler for their use of reclaimed wood—often gray-washed or limed and accented with hammered tin or antiqued metal. An item or two can instantly perk up any home for the coming beach season.

WHITE HOT The white-on-white armoires, cushy slip-covered chairs and delicate bedding that brought national acclaim to the former Cat’s Meow in Venice are even hotter at its new incarnation, Posh on Palm, where Mark and Susie Holt have recorded their best summer sales in 12 years. Their trademark shabby chic style is trending toward Swedish and Belgian vintage, Susie says. Posh on Palm, 33 S. Palm Ave., (941) 954-7674.

FISH FOR COMPLIMENTS Poolside or surfside, whet your guests’ appetites with pastel Bellezza Fish accent pieces and the new Incanto Mare white turtles, all from the artisans of Vietri. Ashley Avery’s Collectables, 3501 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (941) 366-3444.

PILLOW TALK Bring nature inside with Pam Marwede’s exquisite hand-painted egret pillow ($450), just one of the artisan-crafted home accessories at the charming Gift Shop of the Historical Society of Sarasota, 1260 12th St., Sarasota (941) 364-9076.

SIGN US UP Hand-crafted and painted in her own beach shack studio, AnnMarie Nicholas’ signs set a relaxed vacation vibe ($27.50). A Room with a Hue, 12518 Cortez Road W., Cortez (941) 798-9034.


SUITE DREAMS The ultimate coastal bedroom conjures our best vacation memories: glorious breakfast trays, luscious pillows and layered patterns on linens. A master of the look, Pine Cone Hill color-coordinates its toiles, stripes, plaids and even funky florals in the newest fashion tones tempered by classic beach whites and pastels. Get a complete bed makeover or just a refreshing new coverlet (warning—the pillow shams are irresistible). Main Street Traders, 1468 Main St., Sarasota (941) 373-0478.

Sun Spots Venice’s go-to shop for coastal living trends, Seaside Chic is owned by interior designer Janice Riordan, who says customers can’t get enough of Dash & Albert’s hand-hooked wool rugs. Spike up a pastel room with classic leopard updated in flamboyant Key West tones (3 foot by 5 foot, $144). Seaside Chic, 217 W. Venice Ave., Venice (941) 483-1177.

Trend Watching

Half rough-hewn and time-worn, half smooth, modern and luxurious, the hot new Rough Luxe style is a delightful paradox. Sarasota retailers are loving Rough Luxe grayed woods (often reclaimed), textured fabrics and wiry metals in coastal interiors. Witness, from top, a Nautilus shell lamp ($498) in strands of resin “wire” with silvery silk shade at Sarasota Collection Home Store, 622 Central Ave., Sarasota (941) 955-8313; a strikingly simple pedestal table in vintage gray whitewashed oak ($2,125) at Black Bird Home Gallery, 1540 Main St., Sarasota (941) 366-0941; fossilized coral lamp from Aidan Gray ($325) at Coquillage, 1515 Main St., Sarasota (941) 487-7160.