Ultimate Beach Cottage – Our Laguna Home

The idea of experiencing summer year round wasn’t allowed. When raised on the East Coast this is your summons, to follow the calendar year of seasonal appropriate sports and dressing in heavy catalogue sweaters half your town wore.

The living room of our former beach cottage, inspired by the nearby beach with a mix of local and vintage finds.

After too many brutal winters where I found my DNA dangerously traipsing into a curmudgeon, I accepted a job in California on a whim. This would only be temporary, I explained to the condo association as I signed a six-month lease.

One of the cottages that lead to the best surf inlet in town.

Eight years and a child later, California became my home. Here is the brief back story: on a reconnaissance trip to Orange County, where I landed the new job, I assumed I would find one of those full service rentals close to the office with fitness room, pool and built in friends who lived in the same unit–a modern day Melrose with all the amenities and less drama.

Beach art.

My new supervisor chose a restaurant in Laguna Beach for dinner as a way to expose me to another side of Orange County. The town bewitched me. It wasn’t anything like the blonde starlets who gripe and manufacture their lives on reality television. This was an authentic gem sandwiched between towns with mega mansions on tiny coastal plots. Yes, Laguna has its share of I-am-rich new constructions with white Escalades bulging the tiny, and sought after, driveways. It also has an abundance of classic beach bungalows, vestiges to its surf town roots.

There are art galleries showcasing blotchy beach paintings, a Tommy Bahama,Yogaworks across from the studded Montage resort where I learned to appreciate a robust vinyasa (lost on me in the tightly wound New York City studios) and The Stand, a vegan food shack that weathered every recession and was my only source of healthful foods during my pregnancy from their homemade soups and seasonal smoothies.

Considered one of the California Riviera’s most sparkling gems, Laguna is more unassuming than its tony Newport neighbor or less built up than the inland towns of Aliso Viejo or Laguna Niguel. As with all special resorts, it holds onto its classic charm with a vital protectiveness.

After school surfing.

We are accustomed to year round temperate weather, just subtle changes to alert a new season. As a Laguna resident I never used an umbrella or wore a pair of gloves.

Preparations for a typical Laguna day.

Our home followed a simplistic approach that adopted the town’s beat. We furnished with standard beach furnishings punched up with vintage finds and local textiles from Kerry Cassill. An outdoor shower that somehow had more pressure than our indoor plumbing and lots of opened windows. I also never used air conditioning. In fact, I am unaware if we had it.

There wasn’t as much of an urgency to update or stay on top of today’s dizzying trends. Part of this is from the difference in mentality, you are appreciative of what you have, with more of an interest in being than changing.

A bed dressed with Indian Block print linens from Kerry Cassill.

Five Essentials to the Beach Cottage Look:

  1. Light: Bring in natural light through large windows, mirrors and lighting fixtures.
  2. White walls: Keep the walls clean and allow the accents to create the look.
  3. Local flavor: Decorate with art, textiles and wares from local artisans, who understand the style of your region with a creative edge.
  4. Cool kitsch: Embrace the tacky by adding vintage art or expected resort accessories,
  5. Washable wares: Slipcovers, pillowcases, throw rugs and blankets that can easily be cleaned are both functional and add to the design.













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  4. Clay Sanders says:

    Incredible and surfy.

  5. Sinclair says:

    Year round at the beach? Not bad.

  6. Hazel says:

    Beautiful summation. Look forward to more stories like this.

  7. Rachel Meyers says:

    Came back after I have been on work deadlines, love the new post.

  8. Diana Listfield says:

    You really have an expert take on the good life.

  9. Diana Listfield says:

    I visit this blog regularly and you really have an expert take on the good life.

  10. Beth Garrison says:

    Such a pretty take on year round beach living. Makes me want to move.

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