With a spectacular south shore ocean view as her focal point interior designer brendalyn stempel created a relaxed beach house retreat.
By BLS Designs
Visitors to Windsong could be forgiven for taking off their shoes and stripping down to their bathing suits upon entering Brendalyn Stempel’s recently redesigned condo near Pink Beach. With expansive windows showcasing an amazing South Shore view and an overall palette of soft aquas, sandy beiges and dreamy whites throughout the space, the seaside retreat brings the spectacular outdoors in with a comfortable yet sophisticated style.
“My objective was to create an informal, relaxed Bermudian beach lifestyle and interior in contrast to my own New York apartment,” says Stempel. “My design concept was to capitalize on the views and create a visual flow from the exterior to the interior and to bring the sea and sky into the living areas.”
Throughout the space, the interior design enhances the view, never dominating it. To that end, the fabrics in the living room are casual and in shades of muted aqua and pale beige with little pops of orange and green to liven up the space.
“For the furniture, I either slipcovered existing pieces or purchased clean-lined, relaxed chairs in pastel linens and used much of my existing furniture,” says Stempel. “The style is not dominating and invites relaxation and comfort.”
More colour was introduced in the dining area with a canary-yellow casual dining table and vibrant coral sculptures decorating a lime-green chest. A mirrored wall extends the space and reflects the ocean view from the living room. “The entire wall of the dining room that faced the exterior living room windows I mirrored, which had the effect of repeating the spectacular view of the ocean, enlarging the space and lightening the room,” explains the designer. “I sourced an old white enamel chandelier, hung this in the entrance area and because of the mirror this was appreciated in both living and dining rooms.”
The house had existing wood floors and Stempel chose minimal coverings, using mostly neutral carpeting or runners in undemanding colours. “The floors took on a life of their own and partnered well with the quieter floor coverings,” says Stempel. “The dining room I left uncarpeted to extend the area and for easy maintenance. As a relaxed beach house, maintenance issues should be kept to a minimum.”
Throughout the space, wall colours were muted, allowing artwork and décor to be gracefully highlighted without feeling cluttered. “The walls became a soft wash of greys, greens and whites,” adds Stempel. “The design is uncluttered and retains clean lines. However, the addition of full-height, built-in, gloss-white bookshelves in the living room and master bedroom provide a place for books, photos and ornaments which personalize the space.”
Also personalizing the space are museum-worthy paintings, several by recognizable local artists such as Sheilagh Head and Jonah Jones. The master bedroom was far more personalized with large black-and-white photographs of the designer’s family on the walls and more in the built-in bookshelves.
With French doors leading to the balcony and showcasing the stunning views of the South Shore, the master bedroom also focuses its attention on the ocean. Keeping the palette primarily white, the painted off-white canopy bed is swathed in sheer white fabric, while the rug has a subtle white-and-beige jacquardlike pattern. With white draperies, furniture and accessories, one can sense the tranquillity the designer was aiming for while listening to the sounds of the ocean and feeling the gentle breeze in this almost spalike space.
The reaction from the judges was surprisingly emotional, with comments on the beauty, warmth and high-quality finishes dominating the discussion. In the end, they decided this comfortable yet sophisticated beach house needed to be recognized with an honourable mention.
Painting Contractor Lawrence Correia; Area Rugs Furniture Flair; American Shutters Sash and Trim; Dining Room Mirror Island Glass; Master Bed Drapery Ainslie’s Decorating; Curtains Beth MacDonald Interior Decorating; Furniture Furniture Walk, Beth MacDonald Interior Decorating and existing; Reupolstery (master bedroom bench, sofa, dining chairs) Trott Drapery; Accessories Hamma Galleries; Carpenter Clarence Matthews of Furniture Craft.