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Design Ideas
A Charming Beach Farmhouse
This charming beach farmhouse combines classic country finishes with a coastal color palette for a comfortable and welcoming interior.
The earthy romance of an old rural farmhouse is undeniable. But is it possible to create that classic style in a new build incorporating modern elements and antiques? This home not only achieved that goal, but did so in an unlikely location: the upscale southern California coastal city of Newport Beach. Homeowner Blair Box had... Keep Scrolling
Written by Meryl Schoenbaum
Photography by Bret Gum
Styling by Kathryn Smith
Styling by Margie Monin Dombrowski

well lit rustic beach farmhouse entryway featuring a double hung door circle mirror and console along a white shiplap wall
Soaring ceilings in the entry are grounded by the cast-iron and glass pendant chandelier from Troy and Company’s Gotham line.

The earthy romance of an old rural farmhouse is undeniable. But is it possible to create that classic style in a new build incorporating modern elements and antiques? This home not only achieved that goal, but did so in an unlikely location: the upscale southern California coastal city of Newport Beach.

rustic beachhouse entryway featuring orient express console round mirror shiplap and white oak wooden floors
The entry is enveloped in shiplap with European white-oak floors that were custom-stained on site. the console is from Orient Express Furniture and the sconces are from Currey and Company. The mirror is from Jamie Young Co.

Homeowner Blair Box had a vision of what her beach farmhouse would look like, and a few years ago she found the ideal property in the community of Cliff Haven, only five minutes from where she grew up. But the small, decades-old structure on the property at the time could not accommodate her vision or her family’s needs.  In it’s placed, Blair built the four-bedroom, six-bath home for her family, which includes her two sons, their dog, Oliver and Nikki, the cat.

rustic farmhouse chandelier hanging from a vaulted ceiling
The chandelier near the landing has a mechanical switch to lower it for cleaning and switching the lightbulbs out.

Blair wanted the home to have three main components: light, height and white. Light would come from lots of natural sunlight streaming through windows and light-colored paints and furnishings. Height would be attained through high vaulted ceilings. (Her sons, Ryan and Gordon, are both over 6 feet tall and used to bump their heads on the ceilings in their former home.) And white would be seen in the color palette, flooring finishes and furnishings.

hostess blair box stands in view of her homes beautiful interior
Blair relaxes at the top of the staircase landing. The area is used as a bonus room/hangout and features a full-truss beam system that was hand distressed and stained on-site.

However, it was a daunting task for Blair to undertake the home’s interior design herself, even though she had successfully redesigned homes in the past. So her contractor introduced her to an interior designer he had worked with and admired: Kathryn Smith of Kensington Smith Design in Newport Beach. The two women clicked immediately and found they had similar tastes. Blair was confident that Kathryn could make her dream home a reality.

Read More: See Blair’s Modern Farmhouse Kitchen

Beach farmhouse decor in the great room featuring herringbone rug, blue chair with pillow, white couch, wooden coffee table and Douglas fir ceiling
The great room off the kitchen features a Douglas fir tongue-and groove ceiling hand-distressed and stained. The round mirror with dark iron looks like a stopwatch, and Blair placed a huge black fan coral in front of it.

Rustic Charm

The home has a modern coastal farmhouse persona, and Blair calls the décor style of her home “rustic elegance.” “One of the biggest ways I created the rustic look throughout the home, even though it was a new construction, was with all the finish carpentry—things like beams, tongue and groove, moldings, casings, trims above windows, shiplap and custom-designed cabinetry,” Kathryn says. “Then layering the home with fabrics, furniture and accessories helps further this ultimate design goal of being transported into an earlier era.”

hanging chandelier over rustic modern farmhouse table and chairs
The dining room stone wall is made from Texas limestone. the long table can seat a dozen people. Blair points out that the trestle table has an “X” design. The chair curves with light blue faux-ostrich skin soften the hard lines.

The color scheme was inspired by something Blair learned in her former faux-finish painting business. “Picture a bird’s nest—those natural colors—and then picture a robin’s egg of light blue,” Blair says. “That was my inspiration for the color palette: natural colors dotted with light blue throughout the home. It’s very soothing.”

french country bedroom in a beach farmhouse with pastel color palette and zinc headboard
“The master bedroom is one of the most Romantic bedrooms that I have completed,” Kathryn says.

Kathryn listened closely to Blair’s style preferences and kept in mind her fondness for French décor. “As a young girl, Blair grew up going to her parents’ farmhouse, and she wanted to recreate that type of feel,” Kathryn says. “Her style leans very French, so I started calling her home ‘The French Farmhouse,’ and that led us to furniture and accessories that really complemented more of a romantic style.”

bright nook lit by window light featuring a gray chaise draped with a cozy blanket and topped tea set on a tray
Blair feels that a bedroom needs a place or two, like the gray chaise here, where you can sit and lounge.

To add modern and French touches, Kathryn brought in finer materials than the wood typically found in a farmhouse, such as marble, tile and stone. Wide-plank wood floors look rustic but clean.

Making a Splash

The master bath features a beautiful cast-iron French bateau tub with aged chrome in a burnished antique finish. While it’s a traditional slipper freestanding tub, the faucet and mirror styles give it a slightly modern look. A whimsical painting of a peacock wearing pearls, which shows the fun side of Blair’s personality, is perched atop the cabinet in the master bath.

white bathroom featuring a cast iron bath tub white shiplap walls marble floors and chandelier with metal finish
A cast-iron French Bateau tub bears an aged chrome, burnished antique-finish metal exterior.

The design collaboration—and mutual admiration—between Blair and Kathryn made the homeowner’s dream beach farmhouse come true. Blair says of her experience working with the interior designer, “I could not have done this house without her.”

corner of master bath in beach farmhouse featuring a european style blue cabin
This corner of the master bath features an antique blue cabinet. “This piece has such a lovely European farmhouse feel, and it is perfect for housing towels, bath salts and the like,” Kathryn says. A whimsical print of a peacock in pearls is perched on top of the cabinet.

Looking for more farmhouse-meets beach style inspo? Check out this Rustic Coastal home full of natural elements.

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