7 Charming Florida Beach Houses
From modern decor ideas to sea-inspired textures, inspiration abounds in the Sunshine State.
1. Key West Cottage
Candice and Marty Carr’s clapboard getaway cottage in Key West was built at the end of the 19th century. A 1980s addition gave it the sawtooth roofline, with parallel gables that create a zigzag appearance. On the inside, it’s clear that laid-back is the attitude of choice in this home.
Tennesse Meets Key West
When selecting furnishings, the Carrs searched for antiques at their favorite shops back home in Tennessee, and combed Memphis designer Shelley Miller’s studio for fabrics. “We always laugh and say that the style of this house is ‘Tennessee comes to Key West,’” they said. The Southern touches, such as skirted tables, pleated lamp shades, and floral patterns, seem at home with the Key West signatures of horizontal-slat walls, brightly colored accents, and nautical accents.
In the kitchen, a farm table and cherry cabinetry underscore the home’s casual feel. Doors and windows open to the pool area, making it an ideal home for outdoor entertaining.
One of the best features of this cottage is the pool, which shares a wall with the home’s foundation. “The pool’s location was bred out of necessity,” the Carrs say. With two statuesque Spanish lime trees (a protected species) in the backyard, fitting a pool in was a bit of a challenge. But with the pool directly beside the house it becomes an extension of the living space.
A poolside bar invites guests outside. A painting by Key West artist Rick Worth, created with automobile paint, can withstand the elements.
2. Rosemary Beach Dutch-Colonial
This three-level, Dutch Colonial take on a sea captain's home is a reminder that designing a beach house isn't always about overt references to the shore. Sometimes it's just about harnessing those soothing emotions that the ocean evokes.
Subtle Beach Style
For a beachy look that isn’t over the top, the designer filled this Rosemary Beach home with earthy colors and soft, warm textures.
A stunning picture window and high ceilings in the dining room allow the ocean to take center stage. The dramatic 12-foot-long table with low benches and chairs don’t block views and provide plenty of seating for entertaining lots of guests.
A rustic kitchen with intricate decorating detail combines natural beauty with functionality. The designer chose Pecky cypress for the cabinets to give it the feel of driftwood that had been washed ashore.
Fade-resistant, light-colored linens and a weathered bedside table give this bedroom a welcome, relaxing atmosphere.
3. Chic Hobe Sound Hideaway
Inside this poolside retreat is an unabashed color palette and a fresh take on a midcentury modern aesthetic, created by designer Todd Romano. The New York- and L.A.-based pro, who had worked on the owner's daughter's Manhattan apartment, happened to be a few miles down the road in Palm Beach when the couple first contacted him. "I was just 40 minutes away, working on another job. You see, it was kismet from the start."
On the loggia, vintage furniture is decked out in brightly colored cushions and throw pillows to create a welcome space for lively conversation.
Touch of Color
The living room gets a jolt of unexpected color from the painted bookshelf walls. Romano chose a bright lemon green, which acts as a perfect foil for the blue-and-white china.
In the sitting room, Romano added a touch of drama with a richly-hued walls. This hunter green color offsets the light furniture and patterned carpet.
Light and Comfortable
Romano chose a pale gray-and-yellow color scheme for the guest bedroom. Plush linens and a custom print make it sophisticated and inviting.
4. Seaside, Florida, Stunner
It's all about the Gulf breeze in this historic-meets-modern family beach house in the charming community of Seaside. Architect Robert A.M. Stern designed the getaway with special attention to spacious porches that made the most of the beachfront property. "The lot was like a New York City townhouse, long and narrow," says Stern's partner Gary Brewer. So Robert maximized sight lines to the water with porches on all three levels and an open plan that gives every room on the second and third levels—even those at the back of the house—a Gulf view. "You are always aware of the Gulf, even from the stairwell," say the homeowners.
On the porch, bright, patterned pillows and touches of turquoise bring in the colors of the ocean to accent otherwise neutral palette.
Natural, beachy touches such as seashells and palms accessorize the living room, while sandy-hued furniture mimics the environment outside.
This cozy porch is perfect for taking a seaside snooze. Nautical rope details on the swing impart a beachy vibe, and curtains and screens ensure hours of uninterrupted comfort.
A cozy reading nook is one of the most welcoming parts of this house—perfect for curling up with a great beach read.
5. Colorful Stuart, Florida, Beach House
While searching for a waterfront spot on which to build their first home together, designer Dana Small and her husband, Ramsey—who were living in Miami at the time—fell in love with a banyan tree--lined boulevard in Stuart, Florida. After weeks of lackluster house hunting, they happened upon a dated hodgepodge of a home and attached cottage ripe for rehab. Inspired by their travels to boutique hotels such as Mustique's Cotton House, the couple worked with Brian Carnes of Stuart-based BC Architects to build a British West Indies--style home that would meet the needs of a growing family while maintaining a resort-chic atmosphere ideal for entertaining.
5. Colorful Stuart, Florida, Beach House
The living room features organic details such as a bamboo ceiling, grasscloth wallcovering by Phillip Jeffries Ltd., and plantation-style wood-and-rattan furnishings.
Bold Dining Room
The home's playful, bright color palette comes alive in the dining room, where a grass green hue covers the walls. White wicker chairs and graphic picture frames help subdue the bold shade.
Color Block Boy's Bedroom
Small, who studied color therapy in design school, says she was amazed to learn how color can affect you emotionally, how it can hinder or help your productivity," she says. "I'm not one to live in dark spaces—I would never get anything done!" In her son's room, bold blue and white blocking sets a fun tone.
Pink Girl's Room
Bright pink wallpaper sets the tone of the daughter's room, where pops of sunny yellow accent the space. The custom headboard, designed by Small, anchors the space.
6. Rustic Clearwater, Florida, Cottage
This unassuming wood-clad cottage with forest green shutters houses a relaxed-yet-refined collection of antiques and beachy pieces (think wicker love seats mixed with stately side chairs set against white walls and dark wood floors) for a pleasantly surprising coastal escape.
Casual dining chair slipcovers with coral piping lighten the formal feel in this neutral dining room. The natural, dark wood table adds an earthy touch.
Relaxed mixes with refined in this living room, where wicker sofas sit atop an elegant coral-hued rug.
The simple stone slab patio is shaded by large trees and is a lowkey spot for enjoying coastal breezes. The smart white trim on the French doors and windows creates a striking contrast against the weathered wood siding.
7. Sleek Miami Condo
This stylish Miami condo receives the modern treatment with a laid-back, all-white aesthetic. A pop of color from the yellow chair breaks up the pristine palette.
Two acrylic folding chairs paired with a glass table create a streamlined dining area without overwhelming the compact space.