Coastal Living's Ultimate Beach House

My invitation to Coastal Living's Ultimate Beach House & launch party was courtesy of Brizo fashion fixtures and their PR firm, MS&L. As a design buff, I happily accepted...and took copious notes. Wanna peek inside my notebook? Read on...

Situated on a windswept vista overlooking the Pacific Ocean, you'll find Coastal Living's Ultimate Beach House. Constructed from the ground up in Seabrook's planned beach community, this charming home proves to be the ultimate getaway.

A dream team of designers and sponsors came together to create a space that is destined for entertaining. The large outdoor living space is a showstopper--and one of my favorite aspects of the house. On the far side of the lot, padded outdoor chairs and a couch create a cozy spot for conversation and take in the ocean view. Nearby, a large communal table sits grill-side. Just off the kitchen, this spot is loaded with thoughtful touches for entertaining, including an outdoor fireplace.

Minutes before I arrived at the Coastal Living launch party, the wind picked up and the clouds rolled in. The temperature suddenly dropped and had me heading for cover. Fortunately, the house has an open floor plan and easily accommodates a large group of people. Bringing the outside in, on the water side of the house, a large bank of windows highlights the view. As white-capped waves crashed into the shore, I sipped a glass of wine from a cozy perch, inside.

Upstairs, a master bedroom and guest room share two bathrooms and an adjoining deck. On the lower floor, you'll find a sizable gym and a bathroom that incorporates both a sauna and a steam room.

I especially appreciated the interior design, which incorporated beach house elements (starfish and shells here and there) without being trite. The layout of the space was especially appealing and since I love to entertain, my mind was racing with possibilities! Call it a second home...or a primary residence, this place was move-in ready.

Okay, on with the photos.....

Located on the Hidden Coastal Byway, from here, there are several short road trip options.

Bicycling is encouraged. European-style communal bikes are available throughout the Seabrook beach property. Now...on to the house.

A crushed oyster shell walkway lines the trail, leading to the houses perched above the beach. First house on the right is Coastal Living's 2010 Ultimate Beach House.

Transitioning from the beach to the outdoor patio was this lovely, herb-filled walk way. A sensory experience that's also easy on bare feet.

Outdoor living space off the backside of the house.

From backside of the house, another perspective. Love the large dining table, grill and outdoor fireplace. Behind me is the garage and to the right is the detached bedroom with adjoining bathroom.

Built-in cabinets for grilling and storage.

The guest bedroom, detached from the main house.

In the kitchen, I was smitten with these blown glass cake stands. Notice the shell motif on the smaller version.

The kitchen is a combination of wood and stone and in these colors, it reminds me of driftwood and shells, weathered in the surf.

Long countertops make room for lots of helping hands in the kitchen. Notice the clear vases on the windowsill? I have these too--a great IKEA find. Nice to see them in the context of this kitchen.

Open pantry shelves make it easy for guests to lend a helping hand. For continuity, the dishware matches the kitchen color scheme.

Post-party, a handful of designers linger in the space. There are seven people in this shot, yet the room still feels spacious. I love the different spots for conversation and engagement, yet essentially, they're all still in the same room.

View from the first floor. Behind the wind-swept trees, you'll see...the tide is out.

Loving this stripe treatment on the stairs.

Statue inset at the top of the stairs. This is an acupuncture model, which I believe is from China. Draped in shells, it continues the nautical aspects of the decor.

Upstairs bathroom. Loving the bold mirrors and the art instillation over the soaking tub.

Master bedroom with door leading to a deck, ocean side.

A rugged barn yard door treatment anchors walk-in closet doors. Rather than swing out, the doors slide open on the wheeled track above. The frosted glass treatment reminds me of beach glass.

View from the master bedroom. See the tent? That's the launch party for Coastal Living's Ultimate Beach House, winding down.

Bathroom on the lowest floor. This bathroom houses a steam room and an adjoining sauna. Ground floor access to the beach is just steps away.

Mirror detail.

I long for radiant-heated floors and this house has them from top to bottom. Until I saw this demo, I had no idea what it involved. That's three layers and five types of material...before you add the flooring.

Ah...dusk and a crackling fire by the sea. Slice of heaven, no?

Exploring Seabrook

Take 300 acres of rugged Pacific Ocean coastline and couple it with a dream...

Founded in 2004, Seabrook is a planned beach community, 3 hours from Seattle. And when Coastal Living Magazine decided to construct the ultimate dream beach house, this is where they built.

Seabrook is a haven, just outside sleepy--and forgettable--Pacific Beach, Washington. And a haven it is. Adjacent to the sales office is a picture-perfect coffee shop. Across the street is a small market with enough wine and gourmet nosh to satisfy those trekking in from the city.

I've never been on a movie set, but a visit to Seabrook satisfies that urge. Beautifully-crafted houses ranged in an eclectic collection of "best of the beach" styles. Parking, I navigated a space in front of a house with a wide front porch. A guy who looked straight out of an Abercrombie & Fitch ad was reading a book...with his golden retriever lounging on a plaid blanket nearby. American flags fluttered in the wind, while kids whisked by on their retro-style bikes.

Nostalgic for a time and a place I never knew, Seabrook evokes the notion of 1950's neighborhood block parties, sweet tea on the front porch, and those days when you greeted your neighbor by name. Tied up in that thought, I watched kids barrel roll down a slope of grass, giggling their way to the bottom.

Wary of the "planned community" aspect, as I walked the crushed oyster shell path leading to the beach, I wondered. What are the essential elements of community? And if you incorporate them in your plan, will it resonate with buyers?

At the launch party, this sense of community was definitely a subject of conversation. Ingrid talked about growing up in Brooklyn. Before air conditioning and internet drove people inside, back in the day, hot summer evenings were spent out on the front porch. Kids played in the street, and neighbors chatted with each other on the stoop. "Nobody does that anymore." She paused, reflecting on a recent visit home, "The streets are quiet now."

Next, I struck up conversation with a woman who recently purchased a 500 square foot cottage at Seabrook. "I'd like to have a house on the beach, but I chose to be near the community garden instead."

Prodding her, I asked, "You gave up the beach for community in the garden?"


This had me pondering...In our modern world can we design for "community"? Addressing a table full of designers and magazine editors, we glanced up the hill at the heart of Seabrook.

Yes, it's possible.

--This way to Seabrook!

Simple choices: beach or town fun?

The plan...rolling out in phases.

Americana, on the Pacific coast

Seabrook community center. See that crow's next? You'd find me there...

A slice of New England in the Pacific Northwest.

Build to suit

Coffee and off in the distance, an ocean view

Forgot to bring something from the city? Lil's Pantry has staples and a small mix of gourmet items.

Vino at Lil's Pantry--a basic selection of usual suspects

Housemade frozen dinners (seafood & burgers, mostly)

Back from a beach run

Next stop? Coastal Living's Ultimate Beach House.