For a while now, Sydney's beach homes have been dominated by Hamptons or traditional beach styles. And why not? They share a lot in common, and there's nothing more relaxing than neutral walls, timber floors and shades of blue, in deference to that ocean in your back yard. We associate living by the beach with time to think, recalibrate, and the gentle sound of waves crashing on the shore.
The Hamptons style lends itself beautifully to where I live in the Northern Beaches of Sydney, with its painted white or beech furniture, timber floors and pops of colour in ginger jars, vases of hydrangeas and Mornington cushions. And while I love the classic lines of the style, the richness of its detail, and its adherence to the past, it can look a bit fussy if it's overdone - especially when you compare it to the pared back and equally popular Scandi style. So, while there are elements to love -cane lanterns that evoke evening fires on the beach, black and white nautical photographs, and the style's modern use of muted pastels - I confess that the ornateness of French-style furniture, paddles on walls, and seaweed cushions can feel a little too much. Which is why I have turned to the a more modern coastal look.
More 'chill', (as my son would say), than its American neighbour, modern coastal is the kind of Hamptons you imagine in Byron. It's more cool. Sofas are less formal, deeper and overall more over-sized; and there is much less decoration - and what there is, is more organic. There are fewer shells, fewer stripes and florals, and much more focus on the simplicity of natural weaves, elements and greenery . Floors are still timber, furniture remains distressed or painted timber - although richer, darker timbers are equally acceptable - and the use of marble, concrete and leather modernise the look.
The success of this modern version of the traditional beach-style lies in its link to nature, and more pertinently, its direct link to the ocean. It is blissfully serene and simple. It is beach-style grown up. It looks effortless. Because that's what living by the beach should be about.