Designing for the California Coast

You may have heard the declaration that design is different in California. We have come to find that this is one of the most important things we can say to clients, especially those who are setting up house along the southern California coast for the first time or who are creating a second home here. There are environmental considerations like salt air and hot sun that someone from a land-locked community wouldn’t think about when choosing materials for interiors. 

Given how important it is to know what materials to use and how to use them, we recommend that you work with an interior design firm with ample experience designing homes along the southern California coast. Our doors are open for a large part of each and every day so design elements have to handle damp logistics, and this includes the woods on the exterior of the home. In the past, clients moving from New York and Houston have said they preferred certain materials that we knew wouldn’t serve them well. It’s our job to steer them clear of these and to help them understand why they won’t work in this climate.

An inside-outside lifestyle is a given along the California coast.
An inside-outside lifestyle is a given along the California coast.

One of the perks to living in southern California is that everyone enjoys indoor/outdoor living. Temperatures make this possible most of the year so when designing for the inside/outside lifestyle, you must make sure all of the elements you choose for each and every room can withstand salt air. The closer you live to the beach, the greater you have to consider this, though, given the proximity to the ocean in Laguna Beach, salt air permeates a surprisingly large amount of territory here.

It’s important to use metal for lighting and fixtures like faucets and shower heads that won’t corrode. Chrome, is a no-no, for instance. It is best of always use polished nickel when a palette demands silver. And no porous tiles should be used here because it’s a damp environment. Fabric choices are important—you want to choose upholstery fabrics that can breathe, like linens. These also help to play everything down to make our interiors a bit more casual and comfortable. Because the color palettes are light and airy here, a popular wood that can stand up to the environment is white oak. We use this in quite a few of our projects. 

Payton Addison is seeing larger kitchens as a trend along the California coast.
Payton Addison is seeing larger kitchens as a trend along the California coast.

Some houses here do have formal living rooms and separate family rooms, but formal here isn’t like formal on the East Coast. We’re not shut off from the weather like many other parts of the country, so living rooms here flow out into large decks, many of them situated on cliffs so once the door is thrown open to these outdoor rooms, the expansive views come into play, as does the moisture! On the Laguna Beach hillsides, we’re designing bigger kitchens with larger islands, and many times we are letting the breakfast rooms go in favor of an open floor plan. In this case, the island takes the place of the nook. 

There are so many more considerations to creating a home on the southern California coast that will stand the test of time, and we understand that when our clients are investing in properties, whether they are full-time residences or vacation homes, they want the built environment nestled into them to last. This is always on our mind as we are choosing materials and products to bring beauty to these beloved havens. 

Payton Addison Interior Design Atelier was founded in 2009 by Payton Addison. Located in the heart of the HIP district in Laguna Beach along the Southern California coast, the firm’s interior design services are sought after in the region and beyond. In all aspects of  residential interior design, Payton Addison is a name synonymous with creating luxury oceanfront homes and elegant residences with canyon views for an elite clientele. Click through to see a selection of her portfolio, and take a look at her design philosophy to see if working with her and her team is a good fit. Visit Atelier 1444 to peruse the beautiful candles and pillows designed by Payton Addison, and art painted by her to experience her ability to transform daily life into a sumptuously vital experience.