Framing California Coastal Views

We at Payton Addison Interior Design Atelier know that a client who has made the leap to purchase a property that is “all about the coastal views” has done so because they want to live with the vistas beyond the windows in as strong a way as possible. With this in mind, we make that view the star of the show in their interiors. Even if we’re not building from the ground up, we plan renovations so that the rooms, whether they face the ocean or the dramatic hillsides, have floor-to-ceiling windows. 

But that’s just where our job begins: what surrounds these windows is of the utmost importance so we want to bring the color palette from the outside into the interiors in a very measured way. Sand is a varied element in the landscapes of southern California: it’s on the beach, and it settles into the crevices in the hills. I like to draw neutral colors from the hillsides. The ivory tones that brighten or soften depending upon the time of day are beautiful hues to bring indoors from the coastal views. I leave the touches of green outside and let the sand-tones tie the interiors to the views.

Payton Addison is a fan of bifold doors for framing coastal views.
Payton Addison is a fan of bifold doors for framing coastal views.

When it’s all about the ocean, we are mindful about the varied colors beyond the large-scale windows, and never use them in a predictable way. It’s easy to get caught in the trap of being too obvious when bringing aquamarines and soft blues into a home so we find a way to include them as accents that will never be overdone. We lean toward bifold doors when including them is a possibility because they leave the views uninterrupted: we often tap La Cantina or Fleetwood Bifold doors for our clients’ homes because they manufacture such high-quality products. 

Lighting is an important aspect for homes with coastal views. During the day when natural illumination is streaming in from the windows and doors, you want to choose chandeliers that leave the drama to the scenery. This is equally important at night because when the sun is setting, you want to include fixtures that can be dimmed to match the mood of the changing scenery. After all, that is one of the reasons you likely chose ocean views as your backdrop! We like Savant or Lutron systems that help achieve the utmost in dimmability, which is even more critical when night falls and the views all but disappear. 

Payton Addison recommends minimal drapes so as not to interrupt coastal views.
Payton Addison recommends minimal drapes so as not to interrupt coastal views.

We use minimal drapes in our projects here on the southern California coast, and mainly in bedrooms for blackout. In bathrooms and other rooms, we’ll use rolling shades because they are cleaner. When we plan furniture arrangements, we make sure everyone can see the view so if there are chairs that are positioned with the backs to the ocean or to the dramatic canyons, as there often are, they will swivel. We position prep surfaces so that the homeowner isn’t turned away from the view because evening food prep is often happening when the views are at their most outstanding. 

In bedrooms, we take into consideration what will be seen from a reclining position so that we don’t block the view with furnishings—the eyeline should always be straight out to the enthralling vistas. It’s the same with landscaping: nothing tall is planted that would block the expanses from a sitting or a reclining position in a home. There are actually ordinances here that regulate planting on all properties so that no one who lives nearby can plant tall species that would eventually grow and block someone else’s view. 

In a nutshell, designing for California coastal views is always about capitalizing on each space and keeping the eye directly focused on the outside. The payoff is tremendous here, as the vistas are indeed stunning. We feel quite fortunate to live our lives appreciating them each and every day so we get how important they are to those seeking them for the first time and those who’ve lived their lifetimes enjoying them. 

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.