How to Bring Coastal Grandmother Chic Into Your Kitchen

Each week, Mansion Global tackles a topic with an elite group of designers from around the world who work on luxury properties. This week, we discover how to embrace coastal grandmother chic. 

Move over minimalist and contemporary. When it comes to the coveted aesthetic in home design today, coastal grandmother is in. 

Karen Wolf, a principal of KBW Interiors in Short Hills, New Jersey, said when it comes to home decor, coastal grandmother—which has been trending on social media —means beachy colors and limited patterns. 

Elements such as rattan, light woods and cozy touches such as rugs and blankets are also juxtaposed in.

While the unfussy but welcoming look can be incorporated into any room in your house, she recommended it in the kitchen. “It’s a great space because it presents many opportunities to bring the coastal grandmother to life,” Ms. Wolf said. “The kitchen is also the main gathering hub of the home and where you create memories, so you have the chance to appreciate the style to the fullest.”. 

Below, Ms. Wolf and other designers share their suggestions on ways to transform a kitchen into a coastal grandmother showpiece.  

More: Decorating Any Room With Rattan

Focus on Materials

“The first thing to consider when incorporating the coastal grandmother aesthetic into your kitchen is your material choice. You want materials that are organic, natural and work harmoniously together. Some of my go to’s would be clean white subway tiles (you can find these at Ann Sacks, Perigold and Waterworks to name a few) for the backsplash. 

“For a countertop, I would suggest looking at a crisp white Carrara marble or going with soapstone, which is easy to clean and low maintenance. For cabinetry, Shaker Style cabinets are a great choice with their clean lines and simple yet distinctive detail. They will give a timeless sophistication to the kitchen. For hardware, an oil rubbed bronze gives off a lived-in vibe that is still sleek and adds a bit of a luxurious feel.”

Allison Babcock, a Sag Harbor, New York-based interior designer 

Play up Blue and White

“Shades of blue and white epitomize the coastal grandmother so you want to use the colors as much as you can. Go for white and sky blue large coffee mugs displayed on open shelving, a flat white Roman window shade and navy or light blue linen placemats and napkins. 

“Handmade pottery is a must. Try ceramic bowls in different sizes and in various shades of whites and blues. Show off small ones on open shelves, and put larger pieces on the kitchen island or dining table where they could double as a fruit bowl. I like to buy them in both glazed and unglazed finishes because each has a unique look. And don’t forget about those kitchen mats—I recommend sticking with a darker blue because they tend to get dirty fast, and dark makes stains less visible.

“Also, if you have room, invest in a comfortable cream or soft blue settee that you can relax on with your morning cup of coffee or evening wine. Put a basket next to it with a nice chunky blue or cream blanket, and you’ve created a mini sanctuary.”

Interior Designer Bethany Adams, based in Louisville, Kentucky

More: Serenity Now: Relax Into Mood Lighting

Incorporate Nature and Natural Elements

“The coastal grandmother is all about bringing the outdoors in. Plants are an easy place to start. Try potting shelves where you can grow herbs like basil, mint and rosemary and small and medium plants like ferns, English ivy and eucalyptus that hang off ceiling hooks. And throw in woody finishes such as a wood lazy Susan, charcuterie boards that take center stage on the island, rattan soap holders and woven or wood baskets, including one as a fruit bowl and one to keep rolled up dish and hand towels.” 

A fruit bowl and a charcuterie board are taking center stage on this island designed by Karen Wolf.

Raquel Langworthy

Karen Wolf, a Short Hills, New Jersey-based interior designer

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