Pops of colour, vintage pieces and a hint of industrial style are the key to this modern take on coastal chic
The owners bought the houseboat a couple of years ago. ‘As soon as I saw it, I felt there was something about it,’ says the owner. ‘It’s in a special spot that’s colourful and eccentric. We felt as if we’d been there before. We know what living on a houseboat is like as we live on one in London, so it was easy to think of taking it on.’
The houseboat was built on the hull of a Thames lighter (a type of sailing barge). Designed with a large open-plan space that makes the most of the sea views, it has bedrooms and bathrooms downstairs. Outside, metal stairs lead to the open upper deck. ‘We knew we could enjoy it with the children and let it out for holidays too. Houseboats don’t have issues with period detail. It was a blank canvas, so we could do what we wanted.’ Vintage front door furniture such as the wooden post box and galvanised bell are a gentle reminder that this ship will remain nestled on the banks of it’s own scenic harbour.
The couple have created a beautiful country-style hall using a neat storage bench, striped Roman blinds and colourful cushions. Here the colours are strong blues and greens with a pop of pink for balance and a flutter of butterflies for added interest. In this space – on a houseboat – porthole windows add instant nautical style. The classic porthole is distinguished by its metal frame and wing-nut fastenings.
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Buy now: Bench, Hungarian Settle Bench, Small in Clay, £395, Garden Trading
Your hallway is a high-traffic area so the couple have kept it tidy, neutral and streamlined. A simple rattan basket is used as a catch-all to keep the area uncluttered and tap into the coastal theme. An oversized traditional coat hook makes a stylish focal point on the plain walls. Here, a petrol blue seat pad turns a wide windowsill into a handy bench and the navy-on-cream cable printed Roman blind brings the contemporary look together.
Use maritime blue to anchor a coastal scheme in an open-plan living space. In this room, the substantial sofa and ship’s blueprint artwork are the stars of the show, but the look is tempered by the natural finishes of an industrial-style chrome floor lamp and impressive pallet coffee table. It has been fitted with a sturdy set of casters so it’s easy to move around.
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Buy now: Similar pallet table, Cliffridge Pallet Side Table, £125.99, Borough Wharf at Wayfair
The dining space is both quirky and energetic. The hero piece in this space is the zinc-topped distressed table, which combines industrial chic with French elegance. A large electric blue sofa takes in river views through large screen doors at one end of the space. Movie set lighting adds an industrial edge. At the other end, pops of colour and a rainbow of chairs liven up the large zinc ‘galley’ table. Vibrant coastal wall art makes the space personal and full of character.
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Buy now: Pendant, Double Paris Pendant Light, £185, Garden Trading
Here the owners have picked a pale palette as their backdrop and have chosen key pieces that enhance the bright and breezy feel. A cane headboard allows air to circulate, while open industrial shelving means you can easily find things at a glance. The bed has been dressed with crisp white linen to guarantee a good night’s sleep. Pale pastel cushions and a fluffy throw keep the mood calm while introducing softness. The nautical theme is continued with jaunty striped blackout blinds that are perfect for covering up the portholes.
Calming neutrals have been teamed with natural materials for a splendidly crisp, clean look in the bedroom. Scatter cushions in a mix of cotton, linen and hessian, plains and florals introduce pattern, but it is the foot-of-the-bed throw made in a designer fabric that draws the attention with its churning seascape in bold navy and white. A run of sand-coloured carpet completes the seaside scheme.
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Buy now: Fabric (on bed and blind), Main Sail Novelty Fabric, £84 per metre, F&P Interiors
The existing bathroom has been rejuvenated with a selection of well-chosen accessories. The owner has used an all-white palette as a fresh backdrop and added jaunty sea-themed accessories. Weathered wood furniture, sailboat figurines and beach hut embroidered towels add a nautical note. A seascape painting, sourced locally, takes pride of place on the wall. ‘We commissioned them from local artists who have become good friends, and that makes it feel personal.’
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Buy now: Similar bath mat, Blue beach hut print beach towel, £12, Debenhams
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Here, the owners have chosen one made from weathered wood to lend authenticity to a traditional maritime scheme. The look has been livened with jolly appliqué cushions in energetic shades of turquoise and pink. The result is a stylish and eclectic mix. A new headboard is a quick and easy way to transform your space in an instant.
The house originally featured in Country Homes & Interiors