A beach lifestyle is much admired for its easygoing atmosphere, even among landlocked residents. How to compensate for a lack of waterfront? Put on your designer's cap and bring the beach to you.
One of the ways to start is by adopting the proper attitude, says part-time Water Mill resident David Scott, principal and founder of the Manhattan-based David Scott Interiors and author of the recently released "Outside the Box, An Interior Designer's Innovative Approach" (Pointed Leaf Press, $65).
"Beach style is casual, more carefree," he says. "It embraces nature."
One of the ways to embrace nature is by keeping the space simple, says Scott, who has added beach house ambience to a number of Manhattan apartments.
"The beach is also about the sky," Scott says. "Try to evoke that feeling of openness."
Here are some other tips:
1. When looking for design elements or furniture, choose natural fabrics such as linen, and colors you would find in a sea setting, he says -- such as whites and blues and blue-greens.
2. Get canvas slipcovers for your sofa and chairs, something that not only conjures up an outdoor feeling, but also helps extend their life.
3. Keep big items plain and put mattress ticking or awning-colored stripes in seaside shades on the throw pillows.
4. If you have wood floors, consider whitewashing them, then put down a sea grass mat to add an ocean flavor.
5. Instead of heavy window treatments, pick cotton or light sheer curtains -- "things that feel like they blow in the wind," Scott says.
6. Place seashells or pieces of driftwood around the room, or any weathered or rusting objects you find by the sea. Go to boat supply stores and buy nautical items -- like a porthole that you could turn into a mirror, or ensign flags that can be made into pillows.
7. Put photos with seaside settings on the walls, he says, "Or, even get a real anchor."
8. None of this should cost big bucks, Scott says. But if you want some luxury, buy a blue silk rug to mimic the sky, which can make a big impression.
After that, relax.
"Being by the beach is about not being too precious," he says.
Some downsides to beachfront property
People who own beach houses have no problem listing the pros associated with their homes.
Obviously, there's everything from recreation to a soothing ambience. They are great places to raise kids since it surrounds them with nature, homeowners say. And hardly anyone ever turns down an invitation to an on-the-water cookout, so they are family magnets, others add.
Naturally, there is exclusivity.
"God only made so much waterfront," says Realtor Margaret Mateyaschuk.
Let's see, disadvantages?
Storms are an occasional threat, both when it comes to property damage and possible harm to residents if they don't move fast enough. Ocean breezes that are relaxing to some can be an irritant to others. Salt air and constant sun mean beach homes need more maintenance than their landlocked counterparts.
Lastly, considering that beach homes can be separated from the mainland, they may require a few extra household chores.
"When we forget to pick up something from the grocery store, we have a five-minute drive back over the bridge to get supplies," says Barbara McGinn, an agent with Eric G. Ramsay, Jr. Associates, who specializes in beach properties and has had an Oak Beach home for 17 years. "Like that's the worst thing."