At home by the seaside

Charlie Luxton shows how to add some coastal style to your home. Sharon Dale reports.

Coastal style never dates and you don't have to live by the sea to introduce it into your home.

Window dressing specialist Hillarys teamed up with architectural designer and TV presenter Charlie Luxton and asked him to explain how he introduced the look to his holiday property in Cornwall.

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Charlie, his wife Kate and their two children Maia, 11, and Toby, nine, live in Oxfordshire but escape to their seaside second home as often as they can. “We all love surfing so we loved the idea of getting a bolthole by the coast rather than renting somewhere every time we came down,” says Charlie.

The property, which is 15-minute walk from the beach, started life as an agricultural barn. “Our home was a dilapidated old sheep shed when we bought it,” says Charlie. “We've rebuilt it using materials that you get down here on the Cornish seaside. Our house revolves around an open plan living, dining and cooking space and references the reality and palette of the Cornish seascape to create a subtle, calm environment.

“For me, coastal style is a way of life rather than a trend, it's a look that invokes an ambiance of relaxed informality.”

Charlie's tips for a cool and casual coastal vibe include:

*Water-washed shades: Think about the environment you are in, the wonderful blues you get in the sky and the sea, those grey tones you get on a stormy day. Mixing greys, blues and whites is a wonderful combination but don't be afraid to be a little bit bold, a pop of sun yellow can just be perfect.

*Coastal sanctuary: Create a special coastal corner for sketching, reading or laid-back summer chilling. Display holiday photographs or a collection of seashore finds on open shelves.

*Light fantastic: The quality of light is a really important part of living by the sea and so is being able to control the light levels in your home. When you've got big areas of glass, whether it's sliding doors, bifolds or large windows, light and privacy are key issues. Voile curtains do a wonderful job of filtering the light. If the sun is too strong just pull them across and this softens the lighting levels. They're perfect for daytime privacy. I've combined them with roller blinds because they're so incredibly practical Pull them up to make the most of a spectacular view, pull down in the evening for a cosy, more intimate feel.

*Style: “Think about the materials and the textures you find by the seaside. I've looked to reference the beautiful local stone and slate and that lovely sun-bleached timber, you get on the coast. Connect with the outside wherever you are.

I've softened this with linen looking fabrics, chunky woollen rugs and throws and cushions.

Natural textures work well with my soothing coastal colour palette so feature woven baskets, driftwood lamps and wooden furniture.

*Hide clutter: I've built a separate store room out paraphernalia so it doesn't detract from our calm interior.

For more information on Charlie's coastal style visit www.hillarys.co.uk/inspiration/charlie-luxton/