Fun décor and functional spaces make a luxe, modern beach home


When it comes to the interiors of an oceanfront getaway, beachy décor can sometimes veer into seashell cliches and casual vibes that read messy.

Designers such as Chad James, principal of the Nashville-based Chad James Group, are creating next-level beach houses that, yes, nod to the nautical, but also up the luxe factor while remaining comfortable and personal family retreats.  

“It has always been by goal to provide each project with its own uniqueness that is established by the location and the client’s own personal interests,” Mr. James, who designed the Florida beach house seen here for country music superstar Luke Bryan, said.

Beachy keen

The starting point for most design is the property’s function, and that certainly differs between main residences and vacation homes.

“When designing multiple homes for our clients, it’s always important to understand the function and purpose of this location,” Mr. James said. “Establishing this allows us to create spaces that exclusively cater to their needs.”

Beach homes are generally meant for relaxation and spending quality time with the family, and the house itself needs to provide the perfect place to do so.

“Beach and coastal homes have their own set of rules, many of which are dictated by a sense of casual relaxation and having a place to gather and make lasting memories,” Mr. James said.

“This home was always intended to be a family retreat,” Mr. James said of the Bryan project, adding that his design focused on gathering spaces.

The outdoors are what beachfront living is all about, and the home provides plenty of room to spend time in the sea air.

And, the last thing a family wants to worry about on vacation is taking care of their beach house. Using easily cleaned, non-fussy materials that can withstand salty air, sun and sand allows for those tasks to be thrown out to sea.

“Vacation homes are just that—a place to vacation and cast your stress into the water,” Mr. James said. “We always make sure that fabrics, colors and materials are being used in a way where maintenance is as easy as possible.”

A casual, easy home does not have to give up luxurious surroundings, however.

“Just because a home is at the beach doesn’t mean that the luxury element should be forgotten,” Mr. James said. “We establish this through the backdrop of materials we use like marble, tile, special wood finishes and also the furnishings we include.”

On top of that, Mr. James utilizes his clients’ extensive art collections to personalize not just their main homes, but their vacation spaces as well.

Fun, modern beachy touches liven things up too.  

In this home, Mr. James added cheeky sculptures, outdoor surfboard showers and vintage ship plaques to a classic blue-and-white color palette and comfy, family-friendly furniture.

The designer’s motto, “If it’s not fun, I’m not doing it,” can be found throughout this Florida beach home, and every Chad James Group project.

“Often those fun moments are more of an inside joke, reference or acknowledgment to something that only our clients will understand,” Mr. James said. “It’s always important to nod our head to the whimsical nature that lives inside of each of us.”