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Coastal Calm

Writer Marirose Krall  |  Photographer Chris Coe  |  Designer Susana Simonpietri  |  Location Ocean County, NJ

A new build in Ocean County takes inspiration from the outdoors

The entry hall features a soothing blend of earth tones and wood accents. “The walls are covered in a soft, earthy Roman clay. This adds so much more depth than a flat paint,” designer Susana Simonpietri says.

Susana Simonpietri’s clients were building their dream vacation home at the Shore. “It was a way to escape from New York City and be near family and friends who live in the area,” says the designer, who is creative director of Brooklyn, New York-based Chango & Co. As first-time home builders, they turned to Simonpietri to help them navigate the process.

Using the property’s location as the inspiration for the interiors, Simonpietri furnished the residence in “beachy” hues layered with natural accents. “Throughout the home, our team used colors that were pulled from the landscape. To create a calm, relaxing atmosphere — and to mirror the ocean outside — we used organic materials with lots of movement. That led to a palette of creams and blues accented by textures such as wood, cane, jute, linen and stone.” The understated color scheme accentuates those organic elements, allowing them to emerge as focal points of the design.

“In the kitchen, we used a honed quarzo bianco tile for the countertops — a creamy-colored natural stone with beautiful movement, subtly bringing to mind a sandy beach,” Simonpietri explains.

Wood accents play a major role throughout the home. In the kitchen, the light wood island coordinates with the hardwood flooring and the ceiling beams, while the counter stools and dining chairs offer additional wood elements. In the mudroom, wood-paneled built-ins provide storage, seating and a spot to hang up jackets or towels. The office is swathed floor to ceiling in stained wood panels to create a cozy cocoon of a space. Wood elements appear elsewhere in smaller doses — the coffee tables in the living and TV rooms, end tables in the primary bedroom and vanities in the bathrooms. “We felt that wood was a perfect medium to tie together the interior and exterior spaces. And it’s so versatile. It’s a perfect complement to the beach and sand.”

A niche in the mudroom is handy for hanging jackets or towels.

An Eames chair and ottoman compliment the wood tones in the office.

Colors of sea and sand appear in the bright, airy playroom, which has a decidedly sophisticated feel. “We love the playroom in this home,” Simonpietri notes. “It’s one of the first spaces you see when you walk into the house and, therefore, had to be slightly more formal than your average playroom. It feels gender- and age-neutral while also being young and fun.” Because the room is highly visible, the designer ensured it would be easy to keep tidy. “We added lots of enclosed storage space to keep mess and toys out of sight, but we did it with fun blue accents and leather hardware to keep it playful.”

The playroom has a sophisticated, minimalist vibe, with lots of storage for toys and games. It’s also designed to withstand hard use. Simonpietri says, “We always use performance fabrics in playrooms, so the furniture can stand up to the wear and tear that comes with having a young family. It gives everyone peace of mind.” The palette in the playroom is light and breezy. “The rugs are made of nylon to make them easy to clean,” Simonpietri notes.

Performance fabrics ensure easy cleanup, and modular furniture adds flexibility. “The custom sofa was designed keeping both form and function in mind. The double-sided feature allows flexibility in the way the space is used — whether that be watching TV or hanging out with the kids while they play.”

In the TV room, a large sofa topped with pillows and a throw is a welcoming spot for a movie night.

A neutral palette in the living room is soft and sophisticated, with wood accents that add interest.

While most of the spaces feature a subdued palette, Simonpietri went bolder in the TV room, where a deep blue sofa and rug stand out against the greige walls and window treatments. “We wanted to make it a destination room and super forgiving,” Simonpietri explains. “The darker colors hide any stains, so the family doesn’t have to worry about ruining the furnishings during the kids’ movie nights.”

Green backsplash tile is a focal point of the bar. “This area was originally intended as a secondary service station, but we knew it could be so much more than that, turning it into a true hangout destination.”

Rich color also makes an appearance in the third-floor bar. The teal-tiled backsplash creates a dramatic contrast with the wood cabinetry and barstools. “It acts as a backdrop for the custom brass bar shelves we designed in collaboration with Amuneal.” The hit of deep color makes a bold impression at the top of the stairs. “When you reach the third floor, you’re greeted by the open bar space, which is a stunning moment. It’s a true hangout destination.”

The primary bedroom features subtle tones of gray and white, allowing the view to take center stage. “Such a huge part of this project was ensuring that the gorgeous views were the focus. This informed everything from our architectural finishes to our furniture layouts to our material selections,” Simonpietri says.

A daughter’s room is clad in soft, subtle shades of pink. A daughter’s bathroom features various shades of pink tile. “Because this is a second home for a young family, we took it upon ourselves to make each of the bathrooms unique and fun. Through the use of both color and interesting tile patterns, we aimed to make each bathroom playful and bright without feeling childlike.”

Bright blue accents add zest to the bunk room.

Deep blue wainscoting and wall covering featuring stylized waves reference the ocean in this powder room.

The entire home, in fact, is a gathering place for the family, just as they intended. The home’s design reflects the attitude of its inhabitants, according to Simonpietri. Like the residence, “they were amazing and so easy-going.”