Finding Your Perfect Home

By Monica Spence Vogel

Like so many beachcombers these days…retired, recently relocated and “living the dream,” you find yourself with the design dilemma of combining coastal living with your personal style. Most of us have dreamt about finding our own little slice of heaven, imagining everything from the perfect view to the picket fence. However, for many, this transition is anything but heavenly. Perhaps your new home came partially furnished, or you downsized to just the minimum “must haves” with the thought of new home, new you! If you are finding the transition not nearly as easy, or as fun, as you thought–you are in good company.

The hardest part is done, you found the perfect home! Now, to make it perfect for you!

Start with your style: carefree, casual beach bungalow; romantic, cottage style; cool, contemporary chic; perhaps, farmhouse fresh. Next, choose a focal point–something that makes you happy, makes your heart soar when you see it – A beautiful armoire, a fabulous vintage pond boat, or even a great wall color. Now you have a starting point to build your room or a vignette around. This way you are not overwhelmed by the enormity of the project. I always love a mix of old and new, layering pieces that tell a story about me and my family. One sure way to get great results is to group like things together. Add a touch of whimsy, something unexpected, or a conversation piece.

Want to add a splash of color or the hottest trend? I always suggest keeping it simple, and adding it inexpensively, to avoid buyer’s remorse when the next hot trend comes along. Mix this season’s “must have” colors of blush, periwinkle, tangerine and chartreuse in quirky combinations. Organic fibers and neutral shades pair wonderfully with both painted furniture and natural wood. Remember, coastal living is much more than the traditional colors of white, red and blue. Bring the outdoors in with glass containers of shells, driftwood or beach rocks.  Herbal topiaries are a wonderful way to add fauna and fresh scents: think lavender, rosemary or mint.

Found a one of a kind, incredible piece? I always say go for it! Those great finds may only come along once in a blue moon. Thirty years later, I am loving the weathered 14’ flat bottom canoe even more now than I did at the shore. And that classic 1950s Coca Cola machine with the great graphics looks even better with our latest find – an iconic long board. For me, home should be the one place that makes you smile every time you turn the key! After all, there is no place like home!

About this writer

  • Monica Spence Vogel

    Monica Spence Vogel

    Monica Spence Vogel, owner of Bleu boutique, loves the road less traveled. While contemporary women’s apparel is in abundance at Bleu, it is the one-of-a-kind vintage wares & flea market finds that sets her heart aflutter. Hers is a passion for all things patina, chippy-shabby & well loved. Visit Monica at Bleu, 720 Sunset Blvd. N, Sunset Beach, N.C., open Mon-Sat 10am-5pm and Sun 12-4pm.  Call 910-579-5628 or

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