In Search of Water
During the last few years, many people have migrated from cities to waterside locations that offer ample space, access to nature and serenity. Zillow’s Ideal Home Survey reveals that there’s been an uptick of interest in beach dwellings (21%, up from 17% in 2020) and lake locations (16%, up from 12%).
“The pandemic caused a surge of city dwellers to abandon urban living for open space, fresh air and the calmness associated with waterfront living,” said Donna Kenny, realtor associate, Coldwell Banker Realty in Rumson, New Jersey.
“Since more people are working from home, living near the water is so desirable. They can now end the day with a stroll on the beach or boardwalk,” added Susan Natale, realtor, Coldwell Banker realty in Middletown, New Jersey.
“During the pandemic, people moved to lake and coastal areas because these areas were not that populated and felt safer due to their isolation off-season. This migration changed these areas into more year-round destinations rather than the summer escapes they were in the past,” said Julie Donbroski, principal broker, Rhinebeck Real Estate and Mainly Rentals in the Hudson Valley, New York. “This converted local economies from short-term, summer businesses to businesses that provided goods and services year-round. This provided much needed capital to areas with historically poor economic conditions.”
Tamara Moran, president of Town Pride, revealed that merchandise reflecting waterfront living resonates with shoppers and “homeowners are ushering coastal colors, textures and images” into décor.
Manufacturers are riding a wave of demand. Within the past few years, many home and gift companies have experienced a peak in demand for all things coastal. “We attribute that to the aspirational lifestyle trend. You don’t have to live at the beach to enjoy the coastal theme,” said Colleen Hall, vice president of marketing for C&F Home.
Coastal wares have always performed well within waterside communities, but are also resonating with shoppers who are landlocked. Marcia Miller, founder and CEO of Mud Pie, noted once travel began again after pandemic shut-downs, beach and lakeside destinations became a place to gather. “Vacation rentals and hotels often choose coastal décor (and) we see a domino effect — vacationers are inspired and bring that design into their homes, whether they live near the water or not,” said Miller.
Town Pride creates custom wares that vary in coastal motifs and colors from one demographic to the next, yet simpler, cleaner designs are performing across the board.
Colors are brighter and the looks are whimsical. “I think folks want to smile more,” said Town Pride’s Moran. “Vacation rentals and beach homes are on the rise.
People want to decorate with nautical or beach themes to match their locations,” Heidi Cowan, product coordinator at DEMDACO detailed. Designs that reflect more simplified lines are also resonating with its customers as are palette colors that incorporate beach-inspired pastels and neutrals.
Trending designs include crabs, sea turtles, mermaids and palm trees that are paired with breezy colors, which capture the spirit of the summer. Coastal themed embellishments are available on a variety of merchandise, including entertaining pieces, serveware and gifts according to Mud Pie. Oyster shells, tinted glass and baubles are also popular.
As for color, it’s all about gold accents and traditional shades of blue. “We’ve utilized a lot of water hyacinth, which mixes well with tabletop and other home décor since it’s neutral and complements the coastal style,” said Miller, who also noted that coral, shells, starfish and crabs are evergreen motifs.
A palette of blue and white is always strong for C&F Home’s coastal goods, yet sea glass and dune (natural) are trending in home décor and textiles. And coral and ochre hues are gaining in popularity.
“Octopuses are trending, and coral is an ever-popular motif,” said Hall.
Jennifer Livingston, senior product designer, DEMDACO, noted that soothing colors, such as blues and greens are also incorporated as are messages reflecting water activities such as boating, fishing, camping and more. “The art is designed
to conjure up memories,” Livingston detailed. “We are creating items that bring you back to your ‘Happy Place.’”
Mud Pie’s Miller shared that when designing products for lakeside lifestyles, it is important to appeal to shoppers who seek “cool tones and nods to nature.”
“We consistently see blue and green tones trend, often used together in plaid or check patterns. We also see rope and wooden elements, whether used for décor, serveware or wall art,” said Miller.
Additionally, textural elements are important Miller detailed. “Embroidered waffle weave towels or hyacinth baskets with ceramic salt and pepper shakers, give off a ‘lived-in’ look, which is well suited for the casual atmosphere at the lake,” she noted.
This article appeared in Waterfront Living 2022.