From the October/November 2010 Issue:

Beyond Blue

  • Writer: Robin Amster
  • Photographer: Morris Gindi
  • Designer: Joyce Silverman
  • Writer: Robin Amster | Photographer: Morris Gindi | Designer: Joyce Silverman |

Adventurous color, rich textures, and unique pieces set this beach house apart

Article Photo
enlarge | A dramatic tufted ottoman-like sofa in bright orange takes center stage in the living room, introducing a “boutique hotel” feel to the home—not what you might expect in a beach house. Designer Joyce Silverman combines it with other unusual touches: a Lucite console table, orange lacquer table, and blue-tinted Art Deco mirror above the 70-year-old home’s vintage fireplace. The chairs are covered in an indigo-and-cream indoor/outdoor fabric.
Think Jersey Shore beach house and the color that most often comes to mind is undoubtedly blue. Designer Joyce Silverman and her client, however, are on the same page when it comes to being “courageous” about color. The pair, who have worked together before, chose orange as the primary hue for their latest collaboration: a cozy, 70-year-old house three blocks from the beach in a Monmouth County community.

Silverman, whose firm is Joyce D. Silverman Interiors in Brooklyn, and her client, a single mother of four, combined an adventurous use of color with a keen sense of texture and a collection of some very unbeach-like pieces to move the design beyond the blue tones and seashell accessories, the nautical touches, and the marine motifs so often associated with beach houses.

They celebrate orange throughout the five-bedroom home, starting with a tufted ottoman-like round sofa of orange linen that greets visitors when they step from the front porch into the living room. Silverman’s inspiration was a similar piece she saw in a Monte Carlo hotel lobby.

Orange is found also in other unusual furnishings, including orange lacquer occasional tables in the living room, futuristic orange-and-white rubber chairs fronting a bar in the living room, and the orange glow of the stark iron chandelier—featuring faux pillar candles—above the dining room table.

Forming the backdrop throughout the first floor are beige grass-cloth walls in a basket-weave pattern. The same grass-cloth is used in bright orange as an accent wall behind the living room’s bar, in the hall leading from the living room to the powder room, and on the powder room walls. Orange accents appear in the crewelwork at the bottom of the living and dining room window treatments and as the border on the sisal stair runner.

“You usually find grass-cloth in earth tones,” Silverman says. “But we combined it with color. Color is a priority for my client, and we dare to take risks.”

“I don’t know quite why I got into orange,” the homeowner adds. “I think it’s a spring-summery color and it’s also a happy color.”

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enlarge | Designer Joyce Silverman and her client couldn’t resist getting back to blue in the kitchen. It’s a fitting color for a space that looks out onto a small lake. White rubber and sky blue lacquer chairs, a blue glass backsplash, and blue cabinet pulls combine with white cabinetry, a walnut island, and wood veneer and white resin pendants.
A Splash of Blue
The homeowner did not forsake blue entirely. Blue predominates in the kitchen, whose windows look out onto a nearby lake. The homeowner thought blue would be a perfect fit for this space. The kitchen has a blue glass backsplash, blue pulls on white cabinets, and blue lacquer seats (combined with white rubber) on the chairs at the dining counter.

Blue also pops up as an accent in cream-and-indigo living room chairs and combined with orange and yellow in throw pillows. In another surprising touch, Silverman used a blue-tinted Art Deco mirror above the vintage white brick fireplace in the living room.

Texture is used in distinctive ways too. Silverman fashioned the front of the bar in the living room with 12-by-12-inch teak tiles in a three-dimensional basket-weave pattern. “I didn’t want to do run-of-the mill,” she says.

The designer intended to keep for herself vintage Knoll dining room chairs she found in a Florida vintage shop. “But my client liked them so much I let her have them,” she says. The chairs are a chunky bouclé of orange, blue, turquoise, red, and yellow. The burlap-type fabric with a crewelwork bottom border on the living and dining room window treatments adds another textural dimension.

Colors, textures, clean lines, and an eclectic mix of the unusual and unexpected in furnishings add up to a “boutique hotel” look, Silverman says. “It’s kind of like a combination of Jersey Shore B&B and cutting-edge Parisian boutique hotel.”

Yet neither the designer nor her client lost sight of the home’s purpose: a beach house for the homeowner and her kids’ two-and-a-half to three-month annual getaway from their primary residence in New York.

With that in mind, the homeowner wanted “a carefree, easy living” environment. Silverman met that need with non-fussy hardwood floors, faux rattan porch furniture, the modern rubber chairs at the bar and in the kitchen, and indoor-outdoor fabric in some furnishings.

“The house may be daring in some ways, but it’s not shocking,” the homeowner says. “It’s livable, warm, and cozy.”


Overall: interior design, Joyce D. Silverman Interiors in Brooklyn; stylist, Margie Sarway in Brooklyn. Living Room: ottoman/round sofa, Cushion Revival in Brooklyn with fabric by Fabricut in Tulsa, Oklahoma; chairs, Cushion Revival with fabric by SeaCloth through John Rosselli in New York City; lacquer table, Becton Ltd. in Americus, Georgia; Lucite console table, CB2 in Naperville, Illinois; window treatment, Kravet; sofas, Cushion Revival with fabric by Donghia in Mount Vernon, New York; coffee table, Baker Knapp & Tubbs in New York City; lacquer end table, Bungalow5 in Oakland; bar (wood tiles), Louis J. Weinstein Inc. in Little Silver; bar chairs, Design Within Reach in San Francisco. Porch: furniture and coffee tables, Global Partners Trading in Quincy, Massachusetts; throw pillows, Kravet in Bethpage, New York. Kitchen: cabinetry and island, Metro Kitchens in Brooklyn; backsplash, All City Glass & Mirror in Brooklyn; chairs, Karim Rashid in New York City; pendants, Design Public in San Francisco, California; flooring, Stone Source in New York City. Dining Room: table, Atelier of Prague in New York City; chairs, Dolce in West Palm Beach, Florida; chandelier, Restoration Hardware. Master Bedroom: bed, Kravet; nightstand, Rahli Designs in Santa Fe, New Mexico; fabric wall (behind bed), Osborne & Little in Stamford, Connecticut; Lucite ceiling fan, Minka Group in Corona, California.