In life, we sometimes have to make concessions to get what we really want. For this young couple, making their commute to work longer in exchange for being right on the ocean was completely worth it. Having bought a beautiful home in Malibu that was basically a white box with pretty millwork, they needed some help to give it character. Designer Amy Elbaum of AE Design was the perfect partner to infuse the space with the boho and coastal style that the couple wanted.

“The clients had an idea of what they wanted for their space – they wanted to embrace the coastal feel of the home and the location (it being in Malibu) but they also wanted to make sure it didn’t feel too beachy as it is their year round home,” Amy said. She avoided pieces that felt too nautical and instead layered in global textiles, warm neutrals, and blues. “Comfortable, practical and casual were key words for them,” she added.

The couple decided to start completely fresh, bringing only an American flag artwork and purchasing the reclaimed wood kitchen table that was there when they acquired the house. “We added the navy blue vinyl cushions to the banquette and the metallic striped seat covers for the chairs and stools to work with rich wood of the table,” Amy explained. A rope pendant lamp gives the space texture and a slight nod to the beach surroundings without going too far in the nautical direction.

As for the art, she made sure that the rest of the pieces in the formal living room, like the gray sofa, remain neutral in order to give it prominence. Similarly, she kept the master bedroom very simple so that the decor only enhance the gorgeous views of the ocean rather than take away from it. “I think we accomplished all of the practical goals for the house while still giving it a fresh and unique vibe,” she explained, “It is comfortable and livable, yet it still has that wow factor when you walk into the house.”