Sometimes we have rooms in our homes that aren’t clearly defined: it’s a breakfast room/family room/entryway… And how to design a space like that can be quite the challenge. We came across Brooklyn-based architect Roberto Sosa‘s Maui home that he renovated with Rene Holguin, from the Los Angeles located shop RTH, and were instantly captivated by the relaxed stylishness of it as well as its functionality. Built in the 1940s, this home was originally two: a plantation cottage and a stone carriage house, that Sosa converted into one cohesive space. They gave it a modern, beach colonial style, pairing everything back and sticking to an all-white foundation.

As much as this space’s style may appear “effortlessness”, there are some tricks of the trade that can help you achieve this look. Here’s how we’re breaking it down:

  • An all-white foundation instantly brightens up an older and darker space: when it comes to homes with a bit of old world charm, an easy way to give it a quick (and less expensive) makeover is to whitewash everything, the walls, the beams, the floors…
  • Layer in natural materials: given the first trick of whitewashing, you then need to layer in natural materials such as wood of different light and medium shades, as well as jute, sisal, and linen. Natural materials ground the all-white canvas, bringing in an earthy element.
  • Think about weight and scale: A platform sofa, like this one, is a great option for giving more weight to the room. If your floors are white, choose a larger piece of furniture that sits on the floor.
  • Rough around the edges is sometimes best: for highly functional spaces like a breakfast room, it’s sometimes best to find vintage pieces (like this dining table) that are slightly worn. The reason for this is to invite a more casual use of these pieces rather than making them feel too precious.

Love the look of this space? See our slideshow for a round-up of items to get the look!