Take a coastal beach house tour of our family’s beach house. Tips and ideas for decorating a beach house with coastal style.

There are so many fun ways to add coastal style to your home. Today I’m sharing all of my favorite decorating tips for style by the ocean with this coastal beach house tour.

coastal beach house tour

I’ve spent every almost every summer of my life here at Cape Cod.

My great-grandfather drove my great-grandmother out to the edge of the ocean in a sleigh in the middle of a snow covered day and fell in love with each other and the land. After they married, he bought her 40 acres of beach front views in the 1920’s.

Together they grew old and raised four sons, including my grandfather, and helped generations of family to build houses and celebrate summers in a place where the ocean meets the sky.

I am lucky enough to be a part of one of those families.

We spent every summer in one of those houses.

This one.

This amazing, incredible, beautiful, keeper of the summer memories house.

The one I am typing this blog post from.

It was built in the 1950’s and it’s been in our family for over 60 years.

It provided my inspiration for decorating a beach house.

Want to take a tour (including the exact spot I discovered Nancy Drew mystery novels)?

Oh, good.

Here’s a coastal beach house tour of our Cape Cod house.

coastal beach house tour hydrangea

coastal beach house tour outside

coastal beach house tour front door

Decorating a Beach House With Coastal Style

Here’s the view of the front of the house.

My grandmother considered herself a visionary.

She didn’t want a house like everyone else. She wanted something a little unique and mid-century modern (back when it was actually in the mid-century).  So the house has an entire bank of windows that face the ocean. There are two stories of windows on the front of the house with a large roof that slants in the back.

My mother added a sleeping porch on the side of the house with additional windows (you can see it on the left-hand-side) and views of the ocean.

coastal beach house tour view from house

This is the view from those windows.

Nothing but ocean and shoreline as far as the eye can see.

There’s a little path on the left-hand side that takes you right down to the beach. The beach is amazing. It’s sleepy and not really used that much except by family and a few other people that live nearby. We leave our chairs at the base of the path and our flip flops at the top.

coastal beach house tour living room

coastal beach house tour dresser

Here’s the view on the other side of the windows when you walk in the front door.

The house has a large central living space that can easily house generations of family. The ceiling has the original wood beams and the floor is the original slate that my grandmother had installed. No wood planks for her.


She considered herself a visionary.

My dad started and my brother finished the built-ins on the left-hand side of the wall and I added the artwork where I made a flag from starfish and sand dollars.

coastal beach house tour kitchen

Here’s the kitchen.

Same beams and same floor.

There’s a skylight in the top of the roof and if I squint, I can see my grandmother opening up the shutters on the skylight with a pole with a hook on the end of it.

coastal beach house tour dining room

coastal beach house tour blue and white table

coastal beach house tour strawberries

Directly off the kitchen is the dining room. They are actually kind of the same room.

You can see the corner of the kitchen counter to the right in the picture above.

That table is my great grandmothers and I have eaten more lobster and swordfish and coahogs and corn on the cob at that table than I can count.

coastal beach house tour side porch

On the other side of the dining room is the porch.

It’s an all-weather sleeping porch with a built-in bench for overflow sleeping when we have extra family here at the house.

The gray bench on the left is from the summer camp building where I went to camp (and my kids all went to camp, t00.)

And this is my room.

There are four bedrooms in the house and this is mine.

It’s where I learned to love Nancy Drew.

It’s where I discovered that clam shells make great organizers.

It’s where I planned adventures and listened to the ocean waves against the shore and picked corn cob out of my teeth and wiped off feet covered in Cape Cod sand.

I’m so glad my great-grandmother took that sleigh ride.

It changed the course of my summers.

It piqued my interest in decorating a beach house.

And in amazing news?

My feet are still sandy and Nancy Drew is still the most brilliant detective in town. 🙂

Sources for Coastal Beach House:

PS Follow me here on Pinterest for tons more project ideas and design inspiration.

photography credit: Some of these photos in this post were taken by the amazing photographer for my book, The DIY Style Finder.

disclosure: affiliate links are used in this post. Thank you so much for supporting Thistlewood and when you purchase an item through my links I receive a small commission with no additional cost to you.

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  1. Image for Carol Carol

    I have family connections on Cape Cod. It’s one of my favorite places on earth! I love driving on the beach for sunset and cocktails! Idyllic! Sigh! Did you go to the Brewster Camp? Such a great place with generations of memories. Sadly it is no longer in operation!

  2. Image for laura laura

    Oh my gosh what a great story and investment! We are headed to Cape Cod at the end of August with two couple friends (after we drop our kids off at school). How wonderful to keep this in the family! I love that most of all! xo laura

  3. Image for LORRI LORRI

    Oh to be so lucky to have a place on Cape Cod. I went with some Girlfriends to experience see what Cape Cod and the Islands offer. It was so much fun and I was in Seafood heaven... would love to go back there again .. Enjoy your time there... once again ..too be so lucky to be able to enjoy the scenery there...Sigh!!!

  4. Image for Alice Alice

    K…I’m in Scituate, just up the coast. If you decide to take a drive I’d love to show you my town! Enjoy the warm-ish weather!

  5. Image for Kathleen Kathleen

    Ahhh the many memories, KariAnne! It’s easy to see why you love this home … It is filled with your favorite blues ~ so perfect for the beach! Wonderful antiques, and fun decor abound. So lovely … thanks for this tour!

  6. Image for Gretchen Zelek Gretchen Zelek

    Love Love Love! Gorgeous home and isn’t it a fabulous time to be on the Cape!? I was going to ask where to buy some of your fabulous finds-but you were so very kind to include the links. My Cape house is getting some new things- thanks to you! ❤️ (Hope this isn’t a duplicate- I am in a basement waiting for jury duty and the internet is wonky)

  7. Image for Scarlett Scarlett

    What an amazing home filled with so many loving memories KariAnne! Enjoy your time relaxing, exploring & rediscovering old treasures. XO ~Scarlett @SpruceStudioShoppe

  8. Image for Anne Haas Anne Haas

    Oh Karianne, thank your the tour of your family home - what a family treasure! I’ve always wanted to go to Cape Cod and this post has ignited a new fire in my heart ❤️

  9. Image for JC JC

    This is lovingly nostalgic, and romantic, and filled with charm in every way! Thanks for sharing! Enjoy your vacation!

  10. Image for Diane Diane

    One of the best places - the homes, the beach, all the hydrangeas simply beautiful It’s like you’ve entered a different world , one where you can simply relax and enjoy the views

  11. Image for Barbara Barbara

    So gorgeous and family friendly and awesome!!!! Love your decor and especially the blue and white together- bet that blue is SW Naval:) Enjoy every minute!

  12. Image for Vicki B Vicki B

    OMGosh! I'm in Massachusetts and love the Cape. My sister is at Ocean Edge so we visit Brewster often. You should have to bloggers event there!!!!!! Would love to meet you in person :-)

  13. Image for Terri Terri

    What a blessing! A beautiful home to spend summers that is not only is an amazing place but filled with love and memories! It must feel like coming home, like a warm hug. One of the things I miss now that my folks are gone is the history. Such perfection! So glad that your family has held on to this gem! Oh...and I know that had to be your room!!!

  14. Image for Marie Marie

    This was fun! My grandmother had green slate in her entry. During a remodel it was accidentally ripped out and the whole family was/is sad. Love to see your slate intact and those beams!!

  15. Image for Barb E Barb E

    Such a peaceful treasure full of family memories…that keeps on giving! Thank you for sharing this very enjoyable tour.

  16. Image for Jan Kinman Jan Kinman

    KariAnne, Thank you so much for sharing such a magical place! Does your family still own the 20 acres? What a treasure! I love, the starfish! Enjoy your time there. Jan

  17. Image for Shelly F Shelly F

    I love Cape Cod! My husband spent his summers there at Cape Cod Sea Camp (recently shuttered). That's where he got his passion for sailing from. We now own a sailboat here in Broken Bow, Oklahoma and have the only sail boat on the lake. Thank you for sharing your family home! It's beautiful!

  18. Image for Astrid Morales Astrid Morales

    Absolutely beautiful Karianne!! The best are all the memories you have made throughout the years and the memories you will continue to make. Regards from a New Englander

  19. Image for Mary Anne Russo Mary Anne Russo

    Oh my gosh KariAnne what a beautiful story and your Grandfather was a great investor! Your family home is what one would envision a beach home to look like! Enjoy your view and your feet in the sand!!!!

  20. Image for Teresa Gonzales Teresa Gonzales

    What a special history you have there at the Cape. So glad we share Massachusetts. Those memories are not replaceable. Beautiful place!

  21. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    Have a wonderful time at the Cape! Breathe it all in, sweet friend and make more memories to add to your timeline!

  22. Image for Diana Hall Diana Hall

    What beautiful memories to have of this gorgeous place!! I WILL get to the Cape and Martha’s Vineyard someday…. My bucket list for this Midwest girl! If I had a beach home to decorate, it would be so like yours… blue and white forever!!!💙. Enjoy your time there and thank you so very much for sharing your family with us. Precious 💙💙💙

  23. Image for R Newton R Newton

    What a love story! Loved it and your lovely Cape Cod home still lasting today. I've been to Cape Cod a couple times and loved it so much, being from the midwest and now the south, it's a LONG way to go and usually quite costly it seems. But would still love to visit again while I'm "still above ground"! Thanks for a grand tour...........also love all the nautical decorations...........what elseEH? Enjoy your time there, as I know you will...........R Newton

  24. Image for Elizabeth Elizabeth

    KariAnne… What a stunning home. Makes me miss the Cape. We summered there, too, and my husband and I got married there. It’s harder to get to now that I am in Colorado not Massachusetts anymore. Thanks for sharing this beautiful home and story. ❤️ Elizabeth @elizabethbeardesigns

  25. Image for Linda Linda

    O do you know how truely blessed you are ...... Not just to get to enjoy this pretty cottage with a ocean view but more important to have a loving Family. What I wouldn't have given. So happy for you !


    Thanks for sharing your family history of your beautiful home on Cape Cod. What a beautiful spot you have. KariAnne, we can see your lovely personal touches of blue and white in your family home. Hope you keep all the old memories close and I know you will make many more great new memories! We spent a week on Cape Cod many years ago and just loved it. We hope to go back some day soon now that our Canadian border is open again.

  27. Image for Anna Anna

    You are so wonderful at conjuring up images. Your family home and your grandparents sleigh ride set the scene for a cape cod mystery....

  28. Image for Shirley Shirley

    The first time I flew to the US from England the pilot announced we were flying over Cape Cod and to look out on the left side. Everyone ran across to that side . I thought the plane would tip up but it didn’t! Beautiful home with lots of your touches. The picture you made of starfish and sand dollars is genius!

  29. Image for Amy Amy

    I love your summer home and can totally relate. I too have grown up in a summer home on MVI that my great great grandfather bought. He too bought acres on the island and then had 1 daughter. Then my great grandmother had four daughters and divided the land to to give to each of them. My grandmother has since passed it to her children. So many magical summers were spent wrapped up in family gatherings, horseshoe tournaments, tons of beach days and ice cream runs. I love having my children experience the magic in their lives. So glad you continue that today with your family.

  30. Image for Sherrie Mock Sherrie Mock

    It’s perfect! What a beautiful home! You are definitely blessed to have such a gorgeous place to relax and unwind. I am just a wee bit envious! Enjoy and make new memories!

  31. Image for Jodena Beale Jodena Beale

    You have some wonderful memories of your life and growing up. What a beautiful treasure to have. Its a Beautiful get away for you and your family. Enjoy the day.

  32. Image for Carolyn Carolyn

    KariAnne that is so beautiful. My cottage in Northern Ontario, Canada is so similar in terms of architecture. Built in same era, red brickwork, flat sloping roof with beams that extend outdoors under the eaves, etc. I even have the same water stains on the beams indoors, ha ha. I love the book cases flanking the bed. I have a nautical themed bedroom as well. I have pine tongue and groove in the kitchen that I've been debating whether to paint. I think you've convinced me "white" is the way to go. Thanks for all the great inspiration and I hope you and your family enjoy the summer.

  33. Image for Teddee Grace Teddee Grace

    Except for one summer spent in New Jersey as a mother's helper and couple of business trips to New York and a few trips to D.C. I have absolutely no experience with the East Coast. What a wonderful legacy.

  34. Image for Maggie Rowe Maggie Rowe

    I loved reading this post. Thank you for sharing your Cape Cod home with us! We raised five children on Cape Cod when we were pastoring Osterville Baptist. I hope you got a chance to visit our charming village.

  35. Image for Va in NC Va in NC

    What a beautiful love story and the home and generations of love and fun continuing on. So glad it is still in the family. Thank you for sharing and the tour. A beautiful home. Blessings

  36. Image for Juleit Juleit

    What an amazing and magical place. And what a treasured family history ... to be shared with our one true detective, Nancy. xo

  37. Image for Rachel Harper Rachel Harper

    KariAnne, I love this cottage so much. How lucky your family is that your Great Grandfather made that purchase. Wow 40 aces. Can you image what that would cost today. It's such a charming beach house and thanks for sharing it with us. I'd also like to share a link on my Dirt Road Adventures on Sunday. Thanks in advance.

  38. Image for Tammy Tammy

    I love this story of your great-grandfather. How special that what he dreamed of has been enjoyed by his family for many, many years. I love when families hold onto family property.

  39. Image for DeMarie Ingraham DeMarie Ingraham

    Oh, girlie, you are so blessed to have had a visionary in the family. What a fabulous retreat to ponder life’s mysteries and refresh the soul. I lost myself in many a Nancy Drew mystery, as well.

  40. Image for Jan Jan

    I love the rug that is under the white table and chairs on the sleeping porch I think. Do you have any resource information on it? Thank you! Beautiful tour of your family home.

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