A beach house may be a summer escape or a year residence, but it is tough to dismiss the place once you’re designing for curb appeal and decorating the inside. The front door announces the sense of the ocean or your whimsical flexed. Inside doors can present challenges in cramped quarters. Regard every door for a portal site to your own creativity and express some personality — and your preference to get shipshape, spindrift or ocean lore — together with your choices of style and color.

Breezy Screen

The point of this beach cottage would be to live in character — and delight in summer breezes off the water. So don’t block all that cool atmosphere with a good door, but do put your entry up for security when you’re not in house. Add a screen door to the front entrance so that your shaded porch funnels the ocean breeze right into your house. Paint the frame across the screen and the inside, solid door in faded shades which mimic the sea-worn paint in an old fishing vessel. Then use the inner door for a canvas to get a double-sided seascape or nautical motif which turns the door, open or closed, into an object of art in your entrance. A three-masted schooner at sea, a lighthouse on a cliff, a tidal pool using vibrant animals, a reef scene with mermaids and seahorses, or raging Neptune with his trident in a storm camouflage the door that remains open most of the time.

Space-Saver Sliders

Beach cottages are famed for their small sandy footprints — meaning quarters are generally tight. Ease the traffic stream between the most-visited rooms in the house with sliding or pocket doors into the bathroom and the kitchen. A door onto a monitor takes up very little room, either open or shut, and you’ll be able to use driftwood veneer or weathered barn siding to boost the rugged appeal of this decor. Pocket doors are more discreet, but that is generally a decision to make when building a brand new cottage or re-configuring for a major renovation. Sliding glass doors resulting in a balcony or a protected porch are functional and view-enhancing on sunny or stormy days. Just be sure they are clearly marked, so nobody thinks they are open when they are closed.

Light and Louvered

Louvered shutters can be re-purposed as inside beach-house doors, saving cash, modestly improving air circulation and adding a decorative note to a prosaic necessity. Short louvers make a cafe door between the dining room and the kitchen when they are hinged to the door frame. Paint them a beautiful colour like intense yellow, bright orange or nearly-neon chartreuse. Tall, distressed, whitewashed shutters are a romantic substitute for bedroom doors and act like privacy drapes inside a room with French doors leading to a terrace or garden. Louvers also let air circulate more freely when they are pantry or cupboard doors, a consideration in a cottage which gets lots of damp days and foggy nights.

Batten the Hatches

In a place where serious wind and storms frequently batter the landscape, then you need a solid, secure door as part of the defenses. But that does not signify the entry for your beach cottage has to look as a bank vault. Paint and distress a good hardwood door to resemble a piece of driftwood you picked up along the tide line. Pick a marine color from nature or the nautical world — seafoam-green, lagoon, sky-blue, coral, cloud-gray or sea-buoy-red. Paint the door and add distressing and aging using dry-brush streaks of salty white to “fade” the color, and a light spatter of charcoal paint to simulate pock marks or flecks of tar. Change the hardware and house numbers for brass — shined or tarnished — and use a brass anchor door knocker for nature.

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