Now that the summer months are here, my thoughts turn to travel, especially to those countries near water. One of my personal favorite interior design styles was popularized overseas, and is just as relevant along the Northern California coastline: The Mediterranean style originated in countries north of the Mediterranean Sea, such as Spain, Italy, and Greece. Let’s take a look at what makes this style so enduring.
When we talk about Mediterranean style, you may think of whitewashed buildings high atop steep cliffs above Santorini, the city lights of Monaco, or fields of Tuscan wineries. I imagine white sand beaches and bright blue waters along the Turkish coast, and colorful tapestries hung in a Moroccan market.
Furniture in the Mediterranean style ranges from formal to functional, with ornately turned legs and feet. Furniture hardware can often be heavy and include burnished metal details.
Mediterranean colors echo those of the sea and sky, and, depending on the region, can also include terra cotta, lavender and yellow. Mosaic tile designs embody the colors of the Med, and blend easily with many design styles. Bring tiling designs into your home on flooring, a kitchen backsplash, or on something you can take with you if you move, like a mirror frame or a tabletop.
Another popular Mediterranean style accent is exposed wood beams, often paired with gleaming white marble floors or white walls.
People of the Med adore their outdoor spaces, so make sure your interiors flow easily into an exterior dining area or patio, and you can’t go wrong. Arranging your outdoor seating around a water feature is also a popular approach.
The outdoor lifestyle of the Med often includes a veranda or an open interior courtyard, to optimize for the warm, sunny weather. This is another place you’ll see colorful geometric tiling, or sometimes even pure white, and plenty of healthy plantings, so that’s an easy way to get the look, by layering in plants and tiling.
Here’s a Med-inspired courtyard deck I designed for a San Francisco SOMA loft. The stunning water fountain imported from Morocco features an uplight for dramatic nighttime scenes. It’s surrounded by large-scale textural floor tiles in multiple colorations, and a stylized patterned outdoor polypropylene rug that resists fading, which can be hosed off for easy maintenance. The entire space is dotted with easy-care live plants, including the succulent wall hangings on the trellis behind the water feature. An LED sconce will light the space for 50,000 hours before it needs changing. Durable outdoor furniture withstands the weather and remains welcoming, making this truly an outdoor living room.
Do YOU have a Mediterranean-style project that wants to be realized? Kimball Starr Interior Design can help with a consultation. Contact her today!