Coastal Cravings

For interior designer Erin Paige Pitts, shapes, textures and colors always come back to the sea. Here, she offers an oceanfront window into her world.

Shades of blue cover this beach-chic kitchen designed by Erin Paige PItts. 


Tell me about a coastal memory from childhood that you use as a source of inspiration. 
When I was growing up, we lived inland and went to the beach for one week each summer. I used to wait anxiously all year for our beach vacation and would hold the memories tight until we returned the following year. I think that is where my love of water comes from and why it is such a part of my psyche and source of inspiration. I loved how the coastal homes operated with their open eating areas or mudrooms that were adjacent to the kitchen, offering an abundance of clean towels ready to be grabbed before running to the beach. These elements inform my work today, as I always try to create fluidity between the interior and exterior of a coastal home through function and design.

You clearly have such a love of tile. Can you share your current favorites?
Yes, I love tile! It’s great for a coastal home because it not only looks great, but is easy to clean and can withstand the sand and water inevitably brought in from the outside world. I especially love tile that is reflective of light or includes colors that remind me of water, as I am always looking for opportunities to subtly incorporate elements from the sea into the home’s physicality. I don’t have a favorite brand, per se, but I canvas every tile manufacturer out there to find what is right for the project. I tend to prefer more linear (horizontal or square) shapes for backsplashes so they aren’t too busy and keep with the lines of the cabinetry.

Can you discuss your attraction to nautical lighting, brands and materials?
I love natural materials and things that remind me of water without being overly beachy or nautical. I try to find a delicate balance. Shells are one of nature’s most beautiful creations, and I love how brands, such as Made Goods, are able to use shells in modern, inventive ways. For rugs and furniture, I am drawn to jute, hyacinth and other textural materials. One of my favorite brands for this is Palecek. I also love the use of natural stone for flooring, tile and countertops. These are the elements that give texture, depth and durability to interiors that make it perfect for coastal homes.

As a coastal designer you embrace blue, as everyone does—but I see surprises in terms of patterns and hues in your work. How can blue be surprising?
Blue naturally lends itself to coastal homes, as the color softens the transition between the interior and exterior. For example, if a kitchen has a water view, an interior that incorporates blues allows for communication between the two spaces as they become an extension of one another. The color, truthfully, also has such a range that it can offer challenges, but also exciting opportunities to really energize a space. While much of my work contains blue, I like each project to stand on its own with a uniqueness, so I try to employ the color differently on every project using unique hues and applications that keep the space interesting.