Chassity Evans is quick to point out that she is not a professional decorator, but you’d be forgiven for being fooled after seeing photos of the Coral House, the vacation property she and her husband own in the Bahamas or her happy-chic home in Charleston, South Carolina. The founder of Look Linger Love, Evans started her blog as a hobby nearly ten years ago. “I loved to share things,” she says simply. Slowly it has evolved into a full-time job.
In 2016, Evans and her husband fulfilled their dream of buying a home on Harbour Island with the plan to rent it to travelers. Because they were counting on rental income, they renovated the house in just five short months and Evans had to gather all the items to be shipped in a 30-day window. This meant she had to be decisive with her decorating decisions. “I wanted to work with brands I knew and loved, like Annie Selke. My favorites tend to have colorful, fun, punchy patterns,” says Evans of her picks.
Evans also knew the way to make her rental scheme a success was to make it a true destination, a place that people would dream about coming to. “It sounds silly, but I wanted an Instagrammable house, so people would be excited to share it,” she says. With more than 20,000 followers for @CoralHouseHarbourIsland and a rental calendar that is usually booked solid, she has succeeded. In the latest installment of House Rules, Evans shares her tips for how to get the vacation vibes look in your own home:
“The Coral House came with its name and a mauve-y pink exterior, which we couldn’t match” says Evans, so she repainted in Benjamin Moore’s ‘Coral Gables.’ “I like it more today,” she says of the color a few years in. “It looks good with a little bit of fading on it.” However Evans had plenty of pink in her life before becoming the owner of a blush-colored beach house. At home in Charleston, Evan has a pink fireplace and a pink front door (Benjamin Moore’s ‘Old World’). “There’s something just happy about pink,” she says. “It makes me feel good.”
When in doubt, white it out.
“I’m a lover of light and bright,” says Evans, “So, white walls covered with colorful art can be found in both our homes—that pairing feels cheery and easy.” At the Coral House, the walls, the ceilings, and even the floors are painted an off-the-shelf semi-gloss white enamel for a beachy, breezy feel. “There are a lot of painted floors on Harbour Island,” she says, but she does confess, “They’re hard to maintain (we repaint them every year), but they are worth it. They brighten up the space so much.”
But every room needs some pattern.
While Evans starts her decor with a white canvas, she brings in plenty of colorful patterns, think: A rosy-hued floral headboard, geometric wood floor tiles, and graphic rugs underfoot. She also likes to let patterns play with each other. “In our Charleston living room, the brown-and-white zig-zag Senna rug plays off the popham tile pattern around our fireplace.”
Use what you’ve got.
“People are always asking me for my vintage sources, but my secondhand finds came with the house,” laughs Evans, who says that that is the custom on Harbour Island, where bringing in new furniture and disposing of old are both tricky. “To make them our own, we commissioned custom slipcovers with Lulie Wallace fabrics,” she says.
To give your home an authentic vacation vibe, source some of your accessories from your favorite destination. Evans had a Harbour Island hatmaker (@aandahiddentreasures) make the raffia lampshades for the Coral House. (The shell-encrusted mirror in the living room is another made-on-the-island piece.) “Wherever you are, a bit of the local style will make your place feel special and more memorable,” says Evans.
Imagine your home through a social lens.
If a décor decision is giving you trouble, do what Evans does, and ask yourself, “Would I want to take a photo of that? Would I want to share it on Instagram?” If the answer is no, try to think what might you do differently to create moments in your home that feel special enough to share. “Distinct places transport us more than neutral ones,” says Evans.
Find ways to visualize what you can’t see IRL.
Evans had to have many of the Coral House’s furnishings shipped directly to a freight shipper in Florida in order to get them by boat to Harbour Island, which meant there were many things she didn’t get a chance to see in person—let alone buy and try out at home like you might normally do. “I made digital collages of pieces that needed to work well together, like the house’s rugs,” says Evans. “I chose colors that spoke to me, made my collage, then ordered them, and crossed my fingers.”
Design for easy maintenance.
Evans’s rental house gets a workout thanks to both young kids and the many guests, so it needs to be easy to clean and maintain. So she chose washable slipcovers instead of fixed upholstery and eggshell or satin finish paints instead of flat or matte ones. Evans says, “I love Dash & Albert rugs – we have them outside, in the kitchen and in the bathrooms, and they don’t get at all dingy.”
Build in some fun!
“It’s the fun moments in the house that people want to take a photo,” Evans says. Case in point: The pink Big Chill fridge, which practically has an Instagram following of its own. Playful decor can also come in bite-sized doses: “The Coral House has a little plaque that says ‘Press for tequila.’ Little things like that make people feel like they’re somewhere fun,” says Evans.
Bring home the beach-y vibes.
“Texture and color can give your house vacation vibes even if you’re miles from the ocean,” says Evans, who chose raffia and rattan furnishings in both of her homes. “A wall of woven hats also screams beach,” says Evans. In both her homes Evans favors blues and greens, colors that call to mind open skies and nature.
Connect to the outdoors.
The kitchen at the Coral House got a full renovation that included new cabinets and appliances, (that pink fridge!), but Evans says, “The thing that made the biggest difference in the space was adding a door to the outside. If you have an opportunity to enlarge a window or add a door, it is money well spent,” especially in a weekend house or a vacation home where indoor-outdoor living is the standard.
For more inspiration, see:
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