Build Your Own Beach Getaway

by Rachel Lyon, Editorial Director for Direct from the Designers™

Do you love spending your summer holidays at the beach? Have you thought about building your own home on your favorite piece of coastline? Whether you want a second home for vacations or to move your primary residence to the location of your dreams, we can help! Direct from the Designers™ offers hundreds of house plans that are perfect for the beach, and we know a thing or two about how best to build them. While you imagine enjoying sunny days and breezy evenings in your new home, you should prepare for the harsher realities that coastal areas often face to ensure that you can continue to enjoy your property for many years. Here is what you should know so you can build the best beach getaway possible!

DFD-5532

A drive-under garage to raise living spaces, an outdoor shower, and five bedrooms and three full baths in 2,180 square feet make DFD-5532 the perfect house for a family who loves living by the shore. Find more great homes in our Beach House Plan Collection.

Choosing a Beach House

The first question you should ask yourself when looking for a beach house is how big it should be. Is it going to be a personal retreat, or will you invite extended family to come spend time over the summer? No matter the case, there are suitable house plans in every size. With very small structures meant for housing bunks on woodsy natural lots, narrow plans designed for crowded beachfronts, and sprawling mansions that will suit seaside resorts like those in Cape Cod and the Hamptons, there are plenty of houses to consider, no matter your location of choice or budget.

What makes a beach house a beach house? While you can build most plans where you want, beach houses expressly address the special concerns that building on the coast brings up. You’ll find a lot of slab foundations and homes raised over above-ground drive-under garages, meant to limit the risk of water damage, although basements can still be an option for lots that are set back from the sea. From a design perspective, beach houses tend to have large windows so you can enjoy great views, and open floor plans so multiple parts of the house share the same sightline. Just orient the plan to what you want to see and you’ll feel immersed in the environment! It’s definitely worth your while to search for a beach house specifically, and you’ll find them in all sorts of styles—including Mediterranean, Craftsman, contemporary, colonial, and even log homes—so there will surely be a few that you’d love to own.

Integrity Windows Wood-Ultrex IMPACT

This home on the Atlantic Ocean is outfitted with Wood-Ultrex IMPACT Casement windows and an Outswing French Door, which are part of Integrity® Windows’ dedicated IMPACT line of coastal products. Designed to withstand extreme weather, these windows can take a hit and help protect your entire home.

Investing in Hardy Exterior Products

You expect your home to last, but when you build in an area prone to severe weather, you’ll need to make smart purchasing decisions to help make that happen. Rain, fog, and general dampness will be constant, so be sure to finish and seal any porches and decks and use corrosion-resistant hardware where necessary. Many builders recommend using synthetic shingles for siding and roofs in lieu of the real thing because they last longer and won’t show wear any more than they already do—many varieties are made to appear aged so you can still get a charming coastal look that isn’t glaringly new.

Despite the extra challenges moisture presents, the wind is usually the biggest concern. Storms that bring ripping gusts put pressure on your house and carry debris with enough momentum to shatter windows and batter walls. Again, synthetic shingles are manufactured to stay put and resist breaking when put to the test. Be sure to shop for windows and doors that have the same staying power. When your home is open to the elements in a storm, the combination of pressure inside and suction outside can blow out the roof and walls and lead to catastrophic damage. Windows designed for coastal homes are engineered to maximize tensile strength and flexural modulus, so windborne debris is likely to bounce off, and doors often come with a solid steel plate in the middle that won’t let anything through. These extra-durable products are still designed with aesthetics in mind, so your home will look just as beautiful as you expect.

Lumber Liquidators Virginia Mill Works Seabrook Island Oak

With a naturally distressed look and the added resilience of factory prefinishing, Virginia Mill Works Seabrook Island Oak from Lumber Liquidators is perfect for installation by the beach. The light color brightens the interior and the planks themselves hide any accumulated damage and prevent it from happening in the first place.

Designing a Beachy Interior

Of course you want the inside of your beach house to look great and stand up to whatever challenges it faces. For the most part, coastal design is focused on creating a light and bright, airy ambiance. You can put up some white curtains to billow in the breeze or let those large windows speak for themselves. Whether you want to help create a beachy atmosphere or let it come in on its own depends on the location of the house, its views, and your personal style, but it can be done well either way.

Everybody knows that sand, one of the reasons people love going to the beach in the first place, becomes very annoying as soon as it gets into places you don’t want it. It’s very likely you’ll track it inside, so choose flooring that makes cleaning easier and can withstand the scraping of those tiny, sharp grains. Hardwood and tile are good choices, but you have to be sure that you find the right varieties. For wood, look for prefinished and engineered products, because they can take the extra abrasion. Engineered hardwood will also resist warping from moisture exposure due to its cross-layered construction. The density of tile helps to protect it from damage, and it comes in so many styles that you can get creative with it. From simple matching squares, to stone-look pieces, to complex mosaics, the floor is yours!

Most beach houses have very light interior designs from floor to ceiling, maximizing the effect of sunlight inside. Subdued sea tones and antique wood provide color and texture variation. Keeping with the focus on brightness, you might want to pick a few vibrant hues to design around, if this seems too drab. Some people like to keep very crisp interiors, while others want to fill theirs with nautical curios. No matter what you decide to do, keep your design balanced and flowing and it will be a great place to call home—in the summer or year-round!

 
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