English Coastal style vs. New England style

I have a Google Alert set up for the keywords “New England Design Style” and a piece came in this week about an English coastal style model home in England that had been decorated in a New England style. Said the article:

A new showhome inspired by the calming colours and serene simplicity of
the New England coastline has been created by expert interior designers
at Taylor Wimpey’s sought-after The Pinnacle development of new homes
in Stoke.
Radiating style, the fabulous four-bedroom ‘Clifford’ show property in
Stoke encapsulates the classic design of the colonial-era Georgian
properties that populate the harbour towns and coastal communities of
the north-eastern states of the USA.
By combining clean lines, sky blues and shades of white with textured
wallpapers, linens and understated wooden furnishings, Taylor Wimpey’s
experienced interior designers have brought the distinctive feel of the
American seaside to this wonderful collection of new homes for sale in

I was, of course, immediately curious as to how our New England style would be interpreted by our colleagues across the pond as English coastal style. I am also interested in their concept of using a New England theme to market these new family homes, which I’m assuming are townhouses, or semi-attached homes, as there are so few windows.  This home is in Staffordshire, which is pretty much as dead center in England as one can get.

So, how did they do with English coastal style?








You know, I think they did a pretty decent job with English coastal style. Of course, it’s important to keep in mind that this is a show house/model home, so they are missing some of what I consider the most important elements of  New England design style, notably the use of antiques and vintage furniture, eclecticism in decorative elements, books, etc. Model homes are of course a little spartan, very planned with everything placed perfectly so.

Let’s compare and contrast, shall we?

The Living Room:

The Clifford show property in Staffordshire, England.

One of the most popular of coastal themed designs from the movie “Something’s Gotta Give” (of course) which features the color palette of blues, creams, whites and sands that the write up above mentions.  But the elements of the home are more eclectic with mixes of darker furnishings among all the white.  Designer Beth Rubino.

Above and below (photo above by Michael J. Lee, below by me) Living Room from the 2012 Boston Magazine Design Home.  Design by Vani Sayeed. While not the traditional blues and whites of a coastal theme, the room did feature the collected nature of a classic New England design.


The Kitchen/Dining Area:

The Clifford property in Staffordshire features a  decent sized eat-in kitchen, which doubles as the dining room. I think the single biggest change that could have been made in the English property to New England it up would have been to install dark stained floors to contrast with the cabinetry and decorations.

This is the iconic kitchen from “Something’s Gotta Give”, photo courtesy Architectural Digest, set decoration by Beth Rubino.


The images above (photos by Michael J. Lee) was a client project I did last year. The garden style attached home is not dissimilar to the Staffordshire property in concept (though a bit larger, I believe). Again, the darker floors against white cabinetry, some painted cabinetry and beadboard moldings were applied to add interest and “patina” to the space.

The Master Bedroom:

The Master bedroom of the English Clifford property was a bit spartan (and I don’t love the nearly pink color), but it was striking how closely it resembled the Boston Magazine Design Home master bedroom.

The master bedroom in the Boston Magazine 2012 Dream Home (designed by Vani Sayeed) photo by Linda Merrill.

And this image by Michael J. Lee, taken during daylight hours contrasts to mine that was taken in the evening. (not to mention he’s a pro and I am not!)

This is a project of mine (photo by Michael J. Lee) that showcases some wonderful antique and vintage pieces and a soft color palette.

The Boys Bedroom:

From the Staffordshire property, the boys bedroom was a study in a masculine palette. Love the photo mural on the wall. I think a nice area rug under the bed would have really pulled everything together.

I was immediately struck by how similar the Staffordshire boys bedroom was to the Boston Magazine Design Home boys bedroom (design by Vani Sayeed, Photo by Michael J. Lee).

A guest/grandkids room I did a few years ago. Photo by Michael J. Lee.

As I said above, all in all, I think they did a pretty decent job capturing a New England coastal aesthetic without becoming kitschy with too many boats and seagulls. It’s a bit bland, but then staging model homes is a tricky business. You want it to be appealing to a wide range of people, you want it to feel warm without being too personal, and you don’t want people to think that they can only do one thing with a property.

For more information on the Clifford Project in Staffordshire, England, go here.


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