Penny McCormick explains why the coastal grandmother is the new hot girl of summer …
Coined by influencer Lex Nicoleta, the term “Coastal Grandmother” has been trending on the social media app TikTok and has garnered more than one billion views since March. Nicoleta describes the aesthetic as “Martha Stewart–adjacent, not fully Ina Garten … Nancy Meyers chic.” The latter is the American film director known for turning houses into the stars of her movies, which include Something’s Gotta Give, The Holiday and It’s Complicated.
Essentially the trend is everyone’s escapist fantasy, its icon an elegant older woman, such as those portrayed by actresses Diane Keaton, Meryl Streep or Goldie Hawn, who owns a home on the beach. This necessitates a wardrobe of breezy linen outfits, cable or turtleneck sweaters and bucket hats. Oatmeal is her favourite, most flattering colour, while an oversized shirt or “shent” (the portmanteau of shirt and tent) is a key wardrobe staple.
Celebrities have been quick to endorse the movement: Anne Hathaway shared a photo on Instagram saying, “I have been ready for #coastalgrandmother chic since before TikTok was born. May this moment never end.” Another fan is real estate advisor and former reality star Kelly Bensimon, who redecorated her Soho apartment in coastal grandmother style, with cream sofas, marble tables and offwhite blinds to emphasise the holiday-at-home vibe. Chrissie Rucker, owner of The White Company founded a business on this aesthetic, Oprah Winfrey lives it. Nicoleta says the trend is neither elitist nor ageist, it’s more a mindset than rigid C classification. Sub-groups include “Nauti Aunties” who can’t resist a little nautical kitsch. Men are not precluded: Think foodie Stanley Tucci in chic, normcore clothes. The tribe gravitates to farmers’ markets (toting monogrammed shoppers) and specialist garden centres. They prefer walking (to scrolling) and speed-reading the latest Jean Hanff Korelitz novel before their next book club meeting. Their playlist might include Natalie Cole’s This Will Be (An Everlasting Love) as well as artists like Etta James, Norah Jones, James Taylor and Hall & Oates.
Diane Keaton in Something’s Gotta Give.
Fortunately, we can all embrace the trend, whether we live by the beach or not. “To create that fresh coastal, Hamptons-style, I begin with key foundation layers such as the floors and tiles; either bleached or dark finishes work best,” explains interior designer Miriam Peters. “I then add different types of panelling, exaggerating the details on the architraves of the doors and windows. Sisal rugs, big comfy sofas and Swedish and French antiques complete the look.”
Rhona Roe, creative director of Hedgeroe Home, and a fan of Grace and Frankie (a San Diego-set sitcom about two retired divorcees sharing a beach house), points out that #coastalgrandmother is an evolution of the all-white trend. “Many coastal grandmothers were familiar with the hippy movement of the 1960s when the Beatles went to India and young middle-class students travelled to exotic places for the first time, returning with an eclectic design style. As these baby boomers retire we are seeing more representation of this older cohort on our screens and their design choices are pretty cool.”
Summer to Summer: Houses by the Sea by Jennifer Ash Rudick, Vendome. Photography by Tria Giovan.
This was replicated on the set of Meyer’s film Something’s Gotta Give, exquisitely created by Beth Rubino – from the dining room chairs covered in Lee Jofa’s Bordeaux toile, to the black countertops in the kitchen with retro drawer pulls and the 3,000 books ordered from New York’s Strand Book Store to fill the bookshelves. Actor and art connoisseur Jack Nicholson, who plays an ageing playboy and love interest of Diane Keaton in the film, suggested the addition of a whimsical landscape by Edward Henry Potthast. As a finishing touch, so that the cast would feel as if they had just come in from the beach, Rubino also sprayed some suntan lotion on set. One trick we can all use to get into role …
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The White Company
We can all embrace the trend, whether we live by the beach or not. Here’s how to incorporate the Coastal Grandmother aesthetic into your wardrobe ane home interiors.
Rebecca striped linen dress, €375, at Magee 1866, 21-26 South Anne Street, Dublin 2.
Fisherman bucket hat, Loewe, €490, at Brown Thomas.
Irina cable knit sweater, Anine Bing, €349, at Brown Thomas.
Off-white shell pot, €95, Ferm Living, at Arnotts.
Reebok Classic Legacy sneakers, €94; www.schuh.ie.
Shell earrings, €59, at The White Company, 72 Grafton Street, Dublin 2.
Oak shorebird, Normann Copenhagen, €30, at Arnotts.
Room divider, €168, at Sostrene Grene.
WHERE TO FIND … For tableware, pretty linens and cushions: LIQUORICE, www.liquorice.ie. For serveware, rattan baskets and serving boards: LIL & CO HOME; www.lilandcohome.com. For custom-made kitchens and cabinetry: O’CONNORS OF DRUMLECK; www.oconnorsofdrumleck.ie. For made-to-order sofas covered in linen: ROCK HILL INTERIORS + DESIGN, Blackrock; www.rockhillinteriors.com. For beach art: JOHN SHORT; www.johnshort.art. For dramatic seascapes: DONALD TESKEY; www.donaldteskey.com. For bookshelves: b, especially the grey Como wall system; www.boconcept.com. For elegant chairs such as the Mart lounge chair by B&B Italia: MINIMA HOME; www.minimahome.ie. For steel-framed interior doors to optimise light: PORTA, for a free quotation; www.porta.ie. For chic contemporary consoles by Calligaris Secret and other accessories: KUBE INTERIORS; www.kubeinteriors.com. For paint: the VENTURA COLLECTION for Fleetwood Prestige which includes coastal hues Cape Cod and Howth; www.ventura.ie.
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