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Say hello to beachy boho, coastal cool


Wood beams, a nod to the Mediterranean style that ruled most California homes for decades, provide a touch of nature among the light, bright and comfortable feel that defines Bay Area style today. (Getty Images)

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After more than 20 years of designing spaces in the Mediterranean style with textured walls, burnished hardware and short furniture with ornate legs, the emergence of Bay Area style has felt like a cool breeze to interior designer Toni Berry.

Berry, who opened Marie Antoinette Interiors in Sunol 34 years ago, says more people are getting rid of the earth tones and embracing openness, simplicity and comfort — hallmarks of Bay Area and much of California style.

We asked her to help define Bay Area style.

Does the Bay Area have a recognizable style?

After a couple of decades of Tuscan/Mediterranean style decor, we have finally moved on to a new style! Trending now is a style called “California Cool” or “Casual” style, a mix of beachy coastal and boho. Think cool hippie in Berkeley who was originally from L.A. It speaks to the memory of the counter culture of the late ’60s and early ’70s.

What’s the color story?

Light colors, like cool, pale, washed blues, greens and sand. Think sea glass. It’s as though the colors are meant to make you feel like a walk on the beach. Walls in this style are typically a white, such as Benjamin Moore’s Chantilly Lace in a flat sheen.

This white has a very high light reflective value and is a beautiful back drop for all the organic textures in the space.

What are the must-have accessories?

When it comes to accessories in this style, anything that is handmade, natural or organic, such as a huge basket and a fabulous area rug, work well in this style. Vintage Moroccan rugs with Berber motifs and Turkish kilims are hallmarks to the look of this style.

Another key to this relaxed style is to not over-accessorize. It’s about having lots of free space and scale and not so much filling the space.



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