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Deciding on an Architectural Style For Your Custom Beach House? Discover Today’s Best Beach House Styles With This Helpful Guide

Deciding on an Architectural Style For Your Custom Beach House? Discover Today’s Best Beach House Styles With This Helpful Guide 800 800 White Sands Design/Build

You’re planning to build your dream California beach house in the South Bay, specifically in the scenic locales of Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, Venice Beach, or Palos Verdes. 

You’ve navigated the zoning regulations for your Manhattan Beach lot and envision a home that marries stunning design with high functionality. Now comes the exciting yet challenging part: deciding on the perfect beach house style.

What architectural style best expresses your vision of a “dreamy beach retreat + forever home”? Do you lean towards a minimalist farmhouse or a vibrant Mediterranean? Is contemporary architecture more your style, or do you have a soft spot for traditional designs? Maybe a transitional home that blends several California beach house styles excites you.

This decision will shape your living environment for years to come, so it’s essential to do thorough research. We’ve curated this comprehensive guide to some of South Bay’s most popular and timeless beach house styles to ease the process. If you have further questions, we offer personalized advice and even help you select the right architect. White Sands Design/Build’s goal is to build a beach home that holds its value and makes you swoon every time you step inside.

Beach House Style Option: Contemporary Coastal 

Contemporary coastal homes, often called “California contemporary,” align seamlessly with California’s climate and lifestyle. These homes are designed to integrate indoor and outdoor living spaces—perfect for locations like Manhattan Beach or Hermosa Beach- featuring open, asymmetrical floor plans, oversized windows, clean lines, bold curves, and strong geometric shapes.

 

Beach Modern Interiors

 

The interior focus is on textures, surfaces, minimalism, and statement pieces. Coastal contemporary designs skillfully juxtapose natural and man-made materials with reflective and matte surfaces side by side. Expect to see metal and mirrors alongside wood, jute, driftwood, and stucco. Sensual fabrics such as velvet or chenille soften any industrial edges while pops of color enliven neutral backgrounds. Mid-century modern furniture and accessories typically complement these spaces.

If you crave a dynamic design that is both conceptual and playful, contemporary coastal might be your ideal California beach house style.

Beach House Style Option: Coastal Traditional

Coastal Traditional is a refreshed take on Cape Cod architecture. Originating from English cottage-style homes brought to the eastern shores by colonialists, Cape Cod homes have evolved significantly over the centuries. Today’s California coastal Capes draw inspiration from the early New England cottages but have been reimagined for the West Coast.

 

Coastal Traditional

 

Characterized by multi-paned, symmetrical windows, wood-shingle or clapboard exteriors, and wooden cut-out balconies, Cape Cod homes often start with a symmetrical center and branch out asymmetrically. Early Cape Cod expansions were a practical response to growing families, while today, these offshoots add architectural interest.

While New England Capes feature steep roofs and dormer windows, California Capes favor flat roofs to maximize useable height, which aligns with local zoning regulations. Californian adaptations of the Cape Cod style are designed to be charming and spacious without the need to shed snow.

Clean, elegant millwork, central fireplaces, classic furnishings and fixtures, and a cozy, family-oriented atmosphere mark the interiors. If a charming, traditionally styled beach house appeals to you, coastal traditional is worth considering.

Beach House Style Option: Coastal Plantation

Distinct from the Southern plantation style, coastal plantation homes blend European and American colonial influences, reimagined for tropical settings. Inspired by the historic homes of West Indies sugar and Hawaiian pineapple plantations, coastal plantation exteriors feature elements like porches, verandas, and columnettes, with flat or gently pitched roofs and plentiful windows.

South Bay beach house-style plantation interior

The interiors are light and breezy, showcasing natural fibers like jute, sisal, and grasscloth, along with organic materials such as driftwood. White marble countertops, white cabinets and walls, and warm wood tones are common features. Opt for plantation style if you desire a beach house that combines beachy aesthetics with refined elegance.

Beach House Style Option: Mediterranean Revival

Mediterranean Revival architecture gained popularity in U.S. coastal regions during the 1920s and 30s. Inspired by Spanish bungalows and Italian villas, these homes feature red tile roofs, stucco exteriors, arched windows, wrought iron balconies, terraces, courtyards, domed ceilings, porticos, wooden doors, and colorful tiles.

 

 

While some Mediterranean homes from the 80s and 90s may seem dated, a modern, streamlined approach to Mediterranean design remains a fantastic choice. The materials—stucco and tile—are well-suited to coastal California’s sun, sand, and humidity.

Mediterranean Revival is highly eclectic, reflecting centuries of cultural influences from North Africa, Turkey, Italy, Spain, Greece, and Portugal, along with indigenous elements from South America. The style is characterized by exposed beams, textured walls, raw finishes, and a muted color palette balanced by lavish details such as interior arches, hand-painted tiles, mosaics, and bright colors. Mediterranean homes allow for creative, fun design elements.

Moroccan bathroom beach house style is fun to design and build in So-Cal.

Modern Tudor

Tudor, as reimagined for the beach, is a less stoic take on a traditional (and originally, Medieval!) style, with bricks replaced by stucco and decorative half-timbering relegated to optional. Tudor revival became popular in the US in the first few decades of the 1900s, with some prime examples along the eastern shoreline. Today’s Tudors are still right at home on the coast. The updated versions are awash in natural light, thanks to big, multi-paned windows, and the roofs have less pitch, to meet the particular building codes of SoCal beach towns. The interiors are warm and cozy, with statement wallpaper, built-ins, exposed beams and — if you want to stick with “quintessential”– paneled walls and crown molding.

Beach House Style Option: Modern Farmhouse

Modern farmhouses have exploded in popularity in recent years. These bright, airy homes often feature spacious kitchens, clean millwork, wide-plank floors, cheerful color palettes, wooden siding, and simple yet elegant lines.

Los Angeles County, California Beach House Style Modern Farmhouse

The atmosphere is cozy and nostalgic, incorporating interior design elements such as shiplap walls, apron sinks, Dutch or barn doors, and upcycled vintage fixtures. Imagine an old wagon wheel creatively converted into a dining room chandelier or an antique sideboard repurposed as a bathroom counter with an inlaid sink. Organic materials and rustic touches, like exposed beams and stone fireplaces, add to the charm. We incorporate light wood flooring, plenty of windows, and pastel colors for a coastal twist.

California Beach House Style Dutch Doors on a Design-Build Custom Home.

Modern farmhouses evoke the simplicity of America’s heartland while adapting to the South Bay’s scenic views. Open floor plans make the most of the stunning beach vistas, a far cry from the more enclosed farmhouses of the past.

New 2024 Beach House Trends

As we move further into 2024, some exciting new trends are emerging in beach house design that you might want to consider integrating into your dream home.

Wellness Retreats

Post-pandemic, the demand for at-home wellness spaces has surged. Think home gyms, yoga studios, saunas, and meditation rooms designed to help homeowners unwind and rejuvenate without leaving the comfort of their own homes.

Bars Everywhere

Originally a focal point of entertainment areas, bars have now made their way into multiple spaces within the home. You can now find coffee bars in kitchens, wet bars in recreation rooms, outdoor bars for poolside gatherings, and even dedicated wine cellars designed for both storage and tasting.

Embrace the Coastal Grandma Aesthetic

A nod to nostalgia, the coastal grandpa aesthetic blends vintage and modern elements to create a cozy, lived-in feel. Look for comfortable oversized furniture, classic patterns, and a mix of antique and contemporary decor to achieve this inviting style.

Smokey Blue Chairs and Green Sofas

Inject a bit of nautical flair into your beach house with furniture in shades of smokey blue and green. These vibrant colors not only capture the essence of coastal living but also add ocean colors to your interiors.

Light & Bright Kitchens

Channel the essence of the coast with kitchens that maximize natural light. Light colors, reflective surfaces, and large windows create a bright, airy space perfect for cooking and entertaining.

Consult The California Style Experts

Need help identifying your perfect beach house style? We’re here to assist. From foundational designs to the finishing touches, we not only build homes—we design them to meet your exact vision. Please send us a note to schedule a meeting. You can contact us here.

Thank you for reading,

Hawlie Ohe

Hawlie headshot for home air purifiers

Hawlie Ohe heads White Sands Interiors, and she and her husband are raising two boys along the South Bay coast. Hawlie brings the curiosity that fueled her first career, as a journalist, to her interior design approach: Who are you, who do want to be, and how can this space get you there? Great design makes you feel present and engaged, and Hawlie is here for it. Because she wants to help you be “here” (in this space, in this moment), too.