Tips and tricks from The N&O Design Team / This week: Nancie Wood

Design Master Class: Cottage makes the most of coastal vistas

July 11, 2014 

  • About the designer

    Nancie Wood, senior designer and owner of Nancie Wood Interiors in Raleigh, holds an associate’s degree from The Fashion Institute in New York and bachelor’s degrees from Framingham State in Massachusetts and Meredith College in Raleigh with majors in textiles and interior design.

  • Design Master Class

    N&O Design Team members who share their expertise twice a month in Home & Garden are all members of the Alliance of Interior Designers, a group of Triangle-area professionals. Learn more at

The challenge

This 1950s beachfront cottage had awkward and outdated spaces that were small and dark. The owner was ready for a re-imagined renovation. The challenge was to take full advantage of the 180-degree views and create a fresh interior while retaining some of the home’s original charm.

Super space

We gutted the interior, removing small bathrooms, cabinetry and non-weight-bearing walls. The floor plan was reconfigured so the family area and master bedroom face the ocean. We raised the ceilings in both spaces and installed recessed LED lighting between newly installed beams of reclaimed Cape Fear pine.

In the family room and master bedroom, we replaced small windows with fold-back window walls that can be opened completely to provide uninterrupted shore vistas. A large deck in Brazilian walnut (epee) was added to serve as an outdoor room for lounging, dining or full-scale entertaining. The house now marries the indoors to the outdoors. Ocean breezes keep the house cool. The spacious family room now has a main sitting area, dining area and a cozy puzzle corner.

Soothing colors for the interior play off nature’s palette of beach-glass blues and dune-sand neutrals. Salvaged pine boards were repurposed for the interior walls and painted Sherwin Williams Moderate White (6140), a lovely cream. Ceilings were given a soft sea-foam tint (10 percent Sherwin Williams Dewy, 6469) that adds subtle interest and visually appears to heighten the ceilings. Upholstery fabrics are softly textured wovens with high-performance finishes for longevity and stain resistance. A jute ottoman serves as a coffee table. The original sideboard was repainted, glazed and finished with glass knobs for a touch of sparkle.

Soapstone surrounds the gas fireplace, which is flanked by uncluttered cabinetry. The doors conceal a flat-screen TV and provide ample storage for games. Side tables and accessories, including antique store finds as well as original artist pieces, are now highlighted against the plain walls and clean backdrop of the glazed cabinets. Artwork ranges from watercolors to encaustic paintings. Both give a muted, dreamy effect that adds to the serene mood.

The oak plank floors were stained a rich medium brown to contrast with the light-colored furniture. This home has soft lines that carry through the furnishings to the architecture. Details include curved cove moldings, archways and rounded-off edges on walls that create smooth curves when you turn corners.

All make for a magical escape to the North Carolina shore.

Terrific trick

Use succulents for outdoor planters and indoor terrariums. I use artificial ones, which easily pass for the real McCoy. They have a natural, non-fussy look and work well without any maintenance. It’s this easy: Fill your container with beach sand, then add the greenery. Perfect for a beach house getaway.

(Not) by the book

Attention to details makes a big difference. The sideboard was painted and given a light overglaze in a darker tone. New knobs in glass have a fresh, clean appeal. Inside slides were cleaned and new liner paper in a sea-foam print adds surprise. Once used in a former dining room, it anchors a traffic walk-through area.

Nancie Wood Interiors

2021 Lodestar Drive, Raleigh

919-616-4812 or

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