A Coastal Stunner in Westport by Iris Michaels of Karen Berkemeyer Home

above: The interior design has a soothing blend of colors and natural elements
Photographs: Tim Lenz

Few things are as calming as the gentle swoosh of waves lapping the shore. One frontrunner that brings the feeling indoors, though, is a recent Westport project by designer Iris Michaels with Karen Berkemeyer Home (karenberkemeyerhomecom). It captures the siren song of coastal properties—the fresh air, the use of soft white, the mix of shades of blue, seaglass green, rich cream and earthy brown—including the natural wood floors and woven chairs. In total, the look settles one’s pulse as fast as a deep breath. If all that weren’t enough to charm, consider that the home is just a five-minute stroll from the beach.

Michaels brought open space to her redesign of the kitchen, bar and TV and eating areas. She placed the table in the center and arranged other areas for efficient use. The result? Uncluttered rooms that are unfussy.

“The client requested an open layout for the kitchen, while adding other amenities such as a large bar, a table to seat six, and the inclusion of a door to the exterior deck,” she says. “The main work centered around the use of generous amounts of windows, the addition of the exterior door and the reassigning of typical wall cabinet function to base cabinetry, most notably large drawer bases.”

To ensure the project’s success, the designer collaborated closely with the client. Some of the details even became her favorite parts of the project: “Keeping a soft color palette on the island cabinetry and those on the perimeter, while also incorporating various warm tones in the floor, chairs and bar top. Also, I love the open pantry with three sides of cabinet storage, floating shelves and counter space,” she says.

Speaking more generally of her design work, she says that good communication with the client is invaluable. “The challenge is always to deliver a design and product which addresses the wants and needs of the individual client, with no surprises,” she says. “As a kitchen designer, the two most satisfying aspects of my work are to have clients thrilled with their project, and to have that project result in a beautiful kitchen. In this design, I think both were achieved.”


“It’s like comfort food for the eyes. Bright, yet warm and inviting. An interior space that is still connected to nature.”

“Lots of light and windows. Plus, you always want to see the water! Soft color tones with the additional warmth of wood completes the look and feel desired.”

“Cabinets that are simple in design, tall ceilings, and as much visual access to the beautiful exterior as possible. Inclusion of design details suggesting nature such as the blue petals in the backsplash also complements the beachy feel. And having a spectacular view of the water certainly helps.”

“Adding warm tones to a soft color palette, and the addition of large drawer bases, in lieu of cabinet doors.”

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