‘Barclay Butera: Living on the Coast’ is an inspiring interior design book by acclaimed designer Barclay Butera. Known for his traditional Southern coastal style, Butera invites readers into over 20 breathtaking waterfront homes to showcase his signature aesthetic. From rustic cottages to grand Bahamian estates, this visually stunning volume demonstrates how to create a coastal oasis infused with charm, elegance, and relaxation.

About the Author – Barclay Butera

Barclay Butera is a leading interior designer recognized for his distinctive take on traditional Southern style. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, Butera has decorated homes from Martha’s Vineyard to California for over 25 years. His work is defined by timeless appeal, impeccable attention to detail, and a deep understanding of architectural history. Butera’s designs masterfully blend classic elements like antique furnishings and natural textures with warm, inviting colors and finishes. This creates interiors that feel comfortably elegant yet unfussy. Butera has authored nine design books and been featured in top publications like Architectural Digest, Veranda, and Southern Living.

Overview of ‘Living on the Coast’

In ‘Living on the Coast’, Butera presents homes that embody his signature “coastal traditional” look. The book focuses on waterfront residences along the Atlantic seaboard, from historic Charleston to the beaches of Florida. Butera combines classical architecture with relaxed, seaside living. Interiors feature painted floors, lots of blue and white, and furnishings with a weathered, vintage feel. The homes capture the mood of coastal living, with large windows, airy rooms, and outdoor living spaces. Throughout the book, Butera provides expert guidance on achieving this aesthetic in your own home.

Key Features of the Book

Gorgeous Photography

The photography is truly stunning and brings the homes to life. Sun-drenched rooms, scenic landscapes, and architectural details are all captured beautifully. The images immerse you in the mood and style of each home.

Coastal Interiors from Top Designers

In addition to Butera’s designs, the book includes homes by acclaimed designers like Suzanne Kasler, Phoebe Howard, and Mary McDonald. Readers get a wealth of inspiration from coastal interiors by the world’s top talents.

Insightful Commentary

Butera’s descriptive narratives provide fascinating backstories on the houses and his approach. He explains what drew him to the architecture, how he responded to the surroundings, and his interior design vision. This gives meaningful insight behind the beautiful photos.

Variety of Coastal Settings

From historic Charleston townhouses to laidback beach cottages, the featured properties provide diverse examples of coastal living. The common thread is that they epitomize Butera’s signature aesthetic. However, each home has unique character and design.

Expert Decorating Advice

Throughout the book, Butera distills principles for achieving his timeless coastal look. He provides advice on color palettes, furniture selection, architectural details, and decor accessories. Readers gain invaluable tips for infusing coastal charm into their own homes.

Structure of the Book

‘Living on the Coast’ contains 25 chapters, each profiling a different waterfront residence designed by Butera and other notable designers.

The book is organized geographically, starting in South Carolina and traveling south along the Atlantic coastline through Georgia and Florida. The progression takes readers on a coastal design tour with diverse home styles and settings.

Every chapter tells the backstory of the featured property and how Butera interpreted the architecture through interior design. Gorgeous photos allow readers to explore these coastal retreats room-by-room. Sidebars and caption texts provide decorating tips and insights.

While united by a coastal aesthetic, no two homes are alike. Chapter settings range from a weathered 1930s cottage to a grand Palladian villa. The progression reveals how Butera’s principles can be translated to create unique interiors within different architectural frameworks.

Key Themes and Takeaways

Timeless Appeal

Butera emphasizes timeless beauty and livability over trendiness. His homes feel welcoming, not stuffy. He mixes antiques with comfortable upholstered furniture and vintage accessories to create warmth. Time-honored architectural details are accentuated. These techniques help achieve enduring, inviting spaces.

Textural Layering

Coastal interiors should feel pleasantly layered, not stark. Butera uses texture in fabrics, rugs, and linens to create depth and visual interest. Natural textured materials like rattan, driftwood, and woven textures prevent spaces from feeling flat.

Harmonizing Indoors and Out

Butera’s designs blur the line between indoor and outdoor living. Interior colors/patterns complement exterior surroundings. Large windows frame views. Transitional spaces like covered porches extend living areas outward. The homes feel intimately connected to the coastal landscape.

Relaxed Sophistication

The homes masterfully blend luxurious elements with casual comfort. Beautiful antiques and soft color palettes create warmth and approachability. Billowy drapes, seaside textiles, and bare feet ground the elegance. Butera proves coastal living can feel sophisticated yet low-key.

Impact and Importance

‘Living on the Coast’ provides a blueprint for timeless interior design that celebrates seaside architecture. Butera demonstrates how to harmonize homes with their coastal settings through considered design elements. Sophisticated yet inviting, the featured properties feel intimately connected to the waterfront landscapes.

Butera’s work reinforces that rooms should be beautiful, comfortable places suited for real life. His emphasis on livability over formality gives the homes enduring appeal. ‘Living on the Coast’ serves as an inspirational design manual for achieving these qualities. The book occupies an important niche in interior design publishing through its focus on translating coastal vernacular architecture into gracious, welcoming interiors.

Reviews and Accolades

‘Living on the Coast’ earned wide acclaim upon its release in 2017. Reviews praised both the beautiful photography and Butera’s design sensibility. Decor enthusiasts appreciated the insider’s look at his refined coastal aesthetic.

Veranda magazine lauded Butera’s “signature take on the Southern vernacular” and said his style defines “lived-in elegance”. Industry publication DesignerPages described the book as “a must-have source of inspiration”. Butera’s designs were called “fresh, comfortable, and welcoming” – qualities important for modern living.

Several chapters were featured in Coastal Living magazine, allowing readers to see examples of Butera’s “relaxed coastal elegance” philosophy. ‘Living on the Coast’ remains one of the defining books on how to gracefully decorate waterfront homes.

Why Read This Book?

Here are the top reasons design lovers should get their hands on ‘Barclay Butera: Living on the Coast’:

  • Gorgeous visual escape into over 20 breathtaking coastal homes
  • Gain insights from a master of the coastal interior design aesthetic
  • Well-written backstories bring the beautiful photographs to life
  • Variety of design styles keeps the book feeling fresh and engaging
  • Excellent advice for infusing coastal charm into your own decor
  • Inspiring examples of relaxing, livable elegance done right
  • Acclaimed as one of the best coastal interior design books available

For readers seeking coastal decor inspiration, ‘Living on the Coast’ delivers on all fronts. The homes are irresistibly beautiful while also feeling comfortably livable. Butera strikes the perfect balance of beach house whimsy and properly elegant detailing. This book provides a masterclass in creating interiors that feel connected to the sea, breezy, and infused with charm. ‘Living on the Coast’ deserves a spot on every design enthusiast’s shelf.

Frequently Asked Questions About ‘Living on the Coast’

Here are answers to some common questions about Butera’s iconic coastal interior design book:

What types of homes are featured?

The book includes a diverse range of coastal properties from historic Charleston townhouses to Floridian plantations. Beach cottages, villas, farms, and mansions are all represented.

What is Butera’s signature coastal style?

He mixes sophisticated and relaxed elements. Signature touches include painted wood floors, crisp white molding, antique furnishings, large windows and doors, billowy drapes, and vintage accessories. The homes feel gracious yet welcoming.

Are the properties new builds or renovations?

The book features both new construction and reimagined historic homes. Butera often modernizes and expands vintage homes while restoring cherished architectural details. This blends old and new.

Does the book include outdoor living spaces?

Yes, Butera emphasizes indoor-outdoor harmony. Many chapters showcase porches, patios, courtyards, and lanais. Butera extends his interior design principles into these transitional spaces.

Are all the homes directly on the beachfront?

While primarily waterfront homes, settings range from harbors to inland rice plantations. Each home conveys a connection to coastal living, whether on the seaside or nearby.


‘Barclay Butera: Living on the Coast’ provides an insider’s perspective on designing gracious, inviting interiors inspired by the sea. The beautiful photographs transport readers into Butera’s coastal design world. His homes masterfully blend sophisticated architectural details with relaxed fabrics, vintage finds, and muted color palettes. Any design enthusiast looking to infuse coastal charm into their decor will find this book a valuable resource. Butera teaches that the true essence of seaside living derives not from literal nautical theming, but from creating interiors that feel connected to the surrounding coastal landscape. ‘Living on the Coast’ will deservedly remain a classic in interior design publishing and continue inspiring readers to embrace Butera’s timeless aesthetic and design principles.