If you want to shake up your summer reading list, we’ve got you. Surf Shack: Laid-Back Living By The Water is the sourcebook for anyone hoping to make their space look and feel just like summer. Creating a space that matches a beachside mood and lifestyle ensures a peaceful, relaxing season. Below, we chatted with Nina Freudenberger, interior designer and one of Surf Shack’s authors, on how to bring this laid-back aesthetic home.
Q: What inspired the book? What drew you to the Surf Shack aesthetic?
A: I moved from NYC to LA about 4 years ago, and the difference in the approach to design was truly surprising to me! I saw the very strong “laid-back” vibe here (I mean that very positively) and it was so refreshing that I had to dig deeper. And as I dove in, I realized that there was a common thread among the people whose homes I obsessed over, they were all surfers. Surfing isn’t just a sport, it is a whole lifestyle, and impacts everything. Which is why I was so drawn to it. I learned so much during the making of this book – and I thought it was important to show natural design – not with the help of a professional – but just how people live their lives. It’s all about living authentically.
Q: What are the hallmarks of the Surf Shack look? Any key pieces or textures?
A: Yes, for sure! All of these Surf Shacks had a heavy emphasis on natural materials, such as wood, stone, and found elements from nature. There were very few “hard” surfaces, such as glass and metals. And the fabrics all felt “worn” – nothing was kept pristine or looked like it was never used. I also loved how the homeowners found things on their travels and repurposed them, not just as objects but really used them. Like putting Mexican blankets on a guest bed. Or Moroccan rugs under the table for their outdoor dinner parties. It was all very inspirational to me as a designer.
Q: How can you bring a bit of the “surf” look into your home if you aren’t ready to take the full plunge?
A: Stick with the basics and start with the common thread we saw among these Surf Shacks, which includes comfort, flexibility, ease, and confidence in your design choices. Start simple and work your way up to something more dramatic!
Q: With summer rapidly approaching, do you have any tips on creating laid-back outdoor spaces?
A: Keep it simple and practical. I think feeling comfortable to put your feet up on your lounge chair, choosing fabrics that are resilient and not precious, and choosing furniture that doesn’t require maintenance is critical.
Q: What is the thing that surprised you the most putting together the book?
A: I think what was most surprising to me was the community. When I would speak with the homeowners during the shoot and I let them know who else we were shooting, they would say “that’s my friend” or “of course I know her!” – it’s a small world with this group! And that really blew me away – from Japan to Montauk to Mexico – there were connections through all of them.
Q: Which one space that you featured would you be the most inclined to move into?
A: All of them! It’s hard to pick just one, I literally combed through 100’s of homes and selected my absolute favorites. But if Julia Chaplin would like a new roommate in Brooklyn, I’m her girl.
Shop Nina’s picks for a Surf Shack-inspired home on Spring.