Text by Bethany Adams
Moving into a home a block away from the street where she grew up was a dream come true for Janet Solomon. “I always wanted to raise my kids the way I was raised,” she says, recalling a childhood spent on the California coastline. Thirty-two years later, she and her husband, Larry, still reside in the ranch-style cottage they raised their daughters in—a space they long ago made their own.
“We wanted it to be homey and cottagey near the beach,” Janet says, and it was her fondness for the ocean that inspired the color palette of soft blues and lavenders, sea-salt whites, and sandy linens. But when a trip to a new place sparked a fresh passion, the home’s décor took on another spirit.
“We were mostly about the beach and the nautical feel, and then we got into going to France,” Janet says. “We went 10 years in a row, and everything changed for us.” During trips to Paris and the southern French countryside, they brought home furniture, books, and more, filling their beachside cottage with pieces like weathered seascapes and a pair of crown-motif chairs that originally resided in the Fairmont Hotel.
“It’s such a surprise when you find a new piece,” Janet says, recalling early mornings spent combing brocantes (flea markets) with flashlights. “And you never know what you’re going to find—you never know why you’re in love with it—but you just know you have to have it.”
One unexpected must-have moment occurred in Summerland, California, when Janet encountered a balcony chandelier whose prisms had begun to turn lavender from catching the setting sun. It kick-started a new collection, and now, an Italian chandelier graces the planked dining room ceiling, collected lavender crystals sparkling from within.
As bedrooms often do, the master serves as a true haven, and like the rest of the home, memories of the Solomons’ travels abound. A split-back chair finished in white leather sported burlap when Janet found it, and the lavender-dyed linen sheet thrown across the bed was brought home from a stay in the South of France.
But it’s the painting over the bed that captures the spirit of this coastal cottage and the memories it honors. “There’s a hillside just like that where I used to walk as a child all the time,” Janet says of the scene. She notes that the trio originally reminded her of herself, her mother, and her sister, “And then that changed to my daughters and I.”
It’s a sweet tribute to decades spent by the sea—an experience Janet wanted to pass on to her own children. And with a backdrop of serene seascape shades, the Solomons’ unique collection of French antiques truly shines.
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