As a 2016 Towergate Beach Hut of the Year Finalist, Millie, our latest addition to Millie’s Beach Huts has certainly attracted a lot of attention. We find out tomorrow if she has made the Top 5 but either way, I’m a little proud. Whilst not providing traditional Beach Hut Decor Ideas, she’s broken the mould with her bright, fun interior and may inspire a different option for your interior.
I can’t count the number of times that I’ve been asked: “where did you get that ice-cream cone from?” – well, it is a showstopper! But as with my other beach huts, I also receive lots of questions and request to share where I bought items from. From the paint, furniture and flooring to the accessories I add to each beach hut, I’m always pleased to share, particularly if they will generate business for those very talented suppliers!!
So whether you are renovating a newly purchased beach hut or creating a beach hut/coastal themed room at home, or even if you have just bought a beach hut fully kitted out with contents and want to add your own stamp to it, I hope the below will help inspire your own beach hut decor.
Creating Millie: Beach Hut Decor
When I met Millie, it was a very very cold and stormy day. It was high tide and despite being wrapped up, I feel in love with her quite quickly. Whilst on the second row, she was raised up and had this little balcony which resulted in fantastic views both across the Pier and down towards Frinton. Like Isla, she’d clearly been loved but very rarely used by the family who owned her due to a busy family life.
The front door was stiff and hard to open and a very heavy hatch window. All problematic though the hut itself had been fully cladded and had a great wooden worktop across the back of the beach hut , with a small stove and ceramic Belfast sink.
The hut itself was a dark brown with green paint over which was flaking off and made the hut look in disrepair. However looking beyond the colour and contents that were in need of an update – I knew this would be a little safe haven for families and that I could make her special.
As recommended in my Buying a Beach Hut blog, I decided to buy her in the middle of winter, giving plenty of time to renovate and be open for the summer season. If you know me by know, I never just slap on new paint and pop in basic contents. Each of my beach huts takes time to evolve and I put a huge amount of my own time and effort into making and selecting key items to deck here out. Each hut has it’s own style and story and takes a huge amount of thought and effort – all very enjoyable!!!
Choosing a Theme
If you’ve read my previous blog re How I created Isla, you’ll know that I never plan a beach hut decor and layout until after finding the beach hut and buying it. I always look to get a feel for the beach hut itself, it’s location and understanding its style before making any decisions on the content. As I was looking to keep the back wall section of the interior of Millie as she was(the wood worktop was spotless!), I wanted to create a fun beach hut for families to enjoy.
Why fun and not peace and tranquillity? Well if you’ve been following our journey you’ll know that I previously owned two beach huts on a private development within Walton-on-the-Naze. The private landlord decided, to change the licence, in my opinion,without making an effort to resolve ‘perceived’ issues with beach hut hires on site. It was quoted that children were loud and owners were looking for peace and quiet when on site. I love hearing children laugh and enjoying the beach and beach huts and I guess the new Millie was my way of responding to that, in a very public way!
It started with a rebrand
What a rebrand – but you’ve been operating just over year!?!?!
Sat with two beach huts that I could no longer hire out due to the licence change, and some large changes in my personal life, I wanted to start 2016 afresh. Spurred on by setting out some 100-day goals, I’d spotted the gorgeous Vicki Nicholson from Branding Therapy create some stunning brands through a group I was taking part in a 100-day challenge.
Was it in my 100-day goal to rebrand? No… but having spent some time talking to Vicki, it was time. I felt jaded by our logo and materials and didn’t’ feel they captured the spirit of my beach huts. I also felt there were so many beach hut hires with similar logos that I wanted our logo and branding to represent us and not be confused with any others.
It was such a painless process with Vicki (though she may not feel the same given the number of tweaks I asked for) but when I saw one of her first mood boards – an ice cream parlour theme for Millie was born. So not only did she provide me with a brand that finally screams us, she gave us the inspiration behind Millie.
I started creating a Pinterest board with lots of different photos of ice cream parlours to help develop thoughts.
Choosing Paint Colours
As with my other beach hut, the paint had to be Sadolin Superdec. Cara from Gillies & MacKay explains why paint is so important in this great video (https://youtu.be/aryS8rNooLc) on her new YouTube channel. When Cara, says Sadolin is the best, I don’t argue – she knows her stuff!
Having chosen colours for Isla, this one was a little easier the second time around! I wanted the beach huts to be easily identifiable and thus keeping the same colour scheme was an obvious way to do so. Having used two colours on Isla – I decided to switch them around with the pink being the main base colour and green doors.
I’d had the front of Millie completely replaced with new fascias and doors – perfect to show off the new colours and let more light in!
If you want to know more about where to find stockists and testing posts/my experience of choosing colours, I covered this in some depth in my How I Created Isla Blog.
Exterior Paint Colours – Main Building Colour Pink (U8212S), Front Doors Green (H8284K)
Day Bed and Furniture
Bench and Coffee Table – John Lewis
Bar Table, Stools and Balcony Table – Ikea and Age Concern
As the balcony outside Millie is a little higher, I wanted to provide an option of a table that could be moved outside with stools. Having picked up three bar stools for a bargain price of £15 from Age Concern in Wokingham, the cheapest tall table I could find was in Ikea. Again as the parts were flat packed it allowed me to spray the legs different colours with a bright yellow top using the same Kobra spray range as above.
I also wanted to provide a table outside and noticed that Ikea had released their outdoor garden range. At just £15, the drop down leaf table was perfect and would fold down to create space. Again I merely resprayed in our bright colours to help fit the theme.
I found Emma from Vintage Rocks through a facebook group and was so pleased to finally find someone who offered paint in bright bold colours along with shabby chic neutrals. Using Mineral and Lagoon colours, I was able to transform in just a few coats of paint, some pieces that were originally in the huts (all units on the back wall.
Her paint is super easy and she arranged delivery the very next day for me at short notice. I’d recommend using the Finishing Creme – very easy to use.
Furnishings – Curtains, Cushions and Throws
As a Scot I know how important it is to keep warm and throws are an important feature in the beach huts. Having added a large Catch Kidston bed spread which had been in a previous beach hut, I found this gorgeous Cornish Ice-Cream Herringbone Stripe Throw via Not on the High Street. Only available via NOTHS, it was so beautifully packaged when it arrived also!
As a recent sewing addict, I made up the new curtains myself and sourced the cushions via next (their outdoor cushions were perfect with the sunshine yellow and green theme). I have to say the curtains are annoying me a litlte with their length so expect a slight change and more bounce to them if you are visiting soon ;0).
Do you know that I drove round the M25 to Walton-on-the-Naze with this Ice-Cream cone standing up in my passenger seat!?!?! Can you imagine the looks I got whilst in a traffic jam – hilarious!
I must admit that I had so many second thoughts about adding the cone to the beach hut. Whilst I wanted the theme, this was the biggest and most extreme design so far and I was worried it would be too much for some of my normal guests. Having talked to several friends to gauge views and weighed up the benefits of options for the smaller half cone – , the half cone was actually out of stock and a decision was made.
This isn’t the first time an ice-cream cone display has featured with a beach hut, as Conran used a similar model in a show hut (see our Pinterest board) but we think it fits right into our theme.
China, Crockery and Children’s Tableware
If you know us a little by now – you’ll know that all of our china and crockery is sourced from Cath Kidston. I believe in having a little luxury for the adults who visit (even if it feels like the kids are all having the fun!). From teapots to mugs to plates, they are all sourced via Cath Kidston.
You’ll find a mix of the new Highgate Rose range (worktop saver and cake stand) and older Ditsy Mews in Millie That’s the thing I love about Cath Kidston – you can easily buy one thing at a time, the mix and match approach looks great and makes it so much more interesting.
I’d also recommend buying sets where they are available (cheaper than buying individually) and keeping an eye out for their sales – there is one on now!!
We always add children’s melamine into our beach huts too – Kirsty from The Retail Nurse helped track down Belle and Boo plates, cups and bowls along with our gorgeous Belle and Boo children’s cutlery. No need to worry about bringing your own supplies for them (and personally I’m a little clumsy so love using the melamine!).
Those Special Finishing Touches – Wall Decor
A Millie’s Beach Hut isn’t complete until we add a few extra touches. With my continued obsession with small businesses and artwork, it was now time to decorate the walls! With a few familiar pieces from our previous beach huts, I also added some new favourites.
- Pierson Interiors – a local company in Thorpe Le Soken who refurbishes furniture and sells accessories. I found this fab All you Need is Love sign in this gorgeous shop along with hanging stars and all of the bunting inside and outside too.
- ClimeMet – I can’t believe I only discovered these for the first time this year. Perfect for our beach huts with a gorgeous range of clocks and weather stations. Millie’s tide clock is perfect for Walton-on-the-Naze and will help you plan out your beach hut hire day.
Everyone needs their own four-legged friend when Millie isn’t around to visit!
- Ellies Beautiful Mess – one of my favourite Instagram pages and I’ve recently added one of their Iconic Letters (M of course) to Millie.
Our aim is to make a space for you to create your own memories – Amanda captures our vision perfectly with our gorgeous welcome boat and branded battery operated lighting.
I’ve been eyeing up these Emma Bridgewater trays for some time. Kirsty tracks them down again for us (note plastic jam jars from Accessorise).
- Dolly DearLove – what can I say, she always glitters with her fab hoop art and whilst no longer available to buy, are so special to us and our journey.
Carly creates the most stunning pieces of work and I was soo happy to snap one up (they go very quickly!!). Another great new find this year and can’t wait to see more of her creations.
Looking for more Beach Hut Decor Ideas?
Whilst I’m sure I’ve missed a number of items out from Millie in the above if I’ve missed out one of your favourites just drop me a comment and I’ll make sure I respond with details.
If you are still looking for ideas for your beach hut decor, you may also want to have a look at our previous blog post re Beach Hut Interior: How to Design and Decorate your Beach Hut. You’ll also find more inspiration on our Pinterest boards. Enjoy!!
You can book Millie directly HERE
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