Question: We are moving from the north to a beach house full time. I was planning to keep a lot of my furniture, but my girlfriends are telling me I will need to redecorate after the move. What are your suggestions for dealing with this? Do I really need to replace everything?
Phoebe's Answer: We deal with this issue all of the time in Florida. Furniture that looks great in a cold environment without a lot of sun is a completely different matter in our blistering, hot sunshine state. All of the sudden, oriental rugs, jewel tones, heavy wood furniture, tapestries and the like feel heavy and suffocating here. It is hard to advise what to leave behind, but it is always helpful if you can spend a little bit of time in your new city before you move there so you can get a feeling for the area and the weather. The easiest fix if you get yourself in this situation is to slipcover everything in white duck and put down seagrass rugs. Those are Southern classics and there is a reason behind this. Save yourself some heartache and headache and try to accept that you will eventually need to shift your home to feel more appropriate to the lifestyle and landscape down here. Feel free to do it slowly over time, but I think you will be much happier with your house once you do. Here are all examples of rooms that feel appropriate in beach towns—notice the while upholstery and seagrass rugs!: