A Soulful Retreat

A beach cottage should be, above all, a cottage. This one stays true to its roots.

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The view simply speaks for itself. Photograph by Herbert StudiosThe ground floor is dedicated primarily to parking. Living spaces are sited on the second and third floors, the better to enjoy the views. There are decks off each floor where guests congregate to talk or wax skimboards.
“Beach houses are about connection—to your family, your friends, to the outdoors,” Giroso says. “It’s about making memories.”
In time, a cottage becomes more than glass, wood and cedar shingles. It’s a cherished friend that people look forward to visiting. “People think of the cottage as part of the family,” she says. “The house takes on a life of its own.”
She can attest to that firsthand. Giroso has enjoyed a rare opportunity to test drive her work, renting the cottage for vacations with her children. “It is a soulful retreat,” she says. “Every room is a joy.”


  • Incorporate the architectural elements of cottage style into a space. That includes beadboard, tongue-in-groove paneling, ceiling beams, wainscoting, and pegs for hanging coats or towels.
  • Cultivate a relationship between the cottage and the outdoors. That might include maximizing a water view or planting a flower garden in a plot that can be enjoyed from both inside and outside the house.
  • In cottage style, pieces do double duty, as in a dining table that also is a craft station. Pieces also are repurposed for new uses, as in a vintage bench that becomes a coffee table or an old fence that is reborn as a headboard.
  • Plan for breathing space, an open area that gives a home an aura of vitality. In the beach cottage, the homeowner opted to give up a third bedroom in order to create a light and airy second-floor landing.