Makeovers

Exclusive: Jenna Bush Hager’s Stunning Beach House Makeover

Exclusive: Jenna Bush Hager’s Stunning Beach House Makeover
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On the north shore of Long Island, Jenna Bush Hager found the perfect summer getaway spot for her family: an airy, light-splashed house steps from the beach with gorgeous harbor views and plenty of room for herself, husband Henry, two-year-old daughter Mila, and in a few months, baby daughter number two. The house provides a much-needed dose of serenity for the grown-ups and lessons for Mila on what constitutes nature. “Growing up in the city, Mila thinks of the outdoors as cement and parks,” says Jenna, who works as a correspondent for the Today show and editor at large for Southern Living magazine.

The only problem: This busy mom now had an entire house to decorate before the summer season started. Enter One Kings Lane stylist Alex Reid, who gave the main living space the full makeover treatment, creating a cheery, welcoming home that’s cozy enough for quiet family time yet gracious enough to entertain a sizable group of adults in beachy, sophisticated style.

BEFORE

Jenna’s marble-top Saarinen Tulip table and Knoll chairs were the only occupants of the space when we arrived.

Jenna’s marble-top Saarinen Tulip table and Knoll chairs were the only occupants of the space when we arrived.

AFTER

To keep the beach house feeling beachy casual, Alex used outdoorsy blues and greens plus touches of organic materials including sisal and raw wood.

To keep the beach house feeling beachy casual, Alex used outdoorsy blues and greens plus touches of organic materials including sisal and raw wood.

Something Old, Something New, Plus Some Bold White and Blue

To create a space that would be fun and functional for a young family, Alex assembled a mix of old and new—a look Jenna felt perfectly at home with. “I have a pretty eclectic style. I’ve been influenced by my mom a lot—she has great taste.” In the mash-up: an antique-y couch covered in one of Sister Parish’s signature Palm Beach-preppy patterns, midcentury-style side tables and slipper chairs (the latter scored by Jenna at a vintage store), and a bright blue-and-white striped dhurrie rug. The palette, a mix of blue, white, tan, and gray, has a decidedly maritime feel. “It’s important to me that a house reflects the landscape it’s in,” says Jenna. “And here there’s sort of a whimsical kind of nautical beach vibe.”

The blue-and-white palette makes pattern mixing easy.

The blue-and-white palette makes pattern mixing easy.

A clear console adds function to a tight corner but keeps the feeling open and airy.

A clear console adds function to a tight corner but keeps the feeling open and airy.

Traditional foo dog lamps, updated in superbright lemon yellow, add Pop-y color to the space.

Traditional foo dog lamps, updated in superbright lemon yellow, add Pop-y color to the space.

A candy-color lampshade and live greenery bring modern, youthful energy.

A candy-color lampshade and live greenery bring modern, youthful energy.

Well-placed side tables ensure that a spot to set down a glass is within arm’s reach.

Well-placed side tables ensure that a spot to set down a glass is within arm’s reach.

Cozy Corners

To make the wide-open but modestly sized space as entertaining-friendly as possible, Alex employed a simple trick: He omitted the coffee table. In lieu of the typical symmetrical floor plan (chairs ringing a central coffee table), he created an asymmetrical one using two ottomans (one sisal, one upholstered) and a modern side table to create two distinct conversation areas. “I think that the most important thing about entertaining is that people feel comfortable, that they have a good place to sit and have a great conversation,” says Jenna. “I think Alex has done that for sure.”

Opposite the Sister Parish couch, Alex installed a low daybed that doesn’t block the fantastically long line of windows. “The daybed is one of our favorite places,” says Jenna. “Mila likes to read there or just look out at the view, and for me it’s a great place to take a nap.”

Dinner for Eight—or Two

“Henry loves to grill, and we both love to throw dinner parties, especially in the summer,” says Jenna. To make the space party-ready, Alex brought in a bar cart, which allows guests to help themselves to drinks (and echoes the mirror-and-console vignette across the room). And to the existing dining setup—a marble-top Saarinen Tulip table and Knoll chairs, both midcentury classics—he made an unexpectedly old-fashioned addition in the form of a linen-covered settee. Smaller occasional chairs afford even more seating at the table when necessary, but when it’s just the two of them, Jenna and Henry like to share the settee, which is perfectly positioned to catch the serene harbor view.

A bar cart isn’t just convenient; when used as a showcase for pretty objects and barware, it’s also a great way to add eye-catching shine to a room.

A bar cart isn’t just convenient; when used as a showcase for pretty objects and barware, it’s also a great way to add eye-catching shine to a room.

Prepping her new dining room for entertaining. Jenna’s main goal as a hostess? “Making sure that everyone feels comfortable.”

Prepping her new dining room for entertaining. Jenna’s main goal as a hostess? “Making sure that everyone feels comfortable.”

A mix of new blue-and-white basics and vintage finds makes for an inviting table setting.

A mix of new blue-and-white basics and vintage finds makes for an inviting table setting.

Jenna Bush Hager’s Guacamole

4 ripe avocados,‎ peeled, pitted, and diced
¼ to ¾ cup diced red onion
¾ cup seeded and diced Roma tomato
½ cup chopped cilantro leaves
1 to 2 tablespoons diced serrano peppers
Juice of 1 lime
1 clove garlic, mashed
Coarse salt and pepper to taste

Add avocados to a medium bowl, mashing slightly. Add remaining ingredients and stir gently‎. Taste and adjust seasoning

Jenna and Alex enjoying a hot cup of tea on the cozy daybed, complete with ocean view.

Jenna and Alex enjoying a hot cup of tea on the cozy daybed, complete with ocean view.

I love a seated dinner. You always leave the table feeling closer to the people you’re sitting with.

— Jenna Bush Hager
Join the Discussion

Join the Discussion

36 Responses to “Exclusive: Jenna Bush Hager’s Stunning Beach House Makeover”

  1. Liz Lidgett says:

    Looks perfect. Want to steal the settee at my round table idea. Great job, Alex!

  2. Mary Ann Degataire says:

    No thanks. Junky, boring, and cluttered.

  3. Mavman says:

    Wow, great job. It’s looks so comfortable and cozy.

  4. Doris D Reffner says:

    I read another comment about it being “junky and cluttered” I went back to look at the pictures a second time, and I think it is beautiful, fresh and cozy. A lovely home for a young family. To each their own I guess.

    • Jack Conn says:

      Always a “jackass” to come up with something negative like junky and cluttered. Imagine that.

      • ulm210 says:

        Why the name calling Jack? When you do not like something would you prefer everyone to think you’re a jackass? Or do you just think the comments section should be positive, fun and supportive with absolutely no critique?

        • mattituckresident says:

          Isn’t that what social media is all open? to express an opinion? personally it’s not my cup of tea but I think she looks cute in it – she would look cute if it was furnished by going to the dump – I don’t have to like it – that is my right and privilege and I don’t ….her right to love it and she does – good for her – I would be happy to live there if it was empty – on the ocean who cares – i would be outside the whole time anyway.

    • ulm210 says:

      Yes Doris, to each their own…I agree with Mary Ann. This looks like Alex got lazy halfway through the project. Or the client did not approve of the cost overruns and Alex was stuck cutting costs on the backend which shows in the final product. But, if you think it looks great, well, to each their own.

  5. Beawild says:

    I came to read the guacamole recipe. It’s similar to the way I make it, except for the Serrano peppers. I have to try hers. I think that the living area is furnished in a comfortable manner, suitable for a beach house.

  6. Karla1953 says:

    Looks great for a beach house…………………….clean lines all around and that breezy feeling, yet cozy. Agree with Beawild/came for guac as well…………………….

  7. Bananadrama says:

    I’m not super-fond of the pattern mixing choices, but I like the layout. The Knoll dining chairs are great.

  8. Liz says:

    Love the house and adore her. That guacamole recipe with the addition of serranos is almost like mine. Exactly the way we like it here in Texas…hot.

  9. Barbara Vilaseca says:

    I wish you would feature a self-made, accomplished, young woman – not someone who is capitalizing on her family name. She has all the family money in the world! It is easy to be tasteful with all that access.

    • dpp says:

      In fairness, it is just as easy to be tasteless with all that access. The Kardashians come to mind for example.

    • housecrush says:

      In this world, much of the time, it is “who” you know… she could easily, just sit back and do nothing, but, count all her Bush money… but, she appears to have a strong work ethic and obviously, is trying to make a name for herself. She does a lot of philanthropic work, too. It is without doubt, opportunities come her way because of her last name…but, that doesn’t make her a bad person. I, personally, enjoyed the article… and, hearing about her growing young family and new beach house. It is certainly a breath of fresh air from all the typical stories of doom and despair that flood the news outlets.

    • Katrina says:

      Do you feel the same way about Chelsea Clinton?

    • Litldog2 says:

      “It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.” – Dale Carnegie

      Ms. Bush generously allowed the public into one room of her summer house. The point of looking at photo shoots like this is to gain ‘ideas’ not complain about costs. Limited funds do not mean limited taste. A person takes what they like, discards what they don’t, incorporating it into their space, whether is be a housing project or a mansion, whether it be Goodwill or Designer.
      Stop with the politics and take it for what it is…an idea that can be incorporated into any space.

      • housecrush says:

        exactly, and, it is obviously all staged for the photo shoot…who knows if she even kept any or all of that stuff. It is all for sale on One Kings Lane…

    • cahdot says:

      i doubt (the all the $$ in the world stuff –that’s the CLINTONS DAAAA)

  10. tina says:

    I like the look, only like not really my taste, but can you really have glass planters and open glass bar cart with little ones in a family setting? I am working on redoing my family room now because my little oneis starting to crawl. Although, I want to keep my room stylish since this is a family room I have a lot to consider and change.

  11. Molly says:

    I enjoyed the article and think the room looks good, but I was surprised it doesn’t look more kid-friendly. With an almost 2-year-old myself, we recently had to give our bar cart to friends without kids, and I’m always looking for stylish ways to incorporate kids into well-designed space. This doesn’t strike me as a space that would work well in real life for a young family. Why not include a discrete basket of classy toys somewhere?

  12. cahdot says:

    good job Jenna and one kings lane love their stuff!!!

  13. Jeffersonian says:

    Well, she must like them gay like Daddy

    • gngr12345 says:

      Methinks that comment may be about the gentleman seated on the love seat with her. That would be the decorator/stylist not her hubby…..

    • mattituckresident says:

      So sorry Oz couldn’t get you the brain you were looking for – hopefully dorothy can get you home anyway.

  14. Rosalie Huhn Ey says:

    Such negative people out there. What a warm and lovely beach house.i love everything about it and wouldn’t change a thing . Probably moves glass objects if necessary because of the little one.

  15. LINDA CARSON says:

    I think it is absurd to bring politics into a discussion on decorating a home. I’m not a fan of her father, but she did a very nice, comfortable job of decorating her beach house. I have many of the same or similar things in my apartment (and covet a few others) so I guess we have the same tastes in furnishings at least!
    !

  16. Irene Madrid says:

    I know that our tastes come from out own personal nervous systems. No need to judge because the delight is in making it one’s own. For me , this room is ‘too much’. But for Jenna, it is good. Simple. I have just completely re-decorated my living spaces and soft blues, grays, creams and a punch of deep pink soothes me.My coastal cottage look is perfect for me.

  17. Adriana says:

    Nicely decorated. Great color combination. I LOVE the painting of the girl in the swim cap with the stripped swimsuit. Who is the artist?

  18. Marlo Shedlock says:

    Let’s see Chelsea Clinton’s house now please :)

  19. Terramom says:

    One of the things I love about perusing sites like One Kings Lane is to see how people decorate their homes and to get ideas. I can find a room beautiful even though it’s not exactly to my taste. And one can replicate an entire look or just a corner of a room by finding similar items, doing DIY, etc. The price tag doesn’t have to be the same. If I don’t like something, I just click to the next picture. No need to criticize.

    I think the designer’s (and most likely Jenna’s) choices really set off her cool dining table. This room in the beach house is fresh, young, and fun, with its mix of vintage and and pattern. It avoids the ‘beach theme’ cliche.

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