The best beach houses are designed for unplugging and relaxing—they can’t be fussy or formal. These comfortable retreats excel at casual gatherings, and they also make the most of their surroundings. Perfectly positioned to embrace views, sea breezes, and the light at sunrise and sunset, these beach house floor plans will surely inspire the design of your future seaside getaway.
Just north of Sydney, Australia, on Great Mackerel Beach, the Hart House is Casey Brown Architecture’s contemporary interpretation of the beach shack. Wrapped in a corrugated metal shell to protect it from the elements, the waterfront home is at one with nature—it’s nestled into a rocky outcropping and lush foliage, perfectly positioned to take in ocean views.
The house is oriented to take advantage of the sun and views with a front facade encased in floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors that open up to an expansive front deck. Through these sliders lies the main floor with an open-concept double-height living, dining, and kitchen area and a lofted mezzanine. Below, the basement is holds a bedroom with an en suite bath.
Located in the Fire Island village of Saltaire, this charming 1930s shingled cottage was renovated by Manhattan-based architect Eric Schiller, who followed FEMA storm guidelines to help protect the historic structure from future hurricane damage.
During the renovation process, the bungalow was elevated eight feet above ground to comply with FEMA requirements, but the homeowner wanted to keep the original layout of the 1,330-square-foot first floor to embrace the nostalgic charm of the cottage’s heyday. For the second level, the homeowner embraced a more open-concept floor plan with a loft-like sleeping space that includes an office nook and a large seating area for social gatherings.
On Australia’s remote St. Andrews Beach, Austin Maynard Architects designed a modern-day “bach”—a New Zealand term for a beach shack that became popular during the 1950s. The circular dwelling is clad in silvertop ash, which will develop a patina over time and allow the structure to further blend into its natural surroundings.
The 1,500-square-foot circular home is centered around a metal spiral staircase, with a double-height dining room and patio to add volume. The first floor is comprised of open-concept living rooms and utility space. And upstairs, in lieu of walls, the two bedrooms are partitioned off with curtains for privacy.
In Santa Monica’s Ocean Park neighborhood, Saez Pedraja Architecture took on the task of designing a beach home for a narrow 25-by-80-foot lot. To make the 1,600-square-foot home feel larger, the designers used double-height ceilings, expansive glass, and seamless indoor/outdoor connections to their advantage.
The narrow lot posed challenges for the designers, but they created a compact, open-concept floor plan that spans three stories. An open, flowing first floor leads to the bedrooms on the second floor, and the third-floor perch includes a loft and rooftop deck.
Montalba Architects transformed a 1970s bungalow into a contemporary coastal gem. Sliding glass doors on all three levels connect the house to its beachside setting.
The home’s thoughtful layout focuses on family gathering. The “kids level” on the bottom holds bunkbeds and a living area. A second-floor hub includes an open-concept kitchen, dining, and living rooms with two bedrooms tucked in the back. And the primary suite spans the entire top floor.
Buenos Aires-based architect and furniture designer Alejandro Sticotti designed a 2,690-square-foot beach getaway for his family in the small seaside town of La Pedrera, Uruguay. Made of steel, concrete, glass, and weathered gray ipe wood, the two-story house is a contemporary contrast to the neighboring bohemian beach shacks.
The rectilinear structure—a cube topped by a rectangle—houses a unique floor plan with a first-floor covered terrace, dining room, and kitchen. On the top floor, the living room and studio have expansive views of the coast, perched high above the neighboring homes.
After a bushfire burned their original beach shack and property, the homeowners built a brand-new beach house on a precipice overlooking Dunalley Bay in Tasmania. Stuart Tanner Architects designed a safe haven made from steel, concrete, glass, and Tasmanian oak.
The L-shaped modular house has a floor plan with two distinct wings—one for living and the other for sleeping. The communal dining, living, and kitchen area is encased in glass and overlooks Dunalley Bay, while the three bedrooms are tucked away down a hallway for privacy.
In Australia’s Merricks Beach, an architect built a vacation home for her family that doubles as an income property. To hold up against the wear and tear of renters, she used durable, utilitarian materials—concrete, brick, spotted gum, and tea tree wood—and thoughtfully oriented the structure for cross ventilation and efficient heating and cooling.
The single-story 670-square-foot beach house is mindfully positioned on the property to create privacy from the street. The layout hugs an outdoor patio with bedrooms at one end of the house and open-concept communal areas at the opposite end. These spaces open up to the courtyard for seamless indoor/outdoor living.
An Amagansett cottage in the Hamptons was transformed with a white and bright Scandinavian-inspired interior. Jessica Helgerson Interior Design freshened up the dated interior, while the architecture firm TBD Design Studio developed a new floor plan.
Most of the 3,000-square-foot home’s spaces were reconfigured during the renovation. The old screened porch became a brand-new kitchen, expanding the home’s interior footprint. Two living spaces and two bedrooms were added, and the staircase was opened up to add to the house’s bright and airy nature.
South of Sydney in the Australian beach town of Bundeena, Grove Architects designed a low-set residence that blends into its lush coastal surroundings with a “green infinity edge” roof and wood cladding.
The home’s western orientation gives it expansive water views from the kitchen and dining room, while a skylight fills the center of the home with light. The entrance is on the upper floor, where the bedrooms are tucked away, and the ground floor holds the communal spaces, which are thoughtfully connected to the landscape with expansive glass and decking.
Indoor/outdoor living reigns supreme at this beachside dwelling in Sydney, Australia’s North Bondi area. Privacy screens that incorporate lighting and plants were designed by CplusC Architectural Workshop to embrace alfresco living without compromising privacy in the dense city neighborhood.
The 2,271-square-foot home’s ground level houses an open-concept kitchen, dining, and living area that overlooks a pool that runs along the side of the long, narrow house. Bedrooms and baths are secluded upstairs, away from the social spaces.
In Chigasaki, Japan, architect and surfer Kenichiro Iwakiri rehabbed a midcentury cottage by giving it coastal Cali vibes with a colorful, retro aesthetic. Exposed red cedar ceilings, white walls, and a new covered porch give the old bungalow a new lease on life.
Inside, the living, dining, and kitchen areas are located in the heart of the home, with bedrooms along the perimeter. Although the home has a compact floor plan, vaulted ceilings give the rooms a lofty, airy feeling, and covered porches extend the living areas outdoors.
A 1950s beach house along Australia’s Tweed Coast got a much-needed renovation from DFJ Architects, who, along with the homeowners, made preservation their main goal. They embraced the home’s existing elements—including its exposed beams, and the large chimney made from local rocks.
The interior layout was completely reimagined by the designers, as they looked to make the floor plan more functional for modern-day living and make the views a priority. The main living areas were restored and streamlined, while a three-bed, one-bath guest wing was added above the original garage and workshop.
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