Jess Zocal and her family of eight live in a Colonial-style home in North Carolina, near the sea. Her recent living room makeover reflects a fresh take on a classic coastal color palette, and it’s an oasis of calm. You wouldn’t know it at first glance, but this sophisticated space is also a showcase of thrift store finds and clever budget solutions, plus, a foundation grounded in our airy blue best-seller, Headspace!
An unexpected coastal color palette
Paint is the starting point for everything. “When we purchased our house, I could only afford paint. So I painted every space I could get to,” she says. The living room was originally a color Jess calls a “dull tan.” With high ceilings and plenty of natural light, she designed the space to showcase the stunning view of greenery outside. “Headspace felt like the right complement to the views of our outdoor spaces,” she explains. “It’s the perfect pale green, pale blue chameleon color.” White trim and neutral furnishings add a crisp counterpoint and help tie together the modern, coastal color palette.
Thrifted finds and DIY designs
Next, she slowly outfitted the room with thrifted finds and DIY projects – a passion that began at a young age. (Encouraged by her mother, young Jess made DIY dollhouses from cardboard boxes, redecorated her room, and even sponge-painted a wall once!) With an eye for DIY honed over a lifetime, she found wood and rattan pieces for the living room at local thrift stores, slipcovered a $20 vintage ottoman with a no-sew dropcloth, and made art for the walls from found ephemera and colorful cardstock.
Black southern style
The artwork and overall aesthetic is an eclectic reflection of Jess’ interests. “I incorporated art, fabrics and other pieces from Black creators to inspire our children,” she says. “I try to create spaces that reflect both Black and Southern culture. And I notice there’s always a hint of ‘coastal’ in there.”
Creating everyday calm
With four children and constant comings-and-goings, Jess created the space to serve multiple functions – from homeschooling, to gathering, to showcasing creative projects. The coastal color palette and neutral furnishings – in wood, rattan, and linen – put the focus on the greenery beyond the windows, introducing an airy, indoor-outdoor feeling. The design is an inspiring reminder that family rooms can be places of calm, with a fresh perspective and the right paint to pull it all together.