Melissa McLay designed a young girl’s bedroom in the 2014 DC Design House. © Angie Seckinger

Ask the Pros: Interior Design

Advice on designing the perfect home by the bay

What is your design philosophy when it comes to decorating the interiors of waterfront homes? 

It’s so important to meld the interior of your home with its surroundings—particularly when those surroundings include beautiful waterfront views. When designing the interiors of a waterfront home, I pay close attention to window treatments, which should be simple and elegant and provide softness to space while framing the view. I also emphasize the careful arrangement of furniture to allow for favorable views from every angle. Where color palette is concerned, I often prefer lighter hues with deeper, brighter colors added sparingly. I gravitate toward natural fabrics such as cotton and linen, which provide a relaxed, gracious feel.—Melissa McLay, Melissa McLay Interiors, Severna Park, Maryland.