Great pointers, thank you. I do need to give more formal thought to this; I am drawn to bright colors and fun patterns, then wonder why my home lacks the grown-up calm that I seek.
Our house is also by the water, and I want to acknowledge that while refraining from turning it into a beachy theme park.
I recalled having saved a selection of seaside/beach inspired pages from magazines, and this lovely home came to mind when you said that you would like a grown up calm, but beachy inspired home.
This one, featured in the Country Homes and Interiors Magazine of April 2009 has a lovely calm feel to it, yet takes its inspiration form the ocean outside. I love the use of the drift wood accessories used throughout the rooms, and the use of textures such as the sheep skin rugs and cushions and the rustic drift Wood furniture.