The time—or rather, tide—is right for Meredith Corporation brand Coastal Living, the latest licensing partner with Universal Furniture. The pair has signed a four-year agreement for a whole home collection, beginning with the debut of a 60-plus-piece line at Fall High Point Market in October.
Word to the wise: Don’t categorize the coastal-inspired designs into a style—at least not around Coastal Living homes editor Ellen McGauley. “The main thing that we talked about was that [coastal living] is not a style at all. It’s more of a lifestyle,” she tells BOH. “We’re not modern and we’re not traditional or transitional. It’s about what makes sense in a beach house.”
What makes sense, says the editor, is natural, hardworking materials and multipurpose furnishings fit for a multigenerational home. The collection offers living, dining, bedroom, occasional and upholstery furnishings that accomplish just that.
“To say we’re excited about the new collection and our partnership with Coastal Living is an understatement,” said Universal Furniture president and CEO Jeff Scheffer. “We’re elated to not only be working with a fantastic group of team members at the magazine, but also a long-standing, successful brand that embodies a lifestyle our consumers desire.”
Gaining insight into waterside consumers—those who are looking to fill rental properties or second or third homes with casual yet performance-grade materials that can withstand encounters with the elements and traffic rates higher than in an average home—was among the greatest advantages Coastal Living was able to offer Universal.
The magazine’s engaged readership, which totals 4.5 million in print and 1 million monthly unique visitors online, helps as well. Coastal Living reports that its readers earn a median household income of $106,487 and spend roughly $6.7 billion on home improvements.
“It’s not like any other house. Houses for your everyday life inland are very serious, but … at the beach, they’re meant to be carefree, but that requires you to put a lot of care into those furnishings,” says McGauley. “I think they got that right from the beginning, and they came to us with great ideas.”
It’s not the media brand’s first foray into product design. In 2009, Coastal Living debuted a furniture collection with Stanley Furniture, featuring bedroom, dining and occasional and accent furniture. In December, the brands opted not to renew their contract.