The Great Escape

Above: Dudley transformed a former shoe store into her new studio. Workspace for brainstorming with clients is paired with cubbies that host fabrics, textiles and samples.

With the tagline “Live Beautifully” in surf print spanning one wall, GLDESIGN’s new studio is like a calming oasis, where owner Gaelle Dudley’s love of the coast and passion for the surf lifestyle can be seen, felt and experienced everywhere you turn. “I focus primarily on coastal interior design, and I want my clients to feel like they’re on vacation in their own homes,” she says. “To me, the coast is about not feeling tied to the grind, so there’s a sense of freedom in everything we design. I live and breathe this lifestyle, and I’m excited to make people feel what I feel every day.”

Inspired in part by her childhood spent on the coast of France, Dudley infuses her designs with a beachy, laidback vibe that embodies what she calls the “imperfectly perfect” lifestyle. “It means it’s OK to have white couches and sand on the floor and not stress about things getting dirty.” Often working with white and neutral palettes, she injects color as accents, frequently opting for bold shades of hot pinks, indigos and yellows for pops of vibrancy.

With a menu of services that includes interior design, renovations and new builds, GLDESIGN also offers exterior styling, working with coastal plants, sea and beach grasses and container design to enhance curb appeal. “We do all of that ourselves,” Dudley says. “It’s not just when you walk into the house that you’re wowed; it starts on the outside.”

With plans to host special events, exhibit work by local photographers and painters and eventually incorporate a curated retail component, “this space has a lot of bright, happy vibes,” Dudley says. “I want it to be a sanctuary where clients can feel the lifestyle I love to create in people’s homes. It’s the life I love to live.” 293 Pequot Avenue, Southport; 203-554-0585;



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