Color and stripes evoke a playful, elegant style

Design motif helps define a carefree summer cottage
Jess Chamberlain

Bold stripes are the most graphic of patterns: clean and modern with a dose of fun. As a design motif, they're more apt to be associated with a circus. But when the owners of this cottage in Palo Alto, California, requested a look that was "happy and playful" yet refined, designer Michel Biehn achieved exactly the desired effect. "We went crazy with stripes and kept on going," Biehn says.

The trick was to incorporate the pattern seamlessly into the walls, floors, furnishings, textiles, and accessories, and balance it with neutrals for an eye-catching - not dizzying - result. "It's a delicate combination of elegance and wit," Biehn adds.

Design: Fergus Garber Group, Palo Alto, CA (650/473-0400); Pete Moffat Construction, Palo Alto (650/493-8899)
Interior design: Michel Biehn, France