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LIFE'S A BEACH

Grand Island resident Christine Weaver's beachfront home feels like paradise.

A party mood stirs even when driving into Crystal Beach, with blue skies overhead and the first glimpse of Lake Erie through the trees. Tracing the water's edge, we eventually reach the site of the old Crystal Beach bathhouse.

There on the sand stands Weaver's three-story, three-year old beach house, a dead ringer for a pale pastel Cape Cod oceanfront cottage.

I introduce myself to Weaver. "Do you like me?" I ask as we shake hands hello. "Because I'm never leaving."

She laughs, understanding. She's a by-the-water kind of girl, the owner of Anchor Marine. "Yes," she smiles, looking up at her beach house. "I love it here. I come back here in the wintertime for weekends. I do my Christmas cards up there on the porch.

"There is always someone walking the beach. They duck hunt out here."

She entertains at the beach year-round, too, including a recent party that recalled the glory days of the Crystal Beach Amusement Park. "I had music, had it catered," she says. "There were Crystal Beach suckers, and the man who makes the original waffles. I had a few people here who sold Crystal Beach memorabilia."

Weaver was very involved in decorating her home, says interior designer Claudia Cairns with a smile. "Chris and I were joined at the hip during this."

In the first floor family room, machine washable slipcovers in oatmeal and sand tones cover capacious seating pieces from Arhaus. The blue and gray first floor bath is papered in a lake trout design, and a handsome pine vanity wraps the length of the room.

Washed pine stairs take you to the second floor, where the open kitchen, dining and living rooms are actually one large area, painted in beautiful, butter cream yellow.

"Yellows can be tricky, even overpowering," admits Cairns. "So we went with something very warm, to give sunshine on even the grayest of days. And this is sponged, so that it's not just a flat glare of color.

"It's soft, and very dimensional."

Weaver finds objects that please her, then decorates around them. In this case, it was a yellow and blue plate. "We always tease her about it," laughs the designer. "But it makes my job easy."

Wooden cabinets are painted white with Nantucket-type bead board fronts. Cobalt blue Corian counters have granite-like flecks of white, sand and navy. Appliances and woodwork are clean white, and the floor is washed pine.

The living room holds large, comfortable seating, and not too much of it. Form follows function, and the look is sumptuous but clean and spare, as befits the beach. Behind the fireplace is tongue and groove cedar, painted white.

Here, as everywhere in the home, is an expansive view of the lake and the beach.

"We wanted to keep the view," explains Cairns, "but there are times that you need privacy. So we did natural canvas sailcloth shades, edged in a blue and yellow pinstripe band." Even when closed, the window treatments let natural light in.

Another staircase leads to the third floor bedrooms and baths, including the master bedroom, rag-painted celery and blue green. Besides the view of the beach, the center of attention here is the birdhouse bed -- as seen in Cosmopolitan magazine -- in buttermilk yellow.

"This bed is always the talk of the party," says Cairns, opening the wooden birdhouse perched at the foot of the bed to reveal a small TV. "Everything about it references porch parts and Victorian homes."

The master bathroom is papered in a Martha Stewart design of celery and lighter green wavy stripes. Clear glass shower stall, washed pine cabinets, white tile and Jacuzzi tub and white woodwork give a stylish, clean look.

A honeydew-melon-green guestroom features white woodwork, and delicate bedclothes from Pottery Barn sport embroidered pastel dragonflies. Wool sisal carpet feels good underfoot.

Nearby is Weaver's daughter's periwinkle blue bedroom, with a bed dressed in crisp blue and white ticking stripe and blue chambray.

Weaver's friends -- big surprise -- love her beach house.

"The openness makes this a perfect party house," raves designer Cairns. "People in the kitchen can flow into the living room or onto the porch, and it works beautifully.

"Everyone just finds their comfortable spot."