Many good coming-of-age stories involve a summer full of possibilities and a tight-knit group of friends. The Summer I Turned Pretty, based on author Jenny Han’s 2009 novel of the same name, has both. But another vital factor is where it takes place: an epic beach house. While the idyllic home is set in the fictional town of Cousins Beach, it actually exists in Wilmington, North Carolina, where many scenes throughout the series were shot.
The show—which was renewed for a second season before the first even premiered—centers on Isabel “Belly” Conklin and the love triangle she falls into with Conrad and Jeremiah Fisher, two brothers she grew up spending every summer with at Cousins Beach. Han had a lot of beaches in mind when she wrote the story, including Nags Head, Virginia Beach, the Hamptons, and Cape Cod. “That’s part of the reason why people can read the book and feel like it’s their beach,” Han told Prime Video.
Naturally, the actual home needed to have the same universal coastal feeling. “It’s a summer sanctuary for the two families,” set decorator Beth Robinson tells House Beautiful. She explains: “The rooms are large and well-curated throughout. It isn’t pretentious but rather warm and welcoming. It is the kind of place where you can walk in from the beach and put your sandy feet on the coffee table.”
A transitional Colonial—not too shingle style to scream New England, nor a modern structure that might suggest Miami—acts as the perfect spot. Outside, the home features gray shingles, white columns, an infinity pool, an outdoor shower (a dream!), and a dock. Everything inside was carefully selected to make the home feel welcoming and lived in through generations. An antique pine table in the kitchen accommodates both families and acts as a gathering place before and after summer activities. A small antique ladder hanging on the kitchen wall was envisioned as a tool the kids used when they were younger to assist them in retrieving snacks from high shelves. In the dining room, a china cabinet is filled with antique heirlooms.
For Belly’s room, Han envisioned a blue and white room with toile wallpaper that Susannah, Conrad and Jeremiah’s mom, decorated for her. “I chose Ocean Toile by Schumacher, which illustrates life under the sea and is based on an 18th-century document,” Robinson says. “The paintings in the room [by artist Amy Elizabeth Stuckey] are meant to depict Belly as a child swimming underwater as a toddler and jumping into the pool as an adolescent.”
A few other spots throughout Wilmington are highlighted in the show including Wrightsville Beach, Padgett Station, and Russell’s Quik Stop, the Wilmington Star-News reports. So while you can’t say you’re actually at Cousins Beach, you can live out your coastal summer dreams by exploring the charming town.
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