Ti Punch – The Segway Between Traditional Design & Contemporary Design For A Classic Trawler Yacht

There is possibly no more common transition between design themes in yacht interior styles than that between Traditional design and Contemporary design. In its broadest definition and earliest implementation, Traditional styling aboard yachts illustrated “luxury” – a look reminiscent of the ocean-liner of yesteryear where velvet couches, sumptuous carpeting and gold tassels underscored opulence and wealth. When Contemporary decor barged its way into yacht design almost obnoxiously, with minimalism, oddly shaped furnishings, and solid colors in such stark contrast to the detailed precision of the Traditional, it was met with the turned-up noses and dismissive hand waves usually reserved for the bourgeois.

Yet as with all things, the pendulum swings to meet in the middle, often blending the two opposing sides, and over the years Traditional design and Contemporary design have enjoyed the courtship dance.


As interior style preferences shifted away from formal interiors and toward the Contemporary, the challenge in yacht design became smoothing the transition between a classic exterior design and a contemporary interior. 

Such was the case aboard the 87’ Outer Reef Ti Punch, built in 2012. The brief from the owners was to create a Contemporary design interior aboard their new build – an easy task to execute, however Ti Punch was a classic trawler. It would be the first time that Outer Reef had encountered such a request.

From the moment I met the owners of Ti Punch, they challenged me to do something different and, even though this is an older project, it is still one of my favorites. And because we are currently working on similarly challenging and unique projects, I thought it was the perfect time to show you around Ti Punch!

The design needed to suit the owner’s lifestyle while maintaining the traditional design exterior of the trawler style vessel, integrate well with function and provide everything required to navigate the waters comfortably and safely, but with flair! It was critical that we designed the interior of this Outer Reef with style while keeping in mind the timelessness and function of every space.

So, without further ado, let’s walk through Ti Punch

From the aft deck, a large stainless steel-framed glass door leads into the main salon that is set beneath a custom-designed overhead soffit. We were able to get creative and incorporate a variety of materials and textures in this project. Instead of throwing out the high-gloss walnut and beech woods that were so popular on classic yachts at the time, we decided to mix things up a bit and have fun playing with horizontal and vertical grain patterns and to blend these woods with high-gloss, metallic acrylics in shades of gray and with strips of ribbed aluminum. The rich detailing of the walnut gives a classic hint while the grain patterns and other finishes convey a Contemporary feel.

The main salon bar, detailed with strips of ribbed aluminum, is surely the place to be! This is where the owners enjoy their favorite island drink, the “Ti Punch”!

Speaking of various unique textures and finishes, let’s talk about the high/low wall that separates the galley from the pilothouse! Here we incorporated a decorative wave pattern in a metallic-like finish. The galley cabinetry is finished in a contemporary gloss metallic acrylic in yet another shade of gray. 

We repeated the ribbed aluminum detail in a few other spots such as the custom designed cocktail table and the lower companionway walls as strips between horizontal panels of high gloss beech with accents of high gloss walnut. 

No project is complete without a bit of whimsy and we made sure each of the yacht’s four staterooms has its own pop of color and contemporary nautical flair. I think my favorite room of all in this project must have been the twin bunk stateroom, or the “grandkids’ room”. I’m just crazy about this adorable space!

We focused on style and luxury within the master suite, which features high gloss beech with walnut accents and an en suite double vessel sinks, high-gloss metallic acrylic cabinetry and stone floors and countertops. Contemporary overhead lighting and sconces and custom furnishings completed Ti Punch’s unique look.

The joint effort of a yacht sold and managed by 26 North Yachts and built by Outer Reef, with an interior designed by Destry Darr Designs, Ti Punch is unlike any other Outer Reef built to date! Not only were the owners overjoyed with the result, but this challenge, for me, resulted in a combination of the best elements of classic styling with seaworthiness and contemporary interior elegance.


High gloss, pearlescent and rustic, oh my! Just the right mix of shine and sparkle paired with textural, natural elements will create a sophisticated and contemporary, yet comfortable, coastal new interior on one of our current refit projects, the 112’ Westport Hannah! Built in 2003, this beautiful yacht has a traditional cherrywood interior that showcased the Washington-based builder’s joinerwork and woodworking craftsmanship. Much like the owner’s of Ti Punch, while the new owners of Hannah appreciate her pedigree, they want to impart their personal Contemporary design style on the interior while ensuring it is comfortable and inviting for their family and for charter use.

The orange-toned cherry will be painted in some areas and re-veneered in others using gray-toned woods and white and gray paints – some satin pearlescent paint and some high-gloss metallic. This will instantly brighten and update the interior without losing the quality and craftsmanship of the woodworking. 

We will also incorporate a variety of textured wall coverings and upholstery and a wire brushed oak engineered wood floor. The contrasting effect of these various materials also calls to mind the juxtaposition of contemporary and traditional design styles. With durability being at the top of my mind, the rustic flooring is a great option that will easily handle the sun and sand that their grandkid’s and guest’s beach days will bring!

Stay tuned for more on this exciting refit!


Not every project is Contemporary in style, however, and sometimes the transition goes in the opposite direction. Aboard the 142’ Christensen, Lady Bee, the owners desired a truly luxurious look, reflective of their residential style. In this interesting twist, we transformed a Contemporary interior into one of palatial grandeur, where rare gemstones, sumptuous textiles and satin finishes executed a timeless statement. Read more about the Lady Bee transformation in our blog post 142’ Christensen Lady Bee Refit: Striking a Balance Between Design & Desire”.


Regardless of your style, transitioning between genres requires balance, blending and a dash of informality. Despite the style of yacht, be it sailing, a trawler or a sleek aluminum speedster, a great yacht designer can execute the interior you love and at the same time make it look like it was intentional all along.

Be sure to take a look at the YouTube video of Ti Punch created by Billy Black Photo!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About the Author

About the Author

Destry Darr Pethtel is an award-winning interior designer based in Florida. Her designs have been featured in several luxury yacht publications such as Showboats, Boat International, Yachts International, Yachting, Luxe Magazine to name just a few! Read More About Destry >>

Scroll to Top