“It’s all in the details… Coastal Charm for the Holidays…”


Column: Right At Home

Taking cues from your coastal surroundings and working within a refined palette can
create an elegant holiday theme for your home. As the holidays approach, I use my home’s interior palette of blue, white and gray as my inspiration for our coastal holiday décor. I love homes with design continuity; why should your holiday decorations be an exception?  

My coastal home is on Gibson Island, a small private island that is bordered by the Chesapeake Bay and the Magothy River. My holiday decorating always begins with my dear friend and neighbor, Elizabeth Davis. Elizabeth and I, armed with our pruning sheers and a mug full of hot tea, scour the island for fresh greenery, pinecones and shells.

Typically, we fill the back of the SUV with boxwood, magnolia, cedar, cypress, holly and juniper, from which we will later weave our wreaths and garlands. Once back home, we divide our “winnings” and set up our individual workshops in our respective garages.
Whereas Elizabeth is more traditional in her holiday style, I like to incorporate silver mercury balls, silver-painted shells, starfish and other seaside elements into my wreaths and garlands.  

Our holiday tree is truly a collection of family ornaments and shells. Around the tree drapes a capiz garland that allows light to pass through its translucent shells. There is also a collection of starfish and seashells of every kind hanging from the tree. We place the tree in the center of the room, so that we can appreciate the decorations from every angle and see the tree glitter from the street. We wrap our gifts in similar blue and silver tones to complement all our decorations. Making your own seashell ornaments is easy and can become a family tradition. Drill a small hole at the top of each shell and thread through it a silver ribbon from which to hang your ornament. This is an elegant yet inexpensive way to decorate your tree. If you want to add more sparkle to your shell ornaments, spray them with adhesive spray, then dip them in glitter.

Our home is an open plan, with one room opening onto another; therefore, we add unexpected touches of greenery and decorations throughout the entire house. I love hanging wreaths from beautiful ribbon over windows, mirrors or mantels. I use the same ribbon, shells and silver balls in the garland that adorns my stairwell. Meanwhile, it’s good to remember that a perfectly decorated house should please more than just your eyes. Adding fresh greenery to your home during the holidays makes it smell like Christmas, making your house feel that much more festive as a result.

Another great way to personalize your home for the holidays is with custom stockings. I prefer to make my stockings out of fabrics that complement my home’s palette. This year I chose a stocking in blue velvet, embroidered with white lettering, for our living room. Our family room, which has a more casual feel, has whipstitched burlap stockings hanging from the mantel. If you have a sewing machine and scissors, you can make your own custom stockings, too. 

Lastly, make the exterior of your home a reflection of the interior of your home. Choose greenery, ribbons and other decorations for the outside as you would the inside. Fill
window boxes with greenery, silver-painted pinecones and ribbon. Put wreaths on every door to welcome your holiday guests. There is nothing more festive than seeing a home with great holiday curb appeal! Combining fresh greens, a neutral palette and classic details will make for a holiday décor that is as inviting as it is timeless.

As Coastal Style’s new Design Editor, I wanted to share with you how I decorate my coastal home for the holidays. I look forward to bringing you design tips and advice throughout the year to make your home an elegant refuge for your family and friends