Thursday, July 29, 2010

Why I Love my Little Island

We have been vacationing at the same beach for the past 20 summers. We began this tradition when our children were young and they, too, now have a love for our Jersey Shore. We always traveled down in the off season to select our vacation week and house for the following summer. After visiting many (and I mean many) possible options, we always found our perfect spot. Our criteria was simple . . . we had to be within very easy walking distance of the beach, and well, the house had to live up to a few standards!

Our children so looked forward to this vacation. Days spent building and rebuilding sand castles on the beach, jumping the waves, playing catch and of course, digging for hermit crabs. There was no basking in the sun in those days! Our cooler was packed with enough food to get them through at least a few hours and enough sand toys to last the whole summer.

Now our beach house is filled with our grown children and their friends almost every weekend. Days spent on the water exploring the bay, or a game of wiffleball on the beach. If you ask them where they would like to go: down the shore, its that simple. My son even chose to write about life on our little island on some of his college applications.

Visiting Hawaii was a great experience for the sightseeing, and the Caribbean is wonderful for its crystal clear water. But I can get to my Jersey shore every weekend, if I want. Visitors to our beach are often amazed at the amount of quiet beach space there is, and the lack of people. After spending so much time down there, I still marvel at the beach when I set up my chair and umbrella and glance around at the solitude.

My husband and I both grew up vacationing at the Jersey Shore, even when money was tight, there was always a week at the shore. I think whevever life may take my children, they, too, will always have time for the Jersey Shore.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Sealife Beach Decor Hook Pillows

For a fun, whimsical touch, this sealife collection of hook pillows can stand up to life at the beach. Sturdily constructed of wool hooked into interesting sealife creatures. The backs are fininshed off with coordinating velvet fabric. Available as a lobster, crab, seahorse, octopus or squid. The colors are vibrant and the patterns very intristically designed. This manufacturer keeps adding to their line and the coastal pillows have been very popular. The Atlanta gift show just finished recently and these were a hit. We will be carrying the new additions also and they are scheduled to arrive in September.

An assortment of these beach decor sealife hook pillows look great together and certainly gives your space an easy, comfortable feel. Everyone seems to love the orange seahorse, blue octopus and the red lobster. Bring the ocean to your favorite sofa.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Coastal Decor Bath

Having more than one coastal bath, allows some flexibility in decorating.

Our pewter toilet flush handles are so easy to install in a matter of minutes and such an unexpected touch in your coastal bath. Available in so many different seashore patterns: sealife, shells, mermaids, seahorses, surf boards, there is something for everyone's taste. There are matching towel and toilet tissue holders done in the same classic pewter.

The shower curtains we carry from Magnolia Casuals are so perfect for life at the beach. We have been using their shower curtains in our beach home for 10 years now (of course, I have changed colors a few times) and they hold up incredible at the shore. They are actually constructed of a synthetic fabric that so resembles canvas you may not be able to tell the difference. All of these shower curtains are mold and mildew resistant and, of course, machine washable. The color choices are bold and vibrant. Our guest bath is painted a bright yellow and we are using the pink/green striped shower curtain with some bright green accents. By the way, there are matching cloth and wood hampers available for these patterns.

There is nothing like soft white towels when you get back from beach. Avanti Linens carries quite a collection of coastal towels with embroidery and embellishments. One of our best selling bath towels is the simple white on white seashell pattern by Lintex/Esplama.

Decorative coastal decor hardware is an easy fix to update an old bath vanity. The pattern choices are well, almost overwhelming and available in many different finishes. After renovating our beach bathroom, I added our coastal decor cabinet knobs to replace the generic ones that came with our new vanities.

And the mirrors! There are so many styles and sizes available here to fit even the smallest bath spaces.

Coastal guest towels are available in whatever patterns draw your attention: fish, mermaids, seahorses, shells. Usually made from linen, many are embroidered and others are hand painted. Of course, coastal soaps in wonderful fragrances and shapes are also available. A rather inexpensive way to update a tired beach bath.

Natural rattan accessories are an easy decorating staple to hide those necessities in an organized fashion. Capiz coastal bathroom accessories are always a classic touch to any bath.

Motivated to update that coastal bath??

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Coastal Decor Lighting

The choices! Coastal decor lighting has grown since the days of Old Salty as a lamp base. Choices in coral studies bring a natural seaside element to your space. These coral pieces are usually intricately designed with resin and very realistic. Driftwood also brings us seaside. The Bodega driftwood lamp by Arteriors adds a bleached driftwood look to your table top. Tropical touches are found in updated rattan and wicker pieces. Shells are now intricately placed on lamp bases as works of art that double as lighting choices. The price points are varied to make coastal lighting choices in a range of prices.

In redecorating our beach house, I chose many of the lamps we carry at By the Sea Decor. My husband says that sometimes I am my own best customer! It is true, because I tend to select products that I would use in my home! I used the Capiz column lamps in our bedroom, and, believe it or not, used two of the same! They are classically elegant and enhance our blue and white theme there. The branch coral lamp from Regina Andrew is in our entrance on a console table next to another one of my endless shell collections. Our guest bedroom is home to the Capiz sealife lamps also by Regina Andrew. Another room hosts one of my favorites . . . the stacked sea urchin lamp . . . the base is a collection of sea urchins while the lamp shade is a deep coral. I am still working on the finishing touches for the living room. I think I may do something like the Arteriors Iced Nautilus lamp to bring another color tone into our aqua and taupe room. We'll see what transpires!

Many beach decor lamps are now used as a subtle yet important decorating elements in a room. Chandeliers can make the most dramatic decorating statements as their focal point in a room. And the best part is, lamps do not have to come in pairs anymore . . . mixing and matching coastal lamps can make the most interesting statement of all.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My Favorite Beach Book

A few years ago (actually in 2003!) a friend in our book club gave us all a Christmas gift of one of her favorite books, "A Gift from the Sea", by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Although this book was first published in 1955, it is amazing how current it is.

This has become my favorite book about life at the beach, but more so, about life in general. I have read it countless times. My daughter has now read it countless times. I have given this treasure as a gift countless times. If you have never read it, pick it up. Very concise reading, but, oh, so enlightening. When my daughter went away to college, she wanted her own copy to have whenever she felt like picking it up. It is one of those books. You can read a chapter here or a chapter there over and over again.

On so many occasions, I have tucked this book into a beach tote or slipped it under one of my favorite beach hats, and given this as a special gift to my beach-loving friends.

A timeless classic "Gift from the Sea".

Monday, July 19, 2010

Isola Bella Beach Decor Table Linens

These natual table linens by artist, Gina Feddersen, are well, simply magnificient. All items in the Isola Bella collection are entirely hand-made to order. Less is more at the beach!

The red coral on the bright white linen background makes a colorful statement. The sea urchin done in lavendar brings a surprising coastal element to your table. The white branch coral on a natural linen background keeps things subtle.

The cocktail napkins are a wonderful idea and come in so many different colors and patterns . . . there truly is something for everyone here.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

My Favorite Beach Hat

I think I am on at least my third season at the beach with my favorite hat. It's now faded a bit, but oh so broken in! It's perfect for reading at the beach and has a nice wide brim to keep the sun off of your face. The brim is wide enough to allow me to be able to read at the beach without putting up an umbrella. I do spend a lot of time reading at the beach. The simple things that make me happy!

We do offer two styles of these wonderful beach hats on our website, the Carmel and the Brook. My favorite happens to be the Brook. By the way, they also offer sun protection up to 50+UPF. We also offer another style, the Rockport, which actually is perfect for gardening and windy days at the beach. It offers the same great sun protection as the other two, but has a string that can be adjusted under the chin to keep the hat in place.

I remember visiting my great aunt's home, and she always had her hats in wonderful hat boxes which I loved. It was amazing to see them all stacked up in her closet. Ours are sent with a simple white cardboard box to keep your hat safe from fading and to help it keep its shape.

A good book, your favorite beach chair and a great beach hat to keep the sun out, ah what a day!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Eco-Art Beach Decor Throw Pillows

These beach decor throw pillows are truly "green" pillows that happen to be small works of art!

The coastal inspired designs of these Eco-Art pillows by Wabisabi Green will add color and pop to your seaside space, and still be "green". The cotton fabric background is very soft, yet sturdy to hold its shape. The colors are vibrant: chili red designs, sapphire blue designs and of course, the subtle white patterns on the urchin and sand dollar.

Each pillow is made from organic cotton twill then hand-painted with environmentally safe water-based inks. Their 100% hypoallergenic fill rests in an unbleached cotton shell. Now for the amazing part, the soft and fluffy ecofiber fill is actually made from recycled plastic bottles rescued from landfills. Amazing. I can attest to the fact that they are very soft and comfortable beach decor pillows. As an added benefit, they are all designed, hand-printed and fabricated in the U.S.

Pillows are a great decorating staple. Of course, I prefer to mix and match styles and colors and the coordinating options offered here by Wabisabi Green make this an easy task!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Featured In Destination Weddings World Wide Guide

What a great magazine for all things related to destination and beach weddings!

By the Sea Decor had two products picked for their "Global Style" section. They featured our Ocean Pilsner glass set in shades of aqua and blue highlighted by gifts from the sea! One of our coastal accessories, a resin conch shell resting on a driftwood base also found its way on their page!

My Favorite Beach Hour

My favorite hour at the beach is 5 o'clock and after. Most of the families with younger children are washing off their sand toys and repacking their small truckload of beach items. Very tired children are eyeing the path off the beach and back to their homes . . . at this hour of day and with their tired bodies, it looks like a daunting journey. Been there.

We have been vacationing at the same beach for 19 years and have truly loved watching our children grow up down here. Carrying the sand shovels, the castle molds, the wiffle ball bats, not to mention enough food to last the day, we were tired before we even got to the beach. My husband and I still smile and reminisce whenever we see the little kids carrying their buckets of water from the ocean to their building site. By the time they reach their destination, not much water remains. Now everyone carries their own beach necessities themselves . . . ipods, a book, and of course, football and bocce ball.

You hear the lifeguard blowing his goodnight whistle signing off for the evening. The beach patrol has already come to collect the emergency rowboat. The lifeguard turns over the big yellow stand. The beach is officially closed. By this time, our young adults have left the beach headed to the bay for more adventure.

Now it is time to really settle in and relax. Our lovely stretch of beach is always relatively quiet, but now there is the actual silence you can only hear on the beach. Waves reaching the shore, sea gulls crying for treats. Further down the beach, teenagers are chatting on the lifeguard stand. And, the now the kites come out.

At this time of day, you need to look toward the bay to follow the sun. When that little chill begins to finds its way into the air, it is time to go chase the sun to the bay to see another glorious sunset. Sunsets on the bay are just another benefit of living by the sea!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Setting Your Coastal Table

So many ways to bring your table seaside!

Reed & Barton has a collection of seashell inspired flatware patterns in a wide range of prices to suit any budget. Their Seashell stainless steel pattern hosts a different shell on each utensil. The Williamsburg and Gloucester Shell patterns are a bit more formal and are offered in 18/10 stainless.

Dinnerware patterns are a very personal choice and our classic Sanibel Shell collection features a terra cotta base with a white overlay. The edges are left to expose a bit of terra cotta. This is a classic pattern that will stay in style for many years to come.

Serving pieces can be so much fun and a great way to add color and orginality to your table. When using a subtle dinnerware pattern, spice things up with an unusual serving piece. The Beatriz Ball Ocean collection offers stunning hand-made aluminum serving pieces that will give your table some shine and still be functional.

Okay, there are certainly times when only acrylic dinnerware will work. We all know, the choices here have improved greatly over the years. No more simple blue anchors as the only choice! Acrylic dinnerware now comes in interesting shapes and lovely seaside patterns.

One of my favorite glassware collections is the School of Fish pattern. Each piece is engraved with a school of fish swimming around the glass. One fish is always swimming in the wrong direction and it is always fun when guests notice this (especially after a few glasses of wine). On a casual note, the aqua bubble glass starfish pattern appeals to everyone with its charming aqua embedded starfish available in glassware sizes to suit your entertaining needs.

With all of the beach decor table options now available, setting the table at the beach is, well, actually fun!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

As Featured in Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Magazine

We are very excited . . . our fabulous aqua umbrella stripe cooler tote was recently featured in the July issue of Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade magazine. This colorful beach cooler tote is fully insulated and comes in some great fun colors for summer. It also has a zipper to keep your seaside drinks cool. I grabbed one for myself as soon as our first shipment arrived and have been using it all summer! The only problem is, what color to choose!!! By the way, we also carry the adorable beach coverup and hat featured on this page.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Artwork for Your Beach Walls

Coastal decor artwork has come a long way from its original start as more and more artists and designers are looking to the beach for inspiration.

A few years ago, artwork for your seaside haven was limited to a ship charting its course through rough waters or a few sandpiper birds scurrying along the surf. Now our beach decor decorating choices have expanded to include contemporary and original takes on coastal decor artwork.

We chose these stunning shell studies done on canvas with a simple black background for their dramatic effect against our walls.

There are areas in your beach space where you may want a different way to decorate your coastal walls. Our online store proudly carries many of the original wood plaques offered by the talented artist, Suzanne Nicoll. The colorful set of three surfboards look great in my son's room, sans shark bite and all! Standing a substantial 42" tall, this room does not need much more decorating attention.

My favorite new addition is the retro woman diver available in a variety of beach colors. I chose the aqua one (oh, what a surprise!) and she is going to find a place in my newly renovated coastal kitchen.

I am a big fan of mixing things up in decorating. No "themes" . . . simply pieces that are different but compliment each other.

Have fun dressing those coastal walls!