Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Seashells and Chinoiserie

This is my favorite photo combining Chinoiserie and seashells. The black and gold cabinet with blue and white Chinese porcelain and seashells including blue and white coral could not be prettier.

When I was living in Alexandria, Virginia in a historic neighborhood minutes from DC, I restrained myself from using a lot of seashells. Now that I live at the beach, I am looking for elegant ways to include seashells in my decor. The majority of seashell decor you see in stores is seriously tacky. 

I have come to the conclusion that seashells in the home either need to be very understated or very over the top. There is no in between for me.

Here is a wonderful example of understated and elegant - a collection of shells in a wicker tray - lovely.

Amanda Lindroth

Then we have the over the top. I posted this and saved it for years intending to do my own version. I would substitute red coral branches for the bones and horns. Now I am on the hunt for a bust.

And George

The kumquat necklace is too cute.

And here are some seashell vignettes at CCC.

And a gardening question for southerners and locals. Camellias are among my favorite plants. I had magnificent camellias in NOVA and had planted three sasanquas here in Sarasota last winter. Do both japonica and sasanqua do well here? I have read to plant mid season bloomers so they are not blooming during the heat here. Any suggestions/recommendations/favorites? Thank you! 


  1. I have a number of camellias in West Bradenton and they are doing fabulously. Pink Perfection, High Fragrance, Debutante, Frankie Winn. All varieties that are too tender for my Northern Virginia garden. They bloom in the winter and are covered with buds right now. They are in shade and no issues with sun or heat. I would be worried it would still be a bit warm when sasanquas wanted to bloom. I grow those here in Virginia so that I can enjoy them and not have to worry about the Spring frosts getting them.

  2. You might take a look at the Ballard Designs Diana bust for your shell project. Might work? Also glad to see you doing so well after the trauma you endured. Wishing you all the best.

  3. Picasso said that genius is knowing when to stop painting. With seashells a little bit goes a long way. Love the pieces you already have, especially the shell orb, which makes a tasteful impact on its own. Best wishes.

  4. You are being so productive! Love how the house and garden are coming along. Really, at this point everything looks so lovely. I think you are just fine tuning! Beautiful1

  5. Love the busy but seriously hate the bones. Too voodoo looking.

  6. I have pinned literally dozens of "seashell bust" on my Pinterest. I'm dying to create one. There are quite a few bust planters available at Ballard, wayfair, etc. Also check the concrete places in FL - I have purchased some there as well. Also as far as really tasteful seashell decore goes you should check out @luxereportdesigns on IG. Their vignettes are so beautiful. They are Florida girls!

  7. A glass hurricane filled with small shells and a pillar candle on top can look lovely in any space.
    Love your posts!