With soft gray-blue walls, centerpieces of seashells and paintings of ships and waves, coastal vibes of the Pacific Northwest are ubiquitous in local home decor. On the North Coast, there are many stores you can visit to get ideas and items to bring the coast’s calming, inspiring beauty into yours.
Diane Speakman, owner of Sesame + Lilies in Cannon Beach, suggests focusing on paint colors that set a tone. “Where we live, the atmosphere is so muted with a lot of grays and blues and whites, so we bring that into the shop a lot as a backdrop because it’s very calming,” Speakman said. “Especially in the winter we have such dark days so it’s nice to have a house that’s light and airy. We have a lot of light here and the skies are just incredible so we try to bring that indoors.”
Local art can also be a way to incorporate scenic views into a home. Speakman’s own landscape paintings of the beach, sky and Haystack Rock are available at the shop, and many come with antique frames. “One of the key things we do is mix antiques with new contemporary items,” Speakman said. “It adds soul and purpose and some authenticity to the room.”
In Gearhart, Joy Sigler, owner of Pacific Crest Cottage, said her store offers framed original artwork made locally, along with organic textures that reflect the outside environment. “Oftentimes when somebody is decorating, their decor on the inside reflects the stories and activities on the outside,” Sigler said. “For a beach or coastal story, if you pull in pieces of wood, soft blues and aquas, and of course gray, you bring the outside story inside.”
Among the coastal-themed items at the shop are striped rugs, antique articles in white beachy-style frames, mirrors and starfish-shaped soaps. Sigler said her overall advice is that form follows function. “First, make sure the decorations are functional for coastal living,” Sigler said, adding that durable floors and indoor and outdoor rugs are important because of the amount of rain and sand that comes with living on the coast.
To add some coastal color into your home, Sherwin-Williams paint store, also in Gearhart, offers a variety of paint colors, including one called “ocean floor” that’s the color of wet sand.
Speakman said she’s had many customers come in wanting to upgrade or change their home decor during the past year amid the coronavirus pandemic. “People are spending a lot more time in their houses right now and working from home and they want a nice environment to be in,” Speakman said. To add to that environment, Sesame + Lilies also has natural items like seashells, wood and woven baskets, as well as different types of fabric, rugs and pillows to include texture.
Two interior designers, Grayson Kramer and Travis Walker, also work at the shop. Kramer said the design store is at the beach but it is not a beach design store. “Our style is not intended to be overly beachy but overall sophisticated with rustic contemporary pieces, antiques and lots of layers of texture so it feels collected over time as opposed to immediately decorated out of a store,” Kramer said. These layers could include everything from high-end, custom upholstery to small accessories or found objects. Kramer said he often works with clients to include elements they already have.
Kramer recommends being calculated while choosing beachy elements. For example, keeping a collection of seashells contained to one area instead of spreading the shells out around the house. “A large bowl on a dining table filled with glass floats will make a dramatic statement instead of piecing it out,” Kramer said. “With wooden elements, you could use a whiter gray washed vibe of driftwood and utilize that texture in an actual piece of furniture as opposed to just driftwood on a shelf.”
If you are searching for seashells, you can find many kinds ranging from 50 cents to $500 at By the Sea Shells & Gifts in the Seaside Carousel Mall. By the Sea offers a range of beach-themed items, including seashell lamps and nightlights, figurines, globes filled with sand and shells, hanging decorations with driftwood and starfish, wind chimes with shells and more.
In Astoria, Vintage Hardware has a plethora of ocean-related pieces, like glass floats and wood floats once used by local fishermen, and maritime cleats that can be used as wall hooks. Becky Johnson, the store’s owner, said they also have antique pictures of ships in the ocean, light fixtures constructed out of oyster shells and old fishing nets that could be used to decorate a wall.
Johnson said she decorates her own home with a coastal theme. “At my house I have two oars I use as hand rails going up the stairs,” she said. “I use wood floats as a baluster.” Johnson added she has also used jute rope to wrap a ceiling medallion.
Vintage Hardware is primarily an antique furniture store that also sells soft furnishings and salvaged windows, doors and hardware, as well as over 100 varieties of new hardware. Johnson said 98% of the store’s inventory comes from Clatsop County. “It’s always a surprise what we get and what we offer the community, which makes it a lot of fun,” she said.