September-October 2017 | TAMI OLTMAN




The owner of Sea Level Designs shares the secrets to her 38 years of success

CSM: What are the hot trends for 2018?
TO: This is still a coastal region, so people continue to seek a casual and relaxing atmosphere for their coastal homes. They want the home to be durable, low-maintenance and full of coastal charm conducive to entertaining.

What new products and accessories should home decorators be exploring?
We are lucky to have such a wealth of talented artists and artisans we acquire work from, so we are able to offer a wide selection of unique, coastal-inspired pieces to beautify the home. We’ve also added a collection of copper and metal sculptures from artists who draw their inspiration from the region itself, so they are highly organic, and we’re very excited about this new collection.

What do you recommend people think about as the holidays approach?
We have a variety of holiday-themed accent pieces, as well as cards and decorations that capture the spirit of the season. Sea-glass lamps, coral lamps, coastal shutter lamps are just some of the items that are in demand and make for attractive additions to the coastal home. Sea Level also has a wonderful all-American-made pillow company that makes both interior pillows and outdoor pillows, as well as cushions in the latest nautically themed fabrics. We also have a large selection of indoor/outdoor area rugs in a variety of colors, in sea-inspired patterns. And they are really low-maintenance: Just spot clean or hose off; they’re perfect for the well-used beach house. We have starfish lamps and seashell lamps in beautiful colors, as well as artwork with herons and egrets, beach scenes, harbor and boat scenes, and more.

What products of a less traditional nature are on hand at Sea Level?
We have a new, locally made line of hand and body lotions in wonderful scents, like Cool Waters, Caribbean Coconut and Just Beachy. They smell amazing and feel great! We also carry a wonderful perfume line — an Irish fragrance company called Inis. People say the scent of Inis makes them feel close to the sea, no matter where they are. And all of Sea Level’s jewelry is sea-themed… mermaids, shells, anchors and coral or sea-glass earrings, bracelets and necklaces.

Why do you think you’ve been so successful over the years?
I have been really, really fortunate. Sea Level has been here for 38 years, and I work with artists and craftspeople all over the States to bring fresh, coastal-inspired products here. We have built an exceptionally strong relationship with our customers in 38 years, and one of the best reputations a business owner can have here is for being honest, trustworthy and reliable. I’d like to believe we’ve earned that reputation. It is not unusual to see three generations of family shopping together; this happened just last week. The grandparents had retired here and were shopping for coastal accent pieces. The daughter has a townhouse they’re updating; she and her husband were looking for accent furniture, and a granddaughter was buying fun, funky beachy décor, to take to her college dorm. That’s neat!


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