Maritime Christmas

A Talbot County home is gifted an air of coastal sophistication to enhance its nautical interior

Written by Kristen Hampshire
Photography by Robert Radifera, Stylish Productions

Coastal accoutrements like netting gracefully strewn about, glass crabs and buoys and oyster tabletop Christmas trees speak to the seaside-inspired holiday décor at the home of Sharon O’Connell and Tracy Gammell in Easton.

They first visited Easton years back and, as avid boaters, immediately were drawn to the small-town arts and cultural center with its dining, shopping and splendid backyards — the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.

In 2016, they made the move, opting to build a home in Easton Village, and they popped into Jamie Merida’s shop, Bountiful Home. Right away, a connection formed. “He knew exactly what style we wanted, we really hit it off and became great friends,” says O’Connell, relating that the couple selected every furnishing and accessory floor-to-ceiling from Bountiful during the year-long construction process.

“There is nothing inside that has not come from Bountiful,” O’Connell says. That means every rug, window dressing and accessory, every furnished piece down to the vintage Airstream ice chest by Think Outside on the porch, which is appropriately dressed for the occasion with faux snow and winter add-ons.

Come holiday season 2022, Merida invited them to join the Friends of Hospice annual holiday home tour to support one of his favorite causes, Talbot Hospice. They agreed, and Merida took care of the rest.

There’s nothing cute about this coastal holiday theme and that is intentional. Instead, there are tidewater notes throughout, some subtle and others not so much. A chandelier dripping with oyster shells by Curry & Company is a year-round fixture. Nautical rope mingles with pine, and vibrant red boughs of holly mix with pinecones and rustic crab buoys.

“It’s not a red-and-green Christmas, it’s more of a red, white and blue holiday with greenery,” Merida says.

“We used the berries to pull in the pop of red from the front door, and sprinkled in some starfish and oyster balls so it’s a nod to coastal without being over the top.”

All In The Details
Sharon and Tammy’s Easton cottage subtly pays homage to its nautical connection as evidenced through the netting and starfish used in the welcoming wreath.

Welcome, Christmas.
The cottage’s front entry is decked with wreaths and swags of greenery that incorporate red berries, netting, starfish, sprigs of eucalyptus and pinecones to create a holiday-on-the-shores effect that carries on throughout the home. “We used the berries to pull in the pop of red from the front door, and sprinkled in some starfish and oyster balls so it’s a nod to coastal without being over the top,” Merida says.

A Multi-Layered Tablesetting.
In the dining space, O’Connell and Gammell selected a table with a hammered metal top and sling-back chairs with brushed-nickel bases, reminiscent of a yacht interior, Merida says. Drapery in broad Breton-stripe by Ralph Lauren is decidedly nautical and offer a seashore setup to dress the space for the season.

Done Just Right
With strategic sprinkles of holiday adornments and splashes of colors, the cottage welcomes Christmas while still honoring its coastal roots.

The centerpiece is anchored by an arrangement of candlesticks wrapped in camel roping for continuity from exterior décor. Merida chose to mix and match the candelabras for interest. Again for consistency’s sake, the same garland used outdoors stretches down the table’s length, offering texture that is appointed with red and white berries, pinecones and oyster shell ornamentals. The couple sets the table with Caskata dishes in the Sea Fan pattern.

An Abundant Fir.
“If you’re going to do a tree, load it up,” quips Merida, relating that he calls his shop Bountiful for a reason. The intention: not to spare. “I tend to like lush décor at Christmas,” he says. Again, there are layers of detail involved and a follow-through of materials used elsewhere in the holiday design for a seamless effect. Ornaments are plentiful with seashells, crabs, life preservers, starfish, and delicate oyster and glass-blown embellishments Statement LED light bouquets are tucked into the canopy. “The illuminated picks offer a great pop of light,” Merida says. Ribbons of little white sea pearls swirl around the tree, with the addition of red berries and marine netting. It’s the largest tree the couple has ever displayed for the holidays.

“It’s all aesthetically cohesive,” O’Connell says, adding that they decided to display a miniature plastic tree upstairs for hanging childhood ornaments. “We didn’t want to keep them in a box, so we gave them their own treatment.” 

Cottage Approachable.
“We love a clean look,” says O’Connell, only half joking when she says, “Our house is one of those that people walk in and say, ‘You must not really live here.’ I say, ‘Well, actually we do.’” That simply reflects the couple’s preference for thoughtfully selected accessories and not a lot of clutter. The home was a real hit on the tour because of its cottage charm and approachability, which is exactly how the couple treat their abode. Their neighbors have become close friends and they socialize often. “A lot of people on the tour said, ‘This is homey and realistic and achievable. A cottage that was so well-done as a nice treat,’” O’Connell relates.

Here Comes Santa Claus.
When they spotted Santa in Bountiful Home, he was an instant win. “It was a last-minute decision,” O’Connell relates, adding that the shop is brimming with holiday décor. “We walked in, saw the Santa standing there and said, ‘We need to have him.’” In their Easton Village abode, he is perched next to a curved chest by Global Views in a cerused wood finished — a whitewash treatment.

Vintage Vignette.
Even the Airstream ice chest that conveniently stores beverages year-round was treated to a holiday spruce up. A snowy foundation makes way for mini lit birch and gold trees. “We played it up with lights and it’s one of my favorite parts,” O’Connell says.

Certainly, it will come in handy when the couple entertains this season with neighbors and friends. CS

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