Styled for the Holidays

The Bain's Home in Lewes is a seasonal 'Star' and nod to Coastal Christmas

Written by Kristen Hampshire  |  Photography by Pamela Aquilani

The coastal holiday connection runs strong at the Bain house in Lewes’ Harbor View community. Jess Bain peers out one of its generous windows across the canal at her parents’ home, where she grew up. She initially started her business, Styled, as a seasonal décor firm, which has since successfully expanded into a special occasion event and floral design company serving the Eastern Shore.

Bain recalls returning home from college to decorate her grandmother’s Christmas tree for her year after year. A glass bowl on a sideboard brimming with ornaments — a kitschy bright-colored collection — serves as a happy reminder.

As life is literally all about entertainment for Bain with her business, her family’s home follows suit in December with a large soup supper after the annual Lewes Christmas Parade, and gatherings through the season. Those include a Feast of the Seven Fishes Christmas Eve dinner, her husband’s family custom, and a tradition the Bains created. Her husband was a U.S. Navy pilot, and they lived in Hawaii when they were first married. “Every year at Christmas, we would have over all the single guys and anyone who wasn’t going home, so I adopted that here,” she explains. “Anyone who doesn’t have family in town or their kids’ are with the other parent, we invite them to join us for a big dinner.”

Of course, an integral aspect of preparing for these celebrations is decorating, and Bain generally dedicates a full day in mid-November before she gets too busy decking the halls for clients and their events. You might figure the handiwork would consume much more time, but Bain is a pro, after all. Out come the boxes from storage, and Bain lays out all their contents, mulling over how she’ll mixand-match. “I change it up every year,” she says, noting that the catalogue of décor grows with time as she adds decorative picks, fresh tree-toppers and shifts garland and arrangements from here to there.

The holiday-scape evolves organically as Bain builds its layers in keeping with an aesthetic she describes as “coastal, without going over the top.”

Oh, My Stars. The sophistication of a simple starfish is a double entendre playing to coastal subtlety and a symbol of the season. Bain sprinkles starfish throughout her holiday décor — it’s the yarn that knits together muted colors and festive sparkles, elaborate floral tablescapes and family treasures. Starfish in different sizes, mostly fashioned out of various types of wood, peek out from the main tree, wreaths and garland.

Fresh & Green. It’s no surprise that Bain maintains a bounty of fresh greenery and florals in her home year-round and amplifies the effect during the holidays. Pine, eucalyptus, holly and winter berries mingle with textural juniper, cedar and cypress. Elegant white roses and puffy peonies make an appearance. As with all of Bain’s décor, she builds arrangements in layers. For instance, the garland draped on the fireplace mantle grows into a multi-dimensional showpiece after she adds green, gold and silver ornaments — a theme carried throughout the home — and tucks in sparkling decorative picks along with the coastal hook: starfish. “I love anything that sparkles, fresh greens and mixing different features,” she says, noting that the palette is quite muted, allowing room for glitz without going overboard.

UNIQUELY COASTAL The Bain’s stunning dining tablescape features an array of accessories, including chargers that appear to be rhinestone-studded, translucent napkins rings, and of course, a variety of lush arrangements.

An Organic Tablescape. Driftwood offers a coastal note while serving as a base for a fresh arrangement that spans the length of the dining table and includes miniature trees. Bain turned up the sparkle with silver chargers that appear to be studded with rhinestones. Delicate, translucent napkin rings are adorned with a single cypress sprig and holly berries. Beyond the table dressing, Bain changes out all the china and glassware in her kitchen’s glass-front cabinets to seasonal pieces.

Memorable Mementos. The Bain’s seasonal repertoire is equally sentimental, with keepsake decorations sprinkled throughout the home. One is a ceramic tabletop tree with brightly colored lightbulbs — little bulbs that can be removed. “That was my husband’s grandmother’s tree, and one year when he was five, he took out all of the lightbulbs and hid them from her for the entire season,” Bain shares. “When she moved in with his parents, we got the tree because she always told the story about how he did that.” CS

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