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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

How to Bring Coastal Summer to a Deck

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Where is your favorite beach? Perhaps one spot comes to your mind instantly or perhaps, like me, no beach comes to mind as your favorite. Yet, the beach always comes to my mind in summer, and the two go hand-in-hand in my mind. 

Summer and the beach  

Since I am not going to the beach this summer, I brought a little beach to my deck. Here's how to bring coastal summer to a deck far from the beach. 

Start with a glass decorated with a beach symbol... a starfish, seahorse, shell. 

Add sand to the glass. Since I had sand left-over from when my garden shed was transformed from An Ugly Duckling to a White Swan, I used some of that. If you don't have any sand from other projects, local hardware stores stock more than one kind of sand usually, and sell it in bags. 

Place a small candle in the sand, and add seashells around it. Use a candle that is in a small glass for three reasons. 

1. The small glass contains the burning wax keeping the sand and seashells clean.

2.  The small glass keeps the larger glass from getting as hot. 

3. The small glass inside the larger glass provides two structures between which to contain the small seashells. 

Display a small collection of seashells in a small glass container like this recycled glass dish. 

These small shells were collected along the shores of Cape Canaveral when I went to see one of the last launches of a space shuttle, but that launch was scrubbed due to the weather. What to do when vacation plans fall through? Make other plans. Like collecting seashells... 

That was the second time I went to Florida to see a shuttle launch, and both times the launch was cancelled. Third time was charm since I did see the launch of the Endeavor shuttle, the next-to-last ever shuttle launch. 

Growing up in Huntsville, Alabama, I was very aware of and interested in the space program. Several family members worked for Marshall Space Flight Center or subcontractors. I have vivid memories from the 1960s when booster rockets were first tested over 15 miles away from our house. On summer days with clear blue skies, my bedroom window would begin to shake as thundering, rumbling sounds filled the air, sounding like a thunderstorm. The rockets were "tied down," and the engines were fired for testing. 

The dream was to see a live shuttle launch. Collecting shells was a fun way to while away the time while waiting for the exhilarating event. The shells became mementos of a life dream fulfilled.  

White sand, white shells, and a white candle coordinate well with other decor, including French country. 

Add a heron decorated tin to hold fresh white stock flowers, a freshly-painted white Adirondack chair, and a blue and white throw pillow printed with summer phrases. 

With just a few items, it is easy to bring coastal summer to a deck. The keys to achieving the look ... 

a blue and white color scheme 
traditional beach symbols like sand, shells, seahorses, herons
Adirondack chairs

Voilà... Without seeing the rest of the setting, this scene could be on a deck along the coast. 


Just a reminder that the new Monday Social linky party begins 
Sunday, September 11, 2016 @ 4:00 p.m. (CDT)

Looking forward to all the creative, inspiring projects everyone will share... 
Please join me at these inspiring places for more joy of living. 

Dishing It and Digging It @ Rustic and Refined




  1. We lived in Florida in the early 90's and we did see several launches. One was a night launch and it was amazing - it lit the sky like the dawn!

    I like your project. It is a simple, and elegant way to add coastal charm!

  2. I love seashells and pretty things that remind me of the beach. And how neat that you would mention my favorite beach! We go to Canaveral National Seashore every time we get a chance. It's only 2 hours from our house so we can make it a day trip. I can't wait to go again soon! Hugs, Diane

  3. Your coastal touches look great with your freshly painted chairs. Isn't it wonderful when we can incorporate happy memories into decor?

  4. So pretty!! You have such an eye for making things gorgeous.

  5. The beach themed glass is beautiful ♥

  6. The candle surrounded by sea shells is a great idea. I love your coastal theme.
    I enjoyed reading your adventures in getting to see a space shuttle launched. You are so fortunate to have been there and witness that. Thanks for sharing Judith.

  7. I love your bit of beach on the deck and that last picture is perfect!

  8. OH...I love those touches of aqua blue glass! I have a beautiful glass aqua sea star that we got in Carmel. It adds just the right touch of summer to my home.

    Have a great day, Judith!

  9. So pretty Judith. Those peaceful vignettes make you want to sit, hold a shell to your ear, close your eyes and take a deep relaxing breath. If you try hard, you can almost smell the salt air. LOVE those white country French flower pots! Do you have a source. And I bet I'm not alone in hoping your online shop opens soon. I think I'd rather buy pots from you! One of my favorite locally (sorta) owned small businesses!

    1. Hi, Ginger,
      Thank you so much. Plans are for my online shop to re-stock and re-open around the end of September. Fingers crossed it has some great finds from a Paris flea market and the international trade show, Maison & Objet.


  10. Collecting seashells is one of my favorite things to do while on vacation. There is something so soothing and tranquil while walking along the shore early in the morning and discovering the treasures that the ocean left for us. I love the way you have yours displayed.

    Marilyn (in Dallas)

    1. Thank you, Marilyn. You are so right about how soothing and tranquil walking along the seashore is. Not a care in the world.


  11. Oh farewell to summer~ Your beach decor is so perfect Judith. You must feel like you are on a Texas shore. I love the seahorse and starfish glass adornments. They are sophisticated and not "cutesy" beach. The white pots are to die for!

  12. Judith, thanks for giving us a little bit of coastal decor at the end of summer. I'm still wanting to savor summer for a couple more weeks. Thanks for sharing at Your Inspired Design.

  13. That is very beautiful, it makes me think of peacefulness. Thanks for sharing at Home Sweet Home!


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