Sea Inspired Summer Living Room

May 26, 2011

I was visiting a local antique shop the other day and saw an oil on canvas with an ocean scene that I loved so much, I had to bring it home and hang it in my living room.  I’d been working on an abstract for that spot for awhile, but it never seemed quite right so I chose this oil painting instead.  Do you see it?  Look to the left!

kate living room painting

It’s not by anybody famous and only cost me $120, but it’s a nice original oil painting that fits the space over the loveseat perfectly. 

It reminds me so much of our Northern California coastline.  This is Bodega Head, and it’s breathtaking on a perfect day.  We love to go here to watch the sun set over the Pacific Ocean.

northern california coast



To listen to the lull of the waves and marvel at the power of the ocean. 

california coast


Something about bringing that painting home made me want to open all the windows and doors, let in the fresh air, and then fill the room with natural textures. 

cg sitting area


I brought down an old chair I had upstairs.  I think the stripes work in here for the summer, plus it’s a cozy spot to sit and chat. 

I found some birch branches the other day.  They have the most beautiful white bark, I’ve always loved them.  I think it’s important to surround ourselves with the things we love and anything that inspires us, even simple braches.   

birch branches

Layla is having a summer mantel party today as part of our Home May’d link parties, so I switched out a few things on top of ours. 

summer mantel living room


The sea inspired mantel includes simple branches in a tall bottle, my favorite shell ball, and a few succulents tucked into more shells. 

bottle branches ball shell

Succulents are the most tolerant plants, they thrive just about anywhere.  I love them in unusual or dramatic containers, like silver bowls or concrete urns.  Mine are planted in shells.  These are ‘Baby Toes’ but they look more like a sea anemone to me!

succulent in shell

‘Little Jewels’ in a clam shell . . .

succulents in clam shell


Floating across the mantel are these whimsical wood fish in birch stands.

succulents fish apothecary


I made them out of ornaments, birch stumps and wood chopsticks with just a drill bit and some hot glue. I love their wood texture!  Of course, my kids named them after themselves . . big sister fishy and little brother fishy.  

whimsical pinecone fish


Poured into the apothecary jar is simple white sand with a collection of more shells on top, always guaranteed to make a home feel like summer!  

shells in white sand


Across the room is a vintage buffet I found at a thrift store last year.  I confess now and then I’ve had thoughts about painting it.  My hub thinks that would be a crime, I know he’s right.  The wall gallery has been simplified ~ pared down to our favorite five works of art we’ve collected over the years. 

simplified wall gallery


I had to sneak my favorite gray blue dresser into this space too.  I have a bad habit of moving furniture all around.  

cg dresser sunburst


On top, a gnarled old grapevine that’s both sculptural and natural, two of my favorite attributes in any home accessory. 

grapevine on dresser


More shells in sand in a pedestal on an old book . . .

shells on book


The baby grand feels a bit formal, but we could never ever part with it.  It was a gift from Grandma when Grandpa passed away ~ it’s an heirloom now.  My children are  learning to play it, nothing like a house filled with music I say !

kate piano


This space is always a work in progress but cozied up just enough for summer gatherings with friends and family. 

cg kates living room


cg sitting area


Linking up to Layla’s Summer Mantel Party today !

What natural objects are your favorites to bring indoors?



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