A nautical-themed home gets a “Coastal Christmas” update for the holidays | Jamie Merida

Home for the Holidays

Decorating our clients’ homes for the holidays is always one of our favorite interior design challenges! This project is a particular favorite because its elegant nautical theme so perfectly captures the “tidewater style” we love so dearly.

We first had the pleasure of working with homeowners Sharon O’Connell and Tracy Gammel when they relocated to the Eastern Shore from Washington, D.C. They worked with lead interior designer Carol Wheeler to create a space that is elegant, yet comfortable and inviting. To celebrate their new life on the Shore, they wanted their home to include nautical elements without being too over-the-top or cutesy. When it came time to decorate for Christmas, they provided the same design direction. Designer Paula Siedlarz took the lead on holiday decorating, and the result is a “Coastal Christmas” theme that is both elegant and festive.

The cottage’s front porch already boasted a festive red door and textiles thanks to the home’s nautical theme. The addition of Christmas wreaths, garland, and fresh greenery maintained the nautical feel while adding festive touches. We wove nautical elements into the garland, such as netting and white starfish to tie everything together.

Christmas wreaths and garland complement the nautical theme of this Eastern Shore cottage’s front porch.

A cheerful Santa greeted visitors as they moved into the entry of the home. Fresh greenery and traditional red holly berries helped bring the outdoors in.

The living room was an absolute show-stopper with its stunning 10’ Christmas tree. The tree was adorned with beautiful nautical ornaments in glass.

Eastern Shore living room with nautical interior design elements by Jamie Merida & Carol Wheeler, decorated for Christmas with a large Christmas tree and garland.

Garland on the fireplace and stairs helped complete the festive holiday look. The garland incorporated more nautical elements like starfish and glass ornaments wrapped in netting.

Garland on the fireplace and stairs of this Eastern Shore home incorporate nautical elements. Interior design by Jamie Merida and Carol Wheeler.

The dining room received a festive update with garland and Christmas table décor. These additions played off key elements in the space that helped create an elegant nautical feeling, particularly the chandelier and dining chairs. The chandelier is composed of genuine oyster shells that are reminiscent of the Chesapeake Bay. The chairs incorporate canvas that is similar to that which is used on boats throughout the region.


The blue and white place settings were given a dash of holiday spirit with holly berries and fresh greenery. The garland was enhanced by starfish and miniature oyster trees, which perfectly complemented the room’s distinctive chandelier.

Sharon and Tracy hosted a big family dinner that required some serious cooking. Therefore, we kept the holiday décor in the kitchen to a minimum so that it wouldn’t interfere with their work. A few pops of holly berries and fresh greenery were sufficient to make the space feel festive and ready for the holidays.

The bedroom was also given a subtle update for the holidays. Pillows and a throw in deep red complemented the elegant nautical theme of the space while bringing in a bit of Christmas flare. Once again, greenery and holly berries provided just the right touch to make the space feel festive.

Finally, the cottage’s back deck was made festive by incorporating a wreath into the outdoor dining table’s centerpiece. A cheerful winter scene was also created on the deck with a miniature replica of a vintage camper.

Once the decorating was complete, Sharon and Tracy graciously opened their home to the Talbot Hospice Home Tour, a fundraiser that supports local families. Their home was a favorite among the tour participants. The cottage offered unique charm that was exceptionally elegant and relaxed, making all who visited feel welcome.

This home was also featured in the 2017 Christmas issue of The Cottage Journal.

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