All posts by pgtech

ON finding the best shells

Without a doubt – the best part of shelling is the hunt for great shells, itself. It’s both exciting and relaxing at the same time – which isn’t something you can say about most hobbies. Today, we’re going to let you in on a few of our trade secrets so to speak; and share our strategies and tips for not only finding the best shells; but finding them in abundance and also – how you can get the most out of your experience. 

Here’s how you can find the best shells out on the beach. Let’s jump right in!

Go early in the morning

Like they say in life ‘timing is everything’ and when it comes to shelling, the same rule holds true. Low tide is almost always the best time to go in search of shells. And even more specific than that – low tides in the spring during a full or new moon are even better. 

Not only will you find hordes of shells washed up in the sand, but you’ll be beating the crowds by being on the beach earlier. And if you’re someone who doesn’t like the heat, it’s generally cooler in the morning and the sun isn’t as bright – so overall, it’s a more comfortable experience. 

Go where others won’t

Now before we say anything – the #1 rule as always is to stay safe. No shell is worth getting hurt over, ever. That being said, there’s a lot to be said for moving to the spaces where people don’t want to – or don’t often go to. Check out the large boulders by the jetty and peak behind rocks. Turn over that piece of driftwood that washed up overnight and see what’s underneath. Climb into the mangrove clump. Be adventurous and look in less obvious places. You never know what you’ll find!

Try to stay where the sand is wet

Generally speaking, you’ll find the best (and most) shells right in or below the wrack line. The wrack line is where the tide came in the night before. You’ll most definitely find shells in the dry part of the stand, but they’ll be sun bleached and worn out a bit. The best and newer shells will be in the wet stuff. Especially when you’re dealing with things like mangrove clumps, you’ll notice they tend to hold their shells right at about the wrack line, so try to stay in that area. 

Take your time

We’ve been doing this a long time and when we think about the best pieces we’ve ever found – well, we didn’t really find them. They found us. And taking your time and not rushing is key to that. Sure, there’s an element of the hunt that’s fun! We all like the pursuit, after all. But shelling is one of those things where the best shells run into you. And the best results and experiences come from just getting lost in a little piece of real estate on the shoreline and combing through a pile of shells. And then there you have it- that all elusive Junonia. Or a laced murex, wentletrap or a gaudy natica that you just watched 15 people walk past. The joy of shelling is getting lost in it, so take your time and let yourself get lost!

Hopefully these tips will help you become better shellers. Let those waves wash away your cares and enjoy the ocean and all it has to offer!

How to make your own seashell jewelry

We’re at the time where we all love being at the beach and if you’re like us – all the shelling that comes with it! Unfortunately, with the COVID-19 pandemic we’re stuck at home and struggling to find things to do. Don’t be down though, now’s the opportunity to take on some of those projects or hobbies you’ve always wanted to try, but maybe never had the time to!

Some of our most popular products are shell jewelry and truth be told – if you have shells hanging around that you haven’t touched since last year – this is a great way to put them to use. Shells make fantastic jewelry – as they provide us with some gorgeous natural patterns and colors to add to your design. 

If you’re a first-time DIY seashell jeweler, here are some tips you can use to get the most out of your seashell jewelry. Let’s jump right in!

Go with the flow

While some designs require some precision and creativity on your part – some shells are just better off being used as-is. And what we mean by that is sometimes shells have natural holes and abrasions that make it easy to string wire through. It helps you avoid the hassle of drilling your own holes, which can damage the shell. So don’t be afraid that you have to make everything perfect. Sometimes, just going with the flow is better!

Be careful about gems

Gemstones, when used well – can really improve the look of the piece you’re trying to create. When they aren’t, they can be a monster distraction. Try to use more neutral stones and items. Pearls can add a ton of luster and can help maintain a nautical theme. Quartz and Lapis lasuli can also help keep a more delicate, coastal theme. 

Nail polish isn’t just for your nails

Shells look beautiful on their own, but if you want a piece that really sticks out, then you can paint your shells any color you like. Gloss enamel paints are great for painting shells, but there’s something you have at home that’ll work even better and that’s nail polish!

You can even use gloss to give your shells a real, professional-looking finish. Plus nail polish gives you an endless number of colors and styles to choose from – from metallic shades to loud, quirky colors for the more adventurous of us. Even better, the tiny brushes work perfect for getting in the difficult nooks and crannies that seashells have. 

Don’t worry about damage

If you break your shells via drilling or whatever else – don’t throw them away! There are still a ton of stylish ways that you can use them. There are tons of accents we use on our products every day that have damaged shells and the same should hold true for your own creations. In some cases, broken shell shards can help create dynamic, interesting statement pieces, so don’t let your waste go to waste!

Seashells are one of the most fun natural materials to work with when it comes to making jewelry. Hopefully these tips can help give you some inspiration to help pass the time and create some incredible new pieces for your jewelry box. Good luck and stay safe!

Shell decorating inspiration for prime shelling season

It’s June and the sun is shining and it’s time to head to the beach! And just in time for prime shelling season; we’re here to share another batch of inspiring ideas for sea shell decorations in your home this summer that can be appreciated and remind you of the beach year-round.

Let’s jump right in!

Canning

A great tabletop or shelf accent is putting your newly collected shells into mason or canning jars and displaying them. One way we like to do it is to find same-colored shells and organize them into a jar, then a different range of colored shells and put them in another. Set them in groups of three and they’ll give your space an awesome, new beach aesthetic.

Flower bed decorations

We discussed filling in an entire bed around your pool with shells a few months back, but even a few shells sprinkled within can give your garden a fresh, new beachy feel. And especially if you have kids or grandkids, it’ll make for some fun as they wonder how these shells washed up in your yard.

Sea Shell Shadow Boxes

These are great accents that you can make yourself. And don’t be afraid to add in some other elements like sand. You can move the box side to side and it’ll show a new mix of shells in the sand every time. It’s a great way to create and accent that is dynamic in the sense that you can switch it up now and then and give things a completely new look. It’s just one of those little things that can make a house a home.

Shell wreaths

Shell wreaths are awesome – whether you want to use them indoors or outdoors. They make an even better DIY project with the kids – as they can decorate and create however they see fit. They can moonlight as centerpieces as well making them a fun, attractive and versatile home decoration.

Magnets

Another great DIY to do with the kids – shells make awesome kitchen magnets. Not only can they give your coastal kitchen that last extra coastal kick, but they can be great for your kids to display artwork, accomplishments and other memories you create with the people who matter most.

Hopefully these ideas inspire you this summer as we head into prime shelling season. Good luck and stay creative!

How to use sea shells as outdoor decorations

A lot of what we sell here is home décor and as such, we also tend to write a lot about indoor decorations. The truth is – sea shells are incredibly versatile things and when used properly, can be just as powerful as outdoor accents as well.

Here are a few of the ways you can use shells to help take your outdoor décor to the next level and create some excellent looking spaces in and around your property. Let’s jump right in!

Planters

One really cool way to decorate your gardens is to fill various planters with seashells. On the plus side – they’re not plants and you don’t have to water them – but they look outstanding. And if you’re feeling ambitious, you can even use horse conchs as glorified flower vases. However you decide to use them – shells are an amazing home garden accent and can break up your plant life in a way that gives your garden a lot of variety and character.

Seashell gardens

Sounds a little whacky right? Well you’d be amazed at how good an entire run of seashells can look in their own small seashell garden. You can fill them with whelks, conchs, olives and you name it – you can make it look outstanding. All you need to do is wash the shells and then thoroughly dry them off and they’re ready to line any abandoned bed or bring any empty, dingy looking spare space forward and make it look great. Another popular use is lining smaller walkways with them – particularly in and around patio and swimming areas. Instead of mulch or nothing – shells can bring an otherwise ambiguous space forward and really add to the overall quality of the rest of your space.

The perfect outdoor centerpiece

If you’re in warmer, coastal areas like we are here in Tampa Bay, you spend a ton of time outdoors – and outdoors sitting around a table. Plants are an obvious choice as a great decorative centerpiece but the truth is that they dry out, need to be cared for, and the like. Finding a big old Conch or even a clear, glass jar full of shells can make for an equally powerful, aesthetically pleasing centerpiece for your dining table.

And even if you’re not eating, they look great on a stack of magazines, on coffee tables, end tables and the like. Like we mentioned above, some folks even use them as mini-flower pots. Long story, short – if you’ve got a ‘living’ space outside that needs sprucing up – shells can provide you with the answer.

 

Hopefully some of these ideas can provide some inspiration as to some of the cool things you can do outside with seashells. If you’re looking for inspiration or the right kinds of decorations for your coastal space, check out our website or give us a call! Good luck!

How mirrors can take your coastal design to the next level

One of the most undervalued aspects of home décor are mirrors. They can help in any design, really – but they’re specifically useful when it comes to creating a more coastal space.

Not only do mirrors serve as sensational centerpieces, but they can also compliment and amplify nearly everything else around them – from existing accents, to natural assets. Not only that, but they can help create a sense of depth, space and relaxation in a way that almost no other piece of décor can.

Here are some of the ways that you can bring your coastal design to life using mirrors. Let’s jump right in!

Bring your other accents – natural and artificial – to life

The one great thing you can do with a mirror is to help bring everything that’s important in a given space to life. Have a beautiful view of the ocean? Use the reflection of the mirror to make it a central piece of artwork. Have gorgeous shell accents or other wall hangings that you want to see get a little extra love? Use the mirror to help center them or place emphasis on their being in that space.

Be strategic

A well-placed mirror not only helps the look of your home, but it can also help create the illusion that it’s much bigger than it is. This can be done by being more thoughtful about where you put your mirror – and no – it doesn’t have to be hanging on the wall to help your space pop! Consider leaving it on the floor or simply resting it on a console table to help create a unique, inspiring view. 

Keep an eye out for windows

Nothing creates depth and scope in a room than placing a mirror in view of or across from a large window. Doing so helps leverage natural light to create a brighter, livelier space. And brighter and livelier spaces are an essential ingredient of coastal designs!

Keep it smooth

Not only can mirrors help add space, depth and light to your coastal design; but the right kinds of mirrors can also help smoothen up your look. Specifically if you have way too many angles and dangles – a large, gorgeous round mirror can help smooth out the look and feel of your space. Also – the juxtaposition of round and sharp edges can have a remarkably calming effect on the people in that space.

Of course, the most important thing you can do is go with the flow and choose what’s right for you! There’s no ‘right or wrong’ here – so get creative and draw inspiration from the things around you. Good luck and have fun!

 

The Do’s and the Don’ts of coastal design

There’s an old saying out there that goes something along the lines of that knowing what not to do is sometimes just as important as what you should do and well, there’s certainly something to that. It definitely applies to coastal design as well and that’s what the topic of this month’s blog is going to be all about.

Here are some of the do’s and don’t of coastal design. Hopefully these tips will help you create a better, more enjoyable space. Let’s jump right in!

Do: Design around a color palette

Don’t: Design around a theme

Staying away from a theme is probably the best way to get started designing your modern, coastal home. Themes come and go, while look and feel doesn’t. And if you design a cohesive and harmonious coastal design, you can keep things to three main colors with one or two accents. This will keep your space centered without excessively driving home the point of a theme that might be outdated in a year.

Do: Add coastal elements

Don’t: Go overboard

We’re big proponents of ‘less is more’ in the sense that having coastal accents and elements in your room is essential. It can even define a space. But too much? Well, let’s just be blunt. Your home is by the sea. It’s not the actual sea. Keep it simple by sticking t o a few of your favorites.

DO: Use lots of natural light

Don’t: Add cold, artificial light

People really underestimate how much of a difference lighting can make in any one, single space. Beaches are synonymous with rand, rolling waves and sunny days. Good coastal design should incorporate as much natural light as possible. Think well lit and airy. If you have to use artificial light, think about how it can accent the general lighting.

Do: Go with weathered wood

Don’t: Carpet your floor

Driftwood-ish like texture and colors give coastal homes a real sense of balance and place. What you don’t want to do is carpeting your floors. While the occasional accent rug can really bring everything together, we’re more of the belief that adding lots and lots of rug can make a coastal room feel stuffy. Go with as much hardwood as you can and if you must – choose a carpet that accents a room – not one that takes it over.

We hope these tips provide you with a little inspiration. And of course – if you need the perfect accent to your new coastal space, give us a call today! Good luck!

 

Coastal Design vs. Hamptons Design: the difference

While our business mostly deals in shells and accessories – we do get lots of questions about how the things we sell fit into certain coastal design concepts. And one thing we notice that our customers get confused about regularly – is the difference between certain beach design themes – most notably coastal design style and Hamptons design style.

That being said, it’s pretty easy to do. The two styles share a lot in common. But when it comes to the details and overall feel – the two are worlds apart. Today, we’re going to spell out that difference for you so you know the difference! Let’s jump right in.

Florals and botanicals

Florals and botanicals is the one area of design where you’ll notice the most distinct difference between the two design styles. In a Hampton home, lilies and white roses are almost always part of the package – both inside and outside. Coastal homes are marked with more lush plants like snake plants, palms and succulents. As we progress, you’ll see that Hamptons Design relies on more traditional colors, smoother tones and a more traditional, wealthy and dignified look. Beach themes are more Earthy, natural, casual and laid back. The floral patterns and botanicals, well – they fit that description for both.

Accent colors

Neutrals are almost always the basis for both Hamptons and Coastal style homes. The difference comes from the accents, highlights and colors that pop. Coastal designs like both the laid back and lively aspects of beachfront living. Colors like yellow, coral and turquoise are a staple in this design family. Hamptons, go for more of a stately approach – with darker tones like Navy and stone featured prominently.

Textures

When it comes to coastal homes –think rough, rugged, but also laid back. Things like shells, driftwood and natural elements are almost always the focus of the feel of these homes. Think of laid back, as-it-is beach front living. Hamptons designs are more of the high life on the beach. Here, you’ll see things like dark, polished and smooth finishes like walnut and rosewood. Even when it comes to accessories, you’ll notice things like polished shells and stones and a more ‘put together’ ambiance.

Patterns

By now, you’re probably noticing a theme – of formal vs. casual and as you’ve probably guessed – that holds true here, too. In coastal-designed homes – expect more casual. In coastal homes it doesn’t matter if you swap out a scatter cushion for a bright colored accent cushion and some trendy prints. On the other hand – traditional patterns are more the norm in Hamptons style homes – patterns like paisleys, geometrics and brocade. One tells you to unbutton your collar and sink deep into your sofa. The other tells you to get ready for a snazzy, beach front social hour. Either way – you can’t go wrong!

 

Hopefully you’ve got an idea of what the differences between the two styles are. And don’t come to us looking for a preference – as we think both look incredible! Whichever route you choose, we can help you find accessories that help take your design to the next level. Give us a call today and we’re happy to talk. Good luck!

How to use coastal art in your home

Simply put – a home is not a home without some art! That being said, people do tend to get a bit nervy when it comes to both designing, identifying and decorating with it.

We’re here today to tell you that you don’t need to be a museum curator to incorporate fantastic looking artwork into your home’s decor and we figured that today we’d pass along some advice for turning your coastal home into a gorgeous display of art and using it as a foundation for your interior design. Let’s jump right in!

Inspiration

Art is at its best when it serves as inspiration. There’s no shame in matching the color palette of your room to your favorite piece. In other cases, you don’t need to use the colors of the piece at all. Sometimes, it’s just the tone of the piece that helps set the stage for the room. Whatever it is, roll with what the piece gives you and design with how the art makes you feel- not just by what it looks like.

Creating focal points

Art is a great way to create focal points in a room. Every room has some sort of visual anchor in it and those visual anchors can bring up the look and feel of any space. For example – a dynamic, attention-grabbing abstract painting can turn up the temperature on any white wall.

Galley spaces

We’re big fans of creating your own art gallery in your home – specifically in spaces that are pass-throughs and walkways. It could be as simple as a row of paintings by an artist you collect, perhaps some cool thrift store finds or even better – a wall of photographs of you and your family. Whatever it is – keep the gallery style tight and for maximum impact and keep the style uniform.

Using it as an accessory

While it works great as an accessory – art doesn’t have to be a focal point or put on display like it’s in a museum. Sometimes art works as a simple compliment to everything else happening in a given space. Leaning a few paintings on the floor or placing them on a shelf can help bring everything together – particularly when you’re looking to balance up empty space.

Whether it’s adding a unique shell lamp or a modern art masterpiece – hopefully these tips will help inspire you as to how you can use art in your home’s design. Good luck!

Coastal design tips for the New Year

We talk about all things coastal on our blog- but the one topic we like to return to a lot is coastal design. Our business is clearly seashells and how they play a part in creating that coastal experience; but our real passion is the beach and that feeling of being away from all the things that distract us from what’s important.

Every year we like to return to the topic of coastal design and some trends and tips to help your home keep, maintain and really feel like a place that is a place where you can escape to. Where work and the unnecessary complexities of life are left behind.

Here are some cool tips we figured we’d share with you; tips that we think could help take your coastal design to the next level in 2020. Let’s jump right in!

Simplify the outdoors

If you’ve got that killer ocean view, you don’t really need to use a heavy decorating hand. Some chairs, tile and some chic tiles should be all you need to create an amazing outdoor experience.

If you don’t have the ocean view – the rule stands. Coastal living is all about simplicity and escape – not the complexities that hound us at work and our day-to-day lives. Keep it chi. Keep it simple!

Don’t be afraid of white walls

Much of today’s design trends feature interesting patterns and colors. Bright white walls are often the key to offering a breezy, more cohesive look for your coastal space. In homes without a lot of sunlight – white walls can come off as cold and stoic – but in coastal situations where there’s plenty of light – the shade can really make the rest of your space shine.

Encourage escapism

Like we said above – coastal living is about simplicity and escape and any opportunity you have to create those small spaces should be taken advantage of. Creating small spaces like reading nooks, hammocks and other places where a person can enjoy solitude only adds to the ambiance and creates a feeling of a place away from all the other places.

Keep it casual

Skip the chandeliers, the ornate rugs and the complex patterns. Coastal living is about coming as you are and relaxing – not blowing people away with wealth, complex decorations and the like. No matter what you decide to do, keep it simple!

A little shell decorating inspiration for the fall

There’s not better feeling than being able to make something that you’ve discovered uniquely yours. It’s just that sometimes – we all need a little inspiration! Today, we’re going to discuss some of the ways your can take seashells from your collection and turn them into unique, exciting pieces that provide you with the perfect coastal accessory for your home.

Let’s jump right in!

Desk Accessories

For larger shells like conchs and sea biscuits – you can use them as the perfect desktop accent. They’re practical, too – as they can be used as paperweights, containers and in certain situations – a place where you can store change, nick knacks and the like.

Frames

There’s no better way to capture your memories at the beach than with a seashell-decorated photo frame. Not only are these easy to execute, but you can also get creative! Your frame doesn’t just have to be a flat surface. Try to make them go 3-d with a class, a photo along the inside panel and some seashells to hold it up. Talk about making a simple snapshot special!

Useful dishes

Large shells turned upside down can provide you with a whole swath of interesting uses. Some like to use them as a bowl for jewelry, but if you want to be even more practical – they make a great splash bowl for your entrance way – a place to put keys, wallets, change and other hitchhikers from your travels outside of your home. They can take an otherwise hum-drum space and really help it pop!

The perfect shelve shell

Any room can have a coastal twist added to it – particularly if you have bookshelves. Seashells are perfect to put on top of book stacks, serve as book ends at the end of them or just act as stand-alone accents and decorations.

 

Hopefully these ideas will give you a little inspiration! With the beach season officially winding down, this’ll give you some things to work on, some items to create and some new ways to get inspired for when beach season rolls around again! Only a few more months!