Decorate Your Home with Chic Seashells

A local designer creates a seashell-themed sanctuary

By Seattle Mag June 27, 2014

0714collector

This article originally appeared in the July 2014 issue of Seattle magazine.

Way down a winding road that hugs the southern shore of Magnolia sits an unassuming beach house that opens to reveal an artfully displayed shell collection—not to mention a spectacular Puget Sound view. Owned by graphic designer Alicia Nammacher (former longtime Seattle Bride art director) and her husband, Jeff, the small home is washed in cool taupe tones and punctuated with shells collected during the couple’s travels and from the beach right out front.

Pointing at shells on sills, tables and counters, Nammacher recalls where she found each one—Charleston, the Bahamas, Padre Island in Texas and Anna Maria Island in Florida. “Every shell has a story,” she says, including the sand dollars she found near the Bainbridge Island ferry dock, which required a dodgy scramble down a barnacle-laden ladder. Speaking of barnacles, she collects those, too, as part of her passion for collecting unusual and imperfect shells. When they start to decompose, oyster shells, for example, become pocked with holes. “I love the texture,” she says.

The shell-filled (nonworking) fireplace was inspired by local photographer E. Jane Armstrong (avisualist.com), with a driftwood sculpture by Jeff Nammacher above; an ever-changing mix of barnacles, sand dollars and coral tops a dresser; shell-covered mirror; decomposing oyster shells in a vase add a briny note to the kitchen

Choosing nontraditional shells helps keep Nammacher’s collection from becoming kitschy, as does the way she arranges the objects: at surprising angles (upside-down or turned away), which increases the visual interest. With bags of shells in storage, she can change things up regularly, which also adds to the novelty. She approaches her pretty arrangements of neutral-hued shells almost as one would a Zen garden, gently shifting them around, appreciating the bumpy surfaces. “I find it very relaxing,” she says.

 

Follow Us

At PCF, People Come First | Sponsored

At PCF, People Come First | Sponsored

PCF Construction Group nabs awards for excellence and integrity

People Come First (PCF) Construction Group has been building dream outdoor living spaces for homeowners across the Pacific Northwest for more than 15 years. The Kent-based builder was named National Remodeler of the Year by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) in 2023, and a National Finalist in 2024. “Receiving the Remodeler of the…

Small-Scale Sensitivity

Small-Scale Sensitivity

Whole-house renovation respects the aesthetics of its Capitol Hill neighborhood

Miriam Larson founded Story Architecture in the belief that, if she dug deep enough, each house and the family that lives in it would have a story to tell. In time, she would also conclude that some books are perfectly happy to be judged by their covers.

Water World Wonder

Water World Wonder

Unique artistic collaboration invites water into stunning Lake Washington home

Swivel Interiors founder Kathleen Glossa lured five innovative local artists to a newly purchased vacation property perched on the northern edge of Lake Washington. Photo by Andrew Giammarco

Minecraft Motivation

Minecraft Motivation

Couple uses video game for renovation inspiration

They had a hard time visualizing what their new home might look like, so they turned to Minecraft, a hugely popular video game Microsoft markets as a tool for creative types to “battle mobs, construct shelter, and explore the landscape.” They had been playing the game for years, and didn’t need to consult the box