A Christ­mas Flea by the Sea

A cre­ative empty nester turns a 450-square-foot cot­tage into a re­s­plen­dent hol­i­day re­treat that’s full of flea-mar­ket finds.

Flea Market Décor - - Sources - BY AU­TUMN KRAUSE PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARK LOHMAN STYLING BY SUN­DAY HEN­DRICK­SON

To see more of Kelly Mcmaster’s style, visit cot­tage­fleabythe­sea.com or @cot­tage­fleabythe­sea on In­sta­gram.

IN THE MAS­TER­FUL HANDS OF KELLY MCMASTER, A LA­GUNA BEACH COT­TAGE BE­COMES A FLEA-MAR­KET LOVER’S CHRIST­MAS FAN­TASY.

“This was my first time dec­o­rat­ing my new place,” Kelly says. “It’s ac­tu­ally a rental that’s been split into up­per and lower units. I oc­cupy the ground level.” For Kelly, who is tran­si­tion­ing from a sales ca­reer to cre­ative pur­suits with her In­sta­gram (@cot­tage­fleabythe­sea) and web­site, the 450-square-foot space was the per­fect, snug home for the hol­i­days. Over the course of three weeks, she trans­formed it into an eclec­tic won­der­land brim­ming with flea-mar­ket finds. She started by “shop­ping” her own col­lec­tions. “I went through my many boxes and bins filled with Christ­mas dé­cor,” she says. “Some of it I’ve had for­ever; some of it

I’d pur­chased dur­ing post-hol­i­day sales and squir­reled away. It was fun to re­dis­cover my pieces.” With the as­sis­tance of Sun­day Hen­drick­son, stylist from Di­vine Cre­ative at Large, she decked the halls to re­flect her cot­tage-meets-flea­mar­ket style.

When you step into Kelly’s home, she hopes you feel “loved, comfy, re­laxed, warm, wel­comed, happy and, per­haps, in­trigued.” This may seem like a tall or­der, but Kelly’s larger-than-life style does just that and, dur­ing De­cem­ber, you can also add “whim­si­cal and fes­tive” to the list.

“MY HOL­I­DAY STYLE IS PRETTY MUCH THE SAME AS MY STYLE THROUGH­OUT THE YEAR. I’M RED, YEL­LOW, AL­WAYS DRAWN TO ROBIN’S-EGG BLUE AND A BIT OF SPARKLE OR SHINE.”

As you en­ter the home through a slid­ing glass door, you are met by hol­i­day dé­cor in un­ex­pect­edly bright and happy col­ors. Kelly loves mix­ing pat­terns, build­ing lay­ers and com­bin­ing the old with the new; she col­lab­o­rated with Sun­day to add hol­i­day touches to her home with hall­marks of the sea­son, like a mini tree and sled.

The setup of Kelly’s home is unique be­cause you can see from the front room, through the bed­room and all the way back to the kitchen. “I don’t have a sep­a­rate liv­ing room or bed­room,” she says. “My bed and the mir­ror above it be­come the fo­cal point of my home by de­fault.” She dressed her bed for the hol­i­days with a pla­toon of pil­lows. “I’ve col­lected pil­lows for about twenty years,” Kelly says. “When­ever I see a cute or unique one at a flea mar­ket, craft sale or even at TJ Maxx or Tar­get, I bring it home.” The hol­i­day pil­lows—she found the Santa pil­low cover for $1.50 and the white furry one for $7—have a vin­tage feel, while a glit­ter Christ­mas tree dis­played on a small sled adds a dash of sparkle. Sun­day stacked a va­ri­ety of old crates at the foot of the

“AT THE END OF THE DAY, THE MOST IM­POR­TANT THING TO ME IS BE­ING SUR­ROUNDED BY ITEMS THAT RE­MIND ME OF MY CHILD­HOOD OR THOSE OF MY SONS.”

THE HOME is ac­cessed by a slid­ing glass door. The wide open­ing al­lows Kelly’s dé­cor to spill out­side. “Only so much of my col­lec­tions fit in­doors, and the rest stay out­doors,” Kelly says. “I had to ac­cept that when I moved to La­guna Beach, I might even­tu­ally lose them to the el­e­ments.” But in or­der to stave off de­te­ri­o­ra­tion from the weather, she painted ev­ery­thing with pa­tio paint and a clear top coat.

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