Glittery starfish and ocean hues set the holiday theme at this waterfront home
This time of year, Julie Masters is busy decorating two houses for Christmas — one in Dickinson and the other in San Leon.
But Masters will have to forego the Dickinson decorations as she works to repair that home flooded by Hurricane Harvey in late August.
“It will be a tough holiday season for so many Dickinson residents,” said Masters, who is mayor of that city. “My heart goes out to all who lost so much. But we’re a strong city and we are on the mend.”
Masters and husband, Ron, bought the San Leon waterfront property in 2008. They had wanted a place on the water for quite some time, and this one was particularly special, because it was next door to Masters’ sister.
As the mayor of Dickinson for 13 years, Masters’ political life keeps her busy, so escaping to the calm and peacefulness of the water is a nice respite, she said. This year, family members are temporary occupants of the bay house because Harvey damaged their homes, so it’s time for all to come together and celebrate, she said.
“This first thing I do is bring out my artificial pre-lit tree with green and silver needles, then haul out boxes of ornaments of turquoise, emerald, silver and clear glass — all hues of anything relating to the ocean,” said Masters, who always starts decorating on the second floor.
It doesn’t take her long to turn the bare tree into a work of art. Ornaments of all shapes and sizes, especially the big, round sea-colored balls, sparkly starfish, sailboats, mermaids, seashells, dolphins, sea horses and glittery sand-colored poinsettias, cover almost every inch of the tree. She drapes silver mesh, which resembles fishnet, about the tree.
“I got the tree at Craft-Tex in Houston,” Masters said. “But I’ve been collecting the decorations for a while, buying them at places like Hobby Lobby, At Home and Galveston’s Strand area.”
Instead of a star, she tops the tree with a large piece of turquoise sea fan.
“There is no method to my madness,” Masters said. “I just cover as much of the tree as I possibly can.”
The tree skirt is a combination of turquoise satin and sequins she created from two pieces of fabric.
A watercolor painting replicating the tree was painted by Masters’ great-niece, Clara Magliolo, as a gift.
Masters assembled the window décor by draping a pre-lighted tree swag across the top, adding big balls of silver, blue, green and clear glass, then attaching sea fan coral, floral arrangements and faux sea urchin tendrils. The sign says, “Believe.”
An original Lynn Haney Santa creation, decked in white satin and holding white sea plants surrounded by pearls and crystal beads, stands on a table beside the tree, next to a mermaid lamp.
A Murano glass pelican shares an opposite corner with a miniature shell Christmas tree.
A decorated window swag — similar to the one in the living room — hangs in the kitchen above a wreath with the message: “Bless the food before us, love between us and family beside us.”
“I use a lot of clear glass balls in everything, because it resembles bubbles in the ocean,” Masters said.
Turquoise dinner plates, silver palm tree napkin rings wrapped around white and turquoise napkins, and decorative wineglasses sit atop the kitchen table. A white ceramic seashell bowl containing various sea-colored ornaments makes a lovely centerpiece.
Atop the pantry, lights are aglow inside wire mesh boxes topped with silver bows, resembling Christmas gifts.
The second-floor stair rail is decorated with more sea-colored ornaments, fan coral and glittery sea grass.
A small table on the first level is where one of the holiday mermaids resides, surrounded by green and turquoise decorative mesh, next to a white wooden lantern filled and topped with more ocean-hued ornaments.
“I decorated her to look like she’s partially under water,” Masters said.
Another mermaid — full of whimsy — holds a cocktail under a shell wreath.
The bar area on the ground level is ready for party guests. Margarita glasses, place mats trimmed in seashells and a cheerful snowman reminds everyone to have a good time. Another coastal wreath, designed by Masters, hangs above the gas grill.
Swags of white lights are draped along the top railing of the back deck and blue ones are woven throughout the baluster of the front steps. Blue lights also are wrapped around the trunks of the seven palm trees in the front yard, with green ones lighting up the palm fronds.
“Lights are a symbol of hope and a better tomorrow,” Masters said. “I would like to wish everyone in Dickinson and all of Galveston County a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year full of hope and good things to come.”
Editor’s note: Coast Monthly photographed Julie Masters’ decorated San Leon home in December last year.