Do you know much about Shell House history? I don’t, and I wish I did. But World of Interiors recently did a whole feature that is worth a read if you are interested (I think they did a particularly good job with the title – “Schist Just Got Real.” (that is some clever copywriting)
I have seen shell houses in gardens here and there, mostly in pictures or on the grounds of old English estates. The classic folly is a perfect place to lean into the idea of using shells – to decorate or make something more interesting. The whole idea of folly is to forgo any sort of usefulness and just make something that is fun to look at.
Shell houses and grottoes were quite fashionable at one time. Trends come and go, though, and I am wondering if there might be a good reason to bring this one back. Who doesn’t have bags of shells that they brought home from that one vacation? Apparently, shell houses used to be the culmination of gathering shells from your travels (a lot of shells and a lot of travels seem like a slightly more interesting status symbol than a new car or McMansion). To go all in on a building or a room is perhaps out of the realm of many of us – I do that that we can make some interesting small pots or other embellished garden features.
Inspired by Blott Kerr- Wilson’s Shell Art
If you are looking for some fabulous inspiration for shell art, Blott Kerr-Wilson is someone whose work I’ve admired for years. She is a shell artist who has been working to restore old shell houses that still exist but is also creating a new generation of these fascinating structures and art pieces. (Her Instagram is a great way to keep up and keep inspired)
Moody shell wall Art
By Blott Kerr-Wilson
A cheery shell-embellished Bathroom
By Blott Kerr Wilson
You can also check out Blott’s Website to see some of the garden follies she has created or restored. Don’t miss the roundhouse – it is my personal favorite – I love the animals and the four-season theme, and looking up at the dark ceiling is magical.