Once upon a time we lived in Cuba.  To be more specific, we lived on the base at Guantanamo Bay.  This was before 9-11 and the internment camp that is now there.  When we lived there it was a carefree time and the biggest decision of the day was maybe whether to go to the beach and look for shells or go to the swimming pool.

One day I made the beach decision and found something unusual…I had seen all kinds of shells but this was different.  It was a sea fan.  Here is how they grow under the water.

Upon closer examination, the sea fan looks like it is made of a fine netting and when it has been washed to the shore and laid there for a while it is brittle.  I have never felt one growing in the ocean.  You divers would know about that.

When I would find a sea fan it was always on the beach…had been storm tossed and deposited right where I could find it and take it home.  I started making decorations with them.  Sometimes I would add silk flowers around the base…it all sounds so tacky now.  Now I realize that a sea fan has integrity and is strong enough to stand on its own.  You don’t have to spray paint it or add ribbons or silk flowers.  No!  You just enjoy a sea fan and respect it for the shape, color and how it has come to be on the shore.

This owner of a beach cottage used multiple sea fans above the bed.  Sweet dreams!

Beachy bedroom featuring wrought-iron painted bed, breezy curtains and shell display above bed on floating shelf

A group of white ones have been framed and hung on the far wall in this beautiful dining room.

Adam Hunter Inc: Beautiful sea foam green dining room with coastal feel.

I have never seen a turquoise sea fan…but if I ever do, I will hope to purchase it.  A sea fan in my favorite color would be irresistible.

Homemade shadow boxes with sea shells for moms dining room?

via decorpad.com

Here is a beautiful watercolor of a turquoise sea fan.

{sea fan}


I have seen them in this rusty red/orange color.  In fact I have one which I will show you later. This decorator used them for a nautical Christmas cottage. Notice the sea shell encrusted stand on the far left.  That was a lot of work!

Seaside Christmas Dining


An attic nook becomes a guest room retreat. Accent with starfish and a sea fan to give it that Summer style.

Above, a sea fan has been glued to the top of a block of wood.  I have seen them on a block of Lucite, but this natural wood and the fan seem to go together.

beautiful sea fans


I have never tried it, but I think that the sea fan above must have been glued to the top of a candle holder.  It presents itself as a piece of sculpture.

Soldered Sea Fan on Antique bottle by sharlenekaynedesigns on Etsy, $22.00

sharlenekaynedesigns on Etsy

It is very trendy right now to put a sea fan on the top of an antique bottle.  Notice how jute was wrapped around the bottle top in the photo below.

sea fan


If you don’t live near the ocean you can find sea fans at home décor stores or you can order then from the internet.  A friend of mine recently purchased a nice sized white  one for around $18.00.

I promised to show you two of mine…found on the beach in Guantanamo. I put the first one in a weathered cement planter and added some white coral and a little green reindeer moss.


The second one is my rust colored sea fan.  It is in an urn along with a conch shell and a small helmet shell found in Cuba.


I know that it is the end of summer, but maybe you want to hold onto it just a little longer.  Try adding a sea fan to your décor.  Create and be happy!