It’s not difficult to find coastal décor on the First Coast. With miles and miles of beach to enjoy, it’s no surprise that residents here eat, sleep and breathe the “salt life.” But while the coastal vibe itself may not be a novel concept in Florida, when just the right touch of personality, style and flair is added to the mix, what was once old can again become new—or so says Cathy Thomasson, owner of Sidney Cardel’s in Jacksonville Beach.
“I’m real passionate about vintage finds that can be incorporated into any setting, whether it’s contemporary, coastal, traditional, it doesn’t matter,” Thomasson says. “I think to have a piece of history in your house is super cool. It starts conversation.”
Known locally for its colorful outdoor displays and stylishly-staged interior, the Sidney Cardel’s shopping experience offers customers a breath of fresh ocean air. The shop, which opened its doors in 2011, offers an eclectic mix of home and garden décor, gifts, accessories and, as of recently, apparel. Many of the items in-store are also custom-made and exclusive to Sidney Cardel’s.
“I think when people think of Sidney Cardel’s, they think of things that they can’t find other places, and that’s what we hear a lot,” Thomasson says. “I carry a lot of one-of-a-kind pieces.”
An interior designer with an eye for detail, Thomasson has worked on high-profile design projects in the past, including as a designer liaison for HGTV’s Dream Home and Green Home projects. Through Sidney Cardel’s, she offers custom design services for clients looking to furnish their homes with the same panache she uses to decorate her store.
And what are Thomasson’s favorite pieces to work with?
“Just something that is old and vintage that you can put into a contemporary setting and make it all work together in a way that looks like it was supposed to happen like that,” she says.
That love for combining old and new is evident as one wanders through Sidney Cardel’s, and is just one of the sources of the store’s charm. But while Sidney Cardel’s the store is charming, according to Thomasson, its namesake was even more so.
“Sidney Cardel’s is named after my mother,” she says. “She was an amazing woman and an educator way ahead of her time—a pioneer.”
Having fulfilled the promise she made to her mother that she would one day name a store after her, Thomasson says she is just grateful to have received so much support from the community.
“Our customers become our friends, and I think that’s what’s kept us in business for so long,” she says. “I appreciate them so much.”