Whether you live close to the ocean, deep in the forest or in the core of the urban jungle, there’s no escaping the call of summer when it comes to home decor inspiration. Especially, that is, when the sun’s beaming down and your mood’s as high as your barometer’s red arrow. So cue good times, the mercury’s vertiginous ascent and happy days all around.
But precisely what – climatic issues aside – makes one home hip and another, ahem, haphazard? And why do some abodes seem effortlessly cool when others, in stylistic terms, are so dramatically wide of the mark? Guess it all comes down to one rule: ‘less is more.’ Which, in layman’s terms, means ‘go easy’. In your quest for summery perfection, avoid being too literal; it makes more sense to follow your heart (instead of doing what you think is ‘on trend’) thereby making your home personal and seasonally sensational.
As globe trotting Brits, summer – to us certainly – conjures up images of helicopter flights between Nice and Monaco, train rides to Italy in search of the perfect pizza and boat trips through the Greek Cyclades. Okay, so we mightn’t make it there as frequently as we once did (the Atlantic Ocean kinda gets in the way) but we’ll still happily flavour our schemes, where appropriate, with a hint of mainland Europe. Think monogrammed cushions that allude to the grand hotels of the Croisette, scented candles that capture the feel of Paris and restful blue and white rooms that make us feel like Santorini is just around the corner.
Capturing summer, as we compose our schemes, is all about taming the ocean and eliciting the appeal of languid coastal life; the restful sound of the waves, for instance, the distant call of the seabirds or the relaxing promise of a sandy beach. Cool, tranquil and tasteful, sure, but without so much as a hint of ‘Trading Spaces’. That means (remember our ‘literal’ litany) no sand textured walls, no ship anchor stencils and no light cords threaded with seashells. Summer, God damn it, should be sophisticated. And, left to us, that’s just how they are…
So. First things first – and to make everything perfect chez vous – decide upon the destination that most appeals, then cherry pick the components that really stand out. Miami Beach, for example, is a coastal extravaganza with more than a hint of Latin American spice so, if that’s your bag, use bright colours and bold geometric patterns (through soft furnishings, etc) to elicit the vibe. South Beach style, on the other hand, expounds with the Art Deco period (currently revered by a new generation of Great Gatsby devotees) while the Florida Keys whisper tales of laid back hippy living, a love of Ernest Hemmingway and clap board Heritage homes.
Another favourite C&J summer style is Pacific Rim, a direction that embraces the wild ocean with gnarly driftwood, sparkling hurricane lamps, slatted white timber walls and acres of glass and natural light. Furnishings tend to be muted and linen clad; think sunlight refracting through shuttered windows and languid sundowner cocktails enjoyed on dreamy rattan day beds. Put simply, it’s all about relaxed glamour… to the power of ten.
If summer abodes which embrace the forest are more your thing, you’ll almost certainly appreciate acres of timber and glass. Nests that showcase these aspects allow you to commune with nature while experiencing the day as it develops. Window coverings, for example, look best when arranged with minimal lines; in client woodland homes, we tend to leave windows entirely undressed so our paymasters can awaken with the day and retire as the sun goes down. Should you be tempted by the joys of the forest, take a tip; you won’t need tree trunk shaped pieces sprouting from your home’s every corner – be inspired, instead, by organic fabrics, good quality wooden floors or by artworks that suffuse your home with just a hint of forest living.
As your warm weather endeavors gather momentum, think about ‘opening’ rooms to beckon light. Remove dark, heavy drapes and replace with diaphanous fabrics that embrace warmer climes. It’s NOT rocket science! If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, swap out small boxy windows for large French doors; a biggish job, sure, but just think of those widened summery vistas.
As a final note, and whichever style you favour, remember that summer should be as much about the great outdoors as it is homely recreation and interior design. So plan your day accordingly; make time to languish in your garden and enjoy a gentle breeze in your hair, warm sun on your skin and the odorous joy of flowers. You know it makes sense. Aye, it makes perfect summery sense!
ABOUT : Colin MCallister and Justin Ryan, hosts of HGTV’s Colin & Justin’s Home Heist, are two of the most respected interior design authorities in Canada. High drama and delightfully outspoken, this creative duo never fails to take designer flair to a whole new level. Regular guests on Cityline, a new range of ‘Colin and Justin Home’ patio furniture is now available nationwide at Homesense, Winners and Marshalls. Their exclusive Design Perspectives column for NICHE focuses on the fabulous fusion of personal fashion, lifestyle and interior design.
INSIDE NICHE Magazine Summer 2013