Thursday, June 23, 2011

Summer Is Here!

Well...the heat is on here in Charlotte, it's officially the first days of summer and all I can keep thinking about is the beach, lazy days in a hammock (like the one above from Anthropologie), a few iced cocktails and a good book.

WAKE UP TIFF, YOU ARE DREAMING!!!  My kids are home from school, I now live 3 hours from the coast, plus I need to keep us all moving and doing so we don't kill each other. Oh, I'm kidding. I really am excited about this summer.......... but nothing puts me in a more optimistic mood than celebrating the spirit of summer with a few good inspirational photos and ideas.

Is it me or does a cottage with an old beach cruiser parked at the front gate make you dream about the ultimate in childhood memories? Maybe it doesn't remotely remind you of your own summer, but the idea of carefree days, riding a bike along a sandy beach road evokes the idea of stress-free days, tanned faces and flip-flopped feet.

Serena and Lily's front cover of the summer issue.
Everyone can at least appreciate a cottage interior that is playful or colorful even though might not be able to live with it year round. Nothing says carefree more than bright-hued pillows on a relaxed sofa or painted furniture and an eclectic mix of accessories.

This California bungalow by Krista Ewart is featured in House Beautiful and  is filled with lots of summery surprises.
The scalloped edge on the book case is a nice  cottage detail. 
I am biased to well designed children's rooms and this wallpaper is adorable in a beach cottage.
The woven totes filled with sun hats placed under a center mirrored table screams "Let's hit the beach girls!!" The chandelier is fantastic too.
It's great when your home can have a sense of humor . Don't take things too seriously.  This surf board coffee table in this beach house by Annie Selke  is the perfect color!!!
 It's easy to add an accessory here and there this season to add a summertime feel. Collected shells from vacations hold great memories.

This mantel in a Bridgehampton , NY cottage displays collected coral and prints in a monochromatic scheme.
This bowl from Wisteria is perfect for placing a few starfish.
An American flag can also stir up summertime memories, am I right?? Why is this???

Is it the wind from the ocean making those whipping noises or is it the beautiful movements it makes. Or is it a reminder of balmy nights with fireworks and symphony music? Whatever the case, a beach house with a patriotic influence does it for me. (I also love entertaining on the 4th. It can be really simple to pull it together. All it takes is a good menu, and some easy decorations....stay tuned for a compilation of ideas for this occasion.)

A beach house with a view of water, whether it's the sandy dunes or a pier out to the lake makes me think of these upcoming months like a giggling child. Why is it that just looking at these images stirs up these emotions? Maybe it's something innate in us that makes us gravitate towards bodies of water. In any case, the blue horizon will always make an impact, and can be incorporated no matter what your style is.

Lakeside living at it's finest.
This all-American beach house is on Martha's Vineyard. The porch below sings 'classic cottage'.

The interiors of the beach house is modern but also feels natural in the beach setting.

This is India Hicks home in the Bahamas, real classic island living. This is fabulous...check out the whole  place in her book,  Island Life. Amazing is one of many words that come to mind.

Scenic views in this bright and cheerful Palm Beach style home is fresh and unexpected.

California style beach living feels like the sand washed right into this color scheme.
Again, I love how rustic and natural the elements are in this California  beach interior. 
Shabby Chic Beach, so feminine and calming.
Summer dining "alfresco" has always been a favorite past-time for me. I love this picture below under a canopy of wisteria. This is a gorgeous setting for warm breezes and good food.

Ballard Designs displays another type of beachy dining.  Really easy to recreate too. Now we all need our own pier out to the ocean.
West Elm's version of a summer party...I adore these lanterns.
Very clever to hang  from a branch!!!
Love this cottage courtyard, again from the bungalow by Krista Ewart. It's fun and bright and feels like warm summer day. It's so creative to have covered the surf board in vibrant green fabric.
Outdoor living has really evolved in the last decade. I love how easy it is to recreate another living room in your own backyard. Summer nights, outdoors, aside from the mosquitoes (a new one for us Californians) can be so memorable in such great surroundings.

I love this outdoor fireplace. It really feels like a living room here.
Restoration has some beautiful new outdoor living furniture.
This fire table from Restoration Hardware "rocks".
Pottery Barn....way to go!!! This pergola can be ordered online. Look at how custom this feels. The backdrop  ain't bad either!!
AAAAHHHH....mojito anyone??
This summer I'll be coming up with entertaining ideas to make my summer a memorable one.  Hopefully you can take away at least one good idea to use for yourself.....or atleast put  it away for another time.

Here's an easy place setting for a summer brunch.  Find a colorful napkin and use it for inspiration. I am going to use an old print that was handed down to me from my mom. It must be from the 70's.
These are practically vintage now!!! But...the colors are back.
This would look great paired with white porcelain dishes that have a blue rim
I would use white dishes with a blue rim, but mine are packed away in the garage, so I am opting for glass. In this place setting I am going to use a scarf for a table runner (I got that idea from party planner and stylist Lulu Powers (as seen in LonnyMag this month).
I thought the check pattern was summery and picked up the sand color in the background of the napkin.
For a place card, which I love doing because it gives a more personal touch, I am "loosely" re-creating the print of the napkin in a watercolor.
My daughter participated in painting the cards, a good summer activity.
I wasn't trying to paint an impressionist's masterpiece or anything, just trying to pick up the colors in the napkin.
I cut out cards and wrapped it around the neck of individual vases with sand colored yarn (if I had bear grass on hand I would have used that), then filled them with sand colored rocks, also coordinating with the checked runner. I brought the napkin with me when I bought flowers and picked out a mix to go with the scheme.

One could either stuff the napkin in a glass or lay it across the plate in a napkin ring. Either way, I placed a shell nearby for that extra casual/beachy feel. Bringing in more glass with a pitcher filled with flowers and glass votives and candlesticks help fill in the table without feeling too heavy.

Just have fun with it. Recreate this look from the following retailers:

These napkins are from Cost Plus/World Market
Or start with a cheery ikat napkin from Horchow

Use a fun netting runner from Pottery Barn.
A gorgeous scarf from Antrhopologie with plain sand colored napkins tied with some natural raffia.
Add these fabulous acrylic plates from Crate and Barrel's outdoor dining collection.

Pulling it together is pretty easy, add some colorful flowers in a glass vase or a pitcher and you are done. (don't forget to add personal touches for your guests to make it memorable for them as well.)

More to come...stay cool and happy summer!


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