Thursday, December 11, 2014

Decor Inspiration: Edwardian Summer Homes

Now that I'm older, I'm so happy my parents took us on summer trips to our grandparents' cottages.  As a child, I complained about missing out on what my friends were doing, but I have such happy memories now: of finally turning onto the dirt road, catching panfish, making flower crowns, roaming the beach for driftwood, and the house itself, frozen in time.  A little embroidered cover over the toaster, the packed-down cushion on the rocking chair, the fridge with the old-fashioned icebox latch, white beadboard walls and sand-dusted parquet floors.  When I think of childhood summers, I think of the midmorning light, so rarely seen and so lovely.  All other seasons and for my adult life so far, I rarely see midmorning light, the way it falls through a window and hits the floor in off-kilter windowpane rectangles.  A house lit by this light is always lovely, no matter the hand-me-down furniture or threadbare cushions.
On a larger, more elegant scale, Edwardian summer houses have the same breezy, light-filled quality to them: a disparate mix of sparse furnishings, windows hung with sheer tasselled curtains floating on a beachfront breeze.  A watery smell in the air, bowed floorboards, a screened door with creaky hinges.  Thin cushions, a lace tablecloth, faded floral papered walls, linen upholstery.  

I think it's important to create a home that looks lived-in.  It saves your sanity as you learn to live with imperfections that pop up with normal use.  The rooms below are elegant, but lived-in.  Clean seersucker fabric, raw-edged linen, well-worn wood and wicker.  Stacks of plates, old silver, exposed pipes, bowed floorboards, an old kettle.  A cast-iron sink, lace-draped windows, bare floorboards.

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