Cot­tage dé­cor eas­ily up­dated with fresh style

Winnipeg Free Press - Section F - - HOMES - DEB­BIE TRAVIS

IHAVE a good friend who has al­ways spent sum­mers at the fam­ily cot­tage. The open­ing week­end is about the ne­ces­si­ties of hook­ing up wa­ter, check­ing for new mice homes, rak­ing, sweep­ing, clean­ing and the odd re­pair. Not my scene ex­actly, but oh, how I look for­ward to an in­vi­ta­tion each year to tramp through the woods, then loll on the dock, and eat around a camp­fire. The cot­tage never changes, it has been well kept-up, but the wood and wicker fur­ni­ture, the colour­ful rag rugs and the old sandy floor­boards are part of the cot­tage his­tory that can­not be dis­turbed.

It al­ways makes me think about the most en­dur­ing of all dec­o­rat­ing styles — coun­try or cot­tage or ru­ral, how­ever you name it, this is all about nos­tal­gia. Wall­pa­pers with tiny flow­ers, check­ered table­cloths, iron bed frames, a brick fire­place or ca­st­iron stove. And lots of wood. It’s a sum­mer style, too, so fresh whites are seen ev­ery­where, no mat­ter if they are slightly tattered or crum­pled. It is a style that con­notes no-fuss liv­ing, easy up­keep, and pat­terns and shades that con­nect us to our grand­par­ents, our child­hoods, and happy care­free mem­o­ries of sum­mer va­ca­tions.

Cot­tage style em­anates from the sur­round­ing land­scape and feeds our vis­ual and tac­tile senses. Whether you are lake­side, beach­side or tucked into the woods, the life you choose to lead while in this en­vi­ron­ment will be­come the com­mon dec­o­ra­tive theme that im­me­di­ately reawak­ens and so­lid­i­fies mem­o­ries. The cheer­ful vi­gnette shown here is filled with im­ages of sunny sum­mer days. Cath Kid­ston is a hugely suc­cess­ful Bri­tish de­signer of nos­tal­gic ’50s and ’60s prints. Her del­i­cately pat­terned wall­pa­per and cush­ions, the cot­ton weave mat on the seat and match­ing suit­case are pretty and wel­com­ing as a sum­mer breeze.

Here is short a guide to the best in sum­mer dec­o­rat­ing; my guess is you will have gath­ered a lot of me­men­toes al­ready.

Blue and white is a time­less com­bi­na­tion; shades of blue from nautical to pale sky blue or sea blue/green are a per­fect choice for tow­els, linens, blan­kets and bed­spreads. Pas­tel shades of green, yel­low and pink are each spring gar­den fresh and work along­side wood pan­elling and floors to keep the mood light. Cab­i­netry is ei­ther left nat­u­ral or painted a crisp white. The pal­ette of greys and browns found in stone are sub­tle hues drawn from the rocky shores of a lake and rugged moun­tain path­ways. These com­ple­men­tary colours look great and are prac­ti­cal for up­hol­stered so­fas and chairs, or mixed in a paint colour wash to add a bit of colour to wood floors and walls.

Stripes and checks are fa­mil­iar pat­terns that dec­o­rate kitchen and din­ing room linens. Lat­tice is the pat­tern that evokes gar­den im­ages. You can in­sert lat­tice into kitchen cabi­net doors, or paint a lat­tice de­sign on the wall. Other pat­terns drawn from na­ture’s notebook, specif­i­cally flow­ers and birds, bring the out­doors in on wall­pa­pers, fab­rics and art­work. Sim­ply framed botan­i­cal prints hang along­side pho­to­graphs taken on coun­try walks. Tro­phy walls show off the fam­ily sail­boat, the catch of the sea­son and kids hold­ing their sum­mer trea­sures.

If this is your sum­mer to up­date the cot­tage, check out your fab­ric and wall­pa­per store or go on­line. You will have no trou­ble find­ing nos­tal­gic prints, colours and mo­tifs that will con­tinue the tra­di­tions al­ready set.

Nos­tal­gic pat­terns and pas­tel shades play a key role in sum­mer dec­o­rat­ing.

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