It’s late summer here and it’s been an odd one, so perhaps that’s why half of me wants to let it linger and the other half really wants to move on. As school starts (whatever that looks like), schedules change, summer flowers begin to fade, and the views from our windows begin to alter, our homes are already shifting their mood. Can you feel it? (Do you remember when rugs were taken up and heavy curtains were replaced with light panels and houses really had a different air about them in summer? And all that work!) Anyway, there’s still time for summer things like dining al fresco, taking a dip, lounging lazily on the lawn, going for ice cream, or doing whatever keeps you in the summer mood.
Here are some of my favorite spaces with a nice summer vibe.
We are in full sunflower season here. And while sunflowers are certainly show-stoppers and crowd-pleasers (think sunflower festivals), sometimes it’s hard to handle them. The sunflower is easy to grow from seed and glorious in a field or tucked in the back of a garden. But, as a cut flower she can look stunning one minute and then quite dismal the next, her large head bent over like she has overstayed her time at the party. Depending on the variety (and there are many), stems can be thick and curved in odd ways, and heads can be heavy and large and, well, awkward. As my sister says of the sunflower: She wants to do what she wants to do.
Two things initiated this Friday’s mood board: a beautiful painting and a bad habit. I challenged myself to design a room around a painting that I love. In this case it is Robert Dash’s “Pink Field, White Field” (1965). I quickly decided to put it in a kitchen rather than where we might expect a painting like this (living room or dining room or bedroom). And when I began designing, I thought about what I’d love in a kitchen and that would be a comfy, vintage sofa. This is my bad habit (as my husband can tell you): always wanting to eat my meals sitting on the sofa.
Mantels are the perfect place in the house for seasonal vignettes that come and go according to the weather and the occasion and our mood. In my house, some of the objects on the mantel are mostly permanent for one reason or another, and I’m not as apt to change things around as my sister, but I do love the idea of the mantel as a blank slate for creating still lifes that represent a passing moment of our lives.
Summer mantels, it seems to me, should be even more whimsical and relaxed. And, contrary to popular belief, they don’t always have to include seashells (but of course they can if that is what you love or if they remind you of a special summer place).
I’ve gathered some mantels with a summer vibe to get your creativity flowing as summer unfolds before us…no telling where it will take you and what your mantel will say about your summer days.
A nice ensemble of natural elements, including feathers, drift wood, moss spheres, and nature prints.
I like this natural mantel too–It’s got a bit more of a maximalist look to it but everything is still within the same palette.
Here is a bolder take on the shells and coral theme. The pink in the curtains is reflected in the mirror and echoed in the conch shell.
A light and airy display with sea fan coral on a lucite box. I like how it looks against the gold mirror.
India Hicks has added height with the palm fronds and kept the tone muted.
I love the repetition and the simple potted fern next to the blue and white dish. I could see some birthday cards tucked behind the candle holders too.
Lovely and classic. Blue and white ginger jars, white summer flowers, and almost perfect symmetry. So this is not a mantel but the vignette could certainly work well on one!
A simple summer cottage coastal vibe. Looks great with the green and white check wing-back chair.
Repetition is always pretty. Simple dairy jars with flowers. An odd number works best I have been told.
Another pretty version of this idea using vintage bottles.
I like the rustic and muted tones with the texture of the baskets. This might be more of a late summer into fall vignette with the dried hydrangea and white gourds but you could certainly do an early summer version as well.
I’m always happy to see milk glass being used like this. White with white, repetition, and symmetry. And an even number here. Whatever works!
I love the potted lavender and the pretty plate.
Simple and elegant honeysuckle in glass vessels.
Bunny Mellon’s mantel looks summery to me with the botanical prints propped up. She is letting the painting steal the show.
Have you ever been sitting in a room and realized that your mind had wandered off somewhere else? And then you realize that it’s quite possibly the room itself that has transported you to a different time and place. I’ve noticed that sometimes when this happens to me, it’s the subtle influence of a pattern. It might be a tropical motif on the wallpaper, or a pastoral pattern on the toile drapes, or a playful animal motif that casts its spell on you.
With that in mind, here are 7 patterns that have transportable powers and would be fun to add to a room (town or country) that might need a touch of magic. Or just fun to look at for a mid-week pick-me-up! For more on patterns take a look at Susanna Salk’s latest book The Power of Pattern. Enjoy. And do let me know your thoughts on these enchanting designs.