Summer in New England is a three month celebration, and we’re reveling in August’s grand finale. Everyone is in such a good mood, still grateful that boots and shovels are months away and looking for any excuse to be outside until the last possible minute. There’s a certain signature style the Northeast does differently than other parts of the world.
And while I love all the historic influences, in my own home I blend a more eclectic sensibility with an old school style to create a less conventional, fresher New England look. We regularly have friends over for drinks around sunset, which is an ideal time to let the art of entertaining shine. The key to bringing New England to anyone’s backyard or porch can be found in a few key elements, all of which are easier than you think.
Don’t get fussy about it, you don’t have to install wainscotting or a six foot hedge! New England summer is about harmonizing a mood of relaxation and adventure. These tips will get you on your way, East Coast style.
1. Start with color. Red, white and blue isn’t exclusive to the American flag or the Fourth of July. Using navy against red and white is sophisticated and adds formality, with just the right dose of patriotism. I love this palette with weathered wood furniture or driftwood accents. My upholstered outdoor furniture combines traditional wicker with a contemporary geometric pattern. You can achieve a similar look with tapestries wrapped around couch or chair cushions, as long as the color story stays within the theme. Nothing nails this look better than pops of crisp white throw pillows against red and navy.
2. Light. The hurricane lanterns and smattering of low lights does favors for anything outside at dusk.It’s particularly appropriate to use jars with a hodge-podge of glassware to soften preppy New England with organic accents. I like varying sizes because I find elegance in the chaos, like pairing mason jars and nautical bottles, best expressed with glimmers of low, romantic light. You don’t want it to be too perfect. A mix of glass options keeps the composition interesting.
3. Drinks! We love a Dark and Stormy here in Massachusetts. I like adding colorful straws because delightful details add a layer of thoughtfulness for guests, even in a casual setting. Plus my kids insist on straws, always, so I like to keep them handy at all times. I love these beveled glasses as they reflect light so perfectly, and add a decorative touch with their vintage pink hue.
The Dark n’ Stormy
- Lot’s of Ice
- 2 ounces Gosling’s Black Seal rum
- 6 ounces Source brand ginger beer
- 1 lime wedge
The one can’t-go-wrong, must-have color for any summer interior is… you guessed it, white. White epitomizes timelessness, working well in residential, commercial and event design. As décor, white contrasts and illuminates everything around it, creating subtle dimension to alluring effect. If you want to make white the star of your palette, the right layering of soft tones will give your space a crispness and intensity in contrast to any pop of color you throw into the mix.
Luna contributor and lifestyle blogger Leah Forester featured our white paper lanterns in her Venice, California beachside townhouse against Gray Malin’s Hitchhiker with stunning success. The temptation might be to use color against this photograph – to bring out more color – but her minimalist approach makes it fresh, modern, and turns white into the main event! Brava, Leah.