Friday, June 21, 2013

Summer House Tips

It's that time again to get the home spruced up for the summer. Finally things have slowed down and I can give my house a bit of love. I recently found this a piece of art which had such a fun California vibe for my son's room.

Once I got it home  I decided to keep it for our living room. It made me happy to look at it. (And let's be honest was it really going to be appreciated in the boy cave? Probably not!)  The bright colors made me want to change everything.

  I ditched my curtains, moved the furniture, and gave my beast of a ficus tree a haircut  (I honestly had never even thought I could do that) and a new locale- away from my window. Now I have more window, more light and a another spot to read.

I love it and we are using that room nonstop now to enjoy the sun and just hang out. That's huge for a living room, which often goes unused in most homes.

That change up inspired me get the lead out, so to speak, in the main front room. First up was new counter stools for the kitchen. My friend Wendy, a decorator, has had some comfy counter chairs around her island for 4 years which get a ton of wear and still look new. So you know what? I copied her! They are all weather wicker from Pier 1, and I love them. Comfy and you can even hose them off.  Let's hope it never comes to that...However, with all the men here in this house it's a possibility!

 In the purging mode, I got rid of my kitchen nook table and chairs.  Why do I need three places to eat in a my home?  My home is modestly sized. Crazy. Now my main room has so much room. It's bright, open and the house feels huge. We can eat at the bar or the dining table. We are actually using the dining room instead of it gathering dust and enjoying it. Less is more! I am finding this is really the key to so much. Try it..

Sorry throws are kind of sloppy here- no staging done prior! 

 Isn't this dining room amazing? It's one of Jeffery Bilhuber's creations. I'll have to do another post on him. All his rooms are beautiful, but inviting!

 I wanted to share Jeffery Bilhuber's tips for your Summer Home from Vogue.

 Jeffrey Bilhuber's top tips to get your summer house in shape:

Clear colors- like pink, chartreuse and daffodil yellow say summer.

Create as much openness and air as possible. Push furniture against walls, keep floors bare.

Simplify. Edit your belonging, put things away, clear tabletops.

( I restyled my living room shelves for summer.)

Bring in flowers - hydrangeas and roses from the garden. ( I clipped a branch from a tropical tree on the top photo.)

Add smells- a big bowl of lemons or summer fruits: tuberose or sea-scented candles.

Diane Keaton's Wallace Neff Home via Architectural Digest.

For the living room mantle, I used two blue glass jars, favorite old books and driftwood we found and a Restoration Hardware candle.

If you have children, relax about their stuff. Swimsuits, balls, flippers, surfboards are fantastic to have around.

This Pottery Barn coat rack generously holds a ton of suits, towels and more for my pool area.

Use workhorse furniture and fabrics Add white slipcovers for summer freshness.

This white cotton duck fabric couch from Pottery Barn has been with us almost 10 years now. Washable and still holding up. Creamy white and brown accents is my color scheme in the front room.
  Black cats do not help with the maintenance, but do add a cozy vibe!! :)

Put up a bulletin board where you can build a collage of memories: drawings, paintings, photographs and seashells.

I found this bamboo and linen bulletin board at Aaron Brothers Art Supply. 

A few tips of my own...

Add striped cotton or natural fiber rugs like seagrass or jute. They feel wonderful under bare feet and are low maintenance.

Bring your inside furniture out when entertaining. It's okay to drag out lightweight chairs and couches, rugs to make your outdoor space more inviting and comfy.

Sunset Magazine

 I love adding my favorite piles of throws and colorful pillows to my chaise lounges and chairs. As long as you don't leave them for an extended time, they are fine and so much more comfy than outdoor pillows.

Bright or cozy throws are wonderful to protect your indoor furniture from little grubby bare feet. I want my kids to relax and when they pile on my couches with pals in wet swim suits, my upholstery is protected.  I leave baskets of them next to the couch as well as on it. (Throw pillows also protect the arms of the couches by being a buffer from nacho cheese paws if you get my drift.)

 I love these Pottery Barn cable knit throws. Like a soft sweater.

Bring Stripes In for a Summery Nautical Feel. Even on dark pieces they lighten things up.

Add wicker and woven pieces to your indoors. Just adding a bit of a natural look will give you a lighter feel. I love the look of a woven chair around a dining table. They look fresh and they invite you to linger and relax at the dining table. They are also easier care. Everyone has them now, so check them out as an indoor option! I am hoping to do something similar in my dining room.

via Cote de Texas

  Baskets look great as bar trays or to hold magazines. Baskets keep you looking organized even if you're not.

They also look good hung from the wall with plants. The natural color of them looks so summery.

I love the addition of ivy everywhere in summer months!

Change out the towels in your bathrooms to brights and lights. Add a fern, ivy or other plant to give the bath a bit of green. I love this garden stool from my grandmother in my bath and found this dhurrie rug to match. I like the bright yellow and sea glass blue mix in here.

Remove all the winter bedding. Wash everything and let it dry in the sun before you tuck it away. Then  cover all the beds in white sheets and cotton blankets and a fun throw in a pattern or sherbet  shade. I just changed everyone to white sheets and duvets and have cotton throws like this one on top.

 I like adding summer postcards or maps to my kid's bulletin boards and clear away the clutter from school. My son Griffin's board below...

Display summer books, framed photos of favorite summer vacations, or shell collections. I like having a photo album of past holidays or a pretty bowl with photos to browse through. This is a great time to keep things light and bright and store away your usual accessories and photos.

Make sure your entry or mudroom isn't still loaded with coats and boots. It just evokes summer to have woven bags, caps and straw hats hung from hooks. Baskets for flip-flops and espadrilles look wonderful as well!

Change out your art. I love a vintage summer photo blown up. You find a something that says summer to you. A souvenir of a past holiday, like a print or a book may be wonderful as well displayed. I love this egret print and it's white tones so I just moved this from a bedroom to my family room.

Have fun to staging your home a bit. You are doing it for yourself. You have to look at it every day and be there. 
 Surround yourself with what you love!

For more inspiration, I started a Pinterest board called California Style and it's got some gorgeous examples of light and bright and natural homes I'm in love with.

 Enjoy the summertime.


Images property of northerncalstyle unless noted.


  1. Seriously Kim, this was so great! I brought in a bunch of sunflowers for the kitchen table while friends are staying with us this weekend and just that says summer - they noticed too!

    Tomorrow I'll "stage" a bit more for this season - thanks for the inspiration.

    1. Linda, Thanks so much. Love to see what you do! Your home is so cool!


  2. Such great ideas! I love the woodie racquets in the umbrella stand!

    1. Thanks Jessica. I saw this in Domino a long time ago and stole it!

      Have a good weekend!


  3. What a detailed delightful post! I so envy your climate. I wish I could summer up my house a bit but to be honest I still had the heating on a week ago...I still haven't even done my spring cleaning! I think it is good to edit and it even gave you more room in the process. But perhaps I should get summer/winter pillows now...I also love the racquets in the umbrella stand. xx

    1. Thanks Naomi! Still got to get over to read your Elle Decor post. Love those! I know it's still cool some places. In fact we have had a very cool summer so far. I hope it's not too cool in London. I'm headed that way!


  4. Kim, your house is so cozy and chic. I love the Summer season too. It's fun to redecorate and just hang out outdoors. Enjoy!

  5. Kim-Your home is so fresh, fun, cozy and stylish. I love what you did with moving the furniture and creating some new living spaces. So clever. Your styling is so creative. I'm guilty of getting things just so and sometimes leaving them to languish. You have inspired me. I can see why that painting needs to be in full view. It has the perfect California vibe for the Nor California Girl. Perfection!
    Do I spy a round ottoman with circular patterning? If so I feel in love with that but had no where to put it. Love!
    PS-promise me you and the boys will do the Eye in London. My family (ages 14-81) loved it. Gorgeous views.
    Can't wait to see your posts.
    xx, Heather

  6. Love all these ideas, but that first painting is FAB! What a great find. I want it for my house! :)

    Your house feels chill (as in laidback, not frigid) and cozy from the pics. I copy people's ideas too. :) Why not? Not exact copying but "inspiration" - if it works for someone else and you see for yourself that it does work, why not use a similar idea?

  7. Firstly the picture has a great summery feel and I love those blue jars. I've been having the same thoughts about making the lounge more summery as we have been enjoying blues skies and warm weather in the UK for a change. Thanks for a post full of inspiration and tips.

  8. Love, love, love the picture you "re-purposed" from the boy's room. And all the other details you've incorporated to truly make your house an inviting, summery home. Let the sunshine in! xo

  9. As always, such great ideas, Kim. I like what you have done.

    I need to clear away coats and backpacks in the hangers.

    I'm always behind.

  10. Loving the whole vibe of your house with the wickers and creamy colours of the comfy chairs - and the green of those bottles. Am so so jealous of the pool - that must be so happy-making that you look out onto that wonderful blue expanse (agree with you too - counter sitting is the sitting people want to do - if you make that comfy you don't need the table...)

  11. Thanks everyone for your comments! Really appreciate them so much. Still away...