Welcome to High Summer in the Hamptons—tennis, strawberries, fireworks, cook-outs on the beach, perpetually wet dogs and glorious sunsets. The sensual season of sun, sea and sand.
Whether your Hamptons home is your sanctuary all year round or offers fun and relaxation just for the summer months, July and August take their toll on house and occupants alike; children home from school, impromptu gatherings, overseas visitors who stay a little too long (yes, we Brits have an aversion to paying for room and board!), long anticipated piles of summer reading materials, office papers brought home to extend a long weekend—all combine to create a pleasurable chaos and disturb the calm of the household.
For health and happiness, the house and occupants need to be able to breathe and relax. Major home decorating projects are likely on the back burner but a moment’s quiet observation and shifting a few things around can improve your home’s flow and sense of well being.
First look at the points of entry to the home and make sure shoes, equipment and clothing are not dropped by the door. Invest in a large wicker basket to hold shoes and a wooden chest, which doubles as seating, for general paraphernalia.
Add ferns in planters for a sense of cool and calm as you enter your domain. Living plants make the air more breathable, are excellent feng shui, and the home decorator’s friend.
As you move through the kitchen and living areas think about the flow and the function of the rooms and move furniture around to feel the effect on the energy. Piles of magazines, books and office work can be stored out of sight, but not out of mind, in woven canvas baskets (anything natural) to improve the lines of sight, surfaces and clear the mind. Place dining tables on a diagonal, move sofas to conceal ugly wiring and technology, move seating in from walls a little, throw fabric over tables showing too many legs and loose that fussy, bitty look. Often, one large piece of artwork works better than a cluster of smaller pieces when seeking breathing space and better flow.
Add a large white bowl of green apples to the kitchen counter for a fresh, uplifting aroma and crisp, clean image when you enter. Absolutely no artwork or magnets on the fridge; display in the laundry room instead. Use the inside of kitchen cabinets as another display area for things you want to see every day. (On the subject of fridges, if organizing’s not your strongest point have someone arrange foods, beverages and condiments logically and neatly then try to get the family to keep this vital appliance in order…then breathe a little easier 30 times a day.)
White and apple or fern green are wonderful summer colors for cushions, blinds, towels and bedding. The effect is to calm and to encourage the deep inhalation of long, relaxing breaths. Your bedroom especially needs to be kept an oasis of calm on hot summer days and nights. Remove as many electronic devices as possible, keep night tables clear, put clothes away, and hang blinds or drapes to extend you morning sleep. Buy a few orchids for their beauty and grace. Create a reading area close to the window with a chaise long or comfy armchair.
The long, lazy days of summer come home at last. Slow things down by altering the flow of your home using color, plants, a spot of organization and de-cluttering, and a little bit of muscle. Enjoy your breathing space.
Helen Lind is an interior decorator, organizer and home stager working in Long Island and Manhattan. You can contact her at (516) 922-3518 for a proposal or consultation, or visit her www.englishivyinteriors.com.