Every once in a while, even for the most assiduous of us, the city fever is just too much to handle and we gladly retreat to our summerhouses. We go not only to shield ourselves from the hustle and bustle or the blistering temperatures, but also to adapt a little less refined approach both to our lives and to our environment alike.
Even if your summerhouse is at the back of your garden, you can still recreate the relaxing atmosphere and privacy a real countryside can provide by incorporating a few of these simple design elements…
Just as your summer house was your favourite place for storing your collections of pebbles or your herbarium as a kid, collectibles are now back in fashion!
These unique displays embodie the romanticism and pragmatism incorporated in a rural lifestyle where nothing gets chucked away for being too old, invaluable or out of fashion.
Whether it’s a collection of old-style milk bottles, painted plates, framed butterflies or wooden cooking spatulas, they speak of traditions and dedication inseparably linked to the country lifestyle.
While it’s no secret that hammocks as we know them originated from Mexico, they almost organically become a part of garden living due to their simplicity and mobility. What most people don’t consider is moving them indoors and while a hammock might look a little out of place in your leather-clad living room, it would certainly find its place in your garden summerhouse, so you can still swing your life away even when an English summer falls upon you.
As per many of marriage customs around the world, the hopeful bride was responsible for providing a collection of linen and small household items for her eventual marriage – a “Hope Chest” – and living in a rural society there was only one way of acquiring it – by making it herself!
Therefore, if you’re looking for something steeped in history for your garden summerhouse, a few handmade pillows would make a nice touch! Ditch silk and look for simpler fabrics like primitive linen – it will really cool your head on a fiery hot summer day too.
A great example of furniture craftsmanship and considerably cheaper than timber, wicker has long secured its place in country living. It’s also renowned for being a ‘healthy’ material, more breathable and comfortable than solid wood, thus a great choice for, say, a reading chair.
Little elements like a wicker magazine holder will certainly set the atmosphere, while your Five-a-Day will certainly look more appealing arranged neatly in a wicker bowl.
The predecessor or all modern audio devices, radio in its primitive form bore very little resemblance to modern audio transmitters. Sturdier, heavier and a certainly more limited range of stations to listen to, they still helped to minimise the isolation of rural life by bringing some variation to the daily activities or serving as an invisible companion when doing chores.
Even if none of this is of any interest to you, the bulky wooden-carcass “farm radios” would certainly help you add a bit of rustic edge to your summer garden house! Plus, they work on batteries, in case you wanted to tune in for a blues hour once in a while.
What other interior design elements would bring you back to those careless summers you spent away in your summerhouse?
Estelle Page is a self-employed interior designer who often draws her inspiration from own childhood memories, believing that sometimes sentiment is the best attribute home decor can have. Trying to chase away the long winter nights by focusing on home improvements for the summer ahead, she blogs for Dunster House.