1890,  Around the Home,  Browse By Era,  Browse by Subject,  Interior Design,  Victorian

Hints for Furnishing Summer Cottages

When one owns a home in the country which is only tenanted during the warm summer months, it is possible to furnish it in an entirely different style from that of a house used at all seasons. The color scheme should be suggestive of coolness and rest, and an air of simple comfort should reign supreme. The orientals have taught us the use of the light bamboo furniture, the closely woven, cleanly matting, the bead portiere, which forms a convenient screen yet allows the passage of the air ; Mexico has contributed its restful hammocks ; England its jute, denim, and other cheap cotton materials, while India sends us its Madras prints, and Japan its diaphanous silken draperies. The walls are the bulwarks of the home, and to them must be accorded the first consideration ; if they are of the joined and varnished wood so much in use at the present time, they cannot be improved on ; if they have been carelessly finished, the fault is easily remedied.

Burlaps fifty inches wide, and in every conceivable color, may be obtained at nineteen cents a yard. Even the amateur is equal to tacking it evenly on a wall, and nothing furnishes a more delightful background for etchings and photographs. This material can be easily fixed by means of thin wire tacks, and is readily removed if one wants to change quarters ; it is almost as cheap as the most inexpensive paper, and its effect is extremely artistic.

The floor divides the honors with the wall ; while an oiled wooden parquet is sightly and cleanly, without one is the possessor of a corps of trained servants it is an everlasting source of trouble. Japanese matting, which may bo purchased from twenty cents up to a dollar, is serviceable, clean, and easy to sweep ; the cheaper varieties will last two seasons, and the finer kinds indefinitely.
These mattings are purchasable in all colorings, or in creamy white with quaint figures looking like a wood inlay. A charming scheme of color, especially fitted for a seaside home, is a Canton matting in soft green ; a few cotton rugs in the same fresh tints may be added ; these rugs may be laundered when soiled. Very pretty rattan furniture, painted in forest green, may be had, including lounges, tete-a-tetes, chairs of all shapes, and cosey little tea and piazza-tables ; these on the green of the matting, have an especially pleasing effect. At the windows are rolling blinds of matting painted with gay birds and flowers ; the curtains are of dotted swiss with fluted ruffles, or of faint green India silk, or the less expensive silkoline. The portieres are of burlaps or denim ; sea-green denim braided in white is exceedingly effective ; very stylish are the denims figured in the sprawling Morris designs ; these denims also make pretty window draperies looped back from point d’esprit or Swiss curtains ; -window-seats which command a fine view may be upholstered with denim or burlaps of the same color ; these may be made of long shoe-boxes, and are convenient for containing croquet sets, and the numerous flotsam and jetsam which is apt to collect in every country house. The piazza corner is a pleasant adjunct and should be made in a shady corner of the veranda ; there may be a drapery of vines, or, failing this, gay striped curtains, which can be rolled xip or let down at will ; the cosey rattan tea-table, a larger one for books and magazines, and comfortable chairs may be placed here. If the portico is large, several hammocks may be hung in appropriate places, which greatly tend to the well-being of the family and its guests. The bedrooms, which are rarely used except as sleeping-places, should be furnished with the greatest simplicity ; matting or bare floors, white enamelled bedsteads, or gayly painted enamelled furniture. The bedsteads should have coverlets of white Marseilles or colored denim, to correspond with the color scheme of the room; nothing looks neater than dark-blue with trimmings ; the toilet-table draped in white Swiss muslin, and the toilet appurtenances of blue and white oriental ware. Individual taste governs the selection of the furnishing of summer homes, but a primordial precept is simplicity and suitability.