Two things: it is summer, and I am slightly tired of talking about clothes. It’s not that I don’t love talking, thinking about, and wearing clothes. It’s just that clothing is only one part of what I think about when I think about what makes my environment, my life, and my self aesthetically appealing. I think also about the objects around me, the home that I live in, and the places I visit.
And because it is summer, Alex and I have been thinking a lot about traveling, but also about gathering people in our home. There seems to be more time for both in the summer. The latter is hard for us to do, though,because our house is very, very tiny. Instead we end up daydreaming about spaces that would allow for dinners, family gatherings, lawn bowling, etc. All these thoughts of traveling, combined with our longing for more communal space, plus my feeling that I should shift my aesthetic focus for a week, have lead me to a post that is loosely about summer places and beautiful homes. Here we go!
Scandinavians have some of my favorite summer homes. Perhaps they appreciate the summer better than most, since it is so damn dark and cold there in the winter.
Finnish Summer Houses has some incredible images of, you guessed it, Finnish summer houses. (I just realized this is out of print and sells for about $100 used. Oof. Come over to our house and you can look at our copy!) Many of the homes in the book were designed, and inhabited, by great mid-century Finnish architects, e.g. Alavar Aalto, whose summer house is really something to behold. This image doesn’t quite do it justice.
From another Aalto house:
Another amazing book, if you are into this sort of thing: Woodstock Handmade Houses. Alex says that 90% of her home-decorating aesthetic in her early twenties came from this book. 1970’s and ’80s design and decorating books are really sort of the best.
I love polemical decorating. And if you want to go deep into the ’70s decorating/architecture/lifestyle realm, let me suggest Good Lives (by Jeffrey Weiss and Herbert Wise, the authors of, Living Places and Made with Oak!). It features the homes of people like “independent young woman” Carolyn Caitlin, whose profile is subtitled “A Woman’s Place.” You get the idea. The book is out of print, but you can get a used copy for cheap.
I tend to like books that are not just about houses, but also about lives. Another great one: We Were an Island, which is about Art and Nan Kellam, a couple who moved to an uninhabited island off the coast of Maine in 1949, and lived there together until Art’s death in 1985. I realize that this is turning into a bit of a summer reading guide, but that is OK with me.
Everything in the Kellam’s house is completely necessary, and beautifully worn:
The urban version, in what I think is the High Line in New York?
If you’d like something a little newer, you might checkout lifestyle porn magazine, Kinfolk. There is definitely a whole post to be written about Kinfolk, and the ways in which commodity fetishism intersects with an attempted resistance to commodity fetishism in the loving, obsessive devotion finding the perfect teapot that you will use forever, or wrapping a homemade scone in organic cotton and tying it with twine and then filming that scone with great care and attention. But for now, watch some videos:
The aforementioned scone:
To wrap up, a few more spaces and objects I like, and a few more sites to explore: