Summer is not the time to be serious and a light-hearted approach to decorating is a great way to outfit a summer house, any house really. The Maine island home of Quadrille Fabrics’ owner John Knott and his partner, John Fondas, is a delightful retreat with interiors that I’ve swooned over for years. The designer duo transformed a former 1905 island hotel into their chic, colorful and pattern-full destination home. Think red and blue, George Washington toile, flags and stripes – all in one room… It may sound quasi-impossible to pull-off but it wasn’t for these two!

House Beautiful did a feature on this very special home and I had a great time reading their interview with the designers. There are fun insights into the decorating process as well as some practical takeaways – here are some of my favorite excerpts.

Cafe Design | Main Cottage | Front Door

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While checking out some great homes on Coastal Living Magazine’s website the other day, I stumbled upon a cute little beach house in Orleans, Massachusetts that I just have to share. The style of the interiors is slightly more rustic than my own, but I fell in love with the coziness of this small cottage. With a fantastic location, the house needed some expanding in order to accommodate a young family of four. While the architecture conservation laws are very strict in the area, the homeowners did a great job in capitalizing on the house’s location and the sweeping ocean views without changing its footprint. Comfortable window seats overlooking Nauset Beach and an assortment of bunk beds and guest bedrooms make it possible to welcome dozens of guests at a time – the more, the merrier!

When I first saw the house, I was taken with its exterior – the eyebrow roofline, weathered shingles and crisp white trim spell perfection in my book.

Cafe Design | Cottage by the Sea | Exterior

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Happy Monday, friends! Summer is in full swing here in the Midwest and all thoughts (mine at least) are about fresh coastal living. Nothing like a cool summer breeze and the vicinity of water to make heat bearable. This is why I decided to revisit a fresh Southampton home designed by Ashley Whittaker. Beautifully photographed by Eric Piasecki and published in House Beautiful, this home has been in my inspiration files for years and I’m sure many of you can still remember its stunning rooms.

Ashley Whittaker is a talented name in the contemporary design industry, one of my favorites. Her work is a modern take on traditional decor with a bold use of color and pattern that is very appealing to me. Her three-part formula for updating older homes for 21st century living is, according to House Beautiful, via a gutsy palette, fearless pattern mixing and a relaxed attitude. Café Design approves!

Cafe Design | Ashley Whittaker - Southampton | Pool side

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Have you ever had one of those? I can still remember the day I came across this cute little cottage, and thought it was my dream home. A decade ago I was unhappy pursuing a different career, one that was completely wrong for me but brought me where I am today. Reading about design was a joy full hobby.

Along the years, the story of Bee Cottage and her wonderful owner has been told in many different ways, from a year-long column in House Beautiful almost a decade ago, to a highly praised and much enjoyed book published in the fall of 2015. Numerous design blogs worldwide have dissected its decor and pages were written about the beauty of Bee, but what makes it beautiful to me is its soul. It may sound funny to some, but certain homes have a soul. The personality, love and care of their owner shines trough and imbues a positive vibe. Those homes are not necessarily opulent or richly decorated but they have something that money can’t buy. They feel warm, welcoming and happy, and that is what made Bee appealing to me over the years. The thing I cannot believe is that as of last week, Bee is for sale (if it has not sold already!). Bee will no longer be, at least not as we’ve come to know her.

bee house

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Thursday greetings, dear friends! I trust you’ve had a relaxing and fun 4th of July, and are now back to real life, hard at work! (Good for you if you’re not!!!) We had a great extended weekend filled with friends and good bakes. I’ve tried Ina Garten’s flag cake and the thing was delicious!!!! Will be doing it again for my daughter’s birthday later this month. She’s asking for a troll design (Princess Poppy), so fingers crossed 🙂 Anyway, I’m trying to get myself together but the holidays and the sultry summer days are getting to me. So today I’ll skip my blogging schedule and just write about last night, when I practically inhaled the July/August issue of House Beautiful.

Their latest issue features a whimsical Wisconsin lake house designed by Summer Thornton, with a little preview on the cover. I loved it from the moment I saw the magazine. Summer Thornton is a talented Chicago-based designer voted as one of the best young designers in the U.S.  I’ve seen some of her work before, but this one is hats down my favorite! Relaxed and fun, yet elegant and traditional.

Filled with color and layered patterns, this house is a happy weekend getaway for a retired couple, their family and friends. To create a place that fits a large crowd with a variety of tastes, the designer used vibrant hues and a mix of traditional and contemporary pieces. Some of the furnishings were custom made to harmonize with the home’s grand scale. For the happy owners, summers by the lake just got better!

Cafe Design | Lake House Porch

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