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Decorating tips that bring summer home

Winter is so long and so unrelenting in our part of the country that when the warm weather beckons at last, we are relieved and profoundly grateful. We want to be outside as much as possible and, even indoors, we want to be reminded of the light and the warmth and to make the most of summer: We asked Montreal design types for suggestions and tips to do just that.

For talented Montreal interior designer Ellen Coopersmith, summer means “the outdoors come in and the indoors move out, in synchrony with a more open feeling in my soul.”

She brings pillows and candles and other decorative touches to the front stoop and her home’s balconies, for instance. “We eat dinner outside whenever possible, and sit on the upstairs balcony to read and relax. I try to bring the indoors out to these spaces, with books and throws and cut flowers.”

Indoors, she makes subtle changes – like setting an old-fashioned lemonade dispenser filled with ice water and fresh mint on the kitchen counter and a bowl of a seasonal fruit on the table in the entrance.

And Coopersmith draws on her perennial garden for flowers she places in vases throughout her home’s interior, from a side table in the living room and a window ledge in the entrance to a chest in the front hall. “I try to keep fresh flowers everywhere: first tulips, then lilacs and lily-of-the-valley, then peonies – and soon a riot of other choices,” she said. And the other day she filled a vase with tall and graceful fern fronds that also grow in her garden.

One way to evoke summer is to incorporate the tones of the beach and the ocean in your decor, suggest West Elm store manager José Larivière and Myriam Sylvestre, who is in charge of visual merchandising for the Griffintown store: Jute rugs, for instance, bring the colour of sand into the home, and crackle dinnerware with tones of cool pale blue puts us in mind of the sea.

To Vanessa Sicotte, nothing says summer garden party like her red-and-white checked rectangular ceramic bowls from West Elm – part of a special summer collaboration between the store and Manhattan tableware designer and retailer Fishs Eddy. The bowls remind the creative mastermind of Damask & Dentelle ( of the cardboard containers that held french fries during childhood road trips along the Maine coast.


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