Stars and Stripes

Turn your summer cottage into a dream house by the sea, complete with joyful red, white, and blue decorating.


+ enlarge image The interior and exterior of this 1906 cottage were completely refurbished.

Sometimes, the simplest pleasures inspire grand results. In this case, a walk on the beach and a Flag Day bouquet resulted in a six-bedroom, porch-proud summerhouse decorated in star-spangled style, right along the sand of Moody Beach in Maine.

+ enlarge image It's the small details, such as the six point star pillow, that bing this patriotic room together.

Everything from red, white, and blue cotton rugs, throw pillows, and quilts to lampshades, picture frames, posters, and folk art were added. A blue-and-white-striped sofa and white wicker furniture also adorn the room.

+ enlarge image The red, white, and blue decor carries throughout the house and is seen here in the dining room.

The dining area is furnished with a farmhouse-style table adorned with red mats, blue-and-white-checked napkins, and star-shaped plates, mugs, and bowls. The table is surrounded by Windsor chairs.

+ enlarge image Anyone for a tune of "It's a Grand Ol' Flag?" It will be even more festive played on a patriotic piano.

The theme even extends to the player piano in the streetside front room. The owner had the piano painted white, and a decorative painter added the stars, figures, and bunting.

+ enlarge image The combination of the star window, French doors, balcony and the attractive bedding make this room a favorite.

The third-floor guest bedroom, features a star window, a red dust ruffle and a white bedspread layered with a blue-star quilt cover the bed. The beaded-board ceiling vaults to the peak, and French doors just beneath the star window lead to a balcony.

+ enlarge image Be bold, and mix-and-match bright colors and patterns.

Though you may not have the advantage of Oceanside property and the crystal-clear blue skies of Maine, it's easy to add nautically inspired and patriotic themes to your home.

Fabrics

For a summery feel, slipcover upholstery with medium-weight, washable cotton duck or ticking. When working with a red, white, and blue palette, don't be afraid to mix bold stripes and colorful florals.

On the Table

If nowhere else, the dining table -- inside or out -- offers one of the best spots to show off patriotic themes. Search fabric stores for inexpensive, dress-weight cottons to make napkins to pair with woven place mats. Solid white dishes or white tableware with blue trim can be found at department stores or home stores.

Furniture

Though vintage wicker in good condition is hard to find and generally pricey, consider the newly made wicker offered by a number of major manufacturers. If you're handy with a paintbrush, paint a nautical or patriotic scene on a not-too-precious chest of drawers. Or opt for a stenciled border of stars, seashells, or sailor's knots.

Accessories

Inexpensive shutters from a home improvement store are always a good accessory item. Again, a little paint and a lot of imagination can turn them into displays of patriotism.

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