So, you have yourself a traditional bathing hut on the coast for a spell over the summer. The sun is high in the sky, by 10am you are boiling hot (clearly this hut is not in the UK), so you head off down to the coast, full of excitement about a day by the water. What’s more you have somewhere to sit, change, dump your stuff and generally chill.
You open up your new home-for-the-day to find a sad, empty, cold, once-loved space that needs A LOT of TLC. OK, I know you may only use this space for maybe 2 weeks of the year on and off, but all the more reason to treat it kindly and give it the attention it deserves.
Here’s how in some easy steps:
1) Walls: clad the walls in something pleasant to look at. You aren’t going to be sticking up many pictures, so you might as well get some texture or movement up there. Tongue and groove panelling is perfect for this, with a coat or 2 of a colour that makes you happy.
2) Chairs: Whatever furniture you have in that small space, ensure it is happy to take knocks and scrapes. The chair in the images was a nasty, brown-stained affair from a well-known DIY store. It has been given a new lease of life with the help of Farrow & Ball’s Vardo.
3) Stripes: You know from a previous post that I do love a good stripe. Get them flowing here. You are by the beach after all. Boldly-coloured beach towels that are easy to dry and can double up as sarongs or scarves as the chilly evening draws in by the BBQ (yes, we are in the UK) are a must.
4) Fabrics: use your towels, tablecloths, deck chairs and whatever else you have in the hut to bring in colour. A mix of strong colours creates an inviting space, making you want to spend longer on the beach and may help you forget that it’s now freezing cold (definitely in the UK).
5) Baskets: I love them. Versatile and hardwearing. The older they get the better they look. Use them for storing your sandy towels, flip flops, colouring in things for small bored people. And on the rustic note, shove down some off-cuts of hardwearing sisal or seagrass. You can shake the sand out easily, plus it adds an element of warmth and texture underfoot.
6) Accessories: just because you may only be there for a couple of days in a row, doesn’t mean to say you can’t make it cosy and summer flowers always help set the scene and give a feeling of permanence. The same goes for artwork. If you are not happy staring at the sea or tongue and groove, get something on the walls. Maybe not your family heirloom, but anything will do.
7) Tableware: Enamel, enamel, enamel and possibly some rough old glasses for those sundowners. And some enamel. Plastic fantastic for hard-working, colour-inners is a must, but shoved away those storage baskets when not needed. I will never love plastic, but appreciate its properties. And there are some quite nice picnic things out there.
I do believe that investing a tiny bit of effort in the spaces we inhabit, however short, makes for strong visual memories. More so than an empty white space might otherwise have done.
So get thee to thy beach hut and see how you can give it a feeling of permanence.
I am outta here….see you in September.