At Home with Kerri-Lee Mayland
Happy Summer Friends!
We wait what seems like forever to get here and when June finally rolls around, it almost feels a bit surreal, but here we are! On my list of chores I don’t mind taking a break from during the year: making bag lunches, policing bedtimes, constant chauffeuring and having to stick to a regimented schedule. Once the chaos winds down, it is such a relief to fall into the summer flow where life is less uptight and intense. Walking barefoot during these magical summer months is as freeing as watching the fireflies light our nights or soaking up the golden rays that illuminate our days.
Of course, we all want to maximize all this season can offer and savor every last dreamy drop, so let’s look at some ways we can make the most of these months to come. This simple list can get you ready to host last-minute travelers, throw backyard celebrations, enjoy your home inside and out, and have the most incredible summer ever!
FIX IT BEFORE YOU NEED IT
Ace Your AC
I know it’s not fun, but it is necessary; you will never be sorry you got ahead to this one. Maintenance is the key to having a cool summer season without unwelcome HVAC hiccups. If you’re lucky enough to have it, give your system some love before you really need it because Murphy’s Law will have it breaking down on the first humid, 90°F day we get.
Wash Windows and Replace Screens
Clean windows really make a big difference, so if you haven’t done it go ahead and wash winter away and clean up your view. As for screens, you’ll know yours have been compromised pretty quickly. One evening of hungry mosquitos making you their main course will tell you all you need to know. Hopefully a patch kit will do the trick, but some may need to be replaced entirely.
Clean and Stock the Grill
Get your facilities Food Network-friendly by stocking up and cleaning your grill. Heat gas grills about 20-30 minutes and then give the grates a hood scrub. For a charcoal grill, a bucket of hot water and a sponge will do the trick. And be mindful of where you place your grill—keep it at least 10 feet away from your house for safety. Finally, make sure you have the tools you’ll need to flip the burgers and sear the steaks.
SUMMER DECOR DEEP DIVE
This is your chance to put the faux snow leopard throws in storage until next year (I’m talking to myself here) and bring out your light cotton weaves that allow you to feel cozy but without the extra warmth and girth.
(pic of plate setting using rattan)
A trip to Bali? A Home Goods find? No matter where you got your rattan, this is the time of year to use it. It’s an inexpensive way to channel vacation vibes and all you have to do is bring the natural textures into your furniture decor, wall art or even just get some rattan place mats for your al fresco dining table.
Bring in Blue
It’s the color of the ocean, so bring in blue and really feel like summer is here and the beach is near, even if it isn’t. Whether it’s melamine dishes, linen napkins on your table, or blue outdoor cushions and throws, blue feels fresh and cool on the hottest of summer days. Take it to the next level and create some coastal vignettes with an old buoy, a woven striped throw, some bright orange throw pillows, whatever you have around—just mix and mingle and let the hues from this glorious season dominate.
GET IN THE GARDEN
You’ll save a lot of money this year on fresh centerpieces for your tables capes if you just use what you have around. A variety of cuttings plucked from your favorite plants will allow you to change out your arrangements indoors and out, all season long. No garden? No problem! Find a pretty branch with lovely leaves or blooms and bring them in to be your summer decor’s piece de resistance.
Whether you put them poolside, on the patio or porch, one of my favorite things to have around this time of year is a tropical palm. We may not be able to have them year-round, but we can pretend we are a touch Floridian in the summer thanks to our temperatures and humidity. Palms are great indoors too and can be used to fill an awkward corner or space once the nighttime temperatures dip.
Towels and Toiletries
A fresh set of towels is always appreciated by weary travelers coming to spend a long weekend with you and yours. So are some basics like shampoo, conditioner and shower gel that inadvertently may have been forgotten at home. A comfortable bed and sheets play a big role in a successful summer stay. Throw out anything old, stained or ratty. Here’s a tip from my Airbnb Super host files: always go with white because they can be bleached and look new again. Hotels do this for a reason.
Let’s not forget what this season is all about. Time with family and friends, taking a slower pace and a step back, ice cream cones, and lazy days at the beach. Take some pressure off yourself and remember a perfect home and garden is not what your goal should be. A house isn’t anything to anyone, unless it makes the people in it feel good. I was reminded of this recently when a friend came through town. After her stay, she said, “Ugh, if your home was perfect, I wouldn’t want to come. When nothing is out of place, it makes me feel so uncomfortable and badly about my own home!” I laughed and appreciated her candor, and, in that moment, I was grateful the kids left their shoes in the entryway for us to trip over. A cold pitcher of lemonade, a good book, your feet up and stopping to smell the roses will bring more summer happiness than just about anything I know. I’m raising a glass of iced tea to all of you. Have a sensational summer!