Part three of our Summer Decorating Style series continues with style icon of India Hicks.


She’s the television host of Bravo’s Top Design, designer of two guest houses and a restaurant/hotel in the Caribbean and creator of the award-winning Island Living Collection of fragrances for Crabtree and Evelyn. This week we discuss designing a dream summer home.

What word(s) best describe a dream summer cottage to you?
There are many words that describe a dream summer cottage. Maintenance-free; you shouldn’t have to worry about a spill, children or sandy feet. Freedom and privacy; leaving the windows open at night and blasting your favorite song should never be a concern. Relaxed way of life; buying rustic and vintage pieces of furniture helps create an eclectic, casual effect.

What would your dream Canadian summer home look like?
Not all summer cottages have their feet in the sand and their heads in the blazing sun, however I would want to establish a sense of harmony with nature wherever we were. Using natural materials like stone and wood from local sources will allow the house to blend with the environment. Natural ventilation like windows that open, screened doors and skylights that keep the house cool at night.


Architectural elements like wide wooden floor boards, screen doors that bang, tiny attic rooms make a summer house quirky and evoke childhood memories. A few pieces of handsome furniture (not just main house castaways), a succession of family pictures linking the past with the present. Accumulated books and vintage board games help to create a comfy place where everyone will want to spend time.


Of course the quintessential and indispensable discussion of the day’s weather will start the conversation every morning.

Should a second (summer) home cost a lot? What should you splurge on/not splurge on?
Once your dream home is built, the biggest expense should be a trusted and reliable caretaker.
My dream cottages always have wide verandahs. They help expand the inside and should have outdoor furnishings comfortable enough for afternoon naps.


Your summer home should be decorated less formal than your city house. Good, sturdy furnishings don’t have to cost a lot and can last a long time.

Bathrooms that feel like they have been part of the history but have actually been recently updated. Its always a dream to have an old claw-foot cast tub; such a humble luxury.

Shouldn’t every summer home have one of your candles to create a getaway mood? Lots of wonderful smelling candles for long affectionate dinners, with friends and family. The Island Living three-wick candles are fantastic but so are fresh flowers and the faint smell of burning ambers from a cool night’s useful fireplace.