The Red and White Stripes

Greenwich PEI lifeguard hut

I've loved these red and white striped lifeguard huts in the National Park on Prince Edward Island  since I was little. As you may know, I have some roots on the Island, and that meant many summer vacays building sandcastles and getting sunburns on North Shore beaches. Our family favourite beaches included Stanhope and Greenwich, both of which have these huts. Above is a pic I snapped at Greenwich beach last week. What a day! As my PEI cousin would say "It was a Large Day." translation: sunny day, get to the beach! I grabbed this shot so that I could have a good record of that hut. And then my mind started to wander and fill with red and white striped visions.

I bought this suit a few years ago, partly inspired by the lifeguard hut memories of my youth, partly because buying a bathing suit from Modcloth is such an easy and stress-free experience (which, as you know cannot be said of many bathing suit shopping experiences), and partly because I love the retro styling. It's the Esther Williams Bathing Beauty one-piece. I liked it so much I have it in solid red and black too — but obvs this one has all the right lifeguard hut vibes. There's also a blog post still up over on House & Home in which I talk a bit more about how this suit inspires. Read it here.

photos: John Kernick

photos: John Kernick

I started to imagine what decorating would look like inspired by the red and white striped hut. Immediately I recalled the Long Island home of creative guru Ellen O'Neill, which was published in House Beautiful a number of years ago. I've been an Ellen O'Neill fan for many years. She has this incredible knack for combining the worn and the contemporary and not caring what the trend is and then somehow setting trends. She is currently creative director at Benjamin Moore but has also been a key player in the growth and creative direction of Ralph Lauren Home. She is one of those people I consider a mentor-from-afar — someone you've never met but has somehow been instructional. But back to this interior. So good, no? This was one of the first instances I can remember of the reintroduction of the vintage red Persian carpet as an object of desire. The faded version of the stripe on the sofas is ::::insert clapping hands emoji here:::: And then the giant Madeline Weinrib floor cushions stacked and ready for a crowd to throw them around and flop down with a cocktail. Fab. And last, but so not least, the sweetest curled up boo of a pup ready for snuggles — makes the room. 

photo: John Kernick

photo: John Kernick

Catamaran rug,  Dash & Albert

Catamaran rug, Dash & Albert

Here's Ellen's bathroom. Can you believe that charming little carpet was from IKEA? I actually have a few in the blue colour way. Why did I not buy red? Why? Why? Why? A question for the ages. But if you are looking for similar then no worries. The folks at Dash & Albert have you covered with the Catamaran Stripe carpet (right), which comes in a bajillion colours and sizes. 

In yet more red and white rug news, IKEA just introduced a new red stripe version of its popular Stockholm series carpet that is so beloved by so many in black and white. This one is cheerier and calls to mind a Marimekko vibe. I think it'd look great with pale rattan or blond wood furniture. 

You can just catch a glimpse of the red Stockholm in this room I found on the Maison Belle blog. Confirmed — it looks great with pale rattan and blond wood. Also: navy and grey. Pretty sure this is an all-IKEA room since I recognize many other pieces from my favourite Swedes. Fantastic space with an expansive water view and a cozy fireplace. Sigh. 

If I designed a space with red and white stripes I'd also need geraniums. I snapped this shot at the PEI home of some Toronto friends. I'm captivated by this little moment at their place. Hoping you will be able to see more of their place sometime soon. 

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