Googling “summer camps near me” is a springtime ritual for parents lucky enough to send their children to see the great outdoors. Under the guidance of cheery camp counselors, children take in gulps of fresh air while splashing about in lakes and streams, wearing themselves out by dinnertime.
Inside the cabin doors, camp décor is a mishmash comprised of vintage objects from various eras. The informal style of cabin décor is a hodgepodge of what is perfectly acceptable in a relaxed setting. Think red gingham tablecloths, vintage skis, kerosene lanterns and Pendleton wool blankets with the classic Yakima stripe. Put them together in an unstudied arrangement, and such nostalgic items inspire memories.
Camp-inspired finds can add a note of rustic romance to any home, be it an Adirondack cabin or a city brownstone. The camp vibe creates a no-fuss look that lights up a home like a campfire under a canopy of stars. Here are seven finds to inspire.
As a young woman in my 20s, I escaped each summer to Camp Wiawaka, an Adirondack camp founded in 1903 that retained its rattan furniture from long ago, when artisans wove strips of rattan dyed into beautiful colors for use in designs.
This pair of bamboo-rattan chairs with a matching table reminds me of those made in the Victorian Era (marked down to $299 from $349; Booth T-376). Formed from rattan reeds, these chairs don’t take up too much visual weight and are perfect for a sunroom or screened porch.
This vintage Arctic Boy insulated cooler is a stylish way to stay hydrated ($98; Booth B-113). It is hard to find a 2-gallon galvanized metal cooler like this one from the 1950s in good condition and still retaining its spigot. Schlueter Manufacturing Co., founded in St. Louis in 1902 to make tin cans, produced these coolers and various metal products for 81 years.
Find a Picnic Table
Head toward the nearest picnic table in mid-century modern style with this vintage picnic basket ($39; Booth B-289). Given as a “gift with purchase” of a Ford vehicle in the 1960s, this picnic basket features trims made of metal and vinyl mesh. One can tuck many goodies inside the deep basket – and the “Town & Country Ford” logo printed on the top reminds one of this picnic basket’s origins.
Among the iconic images that fit camp décor, fish and waterfowl top the list. This duck decoy from the 1930s is unusual, as it is made of painted papier-mâché ($46; Booth T-140). Until the 1930s, duck hunters carried wooden decoys, which could add 50 pounds to their load. The Division Pulp Reproduction Company of Milwaukee offered a lighter alternative by manufacturing the first successful papier-mâché decoys – Carry-Lite decoys – in 1939. While Carry-Lite wasn’t the only such product, it was the most popular, and this decoy is probably an original one.
Materials that feel rustic and rough-hewn, like this backless wooden bar stool, possess the comforting nature of summer camp ($75; Booth T-355). This tripod stool, highlighted with age markings and patina, would make a statement for farmhouse or industrial style.
An Exotic Touch
An exotic touch gives a cabin some mystery, a hint of tales and travels untold. This square Kilim pillow would do the trick ($64; 2012). The history of Kilim reaches back to the Persian Empire, when woven rugs created geometric designs in rich, brilliant colors. A chic color palette of pink, orange, yellow, black and khaki completes this design.
What’s a camp without a fishing box? This vintage Plano double-sided tackle box fits right in as décor – and is a stylish option for storing one’s fly-tying supplies or bass fishing lures ($55; Booth B-122).
Like a letter from camp, these GasLamp finds will deliver memories of summer days to your home. Camp style revives those lazy days of summer – and makes them more memorable.