I had such a great response on my last column “Interiors of a Summer House” that I have decided to continue this week’s column with more “this and that” on everything home.

First, I have to start by saying each summer the summer house gets tiny sugar ants that are a problem. Not wanting to use toxic sprays of any kind in the home, I researched natural and organic ways to rid the home of these pesky visitors. I began my search and started trying every natural remedy I found; unfortunately none did the job. Getting ready to give up, I came across an article about lemon, “the most effective fruit against an ant invasion.” Intrigued and hopeful.

I took a lemon, squeezed the juice around the areas I saw the ants coming in and, like magic, they disappeared! It did take a couple of times but I am happy to say no more ants! So for upkeep, I keep a spray bottle filled with freshly squeezed lemon juice mixed with little water just in case the unwanted visitors return. As I mentioned in the last column, summer is a great time to hit all the estate sales, flea markets and tag sales.

I have been going to a number of them and have picked up some great things. Recently I found a vintage white wicker dressing table along with a little wrought-iron table. When I got them home and cleaned them up, I thought, “What could I do to up-style each piece?” I decided to add some vintage gold metallic paint to the little table and to add an element of surprise to both, I had a mirror cut and put on top of each piece. It’s a great way to bring a vintage table to life, which in turn adds life to any room with the reflection of the light of the mirror. You can even have a mirror cut and put on top of vintage dressers. It’s an inexpensive way to up-style furniture.

In a beach house I recently did, I wanted a ceiling fan in the living room, but not any ceiling fan. I wanted something different but still one that reflected the beach. In my search, I found the perfect fan. It is a fan with canvas sailcloth blades. Google them and there are many different styles, and the prices vary, ranging from $300 to $500.

I ordered from Modern Fan Outlet; look for the 52-inch Raindance Nautical ceiling fans—they come in four finishes and colors. I prefer the fans with no lights. I chose the pure white one, and when hung, it achieved the exact look I wanted: it was beautiful and subtle. The clients were thrilled.

I am always on the lookout for old barn doors, especially gray ones that have a driftwood look. They make great rustic headboards, and I recently replaced a bedroom door with a barn door. They make great closet doors and room dividers! They give a really cool look to any style interior—also adding warmth and texture to a space. They are easy to install, cut to size; and, as far as hardware, to make it a sliding door, you can check out www.realslidinghardware.com, amazon.com or www.thebarndoorhardwarestore.com. Some hardware stores carry it, too!

I want to talk about flooring. If you are thinking of doing your wood floors, pay close attention. Educate yourself on the different colors and finishes that are available. People tend to gravitate to dark finishes. They do look beautiful but, beware, they show up every scratch and crumb. However, if you have your heart set on dark, ebony is trendy. Going gray or whitewashing the floors are great choices for a summer house. It can change the whole look of the home. Open, airy, lovely!

When staining floors, there are natural oils and waxes that are eco-friendly. Many products now are VOC free.

When refinishing floors, it is important to remember all wood varies and accepts stains differently, depending on the type of wood, grade and age. Always ask your floor professional to do a test area for you. Test different finishes from low luster to semi-gloss. The best cleaning solution that is inexpensive and organic for wood floors is white vinegar and water. A 1⁄2 cup of vinegar with a gallon of water.

Before I end the discussion on floors, I love the porcelain flooring that looks like wood! I have used this in clients’ homes and in my own home. There are so many innovative looks to choose from as well as colors. I just did an entry in porcelain that looks exactly like distressed white/gray barn wood! You can barely tell the difference between this and wood. It is durable and easy to maintain. You can choose very contemporary to a very rustic one like I recently used. It works great in any room of the house, especially entry, bathrooms and kitchens.

Take a trip to your local tile or flooring store; you will be surprised by the large selections to choose from.

This was an eclectic mix of ideas. I love hearing from you and try to answer each question you may have, so keep them coming.

As the end of July approaches, we sigh and look to August with great anticipation.

The beautiful season, the summer!

Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light

And the landscape

Lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood

—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Nancy August is the co-owner of Summer Girl Media, a TV production company as well as owner of Nancy August Interiors. She can be contacted at nancy@talesofasummerhouse.com.

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