Colin and Justin: Chill out this summer
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Colin and Justin: Chill out this summer

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Being Scottish, we have an innate inability to deal with rising temperatures. Back home, you see, we’re unaccustomed to thermostatic elevation beyond 20C. And that’s on a really good day.

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Which is why, British temperatures currently soaring north of 100 degrees Fahrenheit, we’re jettisoning homesickness and thrilled to be this side of the pond, even though it’s beginning to bake in Canada, too.

To help keep you cool, we’ve collated a hit list of tweaks which, played properly, will “drop” temps chez vous. From cooling interior colour palettes to minor decorative adjustments, we’ve got your back. So go on, dive into the cool, C&J stylee…

Fan tactic

Blades, darlings, are so last year. These days, we suction dust with our trusty Dyson, using the same brand to cool our condo. So how do they work? Well, Dyson fans use Air Multiplier technology, a system which draws in, then amplifies, surrounding air. An absence of fast-spinning blades negates safety grilles, and the resultant smooth air cools our living room in a jiffy.

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Don’t you just yearn for lighter, airier tones as summer rolls? To preserve funds, try removable jewel toned slipcovers, decorative throws and pillows (to “manage” colour ‘temperature’) and jaunty ceramics to tempt colder climes from hibernation.

If you prefer neutrals, experiment with white and khaki slipcovers, embellished with jazzy throw pillows for an instant update. Remember: you don’t need to go overboard to effect change – even a simple white lace doily, tablecloth or runner will invite a cool, airy vibe.

Sub it out 

As the mercury climbs, stash earthy-hued accessories which can appear “heavy” at this time of year. To ‘cool’ our living room, we used yellow ceramics — but you could just as successfully try blue in its myriad guises.

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Even a splash of cooling aqua will emotionally balance soaring temperatures. Lighter colours like lilac, delicate pink or pale green are also ideal for summer decoration.

Lime (particularly chartreuse) is a great note to play via ceramics and artworks, a tone that works particularly well as freshening punctuation on grey or black furniture.

Curtains for you?

To freshen your window area, replace traditional drapery with diaphanous fabric panels. Drapery fabric tends to be heavy, whereas sheers are lighter and provide better flexibility during summer months.

Stores such as Bouclair purvey a stellar collection of sheer window panels, and, courtesy of their “Melissa Stripe” panel ($19.99), you needn’t worry about overspending. As an alternative, opt for blinds; retailers like Home Depot stock an affordable range, or invest in screens by Hunter Douglas, one of our favourite suppliers.

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Say it with flowers

Another cost-effective route to establish cooling impact is via freshly cut flowers, the foyer, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom being perfect locations to let your artistry gene run wild.

Bright blooms, plucked from the garden or even your local supermarket (where standards have increased in recent years) will impart a jaunty, summery feel. And take a tip; don’t stress about expensive vases, choose simple glass options and let Mother Nature’s bounty speak for itself.


Max up furniture placement with chairs and sofas positioned to take advantage of lake, pool or garden views. Remember that, for the most part, home enjoyment is based upon your emotions; if throwing open windows to hear nature makes you feel good, then for what, precisely, are you waiting?

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Conversely, if you don’t love the view from your window, orientate your furniture accordingly, and invest in a painting or a wall decal that conjures up the essence of the great outdoors.

Coffee table library

Okay, so this category might sound bonkers but, as you balance atmospheric temperature, every little helps, right? Here goes; it’s time to shuffle your coffee table books to suit the season.

Pack away wintry titles and display tomes that show dreamy gardens or decor books depicting beach homes or cottages. Psychosomatically, you’ll be reminded of the season every time you glance at your “on table” library.

Reflect on this

Mirrors add sparkle and excitement. In our living room, we used a glass framed mirror (relocated from our study) instead of the chunky wooden tray that, during colder months, resides on the coffee table.

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On the mirror we arranged driftwood, decorative balls and a gently flickering candle, all of which serve to lighten mood.

So don’t sweat it; it goes without saying that, with the right approach to design — and a smattering of seasonal adjustment — you’ll have a home that, in climatic terms certainly, will be every bit as cool as your perfectly executed decor. And that really would be a breath of fresh air, n’est ce pas?

Watch for Colin and Justin on Cabin Pressure and Great Canadian Cottages (Cottage Life TV) and on Cityline(CityTV). Find the Colin and Justin Collection in stores across Canada. Visit

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