Icon - Arrow LeftAn icon we use to indicate a rightwards action. Icon - Arrow RightAn icon we use to indicate a leftwards action. Icon - External LinkAn icon we use to indicate a button link is external. Icon - MessageThe icon we use to represent an email action. Icon - Down ChevronUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - CloseUsed to indicate a close action. Icon - Dropdown ArrowUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - Location PinUsed to showcase a location on a map. Icon - Zoom OutUsed to indicate a zoom out action on a map. Icon - Zoom InUsed to indicate a zoom in action on a map. Icon - SearchUsed to indicate a search action. Icon - EmailUsed to indicate an emai action. Icon - FacebookFacebooks brand mark for use in social sharing icons. flipboard Icon - InstagramInstagrams brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - PinterestPinterests brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - TwitterTwitters brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - Check MarkA check mark for checkbox buttons.
You are reading

Expert Advice: How to Open Up the Summerhouse for the Season


Expert Advice: How to Open Up the Summerhouse for the Season

May 27, 2019

As a kid, there was something magical about that first drive north, to Maine, for summer vacation. We’d pack our summer gear (swimsuits and oversize T-shirts), Nancy Drew novels, and dogs, and drive north over the Piscataqua River Bridge. When we got closer we’d roll down the windows so we could smell the salt air, a harbinger of summer.

But, inevitably, we’d also be greeted by the charms of a ramshackle summer cottage that had been locked up for months: musty couch cushions, ants in the sink. One time we arrived to discover that, over the winter, something had nibbled all the way through a wooden recipe box in the kitchen.

Thus began the start-of-summer ritual of airing out the house and preparing it for days of slamming screen doors and sand tracked through. For a simple, step-by-step plan, we asked Jeremy Floto and Josh Farley, the proprietors of The Glen Wilde, a throwback 1940s bungalow community in the Catskills, how they prepare the summer getaway each year. Whether you’re opening up your own cottage or renting one for a weekend, here are a few quick ways to get it up and running for the season.

N.B.: Featured photograph is by Constance Gennari, courtesy of The Socialite Family, from A Fashion Designer’s Cabin in the Cape Cod of France. Photography below courtesy of The Glen Wilde, except where noted.

photograph from a shipshape cape cod cottage inspired by wes anderson  17
Above: Photograph from A Shipshape Cape Cod Cottage Inspired by Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic.

1. Air out.

an open window at the glen wilde. 18
Above: An open window at the Glen Wilde.

“We like to clear the stale air from the long winter, closed up,” say Floto and Farley. “First we just open all the windows for a few days, letting the fresh air in. It does wonders.”

2. Make a natural room spray.

photograph from diy: homemade dish soap; for more natural cleaning solutio 19
Above: Photograph from DIY: Homemade Dish Soap; for more natural cleaning solutions, see Expert Advice: Editors’ Top 23 Cleaning Tips.

Help freshen musty rooms with a natural air freshener. The Glen Wilde’s recipe? “In a spray bottle, we make a mix of distilled water, lavender essential oils, clary sage essential oils, and lemongrass essential oils. We use a version of this spray all season, changing up the mix of essential oils, to keep the bungalows smelling great.” (For another recipe, see DIY Essential Oils: All-Natural Alternative Air Freshener and DIY Essential Oils: Lavender Linen Freshener.)

3. Turn over the mattresses.

the summer bed, refreshed; see more in a cottage reborn in coastal maine. 20
Above: The summer bed, refreshed; see more in A Cottage Reborn in Coastal Maine.

Flip your mattresses for a fresh start. “We store our mattresses on a 45 degree angle, so that the mattresses get full air circulation during the winter. Then we always flip our mattress from head to toe to help avoid creating dips in the mattress from wear.”

4. Refresh bedding.

photograph from 7 life changing reasons to dry laundry outdoors over on ga 21
Above: Photograph from 7 Life-Changing Reasons to Dry Laundry Outdoors over on Gardenista. See also DIY: Shelter Island Clothes Line.

If possible, hang comforters outside. “We air out our comforters in the sun and on a breezy day. The wind and sun helps to refresh and re-fluff the comforters.” Running sheets and washable cushions through the wash helps, too, to get rid of any lingering mustiness.

5. Flush the toilets.

If you turn off water in the off-season, run taps and flush toilets before using. “When we turn the water on for first time, we always flush the toilets first,” Floto and Farley say. “Doing this flushes away any minerals that have settled in the pipes over the winter. This helps to avoid clogging our shower heads and faucets. We learned this trick the hard way.

6. Dust the fans.

vintage fans in the glen wilde bungalows. 22
Above: Vintage fans in the Glen Wilde bungalows.

Get hardworking fans up to speed for the summer. “At the bungalows we have a collection of vintage fans. This means that each fan in each bungalow is different. How to clean them is also slightly different. We come prepared for the tasks with a tool kit with a few sizes of screwdrivers to take the wire frame off the fans to dust. We first dust using a feather duster to get the top loose layer of dust off. Then we use a rag (we like to recycle old T-shirts for this job), dampened with a mixture of vinegar and lemon. We let them air dry and then put them back together.”

a glen wilde cabin at night. 23
Above: A Glen Wilde cabin at night.

For more advice from the Glen Wilde, see Expert Advice: Hacks for Staying Cool Without AC, Courtesy of a Catskills Summer Bungalow.

More expert advice for the summerhouse:

(Visited 604 times, 3 visits today)
You need to login or register to view and manage your bookmarks.

Frequently asked questions

What are some easy ways to prepare my summer house for the season?

Some easy ways to prepare your summer house for the season include cleaning and decluttering, checking for any necessary repairs, updating outdoor furniture, and giving the space a fresh coat of paint.

How can I improve the outdoor space of my summer house?

To improve the outdoor space of your summer house, consider adding plants and flowers, creating a seating area with outdoor furniture, and adding outdoor lighting for ambiance.

What are some tips for keeping my summer house cool during the hot summer months?

Some tips for keeping your summer house cool during the hot summer months include installing ceiling fans and air conditioning units, using light-colored and breathable fabrics for curtains and bedding, and keeping windows and doors closed during the hottest parts of the day.

What are some outdoor activities that are perfect for a summer house?

Outdoor activities that are perfect for a summer house include swimming, kayaking, hiking, grilling, and having bonfires.

How can I ensure that my summer house is safe and secure while I am away?

To ensure that your summer house is safe and secure while you are away, consider installing a security system, having someone check on the property regularly, and locking all doors and windows.

Have a Question or Comment About This Post?

Join the conversation