A store of vintage décor in Morro Bay

All things homey and nostalgic, from salt and pepper shakers to games and gadgets, can be found at this quaint shop in Morro Bay

Special to The TribuneNovember 28, 2012 

  • HOLIDAY TIPS FROM SUMMER COTTAGE

    TOP THAT Start a collection of tree toppers and use a different one each year. The ones you aren’t using can be displayed on a mantel or table atop candlestick holders, accented with greenery.

    VINTAGE BLING Vintage brooches and jewelry can quickly dress up a curtain. This can be an everyday look or a special touch for the holidays.

    ADD SOME SPARKLE Bring out your old vintage silver trays, bowls and pitchers to put out holiday items such as ornaments and candy canes. But don’t polish them too much — a little tarnish creates a vintage, homey feel.

    TREE TIPS Instead of the standard Christmas tree stand, use a large urn and fill it with river rock to keep the tree upright. If you don’t have room for a tree, hang painted or distressed wood dowels on the wall in the shape of a tree trunk and branches. You can hang hooks from them and display your favorite ornaments. Or attach a bare tree branch to the wall for a more organic look.

    MAKE A GARLAND Remember the paper chain garlands you made in grade school? Do the same with vintage paper, old sheets of music, or old Christmas cards for a more sophisticated take on a childhood favorite.

    COUNT IT DOWN For an easy and fun advent calendar, take small paper bags, number them, and fill them with small gifts, chocolates, sayings or Bible verses. Seal the bags and hang them from a heavy cord with ribbon or clothespins.

Summer Cottage, a Morro Bay shop owned by sisters Kay Crocker and Carrie Aguirre, is like an interactive memory book.

“People walk in and say, ‘Oh, my mom had those salt and pepper shakers,’ or ‘My grandma gave me that toy,’ ” noted Aguirre.

Crocker has an extensive retail background and Aguirre is a designer who specializes in crafting items from vintage paper. The pair opened Summer Cottage in 2006, just as vintagestyle décor was beginning to take off. They have stocked the shop with all things homey and vintage including cottage-style furniture and home décor, collectibles, kitchen accessories, and gifts. They also carry beach-themed items, a nod to their coastal locale.

Like many of today’s vintage-style homes, Summer Cottage combines elements of new and old. Crocker and Aguirre find vintage pieces at flea markets and estate sales around the state. They select new items that have a nostalgic or homespun look such as vintage-inspired ornaments, signs, cards, and handcrafted paper goods. They also carry reproductions of vintage games and candies.

No holiday seems more custom-made for vintage décor than Christmas. Right now, the shelves at Summer Cottage are stocked with vintage ornaments and tree toppers, beach-themed ornaments, German angels, and handmade wreaths. They carry vintage bottle brush wreaths and trees from the 1920s to 1940s. There is also an expanded kitchen section with gadgets, vintage cake toppers, name place holders, specialty pans and other culinary and party goods.

To inspire their customers, Crocker and Aguirre assemble holiday vignettes and themed trees. Among this year’s trees is one hung with holiday cookie cutters, cookie recipes and chenille stem candy canes. A Santathemed tree has an assortment of Santa Claus ornaments in various materials like felt, glass and plaster. Their nature-themed tree has glass owls, pinecones and feathered nests. And, of course, they have a vintage tree featuring traditional mercury glass vintage bulbs and a hand-strung vintage glass bead garland.

When decorating for the holidays, the sisters like to play with unexpected materials and nontraditional color schemes.

“You can rethink Christmas colors, for instance, pink is hot,” said Aguirre. “You can have an all-pink or all-light blue tree, or just use one of them as your main color.”

Still, the shop offers plenty that is familiar and nostalgic.

“That’s the appeal of vintage design,” said Crocker. “It brings back such nice, warm memories for so many of us.”

Summer Cottage is at 863 Main St. in Morro Bay, 771-0231.

Reach Rebecca Juretic at rajuretic@sbcglobal.net.

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