Home & Garden

A store of vintage décor in Morro Bay

Christmas displays at Summer Cottage combine new and vintage decor, including vintage glass ornaments and beach-themed items.
Christmas displays at Summer Cottage combine new and vintage decor, including vintage glass ornaments and beach-themed items.

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.