Fresh summer whites, a collected mantel display, wild lupine, and tart rhubarb treats. I am enjoying the best of coastal Maine early summer!

Early Summer

Memorial Day has come and gone, so I am moving ahead and calling it early summer.

By now, you all probably know how I feel about spring here — I am skipping right over it!

To welcome summer, I have dressed the sofa in its white slipcover. It looks so fresh!

And this year I have new white drapes to frame the view from the fireside sitting area.

Outside, the lupine in the field are starting to bloom and tables selling rhubarb are appearing on roadsides up and down the peninsula.

Definitely signs that the transition from spring to summer is in full swing!

Come enjoy the best of coastal Maine early summer with me!

Fresh Summer Whites

Memorial Weekend means it is time to pull out the summer whites!

Sofa slipcover

I love the natural colored linen slipcover I use on the sofa in the winter. It adds cozy warmth and texture during the cold seasons.

But as we progress out of winter through our chilly spring and towards summer, I get to the point when I am ready for something clean and fresh.

So last week I made the switch.

I kept the same grouping of throw pillows from my spring refresh.

You can read about the thought process behind this mix and match combination in my blog post Signs of Spring On the Maine Coast — Inside and Out.

I will probably change some of them out as we get further into summer, but I am still enjoying these for now!

I love how they pop against the white slipcover!

TwoPages Curtains

Earlier this year I added TwoPages drapes to the door and windows in the fireside seating area.

The warm golden color I chose picked up on similar tones in the living room bamboo shades and dining area shade fabric. And it was an almost perfect match with the pine beams and all my pine furniture.

You can read all about these drapes in my post Coordinating Window Treatments in an Open Floor Plan Space.

For summer, though, I wanted something brighter that would disappear into the woodwork and open things up.

Of course I turned again to my friends at TwoPages Curtains.

You can read about the shades I recently received from them for the Captain’s Bedroom in last week’s post It’s Starting to Look Like Summer Inside, Out, and Around Town!

For this area next to the fireplace I chose the Patti Premium Belgian Linen Flax Curtain in WHITE with a privacy lining, triple tailor pleat and a blue/beige geometric trim.

While the cold season drapes picked up on the warm tones in the room, these speak to the cooler elements such as the stone fireplace and white trim.

They are perfect for summer!

I am so happy with all the window treatments I have received from TwoPages curtains. These are the drapes I ordered, but they have so many other curtains and shades to choose from!

Lightweight throws

In order to reduce the frequency that I have to wash the slipcovers, I ordered some summer throws to fold over the fireside swivel chairs (aka, M&C’s chairs…).

I am really happy with them, so I thought I would share with you. They are lightweight, reversible, and come in navy, gray, and beige. Their small geometric print coordinates nicely with other patterns or pops against a solid.

I ordered the navy, of course! (Though I did think about the “natural” color…)

Shop the throws here:

A Collected Mantel Display

“Early summer” means it was time for a mantel change too.

I went with a casual arrangement of collected and natural elements topped by a vintage seascape print.

With its weathered wood tones, soft blues, and mix of textures, the display has an organic feel that blends into the stone of the fireplace.

Instead of loudly calling attention to itself, it softly speaks to the local scenery — the lighthouse just down the road, sailboats gliding by on the horizon, driftwood and shells washed up on the shoreline.

That is summer in Maine.

Coffee table display

On the coffee table ottoman, I kept the small basket of books and added a sailor boy figure and rope knot, both in subtle shades similar to the items on the mantel.

And then a pop of bright color — a blue and white vase filled with wildflowers.

I love the casual decor of summer, when nothing is too fussy or styled!

Wild Lupine

The lupine are starting to pop!

Soon, fields and roadsides all over Maine will be covered in these large spiky flowerheads in shades of purple, pink, and white.

It is a sight to behold, and one of my favorite times of year!

I normally don’t like to cut flowers from the garden, preferring to enjoy their beauty outside, where it lasts much longer.

But we have so many lupine in our field, that I don’t mind bringing some inside.

Just a few in a pitcher or vase make a real statement!

And such a Maine classic!

The real story of lupine…

Or are they?

For this post I did a little online research into lupine. It turns out that the Bigleaf Lupine we see most commonly these days is not actually native to Maine, or even the East Coast.

Most sources I found said that it originated in the Western U.S., while one said it came from England.

It is a self-seeding plant and grows wild here now, but the National Park Service considers it an invasive species.

That said, lupine are not all bad. They attract pollinators and enrich the soil with nitrogen.

And, of course, as the “Lupine Lady” set out to do in the classic children’s book Miss Rumphius, they really do make the world a more beautiful place.

Lupine grow as perennials in zones 6 and 7. (Further north and further south they should be treated as annuals or biennials.) They can be grown from seed or seedling and enjoy full sun and well-draining soil.

I also learned recently that the Texas Bluebonnet is a variety of lupine.

Oh, and one last thing — lupine can be toxic to both humans and animals. I love lupine, but I don’t plan on eating any. Maddie and Cisco have never shown any interest in them either. But I did think I should mention it!

Do lupine grow where you live?

To learn more about our wildflower meadow, read my post Natural Landscape: Our Coastal Maine Wildflower Meadow.

Tart Rhubarb Treats

Another favorite plant that grows prolifically here in Maine this time of year is rhubarb.

And this one is not toxic.

Good thing, because I love to cook with it!

In Maryland, where I lived for years, rhubarb season was fleeting — just a few weeks in spring.

And apparently, as a cool-season plant, it does not grow at all in the south.

Here, rhubarb season lasts well into midsummer, making plenty of time to enjoy tart rhubarb treats.

I know some of you are shaking your heads right now, because you don’t share my love of rhubarb.

Maybe that is because you haven’t had it prepared the right way!

What is rhubarb, and is it a fruit or vegetable?

The rhubarb plant has long, thick stalks that are typically red or green, with large leaves at the top. The stalks are the edible part of the plant, while the leaves contain oxalic acid and are toxic if consumed in large quantities.

Even though rhubarb stalks are most commonly used as a fruit in cooking, it is actually a vegetable.

Rhubarb has a very tart flavor and is popular in dessert recipes, often paired with sweet fruits like strawberries.

Rhubarb can also be used in savory dishes, such as chutneys or sauces for meats.

My favorite ways to eat rhubarb

My hands down favorite way to eat rhubarb is in a crisp — tart jammy filling with a sweet crispy topping. It is easy to prepare and always a winner, especially when topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

This is the recipe I use. While rhubarb does require plenty of sweetener to make it palatable, I use less sugar than the recipe calls for. I like a good contrast with the sugary topping. If I have it around, I also like to add some grated fresh ginger to the topping. It adds a little extra zing!

This Quick Rhubarb Cake is lovely for a brunch and pairs nicely with your morning coffee.

I also like to make rhubarb compote. I use it to top granola and yogurt for breakfast. It was delicious with a lemon almond cake I made recently. And it makes a good topping for ice cream too.

I don’t normally use a recipe. I just put cut up rhubarb in a sautée pan with some water and sugar to taste and then cook until the rhubarb is soft and the mixture has a jam-like consistency. Again, some grated fresh ginger would add a nice pop if you have it on hand.

Here is a recipe if you prefer specific measurements. I don’t see the need to add lemon juice. Rhubarb is already tart enough.

Check out my blog post Easy Homemade Granola Breakfast Apple Crisp for my flexible granola recipe. You will never buy store-bought granola again!

These days I am enjoying mine made with a little tahini mixed into the melted butter and maple syrup, and then with pistachios, pecans, sesame seeds, and dried tart cherries. So yummy!

Strawberry rhubarb pie is a classic way to serve rhubarb, but I don’t think I have ever made one. I prefer a crisp.

Give this food network recipe a try if you want to make strawberry rhubarb pie!

Do you like rhubarb?!

This Week Into Next

For those of you in the U.S., I hope you enjoyed a relaxing long weekend!

Or maybe you got a lot done in your garden to kick off summer!

I still have planting and cleanup to do. That is on my to-do list for this weekend.

I have been focusing on the inside, but now I am ready to move outside! So, a visit to the plant store is definitely on my schedule on Saturday.

Speaking of Maine interiors, The Maine House II came out recently! This book is the follow-up to The Maine House, which was published in 2021. With beautiful images and insightful text, both books celebrate the distinctive spirit of Maine and its classic old homes.

Even though our home is a new build, I have tried to capture some of this same character here — but with a modern spin.

Both books are full of inspiration, whether you call Maine home or not.

I am linking them here:

In Zoe’s Kitchen

This week Zoë is sharing recipes for Sheet Pan Green Curry and Vegetarian Taco Bowls. Yum!

Last weekend I managed to pull together a last-minute almost completely (very) local meal for my guests visiting from the Netherlands:

  • Crab cakes from the fish co-op down the road
  • Risotto with local asparagus
  • A salad made with lettuce grown across the street
  • And the rhubarb crisp recipe I shared earlier in this post

During the summer, in particular, I try to eat as locally as possible! Local food is better for you, the environment, and your neighborhood small businesses.

Well, that’s it for this week! Here’s to early summer!

Be well, friends!


Highlighting coastal decor and lifestyle, Maddie and Cisco, and the way life should be...