Getting out of dodge when the August heat washes over the city is a routine most Montrealers have become well-accustomed to. This year, Lux Decor co-owner and designer, Sun Ah Brock, ventured to one of her favorite spots on earth — Maine. Sun Ah has been visiting this coastal gem with her husband since she was nineteen; today, sharing the many delights the state has to offer with her children is summer bliss, defined. This year’s trip was spent in a cozy two bedroom cottage close to the beach in Ogunquit, where the sound of the roaring sea and sunset skies are plentiful.
Here, Sun Ah looks back on her getaway, and describes how Maine is a playground of inspiration for the design inclined.
OK, first things first: what do you love about Maine?
The New England coastal aesthetic is one of my favorites, I love everything about it: think clapboard houses, cedar shingles and antique stores dotted with blue hydrangeas. The vibe of Maine really allows me to refresh and re-energize and think about design from a new perspective, because it’s about returning back to the basics–the ocean, the sand, the sky, and nature. And who doesn’t love mixing in white denim?
Can you remember one vividly “perfect” travel moment?
Waking up knowing that the beach is waiting for you — to read, and relax with the family — is incredibly calming. There’s something particularly special about the clarity of colours on the coast; they are so crisp. One thing I always love about Maine, is the colour palette at dusk, the cotton candy clouds, mixed with the earthy tones of the sand and the water are incredibly beautiful. The weather was much cooler this year which had me visualizing the upcoming season of coziness and cocooning.
Other than beach-going and sunset gazing, what’s your top recommendation for those visiting the area?
I highly recommend antiquing (no surprise there, right?) whether it be the search for milkglass or the perfect antique chair that’s ready for a fresh coat of paint. Otherwise, take a stroll in Ogunquit village, tuck into a lobster roll at Barnacle Billy’s and then grab fudge in the candy shop. Go for a walk in Marginal way and enjoy a seaside lunch in Kennebunkport. Voila! Maine magic.
What new inspiration did you discover in Maine?
Habitually I am all about white hydrangea, however this year the the vivid blue hydrangeas really spoke to me. Bold colours are very current right now, which got me dreaming about velvet sofas in really punchy hues. Maine is all about bold colours: blue, yellow, red. It’s so visually simple yet impactful. I’d say my fall goal is to bring back a punch of colour in my own home and our clients’ designs.
Describe the most visually exciting place you encountered.
This little antique shop of carefully curated items had a beautiful array of objects, from old broaches, to antique chairs, and clothing, the layering of these objects was visually pleasing. The idea of roving through items to discover treasures among someone else’s cast always has always been a pastime of mine. It might not be the most aesthetically “pleasing” in the traditional sense, but digging for little things that can work in harmony with your home can really spawn a ton of inspiration. My current house is almost done… and I’m craving to do another space that I can do in a completely different style– any excuse to visit antique shops and garage sales!
Summer vibes are the best vibes. How do you recommend bringing “summer” elements to indoor spaces, year-round?
Driftwood on the beach reminds me of reclaimed wood, which I’m still loving. Another great way to bring summer in, is to opt for a natural fiber rug, paired with a white denim accent chair — both offer a really relaxed essence that’s reminiscent of summer haze. And — my number one — fake flowers. Hear me out: the fake flowers made today are incredibly real, so say goodbye to the taboo and embrace it. Of course, the use of colour is a year-round must in your home: personally, I would opt for the Millennial pink paired with black and even green, unexpected color combos are the way to go. Add in a candle with a fresh ocean scent and get the fireplace roaring to recall beach bonfires, all this will bring you back to mid-July.
Trade the flip-flops for reading socks and toss a few bright, fresh pillows on your lounging spot of choice. Pure bliss doesn’t have to be limited to just summer.
How do you catalogue all of your summer inspo?
I love to take photos. Vacation is a time where I love to experiment with photography to test out balance and light, two principles integral to design. I use my photos to remember my trips, from Morocco to Lebanon via France and Portugal . I look back on them to reminisce the stand-out inspo: For example, Morocco was all about the mosaics and the materials such as wood and soapstone. France, on the other had, was all about the flowers. Lebanon was for the coast, the colour of the earth and the houses tucked into the hills. Maine was a blend of everything, anchored by the constant pull back to the ocean for the clarity it invites (in colours, and in spirit!)
Fall is upon us. What are you most excited about (other than your new velvet couch!)
I love fires, blankets, cool weather, apple crisp and leather boots. My family & I look forward to settling into a routine. Taking cool autumn walks and observing the shifting colours of the leaves, and long drives up north. As much as I love summer, fall is actually my favorite season… Just like summer, fall is a visual feast.