LA PISCINE: 10 RULES FOR A LADY'S SUMMER HOUSE

In the belly of August vacation, LADY Rules to keep the end of the summer civilized.

 

1. INSTALL YOUR LOVER

In its most delicious iteration, a vacation house is a swimsuit-optional affair with a stocked fridge, good books and beds, and privacy for two. It is a place to make love at any time of day, read to and feed one another, and recoup any lost closeness from the dirge of the preceding year. 

2. THE SENSUAL SUMMER HOUSE

A summer house, of any size, is a luxury; a balancing act of sensuality, comfort, and personal style. The most beautiful houses (summer or other) are slow-grown into their best selves by their owners. Egg yolk yellow Vera hand towels from the local resale store, the giant chrome coil lamp stalled on your 1stdibs favorite list, or blood red glass goblets grabbed from your mother's basement storage closet—the eye deserves to be entertained on vacation, too.  Begin with places to sit, sleep, and eat in comfort, and add the rest as things materialize. Avoid cliches and big-box store solutions. 

3. THE SENSUAL SUMMER HOUSE PT. II

One cannot be sexy, partially-clad, lounging in one's gorgeous house, and at the same time be harping on about condensation rings and tracking sand in the house. It's a bummer for everyone, hostess and guests alike. Your house can be beautiful and you should still be able to traipse through it in a wet swimsuit. Every place one can sit should be ready to receive a wet fanny without fear of leaving a Yves Klein bunda print for posterity.  

4. THE LIST-LESS DAY 

The most beautiful thing about vacation is the sense of unshaped time. Slow way, way, way down; it's an adagio, chopped and screwed. The ideal idyll is one in which nothing much is accomplished daily. An afternoon nap should create grand architecture in the day's events. If you can't sleep in the day, lie down and let your brain unspool and your body repair. If you really have courage, be an animal and turn off your cell phone. It takes guts to really relax. Besides, the WiFi will be horrendous. 

Sylvie Vartan reading Proust, photographed by Jean-Marie Perier, c.1972

5. DISCRETIONARY DAY DRINKING

Not fans. Not judgmental, just ill-equipped. It starts out pretty and ends up in a headachy nap. If you must, a well-stocked tray of soda water, fresh juice, Pernod, and ice on hand for those capable. 

6. DAYTIME DRESS CODE 

From exiting the bedroom in the morning until early evening, attire should run the gambit from naked to swimsuit, full stop. Sunscreen should be treated as the only necessity on one's person. Nudity, full or partial, is one of the ultimate privileges of owning a summer house.

7. DRESS FOR DINNER

Before you say, "Oh lord, what the hell," hear us out. There you are: lovely evening, beautiful table, with your lover or friends, after a long, lazy day. The house is considered, the food is considered; you look your best from having spent the day basically naked, wet, and slathered in coconut oil. Think about the softest of gowns slipped over a tanned body, swim-softened, hair swept up. Bare feet and diamonds. You can be covered from neck to toes and still look like an invitation to be touched.

8. VET YOUR GUESTS

Not all guests are created equal. Let's remember we own summer houses to escape and decompress, not to toy with the idea of running a bed & breakfast. A good guest contributes to the energy of the house. They are fun, game, and, most importantly, leave in a timely manner. They know how to converse with people of all ages and walks of life, regardless of age or station. They are not former lovers. They keep their continence and their wit, and know how to negotiate the hills and valleys of a family dinner table not their own. A good guest aides and abets the hostess. They do not bring guests-of-guests, but they do bring a gift.

9. NO GAMES 

While summer houses are the perfect place for playing LADY Games like Gin, Chess, and Backgammon, it is absolutely the worst place for the shenanigans of interpersonal warfare. Marital skirmishes, poorly-hidden flirtations, power struggles: these are the murderers of a happy summer vacation. Nothing is more torturous than being caught in an isolated place with grown siblings or a couple revisiting the horrors of some past traumas still not healed. The Pinteresque view of a family landscape is about the worst thing one can witness, especially if it isn't your own family. The LADY Rule is: if the head count is three or more, assume none of us want to hear it. 

10. CAVE TO FANTASY

Just as vacation is an escape from one's usual routine, it can also be an escape from oneself. Unfettered by schedules and obligations, it is a perfect chance for the exploration of new tastes and experiences. -LADY.tv