Samantha Pynn is a decorator, stylist, and the host and principal designer of Summer Home on HGTV Canada She's also the Contributing Design Editor for Chatelaine magazine and a columnist for the National Post.

Her entry into the world of decorating and design began 11 years ago as a location scout for commercials and music videos in Toronto. Within a few years, she had parlayed that talent into an illustrious career in the design department at STYLE AT HOME magazine. As the mag's Design Editor, she quickly became responsible for producing big stories on the hottest decor trends, coming up with design concepts for many of the articles, producing makeovers, and scouting homes featured in the magazine.

The long hours and hard work quickly paid off and her career skyrocketed. Sam's flirty, fresh style was quickly noticed by the producers of popular daytime TV show, CityLine on Citytv, where she has been a regular guest expert for six years.

It wasn’t long before Sam had her own series Pure Design on HGTV, followed by two successful HGTV webseries, The Switch, and The Mix, and two one hour HGTV television specials, The Mix and The Party on HGTV.

 Sam is most excited for her latest project Summer Home on HGTV Canada where she and her team decorate 13 homes in cottage country. More than just a decorating show, Summer Home includes easy decorating projects,  and plenty of fun in the sun.

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If someone had told me that I would be shooting a Summer Home in the cottage country, I would have told them they were crazy. I’m a complete fish out of water in the woods - I come from city folk. And to be honest, I was a little terrified of being around bugs and dirt, and away from Starbucks and stilettos. Yes, that sounded terrible. But by the first week of shooting away from the city, I was hooked on the country. I never really understood people when they talked about feeling relaxed as soon as they hit the highway out of the city. But I truly had my best summer ever, shaking off the stress of the city, and making over cottages with my team.  In just five short months - with the help of the incredible Colin Hunter and my designers Joel Bray, Malcolm Patterson and Laura Fowler – we redesigned and redecorated 13 summer homes for 13 amazing families. 

Filming began in June and we wrapped the show in October. And let me tell you it was a whirlwind of hammers, nails, paint, fabrics, pillows, slipcovers, sinks, flooring, and appliances. And though we (an army of design, construction and television experts) were moving at warp speed there was still time for fun in the sun.

Cottage country style is relaxed and laid back. The indoors should look and feel as easy and breezy as it does when you’re lounging on the dock in a Muskoka chair. Furniture and finishes should be low maintenance – I’m envisioning a gaggle of kids running from with wet bathing suits and sand on their feet from the lake to the kitchen for ice cream. No one wants to be fussing with cleaning and chores when they could be swimming, waterskiing, sitting under a tree with a great book or eating a butter tart. Oh butter tarts! I could devote an entire post to the delicious pastries.

Oops distracted again! Back to decorating. Here are some tips that I use when pulling together a Summer Home, hope they’ll help you create a home that’s fresh, bright, airy, and most importantly, fun!

Decorating with Outdoor Furniture

Outdoor furniture in an indoor space, will give your summer home a relaxed and casual vibe.  A timeworn, outdoor bench used in an entryway or at the kitchen table creates an informal feeling that's full of style and charm.

Bring the Outdoors In

Summer homes are all about the great outdoors and I love bringing a piece of it inside. Whether it's through colour, use of natural materials or literally bringing in leaves, flowers and branches, no cottage interior is complete without outdoor organic elements.

Up cycle and Unify with Paint

There's no better way to tie a bunch of random pieces together than with paint. I love to unify dining chairs with different silhouettes by painting them all the same colour.  It's a great, quirky detail and nothing says country like painted furniture.

Indoor/Outdoor Fabric – Upholstering pieces with indoor/outdoor fabric is top on my list when decorating a screened-in porch. It's fade-resistant, weather-resistant and super easy to clean.  The last thing you want up at the cottage is high-maintenance fabric.  And don't forget to add pillows. It's the best way to add softness and tie all your colours together. 

Vinyl Floors

Does the word vinyl make you think "cheap"? Well, vinyl has come a long way baby!  We used vinyl flooring over and over again because it looks great (in fact I challenge you to see the difference) and it's super practical in our unsettled climate. Unlike hardwood, there's no chance of it expanding and contracting as the weather changes. Perfect for non-winterized cottages. 

Decorating the cottages for Summer Home was a blast!  I got to work with some great people, create some fresh, fun and pretty spaces.  We left our homeowners with great vacation homes they'll be able to share with their friends and families for years to come. I hope you'll tune in to Summer Home to see how we did it. We had so much fun, and I bet you will too especially if you watch while eating a butter tart!

XOXO

Sam

Watch Summer Home Monday Nights at 8:00pm ET / 5:00pm PT on HGTV Canada