Vintage Summer Style: Tips from the Creator of “Found, Free & Flea”

It’s a secret dream we all may harbor, especially when ship-shaping one’s vintage summer style: to revisit the summers when you stayed up late beneath a vintage canvas tent, yet still remained energized for days of canoeing and capture the flag–those days that made summer most anticipated time of year.

This dream founds Tereasa Surratt’s new book, Found, Free & Flea, which recounts her adventures buying her husband’s summer camp in Wisconsin. Even its name, Camp Wandewega, bring to mind khaki shorts and trumpeted orders beneath a flagpole. Then the Surratts remove the dusty sheets to reveal a treasure trove of collectibles, a literal time capsule of innocence captured in vintage tin cans, flashlights and old baseballs.

Found, Free & Flea by Tereasa Surratt, published by Clarkson Potter © 2011; (Image via

Like archaeologists on a fabled dig, Tereasa and her husband set out to discover the property’s treasured pieces. One wall they pulled apart to uncover an entire collection of colorful California Fiesta Ware.  They found a vintage cake plate tucked away in an attic trunk, which started a menagerie of like-minded pieces found at yard sales and thrift venues. There are collections of pitchers, tablecloths, potholders, salt and peppershakers, cocktail glasses, fans and old board games.

Now refurbished, the property’s cozy campground cottages are decorated with these numerous finds in swoon-worthy vintage summer style. Brought back to life, this campground-turned-home that is a colorful mix of decorative and functional items.

Photo: Thinkstock.

Found and Functional for Vintage Summer Style

Tereasa’s top tips for summer camp-inspired vintage décor:

1. Vintage kitchen items like cookie cutters, rolling pins and graters are both beautiful and as useful as their modern counterpoints.

2. Use old trunks to stow extra linens.

3. Campstools lend a summer, nostalgic style to a bedroom at little cost.

Photo: Thinkstock.

4. Repurpose colored spigot handles as towel hooks for a creative, nostalgic look.

5. Hang a collection of hurricane lanterns from a tree for a great display that illuminates evening gatherings.

6. For storing all those tiny necessities, a stack of cigar boxes creates a colorful, functional vignette.

7. Give an antique church hymnal new life by displaying it with old postcards and books.

8. Vintage maps add unexpected flair when used as drawer liners.


For more great vintage summer style ideas from Tereasa Surratt, pick up a copy of her new book, Found, Free & Flea, or check out her blog.


By Jacqueline deMontravel



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