Several levels of lux above Lewis and Clark’s digs as they headed West—but just as fun—is glamping in your own backyard! A campaign tent in the 21st century is far more ‘Out of Africa’: think canvas shelter outfitted with a bed festooned in layers of down-filled duvets and percale sheets as the ultimate night throne. Perhaps a suite of Danish designed seating is in order? A teak settee and pair of chairs allows for ultimate comfort in which to escape the sun or a summer rain.
Perhaps you would prefer the interior of a sultan’s love nest, filled with a kaleidoscope of color and pillows? The interior aesthetics are limitless when glamping. The key is luxury outdoors, under the stars. Luxurious fabrics and furnishings—unexpected details are a must for the soul of a true glamper.
No glamping is complete without the full experience of a luxurious interior just bordering on outdoor insanity. Perhaps the custom woven rug is too much for the budget, but many tricks can be employed to personalize your space and still allow it to feel lux. Utilize layers of different sized rugs made of sisal and/or tag sale, oriental finds, to complete your summer palace in the wood.
For my first foray into constructing a Summer Canvas Folly in the garden, I had to decide upon a location.
The first step after the tent was chosen was to decide upon a location in the garden. We have a lovely architectural home that sits on two acres, so I wanted to make sure the spot chosen took advantage of a view of the house, but was not so close as not to give the sense of escape when we retreat to our special summer place.
Mindful of the garden, I choose a location under the canopy of a centuries old America Elm. In this location the tent folly seems grounded in its surroundings, nestled amidst the wild grassy central meadow. Seen from several vantage points in the garden—one still needs to travel a mown path through the property to reach our Valhalla.
When thinking about the interior space and furnishings, I took my inspiration from the Scandinavians for our new Fernweh tent, sold by Life inTents in Portland, Oregon. To build on the desired look, I started with a beautifully crafted deck as my base to erect our tent. This raised platform was designed to keep the tent dry and free from the vernal pools that develop during early spring rains.
The bell tent chosen is 16” in diameter with a towering central pole, from Life inTents based in Portland, Oregon (Fernweh) - a surprisingly large interior space to furnish.
My quest to achieve that simple and chic Scandinavian interior started with a sleek, wood and metal bed frame. After this important choice, the interior came together quickly. A custom 16’ round wool rug was grounds the space and adds that instant sense of habitable comfort. I layered lamb’s wool rugs and cow hides in the desired taupe shades to make the floor feel super plush and posh.
Although there is more space than expected, the remaining furniture was selected judiciously to keep the interior feeling airy. A Danish settee and chair suite, constructed with light wood in a decidedly modern design, instantly set the mood for the space. White cushions on the furniture and the white and beige linens allow the space to feel light. Layered duvets and crisp, white sheets invite anyone in to slumber in the middle of a summer day. Simple mid-century bedside tables and taborets add more layers to the interior, blurring the lines between a chic Airbnb and tent living. The true sense of glamping is achieved with augmentation of electric light and an oscillating fan for those sultry summer nights, and of course a refrigerator just the perfect size to house bottles of wine and your choice of beverages.
This temporary garden folly in the meadow has fast become a favorite hangout spot for friends, family and of course, young Bensimon and Thalia. We look forward to fully embracing the campaign tent lifestyle this summer. The long, warm days will be wiled away, reading and napping, in this perfect construct for the ultimate loafer. Life in tents is truly better.