When I was a kid, I spent my summers with my brother and sister at my grandparents’ house in Wisconsin. They live in a town of about 700 people just a few hours north of Chicago. At the time the town had no stoplights, and the only nearby place to buy groceries also happened to be the town gas station. We spent the entire summer outside. Building forts, catching frogs and grasshoppers, fishing, exploring. We were free to wander the small town at will, just had to report back in time for dinner. We entertained ourselves, and had a blast. So, it would be a gross under estimation to say that I have a fondness for rural Wisconsin.
I first learned about Camp Wandawega in late 2010 from a photographer I work with at Nod. His good friend, Tereasa Surratt owns the camp. He told me it was located in Elkhorn, WI, just north of the Illinois border. And that Tereasa, along with her husband, had bought the old boy scout camp and turned it into an incredible homage to all things vintage Americana. Wisconsin + Vintage Americana! I fell in love with the camp before ever stepping foot on its property.
I had the opportunity to visit the camp earlier this year with my daughter to see if there was potential to shoot there in the future. Here are some pics of our visit.
My daughter, Lottie, certainly was a happy camper. Who wouldn’t be in this fabulous chair reupholstered in a vintage fisherman sweater?!
Each room in the old hotel is decorated with a “theme.” I love the old swimsuits that adorn one wall. And, I’m a sucker for cuckoo clocks. Tereasa took spare parts to make these and painted them in shades of blue and green. The effect is a modern take on this classic clock.
Well, of course they would have a camp woody Wagoneer! And in every nook and cranny there are thermoses, tins, baskets and blankets just oozing with the most incredible plaids and stripes.
The tree house was built by Tereasa and her friends. It’s the most dreamy, yet campy space I’ve ever visited. I wanted to move in.
The camp is situated on a quiet lake, with several small cabins and plenty of north woods activities to keep visitors busy. But, also plenty of views to just sit back and enjoy.
So when our merchandising department showed me the inspiration behind the American Kitsch story in our new fall collection, I knew Wandawega would be the perfect backdrop for the photo shoot. Once we arrived at Camp Wandawega, none of us ever wanted to leave. So, we decided to hang out for a week and photograph a bunch of rooms to bring you a little of the joy from camp. Here’s what we came up with, hope you enjoy it!
Our Faculty Mixer Bedding Collection was inspired by leather bound books and classic men’s clothing. So the lodge with the huge stone fireplace seemed the perfect choice to show this rich group of products.
This was actually photographed in Tereasa’s daughter’s nursery. Tereasa created the paint-by-number mural by projecting a vintage art piece onto the wall and hand painting it…stay tuned for a blog how-to on this one. I love the simplicity of the bedding paired with the classic rocker and over-the-top old-school paint-by-number.
Our Petite Chateau Bedding was inspired by classic French country design. I love how its rich linen and embroidered textures are offset by the distressed environment of this old porch. While it’s a bit on the sophisticated side, I think it would work nicely into a girl’s room by adding just a few whimsical touches, like the iron bistro chair.
We photographed the First Impressionist Bedding on the platform of the tree house at dusk. While not a real room, we hoped to play off the dreamy, evening quality of the painterly floral bedding set. You could re-create the mood of this look by adding some twinkle lights to a wall in your daughter’s room to achieve that dreamy glow.
We headed inside the tree house to shoot this playroom in the loft. The mix of old and new creates a really warm and playful environment.
And camp doesn’t necessarily equal kitsch. We were able to create this elegant look in one of the cabins that had an all white interior and lovely french doors that opened to a spectacular view of the lake. So, when can I move in?
Last, but certainly not least, is the epitome of our American Kitsch story. This is the real reason to travel to Wandawega. From the mounted fish to the snowshoe on the wall, this is pure camp. I love the mix of glossy metals and rustic wood.
While you may never camp-up your kid’s room to this extreme, we hope we’ve inspired you to bring a little summer vacation into your home. After all, why not be as happy as a kid in the dirt all year round?
To learn more about Camp Wandawega visit their website at www.wandawega.com
By Danielle Kurtz
Danielle is the Creative Director at Nod and an over-protective mother of two. She’s also completely obsessed with Pinterest, Twitter and her Kindle, but not necessarily in that order. Danielle loves to craft, sew and crochet, but all her supplies have a layer of dust on them about 5-years-thick, wonder if it's just a coincidence that her oldest kiddo is 5 years old?