“I always had this romantic idea of sleeping in a tepee,” said Ms. Cook, 33, who lives on the island from May through October (she runs her company, Deliciously Sorted, from London in the winter) and has furnished the room with a double bed, Mexican votive candles and a Persian rug. “But mainly, it was a really practical way to create another room.”
Ms. Cook is one of a small but growing number of residents here who have embraced the tepee as an appealing alternative to expensive home additions. On an island still heavily influenced by the countercultural ethos and grab-bag multiculturalism of the backpackers who flocked here in the ’60s, tepees strike many as an appropriately down-to-earth and soulful place to crash for the night.
In fact, the original plains tepee had no religious or ceremonial significance, and this kind of decorating amounts to merely “glamorizing the past,” said Linda A. Holley, the author of “Tipis, Tepees, Teepees,” a guide to the history of tepees published by Gibbs Smith earlier this year. “It’s a myth that really isn’t there that a lot of people believe in anyway,” she said.
Others don’t even try for authenticity, blithely mixing furnishings from any number of cultures, as long as they seem suitably primitive. Ursula Erasmus, a German businesswoman who gave up her career as an importer of accessories from Asia last year because she “was sick of the stress of too many picky clients,” and retired to Ibiza, decorated her 23-foot tepee with dozens of cow- and goat-hide floor coverings bought on eBay and a Balinese day bed, along with Native American drums and instruments.