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Monthly Archives: January 2014

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Ways to Warm Your Home for Winter

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With the cold comes short days and darkness here in the Northeast!  As the outdoors become more monochromatic, add color, pattern and texture to your interiors to compensate.    

This is the time to warm and brighten your interiors.  Add warming and bright colors and analyze your lighting.  What is needed to add and enhance?  Add layers, texture, to the fabrics within each room, just like  when you dress for the cold.  Check your home for energy efficiency.  Start with the portals, take a look at your window treatments, are they keeping the cold out and the warmth in?  What about your doors? Are your hallways acting as wind tunnels?  

Windows: 

Window treatments were first designed to keep drafts out.  Window, drapes and shutters and shades can really help to keep the cold out.  

Drapes that are functional, can cover a drafty window and can be made with a thermal interlining.  You can choose any fabric to face the room, making drapes the most versatile treatment, in terms of decorating. 

Shutters traditionally made of wood cannot compete with the newly fabricated shutters made of a composite material instead of wood.  They are lightweight and are better than wood at blocking out the cold.  Made by Hunter Douglas they are called Hybrid Shutters. 

Shades are the more affordable choice.  Here are some window shades from Hunter Douglas that are really good at insulating.  The Duette Architella, Opaque, Honeycomb shades.  They look like ordinary pleated shades but are designed with an inner lining to insulate.  The Hunter Douglas Block Out shades have a foil lining that insulates as well.  

When selecting the Block Out shades understand they will do what their name implies, they do not let any light penetrate!  

Floors: Rugs make a room cozy especially plush, pile rugs.  Pile throw and area rugs add warmth and can be seasonal because you can pick them up and pack them away in the summer. For a great variety of colorful, affordable wool hooked and pile rugs take a look at Company C, Garnet Hill and Dash and Albert.  If your floors are drafty but you don’t have the budget for plush, pull out the Flor catalog and put down the connecting squares to whatever size you want to create.  This alternative option is affordable and versatile, and at the end of the season you can pick them up and store!  A great product line.   

Furniture:

The wing chair and the upholstered bed were designed, honed, to deal with life in a drafty manor house!  They still work! Take a look at the “over the top” wing chair from Restoration Hardware, the New Versailles Upholstered Chair.  

Upholstered walls or an upholstered headboards is one of the most luxurious ways to warm a bedroom.  Upholstered walls give you the most cush but are usually custom and can be costly but there are many upholstered headboards available by catalog.  Take a look at Serena and Lily and William Sonoma Home.  

Bedding:  Flannel sheets and wool blankets with a Matelasse cotton spread is the Northeast standard!  But if you have any issues with dampness get an electric blanket.  It dries out the bedding and warms the mattress before you even get into your bed.  Down and feather comforters are the most luxurious.  Amazingly light and incredibly warm. Silk comforters are also a wonderful high end solution and great for those who can’t use down.  The Garnet Hill catalog is a great source for Down and Feather comforters and  flannel sheets.  While searching the site take a look at the Eileen Fisher Home for Garnet Hill for has the silk comforters.  

Thinking about specific areas of the home:

Kitchens:   Kitchens can be icy in the winter months.  Look for ways to warm these rooms.  Rugs on the floor, seat cushions on the chairs can help a lot.  A table cloth can warm up the look and feel of a table. To offset the hard elements in kitchens, appliances, countertops, tile, add organic elements, such as a wood dish rack, wooden bowls and utensils. Use warm colors!  Copper pots!  If you are in the market for a non-pile rug, take a look at Flor.   

Home office: It’s not that I spend so much more time at my desk in the winter, but it feels like I do, due to the short days.  Home offices need to be more comfortable in winter.  Better lighting, more comfortable desk chair, music, more visuals around to stimulate and give you a more expansive view on the world!  Plants, how about a beautiful orchid?  It’s an elegant plant that flowers for months at a time. We all cocoon a bit during the winter and providing more sensorial stimulus in the office is a must. 

Hallways:  Hallways can act like wind tunnels, add a rug, consider adding an interior drape to make a door where none exists to stop the drafts.  I often use dramatic, bold color in foyers and hallways to make a first impression, make a statement, create some drama.  It’s easy to do in a hallway since foyers and hallways, are pass through areas, you don’t have to sit with a really strong color.  Track lighting is a very efficient way to  brighten a narrow hallway and can give a boring hallway a gallery like feel.  If your photos, prints or other artwork have a lot of white in them, they can provide dramatic contrast to a bold or dark color on the walls!  The walls end up acting like a border to the artwork.  A clever way to frame the artwork without spending a lot of money!  

The best way to compete with the cold is to get out in it and move!  Enjoy the season!   

Warmest of Wishes, Patti O