As snowflakes fall atop brilliantly colored aspens and chilled air carries the sweet smell of decaying leaves and a distant wood-burning fire, we yearn for a place of sanctuary to help steel ourselves for the coming of darker days.Residents of the Vail Valley spend a little more time outdoors in the colder months than the rest of the country, all the more reason to make our homes cozy to come home to after a day of skiing in the back bowls or snowshoeing through pine forests.As we’re busy with seasonal rituals such as cleaning the chimney, stockpiling firewood, mending a drafty window or putting one last coat of stain on the house until spring, small changes inside the home can go a long way in balancing our energy that shifts along with the seasons. Flower powerWhether it’s a big beautiful bounty of silk poinsettias high on a shelf or a vivid display of fresh yellow chrysanthemum and orange lilies, floral accents help punctuate the season with splashes of color. Gail Cordova, co-owner of Petals of Provence, a florist shop in Edwards, suggests taking inspiration straight out of nature when it comes to autumn floral arrangements.”Whether it’s yourself or your guests, people are responsive to things that are natural to the season,” she says. “Everybody’s always anxious for the season to come, so you play to that.”When selecting flowers, anything from red to orange to gold can be used. Gerberas, roses, mums, dahlias and sunflowers are all stunning this time of year.For a fresh fall look, Cordova says, place pomegranates, lemons, oranges or key limes in the water that the arrangement is sitting.Another one of her creative ideas is to add texture to a fall bouquet by cutting a pomegranate or an artichoke in half so you can see the innards of the fruit and impale it on a stick to accompany the flowers. Berry branches, such as viburnum or brazilia, wheat and liquidambar, with a leaf similar to the Maple leaf, also make fabulous additions to reflect the season’s mood.
As winter arrives, replace the fruiting branches with cranberries or pyracantha berries.Other natural offerings such as a wreath on a mantle, a collection of pinecones held in a large, low basket, even a simple bundle of apples in a wooden bowl can add delight to a room. Linens and thingsJust as the landscape outside nestles under a warm blanket of fallen aspen leaves, we seek spaces where we can nestle inside as the days grow shorter. Colder months also call for richer textures and layers, not only to provide comfort from unexpected chills but for satisfying visual weight.”I like to change out some throw pillows to warm up my condo for the fall,” says Dana Hugo of Worth Interiors in Avon. “I have linen throw pillows for the spring and summer, and then change them to some nice Ralph Lauren cable knit pillows in the fall.”As you add layers, seize the opportunity to add deeply burnished hues. “As we start losing the color outside, it’s nice to bring the color inside,” says Kathy Peplinski, owner of P Furniture in Eagle-Vail. With sunlight less direct in the fall and winter months and more diffuse, stick to a subdued palette of darker shades like deep chocolate brown, which Peplinksi says is the new black, earth tones like cinnamon, pumpkin and beet red, as well as lavish golds and coppers. Don’t neglect the sanctuary inside the bedroom. Who doesn’t cherish the occasional chilly morning spent lingering in bed reading or watching television sipping tea?”The last thing I like to do is change my bedding from lighter linen and cotton fabrics, to warmer quilts with down duvets in the winter,” Hugo says.
For an extra nesting place for guests or yearlong residents to rest and relax during chillier months, pile downy pillows, fluffy comforters and chenille or faux fur throws on a chair or sofa in a library corner or a loft space. For the bathroom, set out slippers and a flannel bathrobe by the tub. Add mats and rugs on stone surfaces to provide even more comfort between your feet and the floor.Illumination and candles”As the weather gets colder and the days darker, we want to get warmer. The first way to do that is to add light, be it a table lamp, floor lamp or candle light,” Peplinski says.Add a lamp to a reading or working area where you may not need the extra light on summer evenings. Replace high wattage bulbs with bulbs with a softer glow or try an oil lamp or vintage-style lantern for a sentimental feel. For an intimate, natural glow place candles on mantels, coffee tables or in the entryway or place tall votives in juice glasses on a colorful runner on the dining room table.”I like to change out my candles to warmer earth tones in the fall, as opposed to the brighter citrus colors I use in the spring and summer,” Hugo says.Scented candles double as light sources and powerful reminders of what the season will bring.Pier 1 Imports in Avon carries seasonal scents such as cranberry citrus tannenbaum, spice cake, pumpkin bread and sugared pecan. You can event mix scents to customize. Manager Jane Hoffman suggests blending island orchard and buttercream.”It reminds you of when you’re a child and your mom’s baking cookies,” she says. “But don’t mix a spicy scent like Zanzibar clove with a sweet scent. Stick with sweet and sweet.”
Just remember to remove scented candles from the dining area while eating so as not to interfere with the food.To add seasonal flare to a plain candle, Hoffman says, wrap berry garland or a wreath around its base, or put pine cone potpourri in the base of a glass candle holder. “It just lifts you up a little bit,” she says.There are endless ways to add warmth and spirit to your home in the colder months. Get creative. Use your imagination. Become inspired by what’s truly meaningful to you.Staff Writer Laura A. Ball can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 619, or firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail, Colorado
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