By Caitlin Kelly
And now we’ve lost another hour of sunlight…
I really hate short, dark days, but I do love a cosy home, as regular readers know.
Here are a few ways to ease into the long, dark winter:
Bake something yummy!
I love to bake, and this sour-cream coffeecake was dead easy and sooo good; from the Silver Palate Cookbook. I do love this recipe for Morning Glory muffins, studded with raisins, walnuts, carrot, coconut and more. Be sure to stock your pantry with fresh flours, spices, sugars and a few muffin tins, bundt pan and other tools so nothing can deter you.
Snuggle under a throw
By 4 or 5pm I am so ready for a nap, whether on our sofa or bed, and having a lovely throw makes it tempting. We bought this one at one of my favorite shops, BHV Marais in Paris, on sale, but there are so many options out there, whether faux fur, wool, thick cotton or (!) cashmere. This Irish website has lots of gorgeous stuff, like this plaid throw in soft jewel colors.
This is ours, a pale teal.
Set a beautiful table
Never one to use paper plates or napkins, I collect tableware everywhere — this striped cloth was found in a small Ontario town, the green plates on sale in Montreal, the black glasses in Toronto and the Indian print napkins in Vancouver. The heavy silver forks were a steal in a Dublin flea market.
Few activities make me happier than enjoying a good meal in lovely surroundings.
Is your home well-lit?
Our living room lamps are three-way bulbs and our kitchen, dining room and bathroom lights all on dimmers. I hate overhead lighting as it’s usually harsh, unflattering and inefficient; the most attractive rooms have well-chosen, complementary multiple light sources.
From Elle Decor:
A common misconception is that you need to light the whole room. Try instead to incorporate multiple points of light. “The best-lit rooms have layers of light that blend well together,” says architect and designer David Rockwell. “Choose your light source, and then determine how to diffuse it.” The right lampshade can make all the difference. Rockwell suggests bringing your low-wattage bulb to the store to try it with different shades.
If you can splurge, Circa Lighting has a huge selection of great lamps. My favorite, always, is the classic black Tizio — it even starred in the HBO hit series Succession, as a desk lamp for billionaire Logan Roy. I bought mine in the 1980s and still love it.
Even a thrift-store lamp base can be painted or dressed up with a fresh shade. I love a colored pleated fabric shade like these ones from UK maker Fermoie.
A bare floor is efficient and easy to clean, but something soft and colorful indoors is welcome in months when nature offers us only bare trees and gardens. I step onto a small sheepskin rug bedside, and our living room rug was one I bought decades ago for $100, a tribal wool weave. Consignment shops can offer decent bargains, and I’m partial to the wide selection at Dash & Albert, named for the creator’s two dogs.
No bare windows
Bare black glass at night is chilly! Even inexpensive bamboo blinds will add color and texture while thick well-lined curtains, weighted at the bottom ideally, add color, soundproofing and cut drafts. There are so many places to buy them ready-made, like Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel and Anthropologie — which is offering these fab Moroccan-look blue and white pair.
Avoid flimsy linen or sheers. For winter, think cocooning.
Fresh flowers and plants
These are essentials. I have floral frogs (glass and metal stem holders), Oasis (floral foam) and moss to make arrangements look polished.
Here’s a recent one.