LEAVES AND TEMPERATURES ARE FALLING FAST here up north. It’s time to get into a nesting frame of mind, so we’re sharing the practical luxuries we can’t (won’t) live without in the winter months. Think of it as a friendly nudge to get your winter decor provisions in order.
AROMATIC CEDAR CHESTS. Cedar-lined storage chests, popular for both their beauty and practicality, were in their heyday in the 20th Century until a sharp decline after the 1960s. Earlier period waterfall style chests, often with intricate wood inlays or carving, gave way to mid-century modern designs. The uncluttered lines of the latter never compromised storage prowess, but added features like discreet bottom drawers and cantilevered shelves. Many modern designs had flat tops – sometimes upholstered – that made them perfect as benches. From petite Lane Princess chests to taller configurations from makers like Cavalier, every one of them was fortified with cedar interiors to ward off moths and leave the contents smelling like an evergreen paradise.
VERSATILE SERVING CARTS. The final months of the year are packed with major holidays. Indoor entertaining is ascendant and a bar cart or cabinet is an invaluable co-host when it comes to entertaining in style. Whether you use it to serve cocktails, snacks or hot beverages, a server helps you refresh a lively bunch while keeping provisions under control. Cabinet style dry bars offer extra storage that can be concealed when not in use. We like a server – open or closed – on casters so we can roll the refreshments to wherever the guests gather.
FANCY GLASSWARE. If you’re going all in with a serving cart, why not stock it with showy vintage glassware. (That’s a declaration, not a question.) Mid-century glassware makers like Fred Press, Culver, Georges Briard and Libbey pulled out the stops when it came to designs. Many were adorned with real gold leaf, and patterns ranged from whimsical to geometric to simple and classic. Colored and textured glassware was abundant, so there were options to fit every taste. And don’t forget bar accessories, like good decanters, serving trays and other ephemera to dress up the party experience.
INVITING COFFEE & TEA SERVICE. Some like it hot, especially coffee, tea and hot chocolate in the chilly – or downright cold – months. So pick your pour and enjoy it at an elevated level with a vintage stoneware tea set, maybe from Korea or Japan. A stainless steel serving pot with a modernist design. An art pottery piece that’s equal parts form and function. We favor pieces and sets created for everyday use, from a morning cuppa to a full on tea ceremony.
SPOT-ON LIGHTING. We live in the more northern reaches of the Northern hemisphere, so the amount of daylight decreases with alarming speed for us as winter settles in. And while ample and well-placed indoor lighting is important any time, it fulfills a greater need in the darker months. Lighting requirements are diverse – general, task, mood, security, etc. – and there are lamps and fixtures for each function. But lighting is also a decor decision, so pick shapes, colors, materials and sizes that harmonize with other room elements.
CAN DO CANDLEHOLDERS. Candles aren’t just another form of lighting. They’re mood-makers. Holiday table essentials. Romantic scene-setters. Yet a candle is merely a stick, post or puck without the ideal candleholder. There are countless mid-century and Scandinavian design options, from shimmering Finnish glass to sleekly sculpted Danish teak. American makers like Blenko and Viking Glass add color and varied shapes. Then there are cast iron spiders by Dansk holding ultra-slender tapers. Choose the style and type that best fits the placement, and always use candles responsibly.
COZY THROW BLANKETS. What defines cozy for you? Are you curled up in a chair or on the sofa binge watching a favorite series or movies? Maybe reading a book or just gazing into the dancing flames in a fireplace. No matter how relaxed you are, nothing enhances comfort like a good throw. We favor vintage wool from Scotland, Ireland and England. Minnesota’s own Faribo is renowned for its timeless plaids and color-blocked patterns. For those averse to the itch of wool, there are plenty of cotton and acrylic options available.
So forget about the dicey driving conditions. Snow shoveling. Wet socks. Layer upon layer of winter wear. Once you’re inside, and with the right provisions, winter isn’t just tolerable. It’s a genuine pleasure.