Updating your home style for the winter months

Winter exterior

A new season is upon us and with it comes the challenge of transforming the home. For a season with a reputation for being boring, winter is often viewed as a tricky month to bring into the home. The blues & greys usually associated with winter are cold and uninviting, but it is possible to emulate the warmth and cosiness and sparkle and glamour of winter. Here are two easy to do themes that are guaranteed to bring a touch of winter beauty and character into your home this Christmas without leaving you shivering.

Living room mantlepiece decorated for wintercredit

Winter wonderland

This winter theme is for those looking to inject a touch of class, sophistication and glamour into your home. It’s all about silver colours and sparkle, emulating the sparkle of the frost and the snow and capturing the sparkling beauty of the frosty winter months (not the cold, though!).

  1. The living room

Turn your living room into a winter wonderland by swapping your centre light for a beautiful chandelier. Get some gorgeous sparkly candle holders, light some scented candles and watch the light dance off the crystals. Silver scatter cushions with plenty of sparkles are great for creating a cosy, winter-themed sofa. Instead of bright lights this winter, use candles and lamps to create warmth.

  1. The bedroom

Snuggle into your very own winter wonderland. Swap drab boring furniture for beautiful mirrored furniture. There’s plenty of different styles to choose from – plain glass, or smoky coloured, depending on your style. Swap your bedspread for something glittering and beautiful. You don’t have to stick silvers and greys either; rich purples and royal reds also ooze winter sophistication. There are plenty of places to find bedspreads, including JD Williams.

Winter log cabin

Rustic log cabin

If you’d prefer a more home-made, cosy winter feel, the log-cabin theme is the one for you. It’s all about rustic colours, mismatched furniture, dim lights and rustic fashion.

  1. The living room

Swap heavy lights for lamps and candles to create a cosy, warm, rustic hue this winter. Snuggle up on a sofa that’s covered in comfy scatter cushions. There are plenty available this season in reds, greens and oranges – all with beautiful patchwork patterns or reindeer images. Nature themes are great for this time of year. The more handmade, the better. Drape a patchwork blanket over the sofa, ready to grab and snuggle underneath on those cold nights. Drape some multi-coloured lights across door frames and windowsills to capture the festivities of the season and add some much-needed colour and warmth to what would otherwise be a drab and cold winter.

  1. The bedroom

Carry on the theme of mismatched and rustic style into the bedroom by investing in a patchwork quilt, knitted throw and heavy curtains to block out the cold air. The best colours for the bedroom to instil warmth this season are reds and oranges. Candles and lamps create a beautifully warm and inviting glow. Christmas decorations are usually reserved for downstairs, but a couple of carefully draped strings of fairy lights will set off any bedroom. Swap modern furniture for antique pine to really create the feeling of a log cabin.

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Get their Look: Modern rustic living room

Modern rustic living room

Interior decoration is all about achieving balance within a space, something that this modern rustic living room has perfected.

The backdrop of brilliant white walls with bare wood floor, ceiling and rafters act as the foundation of the room. This light coloured wood is picked up again in the handrails, skirting boards, door frame, Ercol nest of tables and log pile.

The Welsh wool tapestry cushions, playful moose throw and Bokhara rug soften the hard surfaces and provides comfort and colour.

The rustic feel is counterbalanced with touches of modernism via the sleek wood-burning stove and orange & stainless steel angled floor lamp.

  1. Westfire Uniq 15 DEFRA approved wood burning stove
  2. Anglepoise type 1228 floor lamp, orange
  3. Richmond armchair, indigo
  4. Scandinavian pure new wool throw
  5. Ercol Originals nest of tables
  6. Melin Tregwynt knot garden cushion
  7. Welsh wool tapestry cushions
  8. Bokhara rug in red

Get their Look: Modern rustic living room | H is for Home

Pick of the Pads: Country Contemporary

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'Country Contemporary' article in the October 2014 issue of Country Living Magazine

We’ve chosen the wonderful Italian home of Marco & Francesca Constanzi for this month’s Pick of the Pads.

cover of the October 2014 issue of Country Living Magazine

It’s featured in the October 2014 edition of Country Living magazine.

stone patio

It’s a renovated lamia, a traditional stone-built building originally constructed to provide shelter for livestock. The couple have a wonderful tale to tell when it comes to finding the property. They were driving through the beautiful countryside of the Puglia region looking for the perfect retreat when they crashed (literally) into a local farmer – well, he crashed into them more accurately. They got chatting (as you do when you crash into someone) and he offered to show them properties that were for sale in the local area – all those hidden gems. Whilst they were looking, they came across the run down lamia – how about that for fate, destiny, divine intervention?

white-washed mezzanine floor

It was the perfect opportunity – a beautiful structure set in a truly idyllic location amongst the olive groves.

white-washed bedroom with star-shaped light fixture abouve the bed

We think you’ll agree that they’ve done a stunning restoration – Marco being an architect helps!! They reduced the thickness of the walls which were originally a metre wide – this provided enough space for one large central room with mezzanine, a bathroom and a kitchen. Obviously, with the climate of southern Italy to enjoy, there’s also the option of lots of al fresco living too.

stone patio

It’s stunning in its pared back simplicity, the beauty & integrity of the building shines through – the muted, natural colours are gorgeous – and the restraint shown by Marco & Francesco is amazing; the spaces being simply decorated with country furniture, vintage rustic finds & foraged keepsakes…

mosaic image with candle-lit rooms

…a few cushions & textiles here and there to soften the hard edges – a simple log fire, candles or fairy lights to warm it up.

rustic wooden kitchen countertop

The renovation has been sensitive to the original building, yet enhanced it – creating something magical. We just love it!! And of course, we’ll be heading off to the Lake District sometime soon to see if we can crash into a local farmer!

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Pick of the Pads: Past Perfect

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White house exterior in Country Living magazine June 2014

It didn’t take much thought for our choice for Pick of the Pads this month.

Country Living June 2014 magazine cover

We’re already quite familiar with this gorgeous Welsh cottage, Bryn Eglur, owned & renovated by Dorian Bowen – and when it appeared in this month’s Country Living Magazine we just had to share it with you.

'Past Perfect' article title page from Country Living magazine June 2014

For Justin in particular, it’s a real favourite house from years of scouring interiors magazines.

'Antique dresser in Country Living magazine June 2014

The word character was probably invented for it!

'Wooden box bed in Country Living magazine June 2014

It’s cosy & comfortable with perfect retreats to eat, sleep or read.

'Antique settle in Country Living magazine June 2014

It’s packed full of gorgeous country antiques too. An oak dresser filled with pottery & pewter, spindle back chairs, settles and spoon racks.

'Cast iron range in Country Living magazine June 2014

Spaces are softened with textiles & fresh flowers.

'Rustic stairs in Country Living magazine June 2014

Perfect, photogenic corners everywhere you look!

'Grandfather clock in Country Living magazine June 2014

It’s full of traditional charm, but there’s also no sense of it being in a museum with modern facilities such as this gorgeous kitchen.

'Whitewashed kitchen in Country Living magazine June 2014

And the best thing is… if you love it as much as we do, you can stay there!! Yes, it’s a holiday let! And for those fellow dog owners out there – your treasured pooches are welcome too.

'Whitewashed bathroom in Country Living magazine June 2014

It’s one of those cottages that offers a good location to explore the area, but also provides a gorgeous home to relish every hour you spend relaxing indoors. Perfect indeed!

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Bookmarks: The Way We Live in the Country

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cover of "The Way We Live In the Country" by Stafford Cliff & Gilles de Chabaneix

It’s been a real pleasure reviewing this book – it’s right up our street – or right up our country lane as the case may be!

page showing a simple country chair from "The Way We Live In the Country" by Stafford Cliff & Gilles de Chabaneix

This is the second review we’ve written in the The Way We Live… series, the first being The Way We Live With the Things We Love.

page showing dining table & chairs in front of an open fire from "The Way We Live In the Country" by Stafford Cliff & Gilles de Chabaneix

As the title suggests, this one is concerned with all things rustic & rural…

double page spread showing different tabletops from "The Way We Live In the Country" by Stafford Cliff & Gilles de Chabaneix

…the landscape, the lifestyle, the buildings & their interiors.

inside front cover of "The Way We Live In the Country" by Stafford Cliff & Gilles de Chabaneix

Once again, there’s a wonderful introduction by author Stafford Cliff.

page showing eight different country landscape views throughout the seasons from "The Way We Live In the Country" by Stafford Cliff & Gilles de Chabaneix

As with all good introductions, it not only gives a  broad overview of the subject. It also creates atmosphere and whets the appetite for the pages that follow.

page showing antique racks from "The Way We Live In the Country" by Stafford Cliff & Gilles de Chabaneix

He begins with this magical image:

“Many years ago, long before mobile phones or sat-nav, I went to visit a friend who lived in central France. As the light began to fade, my companions and I found ourselves driving along narrow roads in open farmland with our map and our directions running out. Suddenly up ahead we noticed a narrow track leading through fields to a distant farmhouse. We knew that we had arrived at the right place because every few feet along both sides of this road my friend had placed old jam jars containing little flickering candles. The effect was heart-stopping and memorable, and it said ‘Welcome’ in a way no words ever could. The scene comes to mind again now, because it distils the special qualities of living in the country, or visiting those who do.”

page showing candlelit courtyard from "The Way We Live In the Country" by Stafford Cliff & Gilles de Chabaneix

The book comprises five main chapters – Country Landscapes, The House in the Country, Traditional Homes, Contemporary Homes and Country Details.

page showing an antique chair in front of an open fire from "The Way We Live In the Country" by Stafford Cliff & Gilles de Chabaneix

It’s great to see traditional & contemporary homes in the same book – the different interpretations of country living.

double page spread showing whitewashed dining table with metal bistro-type chairs from "The Way We Live In the Country" by Stafford Cliff & Gilles de Chabaneix

The blend of the two is just our kind of look – mixing antique country furniture with vintage ceramics & textiles from the 1950s & 60s.

page featuring different windows with deep sills from "The Way We Live In the Country" by Stafford Cliff & Gilles de Chabaneix

A tool used throughout the book is page spreads of images comparing similar house details in different parts of the world.

page showing detail of wooden chair backs from "The Way We Live In the Country" by Stafford Cliff & Gilles de Chabaneix

It’s perfect for a quick flick through, but also stands up to deeper scrutiny.

coffer and antique pottery urns at the bottom of a stairway from "The Way We Live In the Country" by Stafford Cliff & Gilles de Chabaneix

The gorgeous photographs taken by the late Gilles De Chabaneix are accompanied by insightful captions – adding detail & context.

large wooden table with runner from "The Way We Live In the Country" by Stafford Cliff & Gilles de Chabaneix

We have a handful of books that we gravitate towards – this one has joined their ranks.

double page spread showing an open fire with oatcakes drying above and a rustic, antique cast iron stove from "The Way We Live In the Country" by Stafford Cliff & Gilles de Chabaneix

This is a great book for providing interior decoration inspiration.

attic bedroom with exposed rafters from "The Way We Live In the Country" by Stafford Cliff & Gilles de Chabaneix

The mood of the subject simply washes over you. It’s very odd, but you almost sigh with relaxation – a sense of well-being & calm descending as you flick through the wonderful landscapes & houses.

page showing six different rustic kitchens from "The Way We Live In the Country" by Stafford Cliff & Gilles de Chabaneix

There’s only one question left to answer – Do we recommend the book?

rustic hand basin with recess above from "The Way We Live In the Country" by Stafford Cliff & Gilles de Chabaneix

antique wooden table & chairs with yellow pottery bowl in the foreground from "The Way We Live In the Country" by Stafford Cliff & Gilles de Chabaneix

Well it’s probably quite obvious by now – if you share our love of country living or country influenced interiors, then this is a must have book.

antique Winsdor chair in a room in the eaves from "The Way We Live In the Country" by Stafford Cliff & Gilles de Chabaneix

vintage blue & white bistro chairs on a patio from "The Way We Live In the Country" by Stafford Cliff & Gilles de Chabaneix

We’re sure you’ll revisit it over & over again.

rustic table & chairs under a low, vaulted brick ceiling from "The Way We Live In the Country" by Stafford Cliff & Gilles de Chabaneix

double page spread showing an old stone flagged floor with sunlight streaming through from "The Way We Live In the Country" by Stafford Cliff & Gilles de Chabaneix

The Way We Live in the Country is available from the publishers, Thames & Hudson, Hive and also from the H is for Home UK & US aStores.

double page spread showing an antique chairs & set table with lit candles at dusk outside a rustic whitewashed building from "The Way We Live In the Country" by Stafford Cliff & Gilles de Chabaneix

photo of an old man holding a large pumpkin from "The Way We Live In the Country" by Stafford Cliff & Gilles de Chabaneix with vintage Briglin mug and antique metal candleholder

[Many thanks to Thames & Hudson for providing this review copy]