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Gently Green

Cold Comfort

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When the frost on the pumpkin has long since turned to ice, it’s time to consider turning up the heat at home. It’s not always wise–economically or environmentally–to crank up the thermostat, so here are ten heart and hearth warming ways to make winter your favorite season:

Bring Some Springtime Inside

 Flowers will always give a room a graceful breath of fresh air, either when they’re cut and delivered from the greenhouse…

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…or when you choose floral print fabrics to brighten up a drab winter vista.

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Dress Your Table in Crystal, Silver and Candlelight 

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Low candles work best for sociable dinners, so a cluster of crystal votive candles are perfect for adding light but allowing eyes to meet across the table. The sparkle of crystal combined with firelight is irresistible at a winter dinner.

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Crystal votives etched with compass rose available at Dujardin Home. 

 

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Let the Winter Sunshine In

The light slanting in through the window on a quiet winter afternoon can be beautiful.

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And when you take a moment to look out your window, you never know who may be looking back at you.

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Pick a Favorite Place for a Cup of Tea

 Your bedroom is the perfect spot to greet a cold morning with a pot of tea or a cup of coffee. The day gets off to a brilliant start when you share it with someone you love.

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Embrace Winter White

 It’s always refreshing to start your day with a brisk walk outdoors, especially when you can head down to the snowy beach.

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Then head for home and continue the soothing color theme indoors. A white sofa, white flowers and a dash of blue in accents such as throw pillows will remind you of the gentle drifts of snow and the white capped waves.

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Be a Bookworm:

Most of us have a pile of books we’ve been meaning to get to, or magazines, or perhaps you’ve set aside needlework for a rainy day. When the thermometer registers “I don’t want to go outside in this weather!” it’s time to curl up with the things you’ve been promising yourself to do.

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Light a Fire

There’s nothing like a crackling fire to make you glad you live in a cold climate, or at least appreciate the smell of burning wood.

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Wrap Up

Warm throws were made for wintertime. Of course they add a soft visual touch to the foot of a bed or the side of the sofa, but it only takes a little draft to make you reach for the woolen comfort folded at arm’s length. My favorites are the baby alpaca throws we carry in my shop at Dujardin Home; I chose them because baby alpaca is the warmest fiber on earth.

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Try a Spoonful of Sugar

It’s just the medicine to help you endure the cold. Save the calories, though, and set time aside to browse through your treasured collections, ideally things that connect you to your heritage, the land around you, or some special part of your personality. 

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If you have a passion like I do, for antique sailor whirligigs or the history of whaling, the long hours spent indoors this winter gives you the opportunity to appreciate your keepsakes all over again.
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Then bundle up and head out for a day trip and go antiquing with your friends, stopping at a quaint cafe for a bowl of hot soup and homemade bread. (See Please Join Me for a look at New York’s Winter Antiques Show!)

End your day with a cup of hot cocoa

 There’s no better time to indulge.

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Please Join Me

The Winter Antiques Show

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It’s no secret that I love antiques. Old furniture and objets d’art hold the secrets of our past, as well as reverence for our future: they are the ultimate in green! By reusing and respecting heirloom furniture, china, jewelry, paintings and ephemera, we help to preserve antiquity and the earth.

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That’s why one of my favorite destinations is an antiques show, where the number of exhibitors and antique experts gathered together under one roof offers a fabulous opportunity to browse, learn and buy. I love collections. A group of similar items, whether antique scrimshaw or Chinese Export porcelain can add a conversational sizzle to any room. I often begin a collection for my clients when I select something special to accessorize a space; they often delight me (and themselves) by falling in love with the fun pursuit of other examples of their treasure.

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From now through February 1st, you can enjoy some of the world’s finest antiques and meet some of the most respected antique experts and dealers in New York City at the Winter Antiques Show. Held at the Park Avenue Armory, at 67th Street and Park Avenue, a $25 admission fee brings you face to face with 73 exceptional exhibitors. One third of them are specialists in Americana; the rest feature English, European and Asian fine and decorative arts.

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It’s for a good cause, too: the show is a fundraiser for East Side House Settlement, a community resource in the South Bronx, offering education and technology as gateways out of poverty. Friday, January 30th from 5:30 to 8:00 pm. is Expert Eye Evening, when exhibitors will share tips on collecting works from antiquity to Midcentury modern while you enjoy wine tastings and discussion.

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If you go, please be sure to visit with Peter Pap, of Peter Pap Oriental Rugs. Peter has been dealing in oriental rugs for more than 35 years, and is recognized internationally as a foremost authority on antique oriental rugs, carpets, and tribal weavings. His website offers a section called Learn, which offers information on the history of rugs, how to choose a rug, and more. There’s nothing like learning from an expert!

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What I Love

Every Room Has a Beginning

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Have you ever walked into a room and wondered where to begin? Interior designers face this question all the time. There’s always a starting point, a moment of inspiration. It may be the window with the stunning view and the way the sunlight slants into the room, or a family heirloom or painting that helps define colors and style.

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In this case, the entire house we’d first designed and completed in 1995 was picked up and moved across Nantucket Island. Erosion on Sconset Bluff had caused the home to be moved from its precarious position first in 2008, and again only a few years later.

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When the house was carefully set down again in its new location facing Nantucket Harbor, it was time to take a new look at the Edwardian-era home. The owners still loved what we created almost 20 years earlier, but wanted an updated version, while still retaining their favorite pieces from the original design. As part of the design process, my team and I began with detailed scaled drawings that showed our concept of the space.

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In the living room, the owners loved the custom rug in their favorite colors, with a floral pattern reminiscent of their beloved gardens. The decision to keep the rug I designed in 1994 set the stage for everything that followed. Besides the “green” ideal of re-using existing pieces, it is so rewarding when a client loves what you created so much that they want to keep the feel of the original design from years ago.

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Renderings are particularly helpful with long-distance clients. A board was sent to the owners detailing the fabrics, the carpet runners and the faux paint wall treatments. The colors were updated. Celestial blue and white blended with soft touches of buttery yellow would make the home as inviting as a summer sky. The designs, though traditional, were clean lined and reflected the simpler tastes of the 21st century.

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Fabrics for the living room were sent for approval, along with the design for window treatment. An up-to-date tailored valance with panels replaced the floral English country house look. Both panels and valance were accented with a custom trim we created from a striped fabric.

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We also retained most of the original furnishings, which were reupholstered with new fabrics. The chairs were redone in indoor/outdoor fabric, with cording and tape trim for a touch of detail.

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Options for additional pieces of furniture were proposed for the living room. From the pieces submitted, the clients chose two conversation groups and a game table area to be placed by the windows.

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An artist created the unique wall treatment, with stenciled shells accenting important architectural features. The shell pattern related the home to the harbor and the sea beyond. The Blue Willow patterned fabric on the sofa pillows recalled Nantucket history and the days when sea captains brought back gifts of Chinese Export porcelain.

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In just ten months, we managed a comprehensive house redesign, incorporating favorite pieces from the original home and seamlessly blending them into a sophisticated, 21st century style for an expanding family of parents, grown children, new in-laws, and grandchildren. From a two- to three-month planning and selection phase to a six- to seven-month ordering and implementation phase, we completely redesigned a house with four floors and seven bedrooms.

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It was an amazing amount of work in a short time frame, but the clients were happy with every single detail of their new home, and so were we.

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