Do You have a Winter House?

Christmas at Crawford House in Calgary

Christmas at Crawford House in Calgary

There’s nothing quite like an old house at Christmas. Sometimes during the warmer months of the year I find myself yearning for some light colours and white woodwork but at this time of year I am so happy that the house is the way it is.

Crawford House yard in winter

Crawford House yard in winter

In my library I have a book written by Charlotte Moss called “Winter House”. In her book the author discusses the details that make a house most welcome during the cold winter months. I have come to accept that our house is truly a winter house. This I have to admit is a good thing given where I live in Canada! Do you have a Winter House? One of the first elements of a winter house has to do with the landscaping. Is there enough yard to show a fresh blanket of snow or is the entrance mostly sidewalk that needs to be shoveled thereby obscuring any snow? What about the lighting on the outside of the house and up the sidewalks to the front door? Are there architectural details or interesting plant specimens in the yard that look good in winter?

A Welcoming Window

A Welcoming Window

The pictures at left show the Crawford house which is located in Calgary Alberta. It is also one of the homes that will be featured in my book that I intend to have published in 2012. It is truly a winter house and it’s hard to believe this home is in the center of the city. Another set of elements that make up the winter house is the materials used. Stone, brick and heavy beams of wood feel solid and they give us the impression of being able to withstand the onslaught of cold winter storms. Stained or natural wood mill work – both indoors and out is another. It can be rustic or smooth – both look wonderful under the glow of candles and antique light fixtures. The colours used in your home makes a difference too. The natural, low key tones that are popular for Arts and Crafts homes or the rich ruby tones of the Victorian period may look heavy during other times of the year but in the depths of winter the colours act as a warm blanket to make us feel cozy.The kinds of fabrics used throughout your house create different feelings. If you’ve upholstered your furniture in natural or dark leather or a nubbly textured fabric it will feel cozier in the winter compared to furniture covered with floral chintz and pale colours. And then of course there are fireplaces in brick, or stone with wooden mantles. They have us with both figurative as well as actual warmth and the feeling of home since almost the beginning of time. If you too have a winter house now is the time to celebrate it!