Is your House a Winter House or a Summer House?

Charlotte Moss is a well known American designer. A few years ago she wrote a book called “Winter House” that really helped me understand something about all houses. In the book she writes about how our homes are at their best either in the summer or the winter.

A summer house

Summer houses have large windows to let the light in. They have wide verandas or cool porches shaded from hot summer sun. In the inside they have light colours and white-painted millwork. They feel fresh and cool and there is a wonderful connection to the outdoors from almost any vantage point in the home.

A cool porch, nice for sipping ice tea on a hot day.

But what happens in the winter? What happens when temperatures drop to below freezing? That wonderful cool feeling doesn’t translate so well when what you really want is warmth and cosiness. This is when the winter house looks and feels its best.

A warm and cosy parlour.

The stained millwork and deep colours that felt heavy in the summer come into their own. They reach out like arms hugging us – and give us the warmth and safety we crave during the bitter months of winter.

Fireplaces set the mood.

Which describes your house best? Mine is a winter house and I’m ok with that because I do a few things to help bridge the seasons and keep my home from feeling hot or stuffy. Here are a few things you can do:

  • Have plants in the room. They bring the garden inside and that’s an immediate mood lifter!
Plants bring the outside in.
  • Remove the dark coloured rugs on the floor and replace them with light coloured ones – or go bare.
  • Remove excess textiles like mantle scarves, doilies, and sofa throws. Go for the clean look.
  • Remove excess clutter of all types.
  • Change dark coloured cushions and artwork with heavy gilt or carved frames for those with lighter colours and simpler styles.
Mix textiles.
  • Remove or replace heavy drapery treatments with lace or sheers – with or without side panels, or again, go bare for the summer.

So what if you have a summer house? Just reverse the above. By doing some of these very simple tweaks you can ensure your house feels great for every season.

A transition from winter to summer.

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