Emily Thompson Flowers

Fall feels like a new chapter to me. It’s a time to shift back into our homes as the light and weather hint at the cooler temperatures to come.  Many clients reach out and ask for tweaks to their living spaces that celebrate and honor the seasonal changes. A little something new to keep things fresh. Design inspiration is everywhere for me –beautiful restaurants, food, new fall fashion, travel, music, books, museum and gallery shows and, of course, nature doings its thing so gloriously all around us.  In my own home, I like to make little modifications a few times a year to keep things interesting.

If you have coffee tables, bookshelves or mantles that seem as though they have tables collagelooked the same forever, make a change. I like to clear a few hours and remove most of the books, vases, candles, bowls and other artifacts that have become a little too familiar to me. I collect them all together on a large table or the floor. Then I make a quick troll around the house in closets and other less visited spaces and grab anything that inspires me or that I’d like to see more of. I add these objects to the pile and then consider the empty spaces. Now comes the fun part… I rework what goes where. Try unexpected placements! This is an art, not a science, and it will take some adding, subtracting and experimentation but be patient and true to what you love. Think about balance fireplacethat can be found in opposites and asymmetry.  Vary heights and textures. Complementary shades grouped together are lovely. If part way through the process you realize hmm, I could use a few new items, then jot down what you think you’d like to add. It could be as vague as something round or metal or as specific as a bowl of apples, large branches or fuchsia flowers. Hit a few shops, tag sales or antique markets and go treasure hunting. If you work with a designer or have in the past, you can also reach out to them to help you with some of these tweaks. We love treasure hunts!

The soft cozy items in our environment can be changed up as temperatures cool. I after fireplacelook to add texture both visually and tactilely to spaces.  I swap out light blankets for cashmere and cozy patterns. Pillows could be changed as well, adding in velvets or wool – perhaps a shearling pelt over a sofa back. Pillows are also a simple way to have a big impact and create a new feeling in a space. Perhaps you bring in some fashion trends here – right now mixed up loose floral patterns have my eye. I also like to change my bedding. I move from a silk blanket to a more layered duvet and mohair throw.  For some its linen duvet to cashmere duvet. Or perhaps you can change from light colors to more saturated ones. Society, a gorgeous Italian brand, does great deep colors. Maybe it’s as simple as one new gorgeous throw pillow on the bed. Or a new scented candle in the room.

farmers marketFall is a lovely time to plan a dinner party with all the amazing food being harvested. Last week, I hit my local farmers market and was thrilled to find a plethora of gorgeous options. I came home laden down with flowers, end-of-season tomatoes, sweet greens, figs, apples, pears, local eggs and cheeses. It’s not that hard to share these delicious bounties… very little prep is needed for beautiful food. Putting a party on the calendar also serves as great kick to evaluate your table settings – another great place to integrate new pieces and ideas. New tablecloths, runners or placemats can be fun. A beautiful piece of fabric simply cut or taken to a seamstress and fashioned into napkins can have big impact. Denim, soft unbleached linen and earthy florals say fall to me. I think of table setting items as a collection to mix and match, adding a little whenever I see something especially beautiful. I’ve been known to trek home incredibly fragile glass bits in my hand luggage… I love finding medium sized plates in unusual patterns and mixing them in with what I already have. Fashion is embracing vivid pattern mix right now, and so many of the old grandmotherly florals look shockingly great together. Why not gather a few complimentary but different patterns and mix together? You can up that a notch by layering some candles, found leaves or acorns, harvest fruits and vegetables or anything you love on your fall table. My kids found some intact but dead dragonflies that I kept in our tablescape for quite dinner partysometime. I also evaluate my serving pieces and see what I might like to add. We had dinner at Blue Hill at Stone Barns last weekend and everything from the stone and foliage, to the dusky candle light, to the velvet seats and of course the earthy yet precise presentation of the glorious food was inspiring. Take inspiration from the places you love to dine at… pay attention, figure out what it is you respond to and find a way to integrate what you love about restaurants into your own eating experience.

floral collage 1

Bring nature into the house. Not just dead dragonflies, but leaves and flowers. Acorns and fruit. I am not a fan of traditional arrangements per se. I respond more to foraged, found, and imperfect beauty. So I tend to buy flowers in bundles and arrange them at home with vines, twigs and miscellaneous items I find for a more natural personal statement. I also keep my eye open for unusual vessels to hold these creations.

Books. A home is not a home without books. And each fall there are always a pile of gorgeous new design books I am anxious to pour over. These can of course also be wonderfully inspiration for home tweaks. I add new coffee table books so I can flip through when I catch a spare moment. As much as I love beautiful books, I also love words and as such my fall book list includes things to spend some time reading as well as visually pouring over. So my suggestion would be – hit a farmers market, make a cup of tea, grab a new book and a cozy blanket and find a sunny spot to enjoy a few stolen hours in your spruced up fall home.

It does not need to be linear… a gorgeous sweater could translate to a blanket, a print to a platter. Go out, get inspired, and then let that flow into the shifts you make in your home.dries van noten smaller

Some books to read, shows to see, things to do on my list this fall:
Harvest Fest at Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture
Storm King Art Center
Scraps: Fashion, Textiles and Creative Reuse at the Cooper Hewitt
Alex Prager at Lehmann Maupin
Agnes Martin at The Guggenheim
Perfect Imperfect by Karen McCartney
Francois Catroux by David Netto
Wanderlust by Michelle Nussbaumer
The Chronology of Water by Lidia Yuknavitch
Grit by Angela Duckworth
Oh, and some shops I love by city, in no particular order:
Bungalow – Westport, CT
March – San Francisco, CA
Tortoise, Garde, Object, Gibson – Los Angeles, CA
Monc XX, Ruby Beets, Bloom – Sag Harbor NY
RE Steele – Wainscot, NY
ABC Home, John Derian, Flair, First Dibs on Lexington, BK Antiques, Balsamo – NYC


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