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Ryan's Why-Can't-I-Live-In-England?! Winter Picks

I've become that really annoying friend. The one who took a trip (like they were the first one to ever conceive of the idea of travel) and now won't stop talking about it, sharing photos of it or worst of all, doing that horrible thing where they reference it CONSTANTLY.



It's sobering to watch a video of yourself. That's basically me except with tea and pounds and tweed. My name is Ryan and apparently I am an Anglophile. Ask me about my trip to England!


I look like I'm posing outside an optical but that's the original meeting house of the PR Brotherhood.

It comes as zero surprise to everyone at the office. Pre-trip, I already drank my weight in Earl Grey every day and was/am an avid watcher of The Crown, Downton Abbey, Fleabag, Ab Fab, Vicar of Dibley, Monty Python, All Creatures Great & Small, etc. etc. etc. I have a special fondness for Sherlock Holmes, so much so that Mycroft was going to be my daughter's middle name if she was a boy. The Pre Raphaelites and the Arts & Crafts movements were already my favorites before everyone and their dog tried to claim William Morris for their own. Never met a plaid, tartan, wool or especially a houndstooth / herringbone tweed that I didn't like. Naturally a place where all of this was celebrated would be my absolute jam. Figuratively and literally.


The fact that England is also cold and rainy, just like the PNW, is a bonus in my mind as I'm that rare, secretive breed of Portlander who (shhh don't tell anyone) enjoys the rain. I'll join in with the general grumble and of course I appreciate a pretty day but I don't have the vitriol towards the cold like the rest of the city. I kind of love winter. Not as much as autumn but wayyy more than summer. I don't understand why everyone complains so much when it gets darker earlier- why are you so productive and what are you doing that you need more daylight to do it?! Why aren't we celebrating the concept of rest more?!


images via Pinterest (an app that's really tired of showing me House & Garden UK home tours)


So I love a room that supports being cozy. I love texture, books, pottery, fireplaces, built-ins, old rugs, old floors, plaster walls. I love coming into a room and seeing a reflection of its occupants: art that tells me what you love, photos of trips and fun dinners, heirloom collections. If there's soft music playing, a dog or cat curled up in there or kid nestled under a throw blanket drawing or reading, all the better.


My living room


I handle the majority of our office inquiries and hear the phrase, "I love your company's style" quite often when chatting with potential new clients. This is so kind to hear and we always appreciate it but it's not the job of the interior designer to share THEIR style. Instead, it's our job to connect and understand YOUR style and help cohesively, aesthetically and functionally bring it to life for you. And with that, probably some of you are looking at the above images of my living room and my inspiration images and are feeling very thankful right now. And that's ok! This is what speaks to ME.


And am I thinking about adding beams to our living room ceiling? Yes. Yes, I am.



So for my winter picks, I definitely fell in line with my own personal tastes: eclectic, layered, fun, want-to-be-English, cozy room.


SOFA

I love a sheepskin so the teddy bear-esque upholstery on this Lyla sofa fits just right for winter nights. The shape and camel color is soft and soothing and provides a pretty contrast with the richness of the rug. Throw in some green accent pillows to connect with the chairs as well as the best needlework pillow I've ever seen and I'm ready to snuggle.


ARMCHAIRS

If winter had an official fabric, it would be velvet. The Ace chair's wood frame and green jewel tone is gorgeous. And it's called 'Surrey Olive!' How perfect is that? Add a few more throw pillows of different various textures and I'm set. All that's missing for these two is a fireplace and a cozy blanket.


COFFEE TABLE

Forever a fan of the warmth and natural material of wood. There's nothing like it. A circular shape allows for easy circulation around the Toli coffee table and a guarantee that everyone can put up their feet without running into a sharp corner. Though the table is described as having a grey veneer, it doesn't feel as washed out or cold as other grey tones can potentially be. Instead, the table's warmth looks just slightly toned down, like it too is ready to relax and hang out. Nothing too precious- a wood coffee table is your workhorse and should be able to handle your cups of hot beverages, glasses of wine, board games, books and puzzles that it will see throughout cozy season.


SIDE TABLES

Side tables are tricky. Like does everyone need to have a horizontal surface available for their own personal use? Too many little tables can make a room feel cluttered and for all my love of layering, I do like a simplified living room without too many pieces of furniture in it. At 17" in diameter, the Hiro side table is big enough to be shared between the two chairs. The brass is another classic material, connecting to the wood with its warmth but still its own distinct personality.


LIGHTING

I never turn on an overhead light but I do enjoy a lovely overhead fixture. The Cullen chandelier has leather, wood and brass, a trifecta of awesomeness that doesn't need to be on to enjoy it. In fact, because the shades are leather and thus not translucent, all light emitted will be downlight not ambient, so it can help create a very cozy pub-like feel if ever it does come on. Not that it ever will. The Natalie floor lamp on the other hand, will probably always stay on.


RUGS

An antique rug is just like an old house: its quality shines through the test of time. They've been around, their craftsmanship is extraordinary and I love the history at my feet. Even though we are lucky to have so many incredible vendors in the Portland area for antique rugs, there's always a 'hunt' factor at play. Looking for just the right size, colors, patterns all takes time. It's not going to be a quick and one-click purchase unless you are lucky enough that this Senneh rug fits the bill. Then your search is over.


ART

I love all the books and all the art but am a very firm believer that art (and books for that matter) should be personal. These pieces have a fun weird whimsy that I personally like very much. Photography of sheep grazing in the hills remind me of train rides through the countryside. A slashed portrait is sure to serve as a conversation starter (so how do you feel about eco terrorists defacing paintings in the name of global warming advocacy?) and the abstract by Dan Hobday is inspired by the coastal landscapes of his hometown of Devon, England. Perfect for my daydream alternate life across the pond.


Winter is a perfect time for planning future trips so you too can be just as obnoxious as me. Hoping 2024 brings everyone lots of cozy time with those you love.



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