A Seasonal Wardrobe Change for My Library

We had been enjoying the Indian summer days of early October when yesterday afternoon, as I walked with the dogs in the cutting garden, I felt this rush of cold air on my back. One second earlier it had been balmy and warm; the next moment it was if I had backed into a freezer! The sensation was strange — this rush air of so fast and seemingly from nowhere. But in an instant I thought, “Ah, the real autumn begins.” Time to bring out the sweaters and take the summer slipcovers off.

Last year I was a woman in need of a project. I decided to take my old studio at Weatherstone and turn it into a library for my garden, design and art books. While I have many bookcases in the main house, I had reached the point when the shelves were full and I had started to stack books on any available space.

I spend all of my non-garden working hours in my studio, so I decided I wanted seasonal slipcovers and rugs.  I do that in Aspen as well. I love cozy wools and velvets on the furniture and carpets covering the floors in winter, but want the freshness of linens and cottons and sisal rugs in the warm months.

Back to the rush of cold in the garden yesterday that prompted my seasonal changeover.  In the photo below, warm weather attire is a blue and white linen fabric covering the sofa and chairs; these rest on a bright geometric blue and white rug.

From spring through summer I have seasonal flowers from the garden to decorate the consoles and small coffee table. I find that blue and white fabrics complement a myriad of flower colors.

I like the mix of this linen fabric from Quadrille Fabrics and the graphic dhurrie from ABC Carpet.

But when the chill comes, the decor changes. First thing this morning I took off the warm weather slipcovers, revealing rich red wool underneath. I changed the pillows and seat covers to clipped velour and antique paisley throws. I replaced the summery rug with an antique carpet, grounding a richer and warmer palette. The white orchids were taken to the green house, replaced by russet mums.  It took all of about 40 minutes. With very little effort I had my work space properly dressed for the upcoming crisp fall days that will evolve into a New England winter.

The cute little guy in the chair is Dennis (as in Menace!), one of several Havanese pups at Weatherstone.

I change slipcovers and pillows, but the blue and white pottery remains. It works with any color I use in the room.

While my homes are filled with antiques, my workspace is filled with reproductions that I have found during my travels.( A story on that will come later.) While I did this project on a budget that did not allow for antiques, I had so much fun working with the artisans who carved and crafted many of the things in this room. I am so happy with the results.





22 thoughts on “A Seasonal Wardrobe Change for My Library

  1. The blue & white in your studio library is absolutely stunning. Thanks so much
    for sharing this gorgeous room. Such beauty, such class, such a wonderful room to meditate.
    Donna Chappel
    Donna Chappel Interiors

  2. I love this type of post! I love to see the detail and seasonal transformation. I do something similar even though I live in California. I”m not a native Californian so I pretend that there is a change of season. The nice thing is I get to decide when the change of season is! I am in love with the fabric on the white chair in the third photo from the bottom– that is the perfect shade of red. Do you think it is still available? Or is this one you “carried” home from a trip? Please do share!
    Thank you!

  3. beautiful and in only 40 minutes! the perfect transformation. I love that you have TJ presiding over your gardening journals – a true gardener!

  4. What a marvelous decorating idea! I proposed something similar for a friend who has a neutral color scheme and did not want to change much in her family room — simply change small items such as decorative toss pillows, floral arrangements, and rugs using colors reflective of the season. Voila! A new room!

  5. I have been following your work since I was in high school. My Mom started to collect your books, and then when I purchased my own home, I permanently “borrowed” them. I have since purchased every one of your books, and cannot get enough. I love your new website; I am on it EVERY day. You are an inspiration to all.

  6. Dear Carolyn,
    I loved the transformation from summer to fall. You must share your secrets as to how the blue & white Ikat sofa looked totally upholstered(as shown in the close up photo) and yet you say this was a slipcover that was removed to reveal your rich velvet textures. I am a huge fan of yours but to me this is magic, will you share your secret.

    Dona Brinkman

  7. Carolyn,

    One word: Stunning! Love the slip covers …So easy to transition into Autumn.
    Your dog is simply adorable. Right at home.


  8. I had no idea you had transitioned from fashion design until I received 1sttidbits link to the “Five Questions” article. What I can say is that my very first designer outfit purchase all by myself at 21 was yours. It was a beautiful a-line white and blue polka dot skirt with a curved notch in the back and the matching blue bustier. I was so proud of myself to have discovered such updated classic clothing not suggested by my mother:) Unfortunately I only had the pleasure of wearing it once as my girlfriend snatched it when she visited my closet less than 3 months after my purchase.

    Your interior and floral designs are as beautiful as your clothes were and I can’t wait to go through the site thoroughly then find the next person coming to Accra to bring me the books.


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