Your Best Winter Accessory for the Kitchen

Flowers and foliage will bring cheer to your kitchen even in the dead of winter
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This article orginially appeared on Houzz.com.

After the festivities of the holiday season have passed, it’s common for a case of the blues to settle in, with a few months’ wait until spring arrives. If this syndrome calls at your home, combat it by treating yourself to a gift of flowers. And since so much time is spent in the kitchen, it’s where you’re likely to get the most enjoyment from a cheerful arrangement.

A simple galvanized tin bucket filled with several gladiolus stems of varying colors is sure to brighten any day. Luckily, these flowers tend to be available throughout the year at many grocery stores and floral shops.

Tip: While the typical vase life is six to 10 days for gladiolus, a few steps will ensure that the blooms last as long as possible. Flowers have the best chance of remaining fresh if the stems are cut on a slant with a sharp knife and plunged immediately into water. (The immediate part is to prevent an air bubble from forming near the cut that may keep water from traveling up the stem.)

San Anselmo

What flowers are available during these months depends largely on the region you live in and the stores you frequent. Many rose varieties are seen during the winter months in a wide range of colors, and should a bunch grab your eye, don’t hesitate to treat yourself to a bouquet.

Tip: Remove any leaves that would otherwise fall beneath the water line, but leave the thorns since removing them shortens the life of the flower.

Presidio Heights Pied-à-terre

Hydrangeas are another flower that tends to be found year-round at floral shops, and if properly taken care of, they’ll last for an extended period.

Tip: Consider drying a bouquet of hydrangeas for an arrangement that will brighten a room for months. One popular method is to put the stems in a deep vase of water, set it in a cool, dry area away from direct sunlight and simply let the water evaporate. This will take 10 to 30 days, but once the water is gone, the blooms should be dry.

Contemporary Condo

If one vase of flowers is good, several in front of the kitchen window multiplies the cheer.

Tip: To keep cut flowers fresh longer, make your own preservative, similar to the ingredients in those little packets often included with a purchase from a florist. Fill a large vase with about a quart of warm water, adding 3 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons white vinegar. The sugar nourishes the flowers, while the vinegar inhibits bacterial growth in the vase.

Related: How to Make Cut Flowers Last Longer 

Family Living - South Downs Sussex

For additional color, set out bowls of fresh fruit in a coordinating hue for an extra dose of happy — and then make sure to eat the vitamin-rich fruit to help ward off winter colds and the flu.

Tip: If there’s room, put your bouquet in the refrigerator overnight. Florists do this to help lengthen the life of an arrangement.

Traditional white

 

 

Branches tend to last much longer than freshly cut flowers, so be on the lookout for available options at your favorite floral shop. Sweet huck and winterberry branches have bright red berries and will look pretty for weeks.

Tip: Simply changing the water in the vase every few days will go a long way in preserving stems and branches.

Hudson Residence

As another alternative to flowers, look for large leaves to display in a vase. They offer a cost-effective way to bring life to a room during gray winter months and can last a long time.

Related: Fill a Beautiful, Brand New Vase

House boat living

Yet another option is to bring home a potted plant that blooms. This easy-to-grow geranium is a good choice and, with adequate light, has the potential to flower throughout the year.

Related: Bring Potted Plants Indoors This Winter

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Fragrant paperwhites are popular in winter and bloom from bulbs. Plant the bulbs anytime from early fall through winter and expect to see blossoms four to six weeks later. To prolong their prettiness, place the plant out of direct sunlight once blooms appear.

Bondi Apartment

Vases of sunflowers and snapdragons are lovely in a kitchen already cheerful at any time of year with its bright cabinetry and trim. Inspired to paint something this cheery yourself? The paint is Babouche by Farrow & Ball.

The New Farmhouse

Blooming lilac on an island painted in a similar (custom) color looks downright joyful in what can only be described as one very happy-looking kitchen. Spending any amount of time here surely would chase away the winter blues!

Shabby-chic Style Kitchen

Mazama Mountain Cabin Makes a Cozy, Stylish Retreat: A Home Tour

Mazama Mountain Cabin Makes a Cozy, Stylish Retreat: A Home Tour

In Washington’s North Cascades, a wood-paneled vacation home provides access to views and outdoor activities
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This article originally appeared on Houzz.com.

This house nestled in the North Cascades mountains in Mazama, Washington, reflects the rugged landscape around it while also possessing a modern, airy and stylish vibe. The remote vacation house is owned by a Seattle couple who were instinctively drawn to the beautiful setting of pine forests, crystal clear rivers and diverse topography, and where they spend their free time skiing, rock climbing and hiking. 

Big Rock House
Photo by Johnston Architects - Search rustic patio pictures

Walkways lined with concrete and bluestone surround the back deck. An outdoor fire pit and teak chairs from a friend create a timeless setting for entertaining.
 
Metal fire pit: custom made by Alpine Welding and Equipment
 

Houzz at a Glance
Who lives here: A couple who live full time in Seattle and work for Boeing
Location: Mazama, Washington
Size: 1,370 square feet (127 square meters); two bedrooms, two bathrooms

After finding a 1-acre plot with killer views, the couple collaborated with Mary Johnston of Johnston Architects to build a second home that would be cozy and easy to maintain. “All of the finishes used add to the rich simplicity of the home,” Johnston says. Although the site was challenging, Johnston and her team were able to incorporate the location’s spectacular views into the planning of the 1,370-square-foot residence, which has an open-plan living area, two bedrooms and ski-in, ski-out access.

Big Rock House
 
 

The unpretentiousness of the foursquare house begins with its exterior. The cedar siding and bluestone and concrete walkways also are durable and low-maintenance materials. Since most of their time is spent engaging in the outdoors, the couple felt it was important to have designated areas for storing sporting equipment. A long bench provides a spot for removing skis and boots. A contemporary glass door contrasts nicely with the adjacent metal grating, which offers a surface on which to lean skis and bikes while providing some lightness and texture.

Big Rock House

The clean look and rustic design continue past the front door and concrete floors of the entry, providing an unobstructed view to the back of the house. Pine-paneled ceilings flow throughout the house. At the far end of the hall, a custom sliding barn door leads to a gear room where the couple store sporting equipment and can sharpen their skis. The other oversized doors lead to a closet.

Paint throughout: Camouflage, Benjamin Moore

The warm wood tones are punctuated by blackened-steel pendants on the entry hallway ceiling.

Pendants: Caravaggio

Big Rock House
 

A dining room table and chairs sit between the kitchen and great room. The shelving was custom made to display accessories such as teapots, photographs and books. The couple wanted to have some fun with their other lighting choices, so instead of selecting traditional recessed lighting, they opted for black outdoor sconces that are typically used for signage lighting.

Lighting: B-K Lighting; dining room table and chairs: Room & Board

Big Rock House

 

In the sitting area of the great room, a sliding barn door hides a flat-screen TV and video equipment. A built-in bench runs the width of the room, inviting guests to curl up with a book or take in the fabulous mountain views. It is also long and deep enough to convert into a bed for two children.

Bench cushion and pillows: custom made by Manning & Son Upholstery, Seattle

Related: Cleaning Tips for Leather Furniture 

Big Rock House

Brown leather chairs and a sofa provide ample seating for gazing at the landscape through rows of expansive windows. A wood-burning stove brings a collected feel to the home and keeps it cozy and warm when temperatures plunge. “The homeowners spend very little time inside, but they wanted to make sure that it was very comfortable when they did,” Johnston says.

Sofa, chairs and tables: Room & Board; stove: Rais

Big Rock House

Sliding glass doors open the great room to the back deck.

Deck: ipe wood

Related: Why You Should Install a Sliding Barn Door in Your Home 

Big Rock House

The couple kept the master bedroom clean and sparsely decorated with only a bed and two end tables. Adding a bit of drama, the fir wood paneling was continued from the wall onto the ceiling.

Bed and end tables: Room & Board

Big Rock House

Mesh fencing on the master bedroom balcony keeps the space from appearing too dark.