Thanksgiving festive Autumn décor ideas
There’s an abundance of dried foliage and pine cones and things that people can find just on a walk to create a lovely centerpiece, or a little bit of décor on the mantle over the fireplace... So even visitors who are there for a short time can create a really nice little bit of Thanksgiving décor.
Thanksgiving is a festive gathering for family and friends, weather you’re home for the holiday feast or retreating to a home-away from home. Television chef, producer and author, Christy Rost, lives in Texas, but she and her husband own a second home in Breckenridge — a historic house called Swan’s Nest that was built in 1898 by Ben Revett, a key player during the Gold Rush era. Behind the house is a cabin, a more rustic space that she often uses to host cocktail hours and dinner parties.
She said setting a table or dressing up a room for a holiday like Thanksgiving is an accessible endeavor to both visitors and Summit County residents.
“It’s one thing to live there all the time and have access to all kinds of things,” Rost said from her Texas home during a phone interview. “But it’s important to also address all the people who come up just for that week to enjoy, and they too can have a really lovely table setting, or a little bit of autumn decor to set the stage for their celebration.”
CREATE THE SPACE
Rost and her husband bought Swan’s Nest in 2006, and their renovation took three years. They quickly realized from the floorboards in the cabin that it had been built around the same time as the house. Some of Rost’s special pieces of furniture, like her prized table from their breakfast room in Dallas, didn’t make it in to the main house, but fit right in to the cabin.
“The whole décor for the cabin actually started with the table, because we didn’t have a place for it,” she said. “I was very distraught that I might have to get rid of the table, because I really, really love it, and it was made in Spain.”
The table stayed, and inspired the incorporation of the other furniture in the cabin.
“It’s very much like creating a menu, or creating a table setting,” she added. “It only takes one item, and then I can create everything around it.”
Rost used cabinetry from her Texas television studio to fill in the space behind the table, and added a glass buffet to the adjacent wall. The square, wooden mirror above the buffet has beautiful flowing lines, which also came from their home in Dallas.
“It was a really important piece, because it covers a large scar on the wall of the cabin,” she said.
Because the cabin is a more unpolished setting, Rost said she wanted to make sure that the décor wove into that feeling. She said that in the cabin, she doesn’t have the same amount of formality in the décor that she has in the house.
DISPLAY THE SEASON
Rost’s Thanksgiving table setting, and surrounding autumn aesthetics, were all done with an eye for color coordination and a variety of textures and heights. She always completes the centerpiece before she does the rest of the table.
“That’s important because it helps me to scale the size of the décor, and it’s saving
room to then put all the plates and placemats on the table,” she said.
Her centerpiece, as shown in the photos, started with three pieces of felt squares in the center of the table. Rost does that for two reasons: one is to prevent scratches on the wood, and the other is to anchor silk garlands and additions, like edible fall arrangements, to the table.
“Otherwise, the décor slides around too much, and that can be very frustrating for someone trying to put together a centerpiece,” she shared, “so I always put felt on the table, or I will use fabric.”
She said she chose felt for the cabin because it gives a more informal effect that is appropriate for the cozy and rustic ambiance.
On top of the felt, Rost put two 9-foot strands of autumn garland on the center of the table, moving it around until she got it to the size and effect she desired. She then added the candles, and decorative pieces like pumpkins and squash, oranges and sweet potatoes.
“My recommendation is to use edible décor that can become part of the menu next week,” she said, “and one or two stands of garland of autumn leaves.”
Finally, Rost adds the placemats and chargers, plates, glassware, cutlery and napkins.
There’s an element of sparkle to Rost’s table accessories and on the garland that textures the cabinetry. In the Swan’s Nest house, she said she intertwines tiny white lights on her buffet, on top of her china cabinet and in the bookcases to create an effect of lighthearted comfort and romantic softness in the home.
“When darkness comes earlier and earlier as we get in towards Thanksgiving, having that little bit of shine and sparkle and soft lighting at night can be very helpful in making the home feel cheerful,” she said.
The traditions of Thanksgiving keep it nostalgic for families all over the country, and Rost said just simple touches can keep the holiday special — even if you’re away from your primary home.
“There’s an abundance of dried foliage and pine cones and things that people can find just on a walk to create a lovely centerpiece, or a little bit of décor on the mantle over the fireplace,” she shared. “So even visitors who are there for a short time can create a really nice little bit of Thanksgiving décor.”
Rost has had a long-running Texas cooking show and lifestyle series, “Just Like Home,” and now a nationally syndicated PBS television show, “A Home for Christy Rost: Thanksgiving,” which is centered around Swan’s Nest. The show will run during the month of November.
Home cooks can find more decorating ideas and recipes in Rost’s latest book, “Celebrating Home: A Handbook For Gracious Living,” available at Next Page Books & Nosh in Frisco. She will also be teaching a series of holiday cooking classes at Swan’s Nest, with dates on December 10, 13 and 15. Visit http://www.christyrost.com for more information.
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