Falling Into Autumn

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If it seems like I’ve been writing about party after party in the last few months, it’s because I’ve been planning and attending party after party for the last few months. This summer simply wasn’t as relaxing as most of them are, and I didn’t have time for all those casual summer activities like taking trips to the market in exercise clothes, reading trashy novels in lounge chairs, and making a sandwich and calling it “dinner.” Usually, I was just too busy for dinner.

Now the cool weather has swept into Nashville, and every morning I wake up to a new crop of leaves on the lawn. When those first fall breezes start blowing, something changes in me. It probably has something to do with the way my ancestors prepared for winter. My great-grandparents in Kentucky would spend the cool days cutting firewood, sealing up the house, canning and storing the harvest. They’d bring out the blankets and the insulated underwear, repair their heavy shoes, and get ready for a lot of cozy family time.

I get that same feeling when the leaves start to turn. Autumn is a time for nesting, and so I fill my nest with things that will keep me happy in the winter ahead. The temperature has me pulling out the cashmere throws and suede boots and looking through cookbooks I’ll use at Thanksgiving. I am going through closets pulling out sweaters and jackets, and it’s like saying hello to old friends.

I also find that autumn is a great time to do some holiday practice runs. We’ll light the fireplace soon, and I’ll pull out the china and silver for a formal dinner, even though it might be just me and Michael at the table. With the shorter days (and those comfy throws), Sammy and Lily are transitioning from playful summer puppies to wintertime snuggle bunnies. I’m also bringing out all sorts of serving sets, decorative pieces, and other things I’d typically save for company.

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The fact is, the company I keep daily — Michael and the dogs — are the company that’s most important to me, and I don’t need to wait for a holiday dinner for sixteen to put our favorite things on display.

I’ve got a lovely bottle of Champagne chilling in the fridge right now. Perhaps we’ll break it out tonight and enjoy it in the garden if it’s not too cool. And if it is, I can always grab a cashmere throw and drink it by the fireplace.

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What are your favorite things about the fall? Let me know some of your traditions in the comments.


Mary Spalding is a Nashville based interior designer with over 30 years of experience. She has overseen countless home revitalizations, renovations, and restorations. She can be reached with your projects and ideas at mary@spaldingway.com.

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