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Vintage Chic Owner Brianne Taylor on Creating a Cozy Home

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Bring the outdoors in with birch-bark arrangements. - COURTESY OF BRIANNE TAYLOR
  • Courtesy Of Brianne Taylor
  • Bring the outdoors in with birch-bark arrangements.

In the heart of Shelburne Village, beneath a bright-white "Antiques" sign and a cheerful striped awning, you'll find Brianne's Vintage Chic. Here, out of her garage-turned-shop, Brianne Taylor curates a treasure trove of "vintage and antique décor for the unique home." This includes everything from vintage apple baskets to antique moose bookends.

Taylor co-owns the business with her mother, Sally Riley, a former professional decorator. One glimpse into Taylor's stunning kitchen — she lives in the green farmhouse beside the shop — and it's clear she inherited the decorating gene. A few snapshots: front windows framed by pink buffalo-check curtains; a gleaming white farmhouse sink illuminated by glass pendant lights; a stuffed rooster named Blue standing on a grassy pedestal and crowing over the breakfast table.

Even the backyard chicken coop, painted red to match the shop, is thoughtfully styled. The hens look out at Shelburne Road from a huge vintage window Taylor installed for them and framed with black shutters.

Taylor shared with Nest five tips for making your home look and feel warmer for the holidays and Vermont's long winter.

Add Seasonal Pillows and Throws

Seasonal pillows add a layer of warmth during winter months. - COURTESY OF BRIANNE TAYLOR
  • Courtesy Of Brianne Taylor
  • Seasonal pillows add a layer of warmth during winter months.

Spread a layer of warmth around with pillow covers and throw blankets. "I recommend pillow covers in winter whites and velvets — think reds, greens, blues and other darker colors," Taylor advises. "These colors and textures will integrate well with holiday décor and can remain in your home all winter long." For throws, she favors heavy, chunky knits — the more the merrier! And don't forget to cozy up offices, bedrooms and playrooms, too.

Stay Merry and Bright

"Extra indoor lighting in the winter months is essential, especially as the days get shorter," Taylor says. Besides adding reading and accent lamps to rooms, her favorite way to shed light is with candles. Since she has three little kids, she goes for the battery-operated kind. "They have come a long way with making them look real, and they are much safer than traditional candles," Taylor notes. "And the fun thing about these is that you can add to them for your holiday décor. Tie a ribbon around them [or] add some greenery, fabric or even wrapping paper to dress them up."

Bring In the Outdoors

"I have found over the years it is so important to bring a little of the outdoors in during our long, snowy winters," Taylor says. Instead of store-bought flowers, she likes to grow winter bulbs such as amaryllis and paper-white narcissus. Taylor also collects and glams up outdoor items: for example, gathering pine cones and spray-painting them white, gold, silver or other colors that complement your room.

This year, she's all about decorating with birch bark. "If you live near a place to gather birch, be sure to pick up droppings from the ground," she says. Another option is to order birch online. Yep, you can find it by the sheet and in branches. Taylor recommends using birch anywhere: on a mantle, cut into shapes as ornaments or assembled with lights in a basket. "The great thing about birch is, it can stay up all winter," she says. "No need to take it down after the holidays."

Incorporate Handmade Accents

"I like to include something handmade each year in my holiday and winter home décor," Taylor says. Some examples are felt garlands, cookie or clay ornaments, and a classic cranberry-and-popcorn garland. "These are all things that kids and family can help with, as well," she adds. (Pro tip: Handmade ornaments make a great host/hostess gift for all those holiday parties.) If you aren't crafty yourself, look for handmade items at local craft sales or on Etsy.

Choose a Theme

"When coming up with holiday décor for your home," Taylor says, "my biggest advice is to pick a theme. This helps you focus on what you're making or buying at the store, and you don't end up with too many things going on." Last year her theme was book paper. She purchased a bunch of old books at Goodwill and used the pages to make garlands, wreaths and wrapping paper.

Another year, Taylor went with tartan plaid, purchasing fabric, ribbon and wrapping paper in the pattern. She made garlands, table runners and dishcloths from the fabric and used the paper on all of her gifts.

A theme can even be as simple as using a single color in your decorations, such as silver, gold or white. Happy decorating!

Brianne's Vintage Chic, 5462 Shelburne Road in Shelburne. Open daily May through October and by appointment year-round. briannesvintagechic.com, @vintagechicvt on Instagram.

The original print version of this article was headlined "Warm for the Winter"

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