Classic, Timeless, Traditional: Decorate For The Fall-Winter Season

I love visiting Mary Carol Garrity’s online website for her shop, Nell Hill’s. There are always so many beautiful things to see. This made my heart sing! If you have ever wondered if it was okay to mix brass/gold with silver, I think this answers that question once and for all. This is so much more beautiful than if the candlestick lamps had been all matchy matchy in brass.

Brass Mirror with Berry Wreath and CandleStick Lamps

 Picture above and below from Nell Hill’s

I love the look of a well-loved, aged leather sofa paired with plaid pillows.  This sofa is new and was made to look old, but if you don’t have 50 years to wait for a leather sofa to take on this beautiful aged appearance, this would do nicely.  The pillows set my heart aflame once more for plaid, which is pretty easy to do since I’m basically obsessed with it anyway.

Leather Sofa with Plaid Pillows


But I guess you kind of knew that already, huh?



I tried to look up the difference between tartan and plaid and the info I found was pretty involved.  A whole blog post could be written just on that topic: Plaid vs Tartan. Basically the two terms have become interchangeable these days, but a look back in history tell us that “plaid’ comes from the Gaelic word for “blanket” so it originally meant a large wrap or blanket.  The word plaid always referred to clothing back in the day, no matter what the fabric was, even if it was a solid color.

Tartan is defined as, “Any of numerous textile patterns consisting of stripes of varying widths and colors crossed at right angles against a solid background, each forming a distinctive design worn by the members of a Scottish clan.”

So for the purpose of this post, I’ll just be calling everything plaid. πŸ™‚

I keep thinking one day I’m going to come across the perfect plaid duvet and create a “winter” look for my master bedroom. It’s pictures like this one from Ralph Lauren that keep me dreaming of plaid.  Maybe this will be the year!

Ralph Lauren Home


Another beautiful photo, this one of Ralph Lauren’s home, I think. Wouldn’t you love to curl up in this room in the evenings this winter with a good book?

Ralph Lauren's Home

 Source of Photo Unknown

 Another one of my fave sites to visit when fall is knocking at the door is The Adventures of Tartanscot. If anyone knows their tartans and plaids, it’s Scot. Lots of inspiration to be found there.

Red Plaid Wallpaper


Plaid found its way into my dining room last year in this table setting: A Cozy Woodland Setting



Speaking of plaid in the dining room, do you remember Julio’s beautiful dining room in his river cabin? If you missed that tablescape, you’ll find it here:  Christmas Dinner in a River Dacha



Plaid played such an important part in the design throughout his wonderful cabin on the Russian River. 



What a warm and beautiful place to spend the holiday season!  Take the full tour of this room in this previous post where you’ll also find a link to Julio’s blog: A Cabin Renovation & Restoration on the Russian River 



I’ll leave you with this beautiful image of Mary Carol Garrity’s front door. (Picture from her website.)

The gorgeous molding, the beautiful lanterns, the amazing fan light above the door–I love it all!

Mary Carol Garrity's Door Dressed for Fall_wm


Have you ever decorated with square wreaths?  I love how this one looks on Mary Carol’s door.

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  1. My neice and I went to Mary Carol’s open house last Saturday and we really loved the screen porch and the court yard best. Her landscaping is lovely. It’s done by a nursery in KC I was told.

    The architecture in her house is lovely. It’s a large, formal house with lots of beautiful woodwork. Her emphasis was on spheres, pumpkins and monograms.

    • Carol, you lucky duck! I want to go so badly but it’s like a 12 hour drive from my home. I saw all the spheres in her newsletter…loved them! They add so much interest to a winter garden. I bet they are really pretty covered in snow.

    • sue crawford says

      Ahhh Susan! You ALWAYS strike a nerve in me! I LOVE the plaids/tartans too and oddly enough, yesterday I put out my Fall tablecloth – and it’s of course….plaid! Rich reds & oranges with golds running through it, all on a tan backdrop. I just love how you draw me in and give me a moment of enjoyment in my day. Bless you today:)

  2. Susan, You had me with your title. I’m a fan of tartan / plaid, whatever we call it. ‘-)
    It’s not just for Christmas either! I love to use touches of it all through the year. Happiness for me!

  3. Beautiful. I bought a “Christmas” comforter set last Jan during after Christmas sales. I hope to do a plaid bed set this Christmas.
    Also love the front door, wonder what the brief glimpse of the iron, wonder what it is, a chair, a basket?

  4. While I love all those dark and woodsy rooms for winter, I couldn’t stand them in summer here at the beach. Maybe those people have so many rooms, they can just close them off and not use them in summer. It is nice to see that not everyone sprayed all their beautiful brass with orb paint!

  5. I love plaids and have incorporated them into my living room, den and bedroom. Thanks for the lovely
    pictures of the different plaids.

  6. I was just in Nell Hill day before yesterday. I could have taken up residence quite happily. Mary Carol was there, as usual, making all of her guests feel welcome. A delightful destination in Kansas City. Cherry Kay

  7. Nancy B of Lake Stevens says

    Oh Susan, those lanterns are just to die for. For all things Ralph Lauren, go to Nancy DeSantis’s boards on Pinterest. She has one board just for the man. You will swoon.

  8. Barbara Burns says

    You have a beautiful home and I love all your decorating and landscape ideas. I open my Facebook and email hoping for a new post from BNOTP.. I loved this evening’s post. I have lived in Metro KC for many years, so I’m prejudiced because I can shop at Nell Hill’s two stores whenever I need an interior design fix. The stores are absolutely amazing. Mary Carol Garrity has also published several great tabletop books.

    • Thanks so much, Barbara! Appreciate you! You are soooo lucky to get to shop there. I think I would stay broke if I lived that close. lol I have all her books, I think. I open them and feel like she’s inside my head because I love her style. Her books are among my favorites!

  9. Seeing your plaid napkins bought back memories of a plaid taffeta dress I had made for me one time..same plaid I think too. I grew up having a local seamtress make a lot of mine and Mama’s clothes. You didn’t always need a pattern; just tell her how you wanted the bodice to look like and the bottom and somehow she worked magic and they always came out the way you imagined. She was quite a lover of Vogue patterns because she always said they were classy, always fit well and easy to follow. She sewed for many professionals, lawyers, Drs, and local people in the neighborhood. She died with fabric probably piled on her dining room buffet that somebody probably forgot they had left it there. I think that plaid dress was made for the holidays. It had a peter pan collar and princess style waistline if my memory is working right tonight.

    Ralph Lauren’s bedroom looks like it would be flannel material on the bed but I can’t imagine RL in flannel anything! Definately looks like a winter bedroom with that bedding and wallpaper.

    I love your bedroom bedding/with the plaids.

  10. Nancy B of Lake Stevens says

    Oh I forgot. Nancy DeSantis has a whole board devoted just to tartans. Swoon part deux.

  11. Oy, so gorgamous! I love me some plaid! I’m also crazy for checks, toile and big ol’ cabbage rosy prints. That’s kinda hard to pull off. I have to take turns and switch stuff out. Otherwise, it can look like an explosion at the fabric store. *fluffs hair* What? Just sayin’.

  12. I love plaids too, and just today I was at Joanne’s Fabrics eyeballing a plaid fabric that is the exact same fabric on the canopy bed (third pic). If I’m not mistaken, that’s your bedroom, correct? I was soooo tempted to buy some, but it was around $30 a yard and I would need a lot so I passed.

    Although Ralph Lauren is in a class by himself, Hilfiger is no slouch either and has a somewhat similar esthetic. A few years ago my dil worked for him. One day they had a sample sale at the corporate office. Well, let me tell you, it was one of the best days of my life! I got about $1000 worth of stuff for about $22. A duvet, tons of pillows, sheets. Nothing was more than $10, and then they marked everything down to $1 when we got to the registerI I went with a friend, and even though we had an SUV, we could barely fit the loot in the car. It was hysterical seeing us trying to stuff everything in. I still have almost everything and it ended up at the cabin which is the perfect setting. I got some gingham items, leather pieces, paisleys, etc.

    Some women say the best day of their lives was their wedding day…others say when their children were born…well, that’s because they weren’t with me that day!! LOL

    • That is my bed. I can’t believe that fabric is still that much after all these years. I purchased it around 10-12 years ago…maybe longer and had the bedskirt custom made. I’m stunned they still make it…guess it’s still popular after all this time. I still love it. Surely someone has it for a better price. Maybe you can call Forsyth or Lewis here in ATL and email them a picture of the bed and ask them if they have it. Their prices are usually pretty good.

      Wow! You struck gold! I can just see y’all now trying to fit it all in! πŸ™‚ For that price you wouldn’t even have to worry if it was going to work in your home or not.

  13. We have a family reunon in KC next year….guess where I’m going?!?!? I follow Mary Carol, too. πŸ™‚ franki

  14. I love plaid for Christmas. I started collecting Lenox Holiday Tartan for my Christmas table and have enough to set the table this year. LOVE that pattern! Also found some plaid napkins on ebay so I am thinking how to put it all together. Thank you for the lesson in plaid! Love learning about the origins of things. Your use of plaid in your home is really lovely.

  15. I love plaid of any kind except on my behind. πŸ™‚ Sorry.

  16. CAROLYN ROACH says

    Susan, have you seen the china pattern Hampton Floral by Ralph Lauren? It is made by Wedgewood. The center is a beautiful floral with a tartan plaid border. I started collecting it several years ago to use as Christmas china even though it’s not actually Christmas china per se. Look it up sometime. You will love it. Better yet come over during the holidays and I’ll feed you and we will eat off that china! ha

  17. I had the pleasure of visiting Nell Hill years ago … such a lovely store. I just want to say how much I love your blog. So many different topics are covered and you have so many posts. Thanks for all you do!!

  18. Always been a fan of this look, so stately and traditional! Mary Carol’s style is gorgeous, sure do love the first vignette and the fall branches on the porch are the perfect touch.
    Have a GREAT weekend Susan…

  19. A feast for the eyes, this post! Reminded me of a red plaid blanket my parents had when I was a kid. I’ll have to ask Mom if she still has it. I guess it would be “vintage” now. Take care – Dawn

  20. Never seen plaid look so good. I loved every picture. Mary Carol’s front porch is dreamy.

  21. Some things never go out of style and plaid is one of them. Love it all. But no one can do it like Ralph.
    Great post.

  22. Such a treat to take a ‘tour’ through all this great dΓ©cor! Thanks!!

  23. Love that couch!!!! Divine! I follow you on Blog Lovin!

  24. carol cottrell says

    Maybe we should plan a KC trek next year from ATL during her open house weekend.

  25. Absolutely beautiful plaids, ehrr, Tartan, lol.. I love Ralph Lauren’s room too, even though it’s kinda masculine, I still love it to curl up with a good book, as you say. I also love the tablescape from Julio’s and yes table linens are great. Difficult to find them here and I even looked for it back in June when we were in Florida, but couldn’t find it either. I’ll keep looking, I simply love it! Have a nice weekend, dear Susan.

  26. Marilyn Clark says

    I LOVE YOUR BLOG ! I would spend all my time on the front porch looking up at that gorgeous fan light. I have her coffee table books and visit her often through the wonderful books. Would love to be near enough to go to her store, but alas it is a long way. Have you thought about writing a book ? You should !

  27. Hi Susan,
    My Providence Journal was late this morning, so I read BNOTP before the Decor section. The main article featured, you guessed it… lots of plaid. This time for a “kid friendly” Family Room, the designer, Brian Patrick Flynn. The caption on the picture was, but his site is, You can also see it at under features…Lifestyle. I think you will love it, so fun…
    FYI there was a TS siting at a little shop right at the end of my street here in Charlestown, RI. Local store keepers have very nice things to say πŸ™‚
    Enjoy your weekend,

    • Sheila, I remember reading his site before…haven’t visited in a while. I’ll check that article out…thanks! Fun about the TS sighting! I do like her and hope one day she finds a really wonderful guy. She deserves that!

  28. Beautiful pictures, Susan!
    I, too, love everything tartan/plaid! πŸ™‚
    Did you know, Georgia, your State, and many other States from the U.S.A. do have their own official tartan?
    Just in case you’re not sure what colors to choose for your master bedroom… πŸ˜‰
    ~Hugs to you~

  29. The weather is breezy and cool here in NJ today so this post really makes me want to curl up in a nice plaid blanket. There is nothing like plaid on a crisp fall day!

  30. Howdy Susan. I’m posting more pics of Mary Carol’s mansion, if you want to see more of the Autumn Open House come by for a blog visit. Pictures let me relive the time and it was so nice to be there. Want to go back. Sweet Blessings to you,

  31. Hi Susan!
    Oh, I just love anything plaid! You mentioned a Duvet cover, well I love all of Ralph Lauren Bedding but it can be pricey….if you want to take the time to make one its not all that hard….find a set of flat sheets on Ebay, I made mine from a brushed cotton set by Ralph Lauren. Instead of a zipper I folded mine over like an envelope with large covered buttons, when need be just take it off and wash it! The sheets are far cheaper than the comforters so you can change it out as often as you like! I bought a comforter in Walmart but its covered in Ralph Lauren!

  32. This is decorating after my own heart! Love all the reds and plaids! Gorgeous pictures!

  33. I too am able to shop at both of Mary’s stores. They are trouble
    with at capital T!!
    The plaid is quite beautiful!

    M πŸ™‚

  34. What a great post! I can’t decide which of the pictures I like best. They are all beautiful.

  35. pam ~ crumpety cottage says

    Susan, I’m another plaidy. Can’t get enough of the stuff. Buffalo checks and plaids are my mainstays. They just make me feel good! It’s funny, too, because when I was a kid I hated plaid. I attended a Catholic school and we had plain, navy blue uniforms. I was glad because whenever I saw girls from the other Catholic schools, they were always wearing plaid skirts. (This was back in the days when girls wore skirts and dresses only) I hated the plaid for some reason! It seemed so ‘old fashioned.’ Now I love it! It’s so homey and warm. My husband has Scottish ancestry and I would love, love, love ! to see him in a kilt with his family’s tartan. He would look so natural in the “Full Scottish dress/kit.” He thinks I’m crazy. But he has the knees for it! Haha. πŸ™‚ Take care.

  36. Theres just something so warm and inviting about these colors of plaid. I just love them. I wonder why we don’t see more of it. Maybe it will now that you’ve shared these lovely rooms with us πŸ˜‰

  37. Mary from Virginia says

    What a great post! I love plaid and we are big plaid fans here. My husband’s and older son’s middle name is Campbell, so the Campbell Tartan is always fun to spot and purchase. Your bedroom is a beautiful plaid, and what I like best is that it is a plaid for all seasons.

    Maybe you could sponsor a trip to Mary Carol Garrity’s?? I bet there would be a lot of takers. Count me in!

    Thanks for all the wonderful ideas to use plaid and I loved your follower, Cecila’s fun information about the states having their own Tartan. How cool is that?!

    Come visit me at

  38. I am a new member to your blog (LOVE, LOVE LOVE IT!!!) I can’t find Nancy DeSantis’ boards on Pinterest – can some one send me a link???

  39. Haha, I just did a post about toile but plaid is my next love! Love the leather couch with the plaid pillows and all the tartan bedding!

  40. I lived 30 minutes from Nell’s Atchison store for 17 years. BE. STILL. MY. HEART!! I have since moved back to Oklahoma (five years ago) but make annual pilgrimages back to Atchison and KC just to go to Nell’s. Which is where I JUST got back from. I got up at the crack of dawn and was in Atchison by noon, meeting a dear friend there. We spent the day shopping at Nell’s. She had (as usual) wonderful tartan displays…which of course I bought pieces of. I got dishes and ribbons and ornaments in tartan. There are two tartan chairs I (begrudgingly) left behind! ha! On Saturday we went to Nell’s in KC. While they have similarities they are indeed different as well. Both wonderful. Absolutely wonderful. I still prefer the Atchison store. It is just SO packed that you can be in there for hours and not see everything! I made quite the haul. My Hubs had gone up with me to play golf with friends while I shopped. He made SURE we took the small car, to that (in his mind) it would limit purchasing! hahahaha. We were packed on our drive home but he did not say one word. He’s a sport! (Plus Nell’s will ship!!). You must put that on your bucket list. I will even meet you there! It is worth the trip. Lori Lucas

    • Lori, you’re killing me…I so want to go! πŸ™‚ One of these days I will! You will have to def come meet me there. I’ll be the tired, bleary-eyed woman who just drove 12 hours! πŸ˜‰

  41. Love love love this post! I am Scottish and love plaids & tartans in my home, my wardrobe, shoes and purses! I too have Pinterest boards dedicated to Ralph and tartans! In fact, I am currently redoing my living & dining rooms in navy blue with RL fabrics and tartan accents. Your post has eliminated any creeping hints of doubt! Full steam ahead! Great post Susan – thank you! PS – I bought the traditional red Stewart flannel sheets at Kohls of all places a few seasons back and they are awesome! Plaid sheets are much less of a commitment than a duvet or comforter! Good luck – the holidays are just aroun the corner!

    • Oh, Tracy…plaid sheets sound wonderful! I think I’ll look for some for this winter. Your living and dining room are going to be amazing! If you post about it, send me a link so I can see what you do!

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