Dark Days Call For Bright Interiors: This UK Homestead Is Our Winter Design Inspo
Where does your mind go when you picture the perfect place to spend the holidays? Mine travels straight to a small town in the English countryside, where I'm surrounded by cozy nooks, fragrant seasonal greenery, and moody lighting—in other words, Lois Connors' (@colourfulleopard) homestead. Here, the designer and vintage lover shows us around her charming space and shares her favorite ways to make any home feel cozier with antique finds, nature-inspired touches, and plenty of seasonal décor.
What are three words that describe your design philosophy at home?
Evolving, eclectic, balanced.
What's the oldest thing in your home? Newest?
We have a beautiful antique Victorian pine chest, which houses blankets and spare cushions in the dining room. Our newest is my son's desk for his newly decorated teen bedroom.
I love all your vintage finds! How long have you been shopping vintage, and what are your top tips for finding quality pieces?
Thank you! I have been a secondhand/vintage lover for a long time. I started shopping vintage for financial reasons originally and also love finding unique, interesting pieces. My No. 1 tip (if budget allows) is if you love something in the first instance, get it! It won't be there when you go back. Also, vary where you shop. Don't just visit the same places. If I'm visiting a new town, I always make time to pop into thrift/charity shops. They can be a totally different vibe wherever you are!
Have you always had a more maximalist aesthetic, or is it something you've developed over time?
"Maximalism" feels like it's become a familiar interior style over the past two years, but previous to that, I had never heard of it! I would have described myself as a collector with eclectic taste. I've always been drawn to pattern and texture, and it's nice to have the terminology to describe this style now. However, there are many variations and niches within maximalism—some lean more toward color; some are dark and moody. Variety is the spice of life!
What noises can be heard in your home? What smells are there?
My home is very quiet in the daytime when the children are at school. I work from home, and it's peaceful. However, it's full of noise, arguing, and laughter when the family is home. We are mid-terrace so we have the normal noise of life coming through the walls from our neighbors! I like to fragrance my home with diffusers and scented candles—I'm a fan of rich, perfumed scents.
What's the most sentimental thing in your home, and what's the story behind it?
Probably my youngest son's bedroom; it's where we took part in a TV show in the UK for a room-swap makeover last year! His Japanese-inspired bedroom is a big hit with us all, and the wallpaper is signed by the designer. It's very special.
Does your home change at all from one season to another? If so, what changes are you making as we head into fall?
I'm a big fan of seasonal décor and embracing seasonal change, particularly during the darker months. My favorite months are September through December, and my home is a great backdrop for beautiful festive scenes. I love traditional Christmas colors and also lots of natural nature-inspired décor. I'm an avid fan of fireplace styling, so most of my seasonal décor centers around ours.
How does your home promote your health and wellness?
Our home is our sanctuary and safe place, and I'm a huge believer its design should reflect this. We have lots of cozy, comfy areas (at least one in every room) and low lighting/lamps to aid in relaxation in the evening. My décor is inspired by nature, and my favorite color is green, so we have lots of floral patterns, forest wallpaper, and green walls to add calm and balance to the business of the décor!
What does the word "home" mean to you?
Home to me means a place to escape back to at the end of a busy day. It's where comfort and relaxation are guaranteed—where my family and cats are. It is a reflection of my life and everything that I love and somewhere I can express myself freely.
Recreate the look
Emma Loewe is the Sustainability and Health Director at mindbodygreen and the author of Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us. She is also the co-author of The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care, which she wrote alongside Lindsay Kellner.
Emma received her B.A. in Environmental Science & Policy with a specialty in environmental communications from Duke University. In addition to penning over 1,000 mbg articles on topics from the water crisis in California to the rise of urban beekeeping, her work has appeared on Grist, Bloomberg News, Bustle, and Forbes. She's spoken about the intersection of self-care and sustainability on podcasts and live events alongside environmental thought leaders like Marci Zaroff, Gay Browne, and Summer Rayne Oakes.