6 Warm Touches From Homes in Cold Places

Tips gathered from this week’s stories about homes in freezing climates show how you can find warmth in winter

By Mitchell Parker   |  Courtesy of Houzz.com

Winter storms continue to plunge many parts of the United States — and the world — into subfreezing temperatures, leaving many people to sit tight at home until safer conditions return. With that in mind, we decided to take a look at homes in cold locations from this week’s stories to see how people create warmth through material and color choices.


1. Go Green

Location: Moscow
Next week’s expected low: 3 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 16.1 degrees Celsius)

A recent story in The New York Times reported that Moscow got just six minutes of sunlight in December. How is anyone there supposed to combat the winter blues? The answer might be green. Emerald green paint graces every wall in this 300-square-foot apartment in Moscow, establishing a baseline of warmth and spunkiness that makes the home hard not to be cheery in. 


2. Brighten Up

Location: Aarhus, Denmark
Next week’s expected low: 30 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 1.1 degrees Celsius)

My wife’s family members on her mother’s side hail from Denmark, and we’ve visited there many times, even in the dead of winter. I’ll never forget walking down the street in Copenhagen during a blizzard. It was the middle of the afternoon but looked like it was midnight. And yet stepping inside almost any home in the country, you will never feel warmer and cozier. The Danes have a word for this, hygge, that’s difficult to translate into English but basically means having a warm, cozy time with family and friends, usually with lots of candles, blankets, coffee and pastries. 

Interior design plays a large part in creating the mood. When the sun barely crests the horizon before receding again, it’s important to have some way to bring brightness to an interior. Bright white walls and ceilings and light wood, usually unstained, characterize many homes throughout the Scandinavian region. 


3. Play With Plaid

Location: Minneapolis
Next week’s expected low: 7 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 13.8 degrees Celsius)

If you’re heading to Minneapolis for the Super Bowl on Feb. 4, you might want to pack some long underwear and count on subfreezing temperatures. The locals, of course, are used to these conditions, and homeowners adopt a variety of methods to bring visual — as well as actual — warmth to their interiors. For the former, this kitchen presents several ideas. An abundance of wood is one of the fastest ways to add visual warmth. But what I find even more effective is the mosaic tile laid in a plaid pattern, giving the impression of a cozy wool blanket you just want to wrap yourself up in. 


4. Favor the Farm

Location: Seaford, New York
Next week’s expected low: 25 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 3.8 degrees Celsius)

One surefire way to bring warmth to a space is by adopting a style that personifies a feeling of warmth and coziness. And fewer styles nail that like a country farmhouse. The kitchen shown here is a good example. Even when it’s cold and blustery outside, the warm wood floors and accents, rustic brick and creamy paneled walls ensure that the vibe remains snug indoors. 


5. Settle Into Stone

Location: Rosemount, Minnesota
Next week’s expected low: 6 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 14.4 degrees Celsius)

Introducing stone might seem counterintuitive when you’re looking to warm up a room, but not all stones are created equal. In this Minnesota bathroom, designer Katie Jaydan added a rugged slate wall to bring “earthy, outdoor elements inside while providing texture, color and warmth,” she says. 


6. Get Down to Earth (Tones)

Location: Toronto
Next week’s expected low: 21 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 6.1 degrees Celsius)

Brisk winds sweeping off Lake Ontario can often make outside temperatures feel like half of what they actually are. To stave off the cold inside, adopting a palette of earth tones can do the trick. In this industrial loft, soothing browns and beiges take the chill off.