It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Cozy
If an Amethyst Home home could be the set of a movie, what movie would it be?
“The Holiday,” owner Monica Freeborn says, citing the 2006 rom-com with Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz. “It’s where two completely different lifestyles meet, an English country cottage and a sleek, sophisticated California home.”
It’s true that entering Amethyst Home feels like walking on to the set of a Nancy Meyers movie: here are the gently flickering candles, there’s the swoon-worthy statement sofa, up above is the minimalist, yet drop-dead dramatic chandelier. Everywhere you look are the types of chic homey touches that remind smart, stylish women that they are the leading ladies of their own lives — and this is the scene where they pull that 12-ply cashmere cardigan a little closer, and cozy up by the fire with a big mug of cocoa and a great book (or a Cabernet Franc and a great lover).
“I didn’t necessarily expect this when I opened the store, but I really think I found my tribe,” says Monica of her typical customer. “Most of the people who shop here are entrepreneurial, they love art and travel, and they’re not afraid to really let their personalities shine through in their homes.”
And just like no two homes are alike, Monica says nearly everything she stocks is handmade, small-batch, custom, limited-edition or one-of-a-kind so her customers can expect the store to look different every time they come in. Here, Monica shares her secrets on making a home feel cozy during the holidays and all year long.
TB: What are your favorite pieces in the store right now?
MF: Anything by Verellen (sofas and chairs handmade in High Point, NC by a Belgian-born couple); the (seductive, upside-down mushroom-shaped) coin sofa, which I think adds such an unexpected, memorable touch to a grand entry or dressing room — any room, really; any great piece of art; and the walnut end tables created by local furniture designer Ben Petersen of Timbersmith.
TB: What are three things anyone can do to make a room more cozy?
MF: Scent your home with a signature fragrance. It makes you feel like you’re home the minute you walk in the door. Mine is Simply Serene, which is a blend of lemon, vetiver and cedar wood.
Put down a great rug that no one else has and that makes you happy. I love it when a home feels collected, rather than decorated or staged.
Don’t forget a comfortable place to sit for family time. It doesn’t do any good to have a room that looks like a spread in Architectural Digest if your children aren’t allowed within ten feet of the furniture.
TB: Has the concept of hygge jumped the shark?
MF: I love the idea but not the practice. It’s just not practical to have, like, alpaca throws all over your house. You can’t wash them! I prefer to incorporate it in smaller pieces.
TB: What is your favorite way to decorate your own home for winter and the holidays?
MF: I’m such a minimalist that I like to decorate with wintry things that you can keep up for the entire season — from November through Valentine’s Day. Things like deer, snowflakes and stars. Right now in the store I have Christmas trees set up and they have these beautiful wooden doves on them. I love the idea of using them to write what you’re thankful for at Thanksgiving, and then repurposing them for Hanukkah or Christmas, New Year’s, etc. I’m also a big believer in switching out pillows and throws for every season.
Monica’s Lightning Round
Host gift? Turkish hand towels
Winter activity: Lighting a candle and watching a movie
Winter cocktail or beverage: Moscow mules
Comfort food: Roast chicken
Cozy Travel Destination: New York, around Lincoln Center
Cozy place to meet up with friends in Omaha: Dante, West O location
Candle: Rosa, from Australia
Snow day soundtrack: Leslie Odom Jr.’s holiday album, Simply Christmas. I love everything Broadway.
Stay-warm secret: I love scarves and cute mittens.