Notes from the Field: Fall Finds

October 10, 2011

By Karin Lidbeck Brent

This is the time of year when the naturalist in me really comes out. I love to go foraging; a walk through the woods can result in all kinds of treasures. Driving by farm stands and garden centers, it’s just too hard to resist the displays of colorful gourds and pumpkins.

All fall long, Mother Nature supplies an abundance of riches–vines, branches, fruits, nuts–that can add richness to your home when displayed with simple style. These autumnal accents find their way into my home and my photo shoots whenever I find that special opportunity to dress a corner, a mantle, a table.

This was a fabulous room I styled for a fall design feature. With the abundance of wood, the mantel was screaming for autumnal touches. I cut a tall branch of fall leaves for one side, placed simply in a white vase. A second vase, filled with shorter branches brimming with berries, and two bumpy orange gourds balance out the other side of the mantel.

I was fortunate to style this room in Williamstown, Massachusetts, that was designed by Burr & McCallum Architects. Keeping the arrangement on the mantel simple was key. The vibrant display of burnt-orange leaves and a tiny pumpkin against a sea of pristine white architectural detailing adds a powerful punch.

I recently styled the Connecticut home of interior designer and antiques collector Ann Beekman for an October photo shoot. I had a carload of harvest finds with me that, along with Ann’s precious collections of majolica and ceramics from around the world, lent themselves to simple, subtle displays of autumn.

We couldn’t wait to get the camera on this impressive entryway in Ann’s home. The green crock was perfect for holding small ears of Indian corn and adding a few branches of berries felt natural. It was an unusual, but very easy, arrangement to put together.

The addition of a few simple crab apple branches to this ceramic bird vase was just too hard to resist.

With the addition of the berries cut from outside and fresh acorn squash, it’s hard to tell what is real and what is ceramic.

The fruits of fall are perfectly harmonious within this space.