Big Style, Small Spaces

Big Style, Small Spaces: Enjoy the Winter

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Big Style, Small Spaces: Enjoy the Winter

After the holidays have passed, when winter settles in and the snow piles up around the windows, it’s tempting to put on pajamas, watch old movies and snuggle with the family. After all, the holiday rush is over, and you don’t really have to go outside.

That’s exactly when I conjure up images of my childhood. When you’re young, the winter doesn’t bother you – in fact it is an invitation to get outside and make snowmen, have snowball fights, skate and ski. It’s just what you did, you didn’t think about it twice, because it was always great fun.

As we get older, though, winter isn’t quite so welcome, especially the remembrance of cold, wet feet and hands. But it’s so important to keep moving, even though you can get lulled into inaction at this time of year. Not moving can lead to unwelcome weight gain – definitely something I want to avoid. But it’s really important to have a plan every day. I like to go for a walk in the morning, take the dog and get out and get moving, even if it’s only 10 or 15 minutes. And Lucy loves it, too.

One of the things I like about having a dog, besides totally loving my Lucy, is it actually keeps me active, forces me outside to walk and connect with the other dog lovers in my neighbourhood. You don’t want to hibernate no matter what age you are – and if you don’t have a dog, hiking is a great option.

My husband, John, develops and builds townhomes. He always carefully picks the locations to be close to established downtown areas and close to greenspace. When you’re close to nature, get out there for a hike or cross-country skiing – the city of Toronto is very good at maintaining the trails and pathways, keeping them clear of snow so it’s easier to walk, and, weather permitting, you can strike out off the main path on your skis.

But it’s important to dress properly. Layers are the key — a t-shirt, a sweater and then the jacket. I prefer to wear the new leisure kind of winter pants, which are kind of between a sweat and a dressier pant. I love my jeans and they’re great but they don’t keep me warm like these do. It used to be about the bundling up but now with these technical fabrics you don’t have to feel like the Michelin Man. And they’re available in just about any good sport goods store.

As for an overcoat, if you’re out walking get something that reaches your knees, preferably down filled, and if you’re being more active — say on cross-country skis — get a nice parka that at least covers your behind. Wear a toque, and if you’re in really rough cold weather, like Calgary, go for a full balaclava to cover your face, which also protects your delicate facial skin. I look a bit strange, but at least I’m warm.

The biggest problem I encounter is the fingertips – I usually wear mitts when walking the dog because it lets me move my fingers and keep them warm. When driving I wear gloves, but the secret I’ve found to warm fingers is mitts with glove liners. Same goes for hiking boots – there are good insoles out there to add to your boots, designed for winter to keep moisture and cold out. They also work in skates.

When buying boots for outdoor activities, get ones with good treads to keep from slipping on slippery sidewalks. Public paths you don’t have to worry about because the city keeps them cleared. And if you live in a Dunpar community, like I do, the snow removal comes with your purchase.

Another challenge with winter is where to store your gear. What I like about my home is that you walk through from the garage right into the lower level. While the closet won’t stow all your skis and skates and so on, there’s good space to keep your coats, mitts, hats and scarves. But the garage is a goldmine – it’s the perfect place to install built-in storage, or freestanding units, like Ikea sells. It’s a good investment to get built-ins to store winter gear for easy access, or summer furniture. You can hang your bike from the ceiling and your skis and poles on the wall. You come in from downstairs and there’s some room to hang your coat and leave the boots outside.

Let’s face it — winter is here, so let’s embrace all it has to offer.

Lisa Rogers is the exclusive interior designer for Dunpar Homes (

Lisa has shared her style and design expertise on popular television programs, such as Canadian Living TV, House & Home TV and The Shopping Channel.

Lisa is one of the most familiar faces on CityTV’s Cityline as a regular guest expert for fashion and image, health and wellness and interior design.


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