Warm up your home beyond the holidays

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      Even the most humble of homes looks inviting and festive under decked halls and the glow of Christmas lights. Too bad that seasonal glamour gets packed away for 11 months of the year and things go back to their ho-hum humbug.

      But what if adding a little high-design décor to your holidays didn’t mean having to stow it when the lights and tinsel go back into the storage space? The Straight has searched the city to find ways to warm up your home, not only for the holidays but for the balance of the cold season.

      Throwing it out there

      The quickest way to give your space (and yourself) some added seasonal coziness is with a throw: toss it on the couch, wrap it around your legs, or lay it on the floor as the canvas for a romantic holiday picnic. The aisles of the big-box stores are overflowing with holiday-themed monstrosities, but a more subtle approach will stand you in good stead far longer. Heather Ross Natural Eclectic (2170 Fir Street, website) carries a line of super-soft and comfy four-foot-by-six-foot throws made of pure Peruvian baby alpaca wool ($259). Choose fringed or blanket-stitched edges in all-natural, easy-to-match tones of cream or soft grey.

      Keeping with this theme, another easy way to warm up a space is with throw pillows. The latest to catch our eye are from Vancouver-based JOUE Design. A collaboration between designers Alison Kent and Cindy Yu, the white Courcheval pillow ($149) is inspired by Courchevel, the famous ski resort in the French Alps. The dark, faux-furry Porteau ($149) takes its name from the eponymous cove on the Sea-to-Sky Highway. Together, they make for a stylishly perfect yin-and-yang in any room. Both are available at Living Lab (1121 West 15th Street, North Vancouver).

      Fired up

      Karim Rashid wine glasses from Moe’s

      Open fires are as essential to the season as trees, menorahs, and presents. For those who don’t have access to a wood or gas fireplace, sometimes the fireplace on cable TV is enough to get them through. Others truly need an open flame to put them in the holiday spirit. In this case, we suggest the stainless-steel Majesty tabletop “fireplace” from Moe’s Home Collection ($225; 1728 Glen Drive and 125–1305 Welch Street, North Vancouver), which can light up your evenings well into spring. Of course, a little candle flicker might be all you really need. If so, it’s worth checking into a runaway hit from last fall’s Vancouver Home + Design Show, the Vancouver Candle Company. The premium soy candles ($32) are available at retailers across the city and online in five scents, each named after a Vancouver neighbourhood. The most seasonally appropriate are the Point Grey (cedar, balsam, vanilla) and the Railtown (tobacco, leather, amber, black pepper), but neither is so over-the-top Christmassy that it will overstay its welcome come January. The Hudson’s Bay Company’s downtown flagship store (674 Granville Street) will be hosting a Vancouver Candle Company pop-up shop from December 15 to 24.

      Hot stuff

      Victorinox Swiss Army’s Rosewood collection at Ming Wo.

      Many of the best Christmas traditions come out of the kitchen. But to create culinary works of art, you need the right equipment. Victorinox Swiss Army’s Rosewood collection marries stainless steel with rosewood for a perfectly balanced tool that’s sharply styled and cutting-edge ($65 for a chef’s knife or $200 for a set of three, at Ming Wo [various locations]). There’s no better pot for simmering up some mulled wine than the award-winning stainless-steel pan-saucier from iconic cookware company Le Creuset ($220 at the Hudson’s Bay Company). Serve that brew up in industrial designer Karim Rashid’s geometric, 1970s-inspired wineglasses ($28.95 to $30.95 at Moe’s Home Collection) when company comes or in a “Love You More” mug from Papyrus ($9; 765 Burrard Street and Oakridge Centre) if it’s a quiet night at home.