House Beautiful asked the above question to several people who, by work or trade or preference or personality, they find inspiring. I love their answers so much I thought it necessary to share, as this is second-hand inspiration in it's best, most comforting, form. Here are my favorites:
I don't know anything that could replace books. I'm with them all day at work, and when I go home, I'm surrounded by them there. I have a library, bookcases in every room, stacks next to the bed, stacks on the dining room table. Surrounded by all the possibilities within each book - a journey taken, a world discovered, emotions felt - well, I just don't see how I could do without them. It would be awful and very, very cold.
Toby Cox, owner of the Three Lives & Company Bookstore
I like mounds of white bedding. It's sensual but but reminds me of innocence. Life begins and ends in white sheets - they tap into something essential rather than just being chic for the sake of chic.
Sean Cummings, owner of the International House Hotel
Coziness is being in a claret red room, or under a floral arbor, or on a train shooting through the countryside. It's feeling enveloped, as if someone's arms are wrapped around you.
Gary McBournie, interior designer
It's wearing my favorite old blue-and-green Fair Isle V-neck sweater and making a ridiculously big breakfast on a Sunday morning - coffee, eggs, bacon, and lots of corn tortillas or cornbread in a black iron skillet. I love the smell of corn in any form. So comforting. I'd sit with my husband on the sofa and eat it slowly, surrounded by a month's worth of books and magazines.
Susan Spicer, chef and owner of Bayona restaurant
Here's my recipe: Curl up with a great book on a comfy sofa - down cushions a must!-in front of a crackling fire. Add one to three snoozing dogs, exhausted from a long walk. You might have to put on a fleece robe or a pair of bamboo lounging pajamas. Have you never worn bamboo? Oh my. It moves with you like a second skin - and it's soft as buttah.
Annie Selke, designer and founder of Pine Cone Hill
Sinatra's wonderfully cozy, and so is Ella Fitzgerald. But there's something about listening to Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 that makes me go limp. It's like sinking into a hot bath surrounded by candles.
Judith Owen, singer and songwriter
Personal artifacts - objects you've collected on vacations, family photographs, pieces of art you love. It's a sense of yourself in your decorating.
Sharone Einhorne, owner of Ruby Beets
A dinner party where you're all tucked in as tight as possible at the dining table. come to think of it, everything that feels good is done as close as possible - picnics, dancing, riding in sports cars. I'll get in trouble if I keep going, right?
Mimi McMakin, interior designer
My answer would be pages long, but when think of cozy, I think of red wine, summer evening BBQ's with my family, books, men's sweaters, and feeling authentically myself.
[image via with love & such]