Joanna Goodman

As the weather cools (hopefully) and the leaves change, we begin to think about the approaching holidays and how things may look a little differently this year as we cope with the pandemic. Typically, starting in August / September with football tailgating through late December with New Years Eve, we consider this as a time to gather and fellowship with our family and friends for various occasions. However, this year, the question is on everyone’s mind – How are we going to be gracious hosts and create memorable events while we respect social distancing.

We all have our own traditions for the major holidays, but what about trick or treating or having people over to watch a football game? How do we come together considering some are still working from home and virtual learning while others are back in the mainstream?

For so many of us, we are craving time with others. If you host a gathering, keep it simple and fun and try to keep things as normal as possible. Still entertain, still hang-out with family and friends, but maybe just in a different way. Instead of preparing food and having a formal dinner party, consider ordering take-out from your favorite local restaurant and dine al fresco.  Update your interiors with elements that represent the changing of seasons and make your guest feel welcome. It’s easy to transform your home to embrace December, but there are also ways to transition your home to feel more like fall. A roaring fire, luxurious textiles, and cozy blankets are things that come to my mind when I think about this time of year. Sometimes just introducing more layers to your home creates a warm and cozy vibe.

For more autumn design ideas, I asked our interior design team what inspires them, especially during the fall and winter months.

Senior Interior Designer, Leigh Ann, says “Fall can be a time for nostalgia as we think about memories of past family gatherings and beloved childhood traditionsThat inspires me to incorporate a few well placed antiques or heirloom pieces to evoke a sense of familiarity in a room.” Leigh Ann says this year, she’s been inspired by camp for adults. A good way to have a gathering with friends is with an outdoor event centered around a firepit. By incorporating some plaids, flannel or tweed to create an outdoor dinner you can elevate the experience and create long-lasting memories of a night under the stars with friends. Isn’t that what we crave most in 2020? 

“I love this time of year and creating an outdoor fire pit or fireplace creates a focal point for watching the big game or sharing a socially distanced meal,” Lydia, Interior Designer, says. Lydia is inspired by bringing in the colors of the season with pumpkins, gourds and mums with unlacquered brass candlesticks and wood elements to set the stage for her event this year. 

Design Assistant, Abbi, says the change of seasons are a good time to make some subtle changes around the house. Candlesticks with the colors of Autumn are a subtle change but one that signifies the changing of the seasons in her home,” Abbi says. She loves to create a table scape using dried foliage and variations of pumpkins and gourds to create a cozy and warm feeling that brings people together. 

As we approach the season of football, family holidays and cooler days, we hope you create new memories with your family this year. Whether it’s a weekend DIY project to build a firepit in your backyard or creating a formal table scape for Thanksgiving, creating memories inspires all of us.  

Our favorite Fall Cocktail

Bourbon Apple Cider

-4oz apple cider

-2oz bourbon

-2tbsp sugar

-orange wedge

-rosemary sprig

Begin by combining the cinnamon and sugar together on a plate

Run the orange wedge around the edge of your cocktail glass. Set the rim of the glass in the cinnamon and sugar then fill the glass with ice.

In a shaker filled with ice, combine the cider and bourbon and stir to combine. Strain into your ice filled glass.

Joanna Goodman ASID, LEED A.P., Vice President & Director of Interiors at Christopher Architecture & Design. As Director of Interior Design, she leads the design process for all interior projects for the firm.  Joanna’s leadership, alongside Chris Reebals, has resulted in CAI being named a finalist in HGTV’s 2018 Faces of Design competition, after winning the esteemed award in 2017.  She has been published in Southern Home, Southern Lady, Ocean Home, Elle Décor and Birmingham Magazine, as well as being a featured speaker at the 2018 Architectural Digest Design Show in New York.  A tireless advocate for design, you can find her on Instagram at @joannabgoodman.