Written and photos by Susie Ouderkirk
Decorator Laura Thomsen owns City Designs in Michigan City, Indiana, but she knows the Las Cruces desert well. She spends time here every winter staying with friends and checking out the design trends in this part of the world.
“My Cruces contacts tell me New Mexico is usually a season or two behind the East Coast and Midwest trends, but whenever I’m here, I’m seeing the same things I show in my store,” Laura explains. “True, Southern New Mexico moves a little slower, but that’s good. The decorating styles last a couple or three years instead of changing over so quickly.”
Read on for two on trend design ideas and find out where you can find just the right accessories right here in Las Cruces.
“Life by the ocean never goes out of style,” Laura notes. “So nautical designs are very in this fall, even in the desert.”
Anything that suggests a quiet sunset on the water is in style this fall: art depicting anchors, sailboats, and sea life will be in all the stores, Laura says. Pillows, furniture, and table coverings sporting starfish, sea horses, lobsters, seagulls and shells will dominate.
“My favorite nautical symbol is the mermaid, and we’ll be seeing a lot of these beloved ladies in all kinds of décor this fall and winter,” she says.
Because the ocean is blue and really big, she suggests starting a basic design pallet with a variety of blues and aquas, with just a touch of orange to suggest a setting sun on the horizon.
2 Fun Ways to Accessorize Your Home this Season
1. All things nautical are hot this fall, says designer Laura Thomsen. A metal anchor makes a statement at Casa Bonita Imports and Southwest Décor. 2. Take the nautical-themed décor out to the patio with a flirtatious mermaid fountain. Casa Bonita Imports and Southwest Décor has several styles of these popular water sprites. 3. Lifelike, oversized seahorses at Casa Bonita Imports and Southwest Decor make even a desert setting feel like a day at the beach. 4. Casa Bonita also showcases unique cement seal life like this jolly tortoise. 5. When looking for throw pillows, opt for bold blue stripes and natural fibers to enhance a nautical theme in any home.
When she travels to design trade shows, Laura is always looking for the next “it” animal. “Every year designers will showcase a certain animal species; I’m not sure how an animal type gets picked, but every year there’s a new one making a big splash in home décor,” she says.
This year, however, a popular standby is still topping the list: the wise old owl. “Owls have been big in design for almost four years and show no signs of stopping. Maybe it’s because America is really searching for some wisdom these days,” Laura muses.
Because Las Cruces is a charming blend of urban conveniences and up-close-and-personal wild animal encounters, animals of all kinds promise to be big in design this autumn and winter. “Desert dwellers like jackrabbits and roadrunners are always good choices for decorating,” in Las Cruces, she adds. “The neutral browns and tans of local wildlife fit perfectly into any Southwestern home.”
Bottlebrush animals, which have realistic fiber for fur, will be big this holiday season in everything from ornaments to life-size furniture pieces, as will the traditional wooden howling coyotes and colorful willow root snakes.
But don’t forget: “New Mexico has its own sassy, independent streak that shows through no matter what is popular elsewhere,” Laura says, “so in Las Cruces, it’s always ok to bring in bright, primary colors like we see on the Mexican flag.”
Owl Always Love You
1. Owls top the list of popular animals this season—again—and Spirit Winds has a wide variety, including this steam punk gentleman. 2. Bottlebrush animals will be on every fashionable Christmas tree this season. Mesilla’s Galeria on the Plaza offers a fun variety of these adorable ornaments. 3. Desert dwellers, like jackrabbits, are always good choices for decorating in the desert. Cement animals, like this oversized rabbit at Casa Bonita Imports, create the legs for a very unique garden bench. 4. Owls may rule the season, but in New Mexico, there’s always room for a jackalope in chic interior design. Lulu gift shop has a little something for every home.
1900 Avenida de Mesilla
2260 Locust St.
Galeria on the Plaza
2310 Calle Principal-Mesilla