The winter solar was a low-ceilinged room with woolen tapestries on the walls and two broad hearths at either end. The benches against the wall and the few chairs were made with a dark wood--or maybe they weren't dark themselves but only seemed to be, against the pale walls. Thick blankets, furs, and rugs were piled against the wall and on top of the benches to be taken down during the day. Windows were set back into the wall and usually covered with heavy curtains; they were opened every morning to air out the room.
A few of the women, layered in wool gowns and hoods and shawls, liked to sit there in the morning shortly after the fires were started and a pot of cider hung to warm over the grate. The room would yet be bitingly cold, but a certain conspiratorial air lay over the early hours of the morning, huddled around the fire with cider and hot bread somehow finagled out of the cook before the Hall would be set out with food to break the others' fast.