Styling: Christmas in the Design Soda House

December 12, 2016

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Image: Design Soda

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Christmas gives you a special licence to be a bit naff, a bit bold, or a bit twee in the style stakes, right?! I was born in 1981 so I’m a true child of the eighties. This means that trees with coloured lights, coloured tinsel and boiled wool or pink plastic are all things that press my Christmas buttons (though you can keep the hanging swathes of cards as decorations). There’s a byline quote on designer Jonathan Adler’s Twitter account which I think suits my approach to Christmas rather well –  “build a timelessly chic foundation and accessorize with abandon”!  Absolutely.

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 Kitsch pastel Scandinavian Christmas vibes, deer trees in jar snow, gingerbreadhouse candle, white Pom Pom tree garland

Image: Design Soda

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Actually, it’s a great philosophy for all interior design decisions, but particularly so at Christmas. Let me tell you reader, I wrote this post before dashing out to my husbands work Xmas party, it was a giddy rush of all the Christmas-y things we’ve done around the house this year. But upon returning at a fairly sensible hour, just before the carriage turned into a pumpkin, and even after a few whiskeys, I could see that it was is a bit of a disjointed post, a bit of an assault of the senses when placed mishmash style next to each other.  So lets make this a piece of three halves (can you have three halves?!)  so as not to give you the kind of lamped-around-the-head viewing hangover that I anticipate for myself tomorrow morning. Feel free to treat this as three posts, which it kind of is! If you are looking for Scandi chic walk this way, for part two follow the Scandinavian vibe into ways I’ve brought nature into the home this year, and if a kitsch-y Christmas is more your bag, scroll down and drop in for a mince pie and a glass of mulled wine after the intermission in the third part, let me mention that we have bambi’s in party hats for the finale!

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Nordic Christmas Vibe:

Christmas styling nordic white scandinavian tree ideas and inspiration

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Last year we skipped decorating as we were surrounded by so many boxes to unpack, so I’m going big this year, and it feels like there’s a bit of festivity in each room of the house.  Our opening gambit is all about the grown up, pared back natural, Nordic inspired festive decorations we have going on. I’m tempted to ask you to just scroll down to the kitsch since this is what has put most joy in my heart, but  let’s forget about all the frivolities for now (did I mention that there are bambi’s in party hats to come!?). For now,  lets discuss the very serious business of creating a Scandinavian style Christmas house that doesn’t quite fall down the rabbit hole of horribly bland or pedestrian (I hope). Some people do Christmas very grandly, think Home Alone for film reference, gold tones and those big red velvet bows. I love this but it’s not me at all, it feels a bit like power dressing for trees! I have a lot of time for the slightly gaudier side of eighties bling but I feel we are doing a fair bit in the tat bracket for the little person this year – Santas grottoes, Christmas lights at Kew etc so for our tree I wanted a more understated affair something that made the tree sing and didn’t sing at the tree (if you see what i mean?).

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Christmas styling nordic white scandinavian tree ideas and inspiration

Image: Design Soda

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Ted did help with decorating this tree, but as he’s only just turned two he had pretty minimal interest in its artistic direction so I thought as this is the only time I’d get to choose for the next 15 years we’d go pretty minimal as I can only imagine all subsequent trees are going to be quite bonkers looking! The main base for the tree decoration comprised two winter white felt Pom Pom garlands I picked up in the sales at West Elm last year (you can buy similar in grey and white this year here), an old birch star garland from Cox & Cox (this year they are doing them with lights here) and a cute gold disc garland I bought from Southwood Stores. On top of this I layered simple and rustic star decorations picked up at Cox & Cox, IKEA, eBay and my local garden centre. 

 

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scandi tree decorations

Image: Design Soda

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I’ve taken a little inspiration from 2016 having been the year of house plants (Pantone’s new colour of the year for 2017 is Greenery). I wanted to make the tree itself more of a star, with the decorations simply highlighting the beautiful greenery. The tree is in the cocktail room, where the walls are blue, and green on blue is surely one of the freshest combinations? As is green and white. So, in the name of colour co-ordination, and even an elegance I don’t usually bestow on Christmas, I took white as my base for decorations. Each time I got a bit wayward and added something slightly colourful (say the red and white hearts in the picture next to the cocktail trolley below) a little voice inside me shouted down my usual Christmas voice and told me I was ruining things, distracting from the tree.

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Christmas styling nordic white scandinavian tree ideas and inspiration

Image: Design Soda

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I’m really pleased with my understated tree, it feels grown up in a way I’m not familiar with. As I am naturally drawn to the slightly gaudy and garish at Christmas I’m pretty surprised that I’ve managed to pull it off, I’m also more than pleased that it was shared by lovely Lisa Dawson on her blog in a piece on the best trees of Instagram – thank you so much again Lisa!

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Christmas styling, miniature faux tree with felt animal decorations

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I picked up a little fake tree at IKEA this year for the living room where we spend most of our family time and have decorated it with some of the animal decorations I’ve collected over the years (actually I noticed that we had some of these in common with Michelle Ogundehin, editor of Elle Decoration, so I know we’re in good company!) and Ted loves them. It’s on the coffee table which we d.i.y-ed out of an old palette years and years ago and has proved to be the perfect height for a little ones toy playing adventures, at some point each day as Ted is playing with his toys he mentions an animal on the tree, we talk about it and sometimes to it and sometimes they even become a part of his games. If I could add anything to this tree I think it would be a set of these beautiful decorations at Donna Wilson this year, they would be perfect on this tree.

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Nature Inside:

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christmas craft, how to make christmas wreath, scandinavian fragrant simple rosemary mimosa decoration detail (2)

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I did a little d.i.y piece on Xmas garland making in November and have been happily changing it up ever since, this weeks garland features my favourite Christmas flowers, South African Proteas which abound at this time of year. The shot above is of a simple spray of really mini eucalyptus which we had up last week and I think works really well in isolation on the wreath. The garland is on the wall in the upstairs hallway and it makes me smile each time I pass it.

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Christmas styling, eucalyptus sprigs in vase

Image: Design Soda

Christmas styling, hanging eucalyptus sprigs

Image: Design Soda

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Actually the house is full of eucalyptus at the moment. I used to be pretty antsy about choosing the perfect tree smell wise but as I’m also about the aesthetic it makes life much simpler to choose a pretty tree and then fill rooms with eucalyptus to give each space that beautiful and most wintery of fragrances upon entrance. If you have somewhere local that sells eucalyptus cheap (as I do) you can keep topping up, I like to break up old eucalyptus in a bowl and put it on a shelf in the bedroom for extra fragrance. One note of caution though, eucalyptus is pretty poisonous to cats so don’t put eucalyptus out in spaces that can be easily accessed by the cat (yes I know, easier said than done!). Above the eucalyptus on the mantle in the kitchen (picture above)  is Teds advent calendar from Carluccios who nail Christmas packaging each year for me, this is the third calendar I’ve bought from them and I’ve kept each one because of the design.

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christmas styling branch deciration with geometric and origami baubles

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christmas styling pine branch hanging on white wall (4)

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Husband in the Design Soda house is pretty strict about no Christmas decorations in the bedroom, but I think I’ve just snuck this branch from our garden with a few bold geometric decs past his snootiness! I really love this vignette and am very tempted to keep it out all year round, maybe changing it up a bit with painted eggs for Easter, or flowers for summer solstice, what do you think? I also really like our tiny fir branch (above) collected on an adventure to the park with the little, from a tree with branches that had been felled by weather. Now I just need to work out which part of the loft I put my snowglobe collection in as Ted would surely love them. 

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Into the Cocktail Room Kitsch:

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christmas styling

Image: Design Soda

 

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This little area is where true christmas spirit reigns in the home, Dan thinks I’ve secretly always wanted a child just so that I could make him a Christmas scene full of fun and slightly ironic winks, he may be right! Ted and I have disputes over who owns the car all the time (for the record there are two, mummy bought herself one, but both have to be present at the same time before Ted accepts I haven’t thieved his toys). The rhino hanging from the table lamp is an accession to Dan as it is his favourite decoration ever, remodeled out of an old Perrier can and picked up in Anthropologie 5 years ago.

 

Christmas styling, kitsch alternative christmas decorations

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Are you ready for the Smorgasbord of detail shots of the items on the table? Great then we’ll begin. To start, I give you a vintage nutcracker toy I’ve owned forever and which reminds me of the cheap wooden decorations we used to decorate our family tree with at home when I was growing up and which I’ve always loved.

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Vintage chritmas wooden toy nutcracker

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vintage toy car chrisdtmas tree on roof rack

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Kitsch polar bear scaling christmas tree decoration

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The sideboard in the cocktail room is where most of the fun happened this year, we’ve got a candy striped Pompom garland (West Elm last year), vintage nutcracker figure, polar bears scaling trees, deer in Mason jars, kitsch animal scene baubles and trees attached to the roof rack of cheap toy cars (from Tiger) and of course deer in party hats on the tree because, well why not!?  The only thing missing is the lovely bulldog-in-Xmas-hat decoration that I got in a goody bag from Rockett St George and then promptly smashed (but which I managed to photograph for posterity below, even if it didn’t make it to the tree!)

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Rockett St Georghe Bulldog in santa hat christmas tree decoration

Image: Design Soda

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Christmas styling, kitsch alternative christmas decorations

Image: Design Soda

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But beyond all the silliness (which Ted loves) the thing I love most are the aluminium Dutch houses (bought last year from Toast but which languished in a box due to moving house at an inopportune time) which I’ve put Xmas lights in. Alongside the tree lights and the spotlight on the logs in the fireplace, these houses give off the exact cosy Christmas lighting vibe I’ve always wanted in this room that I retire to of an evening. 

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.Christmas styling, miniature faux tree with bambi deer in party hats decorationsImage: Design Soda

.Image: Design Soda

Christmas styling, miniature faux tree with bambi deer in party hats decorations

Image: Design Soda

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Oh deer! Sorry I couldn’t help myself. They may have become just a tad cliched but I can’t divorce myself from deer at Christmas. For me it harks back to Babycham as a staple of Christmas past when Christmas was much less serious or dare I say it, American. I have an enduring love for Babycham, as a teenager I saved up forever to buy some Babycham jewellery designed by Pippa Brooks (one of my teenage heroes and still someone I follow via Instagram) of legendary Soho store ‘Shop’, the deer at Christmas is possibly my only enduring theme and a bit of nostalgia to my teenage self. I add deer that catch my eye each year, this year I picked up some fab hanging deer by Gisela Graham at my local Garden centre. One I removed the ribbon from and put in a jar for a snow scene (below), the rest I’ve trailed on mini trees in tiny party hats (above), but the item I wish I’d bought is this cute bambi candle from SCP, I still might by the seasons close!

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Kitsch pastel Scandinavian Christmas vibes, deer trees in jar snow, gingerbreadhouse candle, white Pom Pom tree garland

Image: Design Soda

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I leave you with a deer in mason jar, which was temporarily snuck past my husbands strict bedroom code. How have you decorated your house this year?

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