Interiors at Christmas

Interiors at Christmas

Interiors at Christmas


Simple ways to make your home look festive for the season

We’ve been out and about looking at showrooms and shops and wanted to bring to you visual inspiration of ideas that you can easily translate before Santa arrives.

We always feel ‘less is more’ and remember you do not have to use the traditional green and red palette of a Santa suit and Christmas tree! In fact Christmas works best when it stems from the palette that you already have at home, with baubles, foliage and wrapping designs that co-ordinate and add some cheer to the existing colours and mood.

If you have a neutral home, with fur throws, chunky knits, a soft natural taupe palette, and earthenware/soft ceramics, then a contemporary rustic theme would work well. Brown paper packages, and yes ‘tied up with string’ (or simple silver ribbons from V V rouleaux)! and fir cones with a natural packaging tag would suit. For the place setting a dusky bark fabric coloured napkins, with a eucalyptus sprig, a white ceramic star, heart or bauble, tied with ribbon will look simple and effective. Fill shallow bowls with decorative balls the colour of putty, cement, juxtaposed with fir cones and small ivy sprigs. Twigs, mistletoe and white berries feature as decoration on the mantel in oversized glass vases.

Remember to use your furniture almost as props for display, low bench footstools with Christmas present boxes ready to open, a fur throw added/slung over the side makes the area inviting, tempting and warming. On top of a dresser, sideboard or mantel, add leavey green foliage and white pea lights. We also love adding fresh (or faux), sprigs of December stems into our natural Christmas tree. Ivy, eucalyptus, and any other leavey stem (as long as a contrast), works well and adds depth. With silver baubles and white pea lights that shimmer from behind all the added decoration.

Another palette that offers a point of difference would be a rich warm autumnal one and one that extends into Christmas. Think of dried hydrangea flowers in purple russet tones with a contrast of ochres and green leaves. Rich warm candles in tall glass holders make this harvest festival palette translate into Christmas. A little vintage and individual too.

More Christmas inspiration soon!

Porto, and have a custard tart!

Porto, and have a custard tart!

Porto, and have a custard tart


We recently had a fantastic day in Porto, with a friend who was like a local! We fell in love with the city.

From the old ramshakled houses with dilapidated distressed tiled fronts, which held such charm to the amazing blue tiles on churches and inside the railway station.

It was hard to believe with the irregular angles of the homes, (against anything perspective I’ve known), and rooftops akimbo, that the buildings were actually still standing! The lopsided buildings seem to hold each other up and there worn weary charm was quite beautiful.

As well as walking through the cobbled side streets, where laundry hangs out drying from balconies, seeing the blue tiled churches are a must!

Visit for sure, Igreja Capella Das Almas, the ‘Chapel of Souls’, built in the early eighteenth century. The Chapel stands on Rua Santa Catarina, a busy shopping street in the heart of the city.

The Chapel has a beautiful facade of blue and white ceramic tiles painted with scenes from the lives of saints. The magnificent panels depict moments in the life of St Francis of Assisi, his death and the martyrdom of St Catherine, to whom the chapel is dedicated.

Eduardo Leite painted the tiles in a 18th Century classic style, though they only date back to the early 20th Century, when the exterior was covered in 1929 with the tiles.

The Chapel of Souls is located close to the Bolhao Market, an indoor market, well worth walking round. A Portuguese ‘Borough’ market!

For more gorgeous blue tiles, a must to ‘go see’ is Sao Bento railway station and the Cathedrale de Porto-Novo.

The railway station is just stunning with elaborate tile work that tells the story of Portugal. 20,000 azulego tin glazed ceramic tiles depicts Portugal’s history, it’s royalty, wars and transportation history.

The tiles were placed over a 11 year period (1905 – 1916) by artist Jorge Colaco.

The station is named after a Benedictine monastery that once occupied the space in the 16th Century. The house of worship was torn down in the 19th Century to make way for the railway system. Built by architect Jose Margues da Silva, with the first stone being laid by King Carlos I.

The intricate tile work began five years after the station was built and considering they are now a century old they have withstood the test of time. The sight of the floor to ceiling decoration and the stories they tell are breathtaking.

And please when in Porto, don’t forget to have a custard tart or two, they taste divine!

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