'Christmas wouldn't be the same without him, so he comes out every year.' Five creatives share their festive habits
PUBLISHED: 13:21 07 December 2018 | UPDATED: 15:23 11 December 2018
We chat to five local designers and artists who tell us about the one thing they must have or do at home that puts them in the Christmas mood
Rebecca is a designer and craftsman based in Muswell Hill who makes limited edition soft furnishing and accessories. She works with vintage silks from Japan and mixes them with lush, new velvets.
“As a former florist I just adore arranging the mantelpiece, tree and table every year. I love rummaging through my Christmas decorations, which I have carefully collected over the years and choosing the colour scheme for the season. Last year, I went for oranges, purples and pinks. This year I have chosen white and silver. I have a few decorations that come out every year, such as my little wooden mannequins, which I treasure. Last Christmas they had handmade crowns and crackers, and this year I’m going a little upmarket and making them kimonos and scarves made from the same vintage silk kimonos I use in my work.”
Primrose Hill based interior designer Georgina creates homes that are beautiful and liveable. She has worked with new-build houses, as well as historic and landmark listed buildings.
“This little hand painted papier mâché man gets unwrapped every year to take pride of place on our tree. Despite his now one-legged appearance, he holds a special place in my heart as he was the first decoration my children and I chose together when they were young. He adds that all important pop of colour that every tree of mine must have, as well as a touch of quirkiness. Sitting at the top of the tree - no stars, angels or fairies for me - he heads an all-star cast of one off creatures, alongside an array of baubles & sparkles. Christmas wouldn’t be the same without him, so out he comes every year and back he’ll go when the twelve days of Christmas are up, carefully wrapped in tissue and placed at the top of the decorations box to give his remaining leg hope of surviving another year!”
Isabella is a cermacist based in Wood Green and one of the founding members of the Muswell Hill Creatives collective. She makes hand-thrown everyday tableware as well as decorative pieces that blur craft with art and function with beauty.
“It was early December four years ago, when my son Henry, then aged five, was home from school with the flu. In the middle of the day, he came up to me and very matter of fact he said: ‘Mummy, we absolutely have to make Christmas chocolate biscuits’. I don’t know where the idea came from but I liked it.
We found a simple recipe for chocolate shortbread and got to work covering every surface of the kitchen with a fine film of cacao powder and icing sugar in the process. We used carved wooden blocks to decorate them, and so our little tradition was born. Inspired, I made the same shapes in clay and created my first Christmas decorations. Four years on, we have made these biscuits every year since.”
Working out of his Highgate studio, interior designer Mark specialises in renovating 19th century architecture. He blends Georgian and Victorian architecture with contemporary and modern design.
“Nothing rings in the festive season better than a well-stocked pantry. A pantry compartmentalises the kitchen; they’re very hardworking spaces when it comes to storage. This frees the kitchen from clutter and gives Sit, and you, room to breathe. Simple but practical, small details give soul to these spaces. The open shelves in this pantry are held up by the Strong Boy L Brackets and Little Chap Brackets from our own home store. Shelves for dry goods are made from wood, while the fresh produce sits atop cool carrara marble. The pantry can also double as a wine cellar, so there’s no running back and forth on Christmas Day.”
Audrey is an interior designer who ensures a room is full of personality as well as functionality. Based in Highgate, she uses colour, patterns and texture to make interiors work.
“Christmas stockings make my home feel Christmas, and they are the one thing I must put up! We have a six-year-old and a one-year-old, so the excitement levels leading up to Christmas in our house are high! For me, the stockings hanging on the fireplace symbolise the sense of anticipation leading up to the day and the sheer delight at the thoughts of Santa arriving down the chimney. We are lucky enough to have a fireplace in our house – something I didn’t consider to be such an important Christmas feature when we moved in, before having any children. Red is not a colour I have used in our home, but I love the opportunity at Christmas to bring it in in large doses to create atmosphere. I am a fan of typography too, so the large letters on these stockings are equally appealing to both myself and the children.”