There are so many ways to decorate your house for Christmas. Classic, with a tree and a palette of red, gold and green. Scandi, with a neutral grouping of beiges, browns and creams. But what if, this year of all years, you wanted to go all out joyful? That was the thinking behind the decoration of this architecturally incredible house in South London, UK, where a maximalist burst of bright colors fills each corner with festive happiness.
In fact, this modern home, with its harmonious blend of saturated moody pastels enlivened with pops of invigorating jewel tones, couldn’t lend itself more to Christmas if it tried. A backdrop of luxe textures and enveloping textiles sets the scene in this Victorian villa, alongside opulent, stroke-me, materials and cabinetry.
Surprising elements keep it unpredictable – the same approach used for Christmas decorating. Secret doors (hiding the downstairs cloakroom and a staircase to the basement); a brass pop-out bar; plus an ‘indoor winter garden’ room and a bespoke indoor ‘potting shed’.
This was the perfect backdrop to the festive elements – a garland of flowers in pop brights, a tree twinkling with personality. This house shows how to do Christmas when there are – gleefully – no holds barred.
The house was designed by Sophie Chapman of creative studio The Vawdrey House. And it’s full of unexpected, yet on-point, ideas that lift the house out of the ordinary – such as the show-stopping slab of Cipolino Ondulato green marble for the kitchen island, and the elegant, framed-glass wall into the boot room – and pack it with personality.
As for Christmas kitchen decorating ideas, how much more do you really need to do than an overflowing vase of exuberantly-colored blooms and a cake stand towering with baubles?
The livingetc edit of the best christmas kitchen decorations
Choi vase, $40, Lulu and Georgia
Forget the artful twigs the stylist used for this shot, the joyful blue pattern lends itself to being filled with bountiful blooms. Currently in the sale at 25% off.
Gienna cake stand, $68, Anthropologie
Christmas is a time we like to feel a little vintage around the edges – it helps up the traditional familiarity we crave to feel festive. This cake stand is ideal to house a stack of baubles for a simple centerpiece.
Just next to the kitchen island is this breakout living room area, part of the open plan ground floor which also houses the dining space.
All it really needs is a big squashy grey sofa, and then, to do comfort but make it Christmas, a grouping of colored candles. ‘When they’re off duty, the couple love welcoming friends and family, so big, open-plan, flexible, entertaining and socialising spaces were key,’ says Sophie.
Multi Color Block Candles, $12 for 16, Target
Ok, so they’re being marketed as birthday candles but the color palette fits this maximalist Christmas mood to perfection.
Also in the open plan living area is this dining room, opposite the kitchen. The stone fireplace is the hero, except at Christmas, when it becomes a backdrop to a vast floral display.
A cosy eating area, anchored with a feature pendant and a substantial bespoke fireplace, was created within the open-plan living space. ‘The essence of this home is calm, unpretentious and grown up,’ Sophie says.
By day the wet bar by the dining table looks like a recessed bookcase. But at night it opens up to reveal a well-stocked bar, complete with a mixing station made from a marble off-cut from the kitchen island.
Design cues from boutique hotels that the homeowners fell in love with while on their travels were embraced. ‘The brass bar in the dining area was inspired by a piece at Stockholm’s Ett Hem Hotel, while the brick wall that runs down the internal atrium was influenced by The Greenwich hotel in New York’s Tribeca,’ explains Sophie.
Vintage meets modern in this small living room designed for cocooning. The walls and ceiling are painted in Dead Salmon, Farrow & Ball (opens in new tab).
All it takes make your house look Christmassy on top of this is to hang some paper garlands from ceilings lights and a wreath placed artfully on the fireplace.
Next to the front door, this mudroom has plenty of storage for coats and shoes so the owners can leave their outdoor paraphernalia behind them before entering the living space.
But just because it’s a practical space didn’t stop it being dressed for Christmas. Hanging favorite baubles along a fireplace or shelf is such a simple way to create an instant display.
Blessed with a high staircase but don’t fancy the traditional foliage garland? All you really need to do is hang a few paper lanterns from the top of the stairwell and you’ll feel like you’re ascending into a Christmas wonderland.
See more work from The Vawdrey House (opens in new tab)