'It's simply magical and epitomises Christmas in our home' – why you'll be dreaming about this Victorian home all December

With its mix of nostalgic decorations, this renovated Victorian home in Bath offers the perfect warm welcome for festive get-togethers

living room decorated for christmas with tree, stockings and santa sacks and fireplace with log burner
(Image credit: Rachael Smith)

This beautiful four-storey Victorian home in Bath lends itself perfectly to festive decorations. At this time of year, the homeowner can make the most of its elegant original features, such as fireplaces and bannisters, embellishing them with Christmas ideas.

She is often stopped in her tracks by the enchanting sight of the traditionally decorated tree in her inviting living room. 

‘To me, the view from our decorated Christmas hallway, featuring the beautiful staircase with its ornate spindles embellished with paper baubles, garlands and stockings, and lovely double doors leading through to the living room, is simply magical and epitomises Christmas in our home,' she says.

traditional hallways decorated for Christmas with garland, stockings and paper baubles

(Image credit: Rachael Smith)

There’s no doubt that this delightful home definitely lends itself exceptionally well to the festive season. The pretty floral fabric on the upcycled dresser in the sitting room look particularly striking at Christmas, teamed with the red and white decorations that date back to the couple’s first home.

The dresser was painted cream as a painted dresser idea to work with the room scheme, and Cabbages & Roses fabric gives it a completely different look, as well as cleverly hiding the TV.

It has taken a long time to achieve this picture of a perfect home, though: in 2008 when the owners first viewed the property, it was a far cry from the elegant home that they have since put their hearts and souls into.

upcycled white painted dresser with floral fabric behind glass decorated for christmas

(Image credit: Rachael Smith)

Turning it back into a family home

The couple had been looking for a detached property with space for all four daughters to have their own bedrooms. 

The perfect solution presented itself on the outskirts of Bath. The house had been built in the late 1800s, and then later used as an old people's home before being converted into bed and breakfast accommodation.

‘Despite its jumble of rooms, various alterations, and rather dated appearance, thankfully most of the delightful period features, were still intact,’ says the owner.

‘I loved the proportions of the rooms and huge traditional windows, and the location was great.'

Striking a deal, the couple moved in that September and began deciding how they would bring the house back to its former glory.

view through from traditional hallways decorated for christmas to sitting room with tree

(Image credit: Rachael Smith)

Reinstating a double aspect living room

‘Having looked at our neighbour’s mirror-image house, we were keen to echo the original living room layout and reinstate the double-aspect room by removing the wall dividing the space,’ Kari says.

‘When that space was converted into bed and breakfast accommodation, the original doorway had been lost. We felt that this was a shame since double doors would give the whole room much more presence, so we decided to reinstate that entrance and commission new doors.’ 

The result is a beautiful spacious, light-filled space, which at this time of year, is brimming with Christmas living room decorating ideas.

Every year the owner adds to her collection of Christmas decorations, and this year has opted for a red and white scheme as a Christmas tree idea.

‘Now that three of our daughters have left home, I tend to do most of the festive decorating and thoroughly enjoy every moment,' she says.

iving room with double doors decorated for christmas with red and white scheme

(Image credit: Rachael Smith)

Creating a new kitchen extension

With an architect on board, plans were submitted for an extension at one side of the house to create a new kitchen, plus an en-suite bathroom and dressing room for the main bedroom on the first floor.

The owner designed the kitchen herself with cabinets supplied by Unpainted Kitchens

The cabinets and walls are painted in Shaded White with Hardwick White, both Farrow & Ball, as a contrast to the island and the iroko wooden worktops.

Festive touches extend to the kitchen which has many decorating ideas.

neutral kitchen with range cooker decorated for Christmas

(Image credit: Rachael Smith)

‘I’ve used natural materials such as rattan, wicker and linen to inject texture and also chosen large, statement pieces, such as pendant lights and chandeliers, which these rooms with their high ceilings can definitely carry.'

For a sense of continuity between the breakfast room and kitchen, the owner sourced an oversized rattan pendant light from Hauslife, which mirrors large rattan pendants in the breakfast room

view over kitchen island with wooden worktop to patio doors beyond

(Image credit: Rachael Smith)

Decorating with a neutral palette

The owner has chosen a soft neutral palette throughout the home for floors and wall finishes.

Working her way gradually through each room, she has devised schemes that would link beautifully throughout the reimagined home, taking her time to carefully source fabric, wallpaper, and antique and vintage pieces to enhance each space and allow the character to sing out.

‘The 1970s décor certainly wasn’t to my taste and I was so relieved to see the back of the swirly, dated carpets. It was great to have a blank canvas to inject my own style,’ she says.

neutral dining room decorated for Christmas

(Image credit: Rachael Smith)

The neutral dining room includes an antique dresser, which is one of the first pieces of furniture the couple bought. This room, with its extending Sherborne table from La Residence Interiors , is perfect for hosting friends and family and is brimming with Christmas dining room decor ideas.

During the renovation project, the couple also exposed the inglenook fireplace, so gave the wall a lick of white paint and fitted a woodburning stove

This presents a warm and inviting spot, especially with the mantelpiece hung with stockings from Plum and Ashby

View of a woodburner in a dining room with christmas stockings hung on mantelpiece

(Image credit: Rachael Smith)

Designing a romantic bedroom scheme

The four-poster bed from And So To Bed, lends a romantic bedroom feel to the master bedroom. 

‘It was bought as a wedding present and when we’ve moved house over the years, we’ve had to make sure the main bedroom is definitely large enough for it,’ says the owner.

When considering the wallpaper for this spacious room, she chose a soft rose design. ‘I deliberately selected a fairly neutral colourway so that the room wouldn’t feel too feminine,’ she says. 

wooden four-poster bed in a classic style bedroom in Victorian home

(Image credit: Rachael Smith)

Even this room gets a festive touch with a garland decorating the mantelpiece, and pretty tealights a further Christmas bedroom decorating idea.

Adding an en-suite bathroom

A new en-suite bathroom was created as part of the side extension. 

The owners have never looked back since making the last-minute decision to create a vaulted ceiling while extending, which lends the bathroom a grand and spacious feel.

Wood-effect floor tiles from Mandarin Stone help to further bounce light around the white-painted space.

white bathroom with vaulted ceiling, double vanities and freestanding bath

(Image credit: Rachael Smith)

An evolving home

As the girls have grown up, the spaces have evolved with the family, but the essence of the interiors being comfortable, relaxed and elegant, has remained.

The girls' bedrooms have been updated over the years and now double up as guest bedrooms. This one in the eaves has a lovely cottage bedroom feel with its floral wallpaper and upcycled dressing table. 

country style bedroom with floral wallpaper and upcycled dressing table

(Image credit: Rachael Smith)

'Even though our three older girls have now gone to university, when they return at this time of the year, one of the first things they do is peer into the cosy living room,’ the owner reveals. ‘It’s such a welcoming space that instantly conjures up the nostalgia of our past Christmases and is somewhere we can all enjoy making more fun memories together.’

Freelance interiors writer

Janet McMeekin is a specialist interiors writer with more than 20 years experience of contributing regularly to a wide variety of national and international publications.

With contributions from