Now that the owners are looking forward to Christmas, it’s difficult to remember the hard work it took to buy their house in Harrogate. High prices made it tricky to afford the deposit so, to allow them to save all their money towards their dream home, they decided to move back in with family.
Unexpectedly, within weeks of moving in, the couple found out that they were expecting a baby, so the pressure was on to find their first family home – and soon! They looked at several properties, but they loved that this one required very little structural work. All it needed was to have their decorative stamp put on the place.
The price was way over the couple’s budget, but they put in an offer anyway. It meant they had to work even harder (doing overtime and selling upcylced furniture in their spare time) to save up the extra money they needed, but they had no intention of letting this house pass them by.
The couple moved in two days before their son was born and had more than eight family members helping – building flat-pack furniture, putting up shelves and unpacking boxes. They’d bought the bedroom furniture before they moved in, but that was pretty much all they had.
When their son was just a few weeks old, the owners’ parents helped them to freshen up the place. They’d paint while he was napping and then stop when he awoke. They took turns painting over the mushroom colour in the living room and covering over the purple in the bedroom with a bright white. They wanted the house, especially the open-plan areas, to be painted in calm colours, as they love whites and greys.
Now that all the hard work is done, the owners are looking forward to hosting Christmas as a way of thanking their family for helping set up their first home.
Christmas decorations here have been kept very simple and natural, with plenty of greenery. 'We love adding plants to our interiors, as they make the place feel alive,' say the owners. This living room is the perfect example of Scandi style, with its pale grey walls, wooden floors and furnishings, plus a subtle white palette for the tree decorations. The logs in the fireplace create a beautiful feature, too.
There are plenty of festive touches in this minimalist corner - from the Jingle All The Way banner, which was put together out of a kit with a selection of letters, to pretty hanging stars and dotted-about pine cones. A sheepskin rug thrown over the back of the armchair embodies the winter vibe, too. What's noteworthy about this space is just how Christmassy it feels without being at all loud or garish.
Pom-poms make perfect Christmas decorations. If you're feeling handy, make your own to hang on your Christmas tree branches. You can also thread them onto lengths of trimming from a haberdashers and drape them over your tree to bring a bit of Scandi style to your Christmas scheme. Stick to a neutral palette of white and grey for a classic look that maximises the impact of your greenery.
Pom-pom making kit
'During December, we go for long country walks and pick up holly and pine cones to decorate with,' say the owners. While you will find any kind of Christmas decoration you like online or in the shops, it's always worth remembering what can be found for free in the great outdoors. A terrarium keeps the flame of a tealight well protected and will add a magical flicker at night.
'The open-plan kitchen and dining space really attracted us to this house. The white units reflect lots of light, even in winter,' the owners say. Mini mosaic-style tiles add interest to the wall, while conforming to the uncluttered colour scheme. And rather than having kickboards below all of the units, the legs have been made into a feature that has an industrial feel about it.
Similar kitchen units
White dining furniture creates a modern look that ties in with the kitchen section of this open-plan space. A beautiful bouquet is all that's needed to create an attractive centrepiece for your table. If it's the flowers and greenery that are most important to you, choose a clear glass vase to make a feature of the stems and so that only natural colour is visible.
'The world famous Bettys teashop is just up the road - their soft iced star Christmas cake is amazing,' say the owners. The 'au naturel' theme continues even with the smallest details on the dining table, as the cake is displayed on a rustic tree-trunk-style serving board and the Christmas napkins add a hit of green.
Banisters are a great place to hang garlands or greenery, and it's lovely to spread the Christmas spirit throughout the house, rather than confining it to just the living spaces. A nook under this staircase provides the ideal spot for a cosy seating area. Pile up the cushions and sheepskins for a comfortable, wintery look. Stag designs are very popular right now and are a great buy for winter, as they add a festive feel, but don't need to be removed at the beginning of January.
Pinky peach accents in the duvet cover, cushion, artwork and bedside lights mark a departure from the grey, white and green schemes found throughout the house, though the shell of this palette remains in the walls and carpet. To match the new look, leaves have been sprayed with metallic paint for a bit of sparkle and hung on the bed frame.
Cox & Cox
This nursery is a wonderful space for a child to enjoy, with plenty of room for toys to be out on display and fun touches, such as the blue bunting and blue floor lamp. Artworks also brighten up the walls, as does the white chest of drawers, which would look much heavier in a natural-wood finish. Children love Christmas, so make it special for them with a present sack that you can use again and again.
There are a couple of things that command attention in this bathroom: firstly, the large stone tiles, which run from the floor, via the side of the bath, to the wall; and secondly, the striking shape of the radiator, which offers plenty of space for everyone to hang their towels. The owners are keen on upcycling furniture and another piece that they have salvaged has been given a new life here.