‘it will be a fun, boho oc­ca­sion’

Astrid Ross­ing­ton used a per­sonal touch and eclec­tic finds to get her liv­ing room ready for the fes­tive sea­son

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When we bought the house in 2011, our plan was al­ways to trans­form it from top to bot­tom into a lovely fam­ily home,’ says astrid. ‘We started with a rear kitchen-diner ex­ten­sion in 2012, then up­dated the bed­rooms, and most re­cently the liv­ing room and gar­den. We hope to tackle the bath­room and ex­tend into the loft this win­ter, too.

Start­ing point

When it came to the liv­ing room, paint­ing over the dull and dated wall­pa­per was the first job. I wanted a bright, neu­tral back­drop but fan­cied a change to the white run­ning through­out the house. Grey was a nat­u­ral choice as it’s a favourite colour of mine and pro­vides depth and sim­plic­ity to the walls. And once the dark-stained win­dows were painted white, they nat­u­rally merged into the room.

Over the years, I’ve be­come more con­fi­dent about what I like, so the look came to­gether pretty eas­ily. Most of our house is a work in progress, as I pre­fer to let rooms grow or­gan­i­cally over time, adding as I go. A tight bud­get and my in­ter­est in scour­ing an­tiques mar­kets, char­ity shops and ware­house sales has nat­u­rally cre­ated a mix of old and new. I in­stantly fell in love with the in­trigu­ing lady’s head pic­ture that Andy spot­ted in Lon­don dur­ing his lunch hour. It’s over the man­tel­piece and I never tire of look­ing at it. Its mul­ti­fac­eted de­sign and muted colours have made it cen­tral to our scheme.

Cus­tom-fit stor­age

Andy is great at DIY and built be­spoke shelves around the fire­place, us­ing ready-primed MDF. Their height was led by the items to be stored on them, in­clud­ing books, CDS and a lovely an­tique mir­ror. The TV unit also houses au­dio equip­ment and DVDS, and I used leftover paint from an up­cy­cling project to paint it all. Manor House Gray paint from Far­row & Ball con­trasts nicely with the lighter

grey walls. I also added cush­ions to our an­tique chest, dou­bling it up as a bench, while hid­ing the kids’ clutter in­side.

All fired up

A sore point for me was al­ways the fire­place, which had a speck­led beige stone sur­round and shiny brass grate. We couldn’t jus­tify rip­ping it out, so we re­vamped it in­stead. I started by paint­ing the sur­round in white ma­sonry paint one evening and then de­cided it needed some age and in­ter­est. Af­ter hours of bid­ding on ebay, I fi­nally won a vin­tage grate for 99p! The only down­side was that we had to col­lect it from Brighton, 50 miles away!

The tiles were an­other great find, from a Fired Earth out­let near Andy’s dad’s home that we reg­u­larly visit. With the help of our neigh­bour’s tile cut­ter, the trans­for­ma­tion was com­plete and we love it.

Light­en­ing the mood

Achiev­ing the right bal­ance of light in the room was key, par­tic­u­larly when part of a larger, open-plan space. The three-quar­ter shut­ters al­lowed for plenty of nat­u­ral light, while cre­at­ing the con­tem­po­rary Euro­pean look I was af­ter. Although they ate up most of our bud­get, it was so worth it! To cre­ate mood light­ing for the dark win­ter evenings, I up­dated ba­sic ta­ble and floor lamps with a pop pom trim and fairy lights. My lovely Vita Liv­ing Sil­via pen­dant shades look fan­tas­tic hung at both ends of the room.

Fi­nal flour­ishes

All the per­sonal touches brought the room to­gether, as it also does when dec­o­rat­ing for Christ­mas. I like tak­ing the time to group items to­gether, putting new spins on things – such as plac­ing a lamp on a vin­tage suit­case, hang­ing fes­tive fo­liage from an antler’s head, and us­ing old mir­rors to re­flect light around the room.

I also en­joy sit­ting on the sofa think­ing about where ev­ery­thing came from as most pieces have a story or his­tory, for me, that’s what gives a home soul.’

Cosy and eclec­tic ‘My christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions fol­low the same off­beat theme as the rest of the room, with a dash of scandi thrown in’ style tip ‘Bistro-style shut­ters pro­vide pri­vacy, style and plenty of nat­u­ral light’

Fra­grant Fo­liage ‘eu­ca­lyp­tus draped around a noel sign from lights for Fun looks strik­ing’

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