‘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
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.
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.
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.
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’