Inside Out (Australia)
Peek inside a little house in the woods, beautifully decorated in naturally Nordic holiday style
Christmas, for Lene Samsø, is all about tradition. Her work as an interior stylist means she’s constantly immersed in the latest trends, so she enjoys having a chance to embrace old favourites. “I love the holidays and making the decorations, food and gifts,” she says. “It’s my excuse for going over the top. My work is all about developing new ideas, while Christmas is about returning to the traditions of childhood, and the new traditions you create with your own family.”
The home Lene shares with her two children, Lucas and Filippa (pictured opposite), is strongly inflfluenced by its location in a wooded forest. She mixes modern design favourites like Eames dining chairs and Tom Dixon pendant lights with rustic pieces such as her recycled timber dining table. “I furnish and decorate in a quite intuitive way,” says Lene. “I like to fifind the interaction between the modern and the old, the minimalist and the quirky.”
When the holidays begin, the family heads into the surrounding forest to fifind branches to decorate the house. Some are dressed with ornaments, and some are allowed to stand bare, beautiful as they are. The ornaments themselves are a mix of old and new; Grandma’s fifine Christmas balls, paper ornaments in an origami style, and art photography with festive motifs combined in a seemingly unplanned way, yet somehow they come together.
“I try out combinations, change and add things, and I might even start all over again if it doesn’t work,” says Lene. “One year, I flflirted with acrylic ornaments edged in neon colours, but it just wasn’t for me. I had to take everything down!”
The atmosphere of the house is already cosy, so the decorations complement the existing feel. This year’s table is a reflflection of Lene’s design style, bold in its simplicity. The dining table, homemade from old reclaimed timber planks, is set with Royal Copenhagen porcelain and wooden plates, linen napkins, vintage Holmegaard glasses from Lene’s childhood home, pine cones and candles. Branches and decorations are hung from the ceiling to create a winter wonderland in the mostly white room.
Of course, a stylist’s Christmas is characterised by creative ideas and seasonal vignettes are found throughout. A local spruce tree is left bare apart from its silver star, but the gifts are wrapped in white and black paper and ribbon. Branches are placed in vessels or twisted into wreaths, and candles dot every surface.
“We spend Christmas Day relaxing and preparing our dinner while friends and family stop by,” says Lene. “My favourite thing is the excuse to have a little extra of everything – socialising, eating, decorating, celebrating and loving. Oh, and the snow! We love it when we’re lucky enough to get a white Christmas.”